Friday, April 16, 2010
Midwest Horse Fair
I love the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin. It is the best horse fair around. I started going to Midwest ( as it is locally known as) when I still lived in Illinois. I was in middle school at the time and my mom and I drove all the way up here to do to it. Ever since I still love to go with my mom. As I kid I never wanted to go to the circus, but I was all over the Midwest Horse Fair!
Midwest has changed a lot since I start attending. Back then it was just a show case of breeds, stallions, and liberty demonstrations. It was all held in one building with just a handful of vendors. Now there is one arena, at least 3 smaller arena/ round pens, rooms for lectures, a whole other building of vendors, stables and stables of breeds from Arabians to zorses, and top trainers, clinicians, and equestrian entertainers from across the United States. All rolled in to three days! There is not enough time to see everything.
Today my mom and I saw our favorite attraction: Preifert Texas Thunder. A six horse hitch of Percheron horse, the smallest of whom is 17.3 and the tallest 19.2. Shaq is the tallest Percheron in America at this time. They are an amazing high-speed, yet highly controlled team. I get tears in my eyes watching them. Watch the video on their page, just chilling! My these shots are from out side the arena, my camera could not take good pictures inside.
I got to watch Steffen Peters give a clinic to two lower level dressage riders from our area. One young lady was on a beautiful Friesian. Some think they are just lowly cart horses, but several Frisians do wonderfully at dressage, including Jane Savoie's own Moshie. The other girl was on a German warmblood pony. Cute little sorrel mare, but I could not get good photos of her. One thing that Steffen kept saying to the women was: "Let him learn from his mistake." As it was more or less like watching a lesson, I picked up little bits here and there, but was not quite what I was hoping for.
One of the wonderful things about Midwest is watching clinicians I would normally never go to. I watched two clinics by Tommy Garland. Now he is in one sense a typical western clinician: "Here, buy my special halter, bridle, and extra special super sized ball." He is not a natural horsemanship guy though. I think the horse world is going through a paradigm shift. It was all NH and now we are swinging back the other way. I actually agreed with a lot of what he said, even though it was "old school", it was not abusive either. He does have his schitk. His philosophy is Tommy's CPR (Confidence, Training, Respect). Hey, all I can say is I picked up a few things I want to try and I didn't buy any crap so I feel good about it.
Remember several years ago when nobody except the cowboys knew what a rope halter was? Now I bet there is at least one rope halter in everyone's tack box. Even if you don't want to admit it you have to admit that you at least know someone who has one. Well this year, the new product seems to be over sized balls. NO I am not kidding. To really have a "spook proof" horse, you need a really big ball, and of course everyone thinks their ball is the best. Not only can you spook proof your horse but you can play equi-soccer. What new gimmick will they come with next? Okay, so I want one, but I didn't get it.
I am proud to say that the only thing I got I actually did need. Like I mentioned in a past post I have a half a dozen mini halters and most of them don't fit anyone. I have one that fits Ike and Madison. So Madison really needed her own halter and I actually found one. And for only $6.
It was a long day, but I loved every minute of it. I think it is even nicer that I can still share that special time with my mom. It was a long day for her and her shoulder really hurts, but she loves it just as much as I do. The funnel cakes, the horses, the new demos and the old favorites. We learn something new every year and remember the years past. I love the Midwest Horse Fair!