Friday, June 13, 2008

What Did I Get at the Mane Market Mall?

Twinville wanted to know what I got on my shopping expedition at the Western States Horse Expo. I did promise to talk about it along with what the clinicians taught, so the clinician posts will be upcoming. I have to limit myself to the posts that don't require too much time or brain power during the workdays. Writing about shopping is fairly mindless and easy.

The Exposition Center in Sacramento provided four buildings, each with an upstairs and a downstairs for exhibitors to display, demonstrate, and sell their wares. There were pitchforks that shake themselves, gigantic balls for your horse to push around, saddles of all shapes and sizes, show clothing, videos and books, horse treats, wormers and most of the goodies you would find in your own feed store plus more.

I looked around to see what people were buying, and the majority seemed to be walking around with whips in their hands. I also noticed a lot people had broken arms or walked with a pronounced limp. The hazards of horsemanship are never so apparent as when you are at a function with thousands of other horse people.

The first goods that attracted my attention were the saddlebags. I felt them up to see how soft they were and inspected the number and size of compartments, but in the end I decided to wait and see just how much trail riding I'll be doing before making the purchase. I still have to just find one day when I have a few hours of unrushed time to load a horse in a trailer and have my family's assistance. I'm not very confident in handling 1,000 lb. animals that are half out of their minds with fear because they don't know where they are.

I decided to look for items I KNOW I will use, such as size XS splint boots for Gabbrielle. I've been using size small boots on her, but they offer little support because they are too loose. Every vendor only sold medium or large splint boots, or worse yet -- one-size-supposedly-fits-all -- which is the same problem I've had with stores on the Internet. I decided to try one of those more expensive Professional's Choice boots. One vendor actually offered to help me and showed me where his small boots were in a cardboard box on the floor. He said that size small boots make up less than 10% of his sales, so he only displays the mediums and larges. Professional's Choice boots did not come in extra small, only small, but I thought I'd take a chance.

I dug through the box and asked my son for help in picking out a color. He thought the tennis ball fluorescent yellow-green was cool. I grabbed a pair, bought it, and headed all the way to the other side of the park for our next clinic. While there I glanced in my shopping bag and realized that I had just bought two REAR boots when I wanted front boots.

This is why I hate shopping. I only wear glasses when I read or work on a computer. Since our trip involved a lot of driving and walking, I wasn't wearing my glasses. That affected my shopping, because I had to get my son to read all the labels for me. I was only concerned about getting the right size. I wasn't thinking I might get boots for the wrong legs. So, after the clinic we hiked back to the vendor and exchanged the boots. I couldn't find a front pair that were exactly the same color, so I got some that are yellow-green with purple trim.

The small Professional's Choice SMB Elite boots ended up fitting Gabbrielle perfectly. When I put them on her, they caused a different sensation from her usual loose splint boots, and she started walking backwards all the way across the round pen in an attempt to step out of them. It was so cute. She stopped and put her ears forward when she realized I was laughing at her.

I also splurged for a loose O-ring Mylar snaffle bit with thick, jointed bars since my D-ring has been pinching the horses' cheeks without the extra layer of a cavesson. I haven't tried it yet, as I haven't been able to ride since the show, but I'm sure the horses will appreciate it.

Throughout the Western States Horse Expo there were various horses and riders wandering among the crowd and stopping to socialize. I'm always attracted to the shiny black horses. I didn't buy this one, though.


Mrs Mom said...

Easy to see how you would be attracted to that horse! He sure is a looker...

I have heard nothing but really good things about the SMBs' so I hope they work out well for you and Madame Gabrielle.

It sounds like you had a fantastic time, and I have really enjoyed reading your posts about it!

Flying Lily said...

At these Expos it is so hard not to impulse shop. You did well, so far anyway! Very practical. I have found that a relatively small horn bag plus tie-downs on the saddle are sufficient for trail rides of one long day. You can attach anything via the ties, and the horn bag holds camera, water, munchies & lunch, hoofpick, etc.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Mom - Good to hear that others like SMBs, and goo to hear that you are enjoying your read.

Lily - Thanks for the advice.

photogchic said...

Drooling just looking at all that tack!! Looks like a great time.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I am not sure I could have resisted the "black horse" impulse buy. A shiny black horse is my most favorite thing EVER!!
Am now wiping droop off of my keyboard-LOL.

Twinville said...

Wow. I was expecting a long list of all sorts of horse goodies. You have such good restraint.

Interesting that you noticed all of the limping folks with broken arms. Does't instill much horse-riding confidance, that's for sure. yikes!

I rently bougt a cantle bag and have already used it. I really like it, except the water bottle pocket and the bottle that comes with it is way too small.

As you know, in the arid regions of the west, water is crucial. A 12 oz water bottle is gone in the first 30 minutes.

I still like the bag though. I just brought along a larger bottle and stashed it inside the cantle bag instead.

Pony Girl had the terrrific idea of using a fannny pack for trail rides. That way if the horse takes off without you, you have your important gear, like your cell phone and water.