November in the horse community of the northeastern United States means Equine Affaire, one of the largest horse expos in the country and definitely the largest for any of the northeastern states.
This time last year was about 20 degrees colder, so cold our water froze in the horse trailer’s living quarters. My friends had brought a couple horses for clinics last year and we were able to spend 3 fun days. A recap of the vendors and clinicians can be found at the following links:
- Blade’s Got the Blues and Equine Affaire
- A First-Timer to Equine Affaire
- My 7 Most Memorable Vendors at Equine Affaire
- My 5 Most Memorable Clinicians at Equine Affaire 2017
This year my friends opted out of Equine Affaire. I wanted to go but I’m too cheap for a hotel; seeing the forcast being in the 40s I thought of possibly making a “blanket cocoon” in my back seat and staying in my car overnight Thursday-Friday. In the days leading up to Equine Affaire I began to come down with a cold. Monday night while I was at work I began to experience coughing & congestion; and it quickly evolved to muscle pain, chills, and malaise. I was pathetic. By the time I went home the next morning I turned my car on and the heat wasn’t working…I ugly cried. I ugly cried because of the heat in my car. Sick and pathetic.
I stayed home from work the next evening and got as much rest as I could stand. By Thursday I felt so-so but knew it would be disastrous if I tried to sleep in my car so I decided to give myself one more day to repair.
Then Friday came and it was time to say HELLO EQUINE AFFAIRE!
This year, 2018, is my second year attending Equine Affaire. My body woke me up at 5:58, two minutes before my alarm. I got up to feed the cats, fed the dog, and put on clothes to feed the three amigos. Blade is beginning to become a large spoiled brat. At breakfast time he now likes to jump around and buck like a lunatic and often bucks in my direction. I’m glad he’s happy and feels good but let’s just say he’s going to get a reality check on my next days off. It’s never ok to kick at mom.
By 7:15am I had fed all the animals, got dressed, put on my pretty new cowgirls boots, and made my face somewhat presentable. I made a protein shake, kissed Zac, and set out for Springfield. The drive was extremely pleasant. The weather was nice, the sun out, and there was minimal traffic. I made it to the Eastern States Convention Center promptly at 9am.
I was so excited to run into some good friends…and friends from a number of different horse experiences I’ve had. I was so happy to see everyone having a good time.
I returned to Equine Affaire this year for the clinics. I LOVE to learn new things, hence why I keep writing. I love education. Learning and then teaching what I’ve learned. There were two specific trainers I really wanted to see this year and they were Warwick Schiller and Clinton Anderson. There were many fantastic others including Mark Rashid, Jeff Cook, Brandi Lyons, Tik Maynard, Jan Ebeling, and many others. In the first hours of my arrival I had the pleasure of watching the first 3 but time didn’t allow for any others.
After seeing my favorite trainers I spent the afternoon shopping and visiting with the many vendors. I was still seeing booths for the first time at 6:55pm as they were getting ready to shut down for the night.
In the years growing up I’ve always heard such ravings about the shopping there is to be had. To be honest I wasn’t impressed. There were some sales and deals but nothing I’d write home about. I went home with a couple of scratching pads, feed buckets and a muck bucket. I didn’t take a photo of them but they are pretty standard. Two wall-mounted scratch pads were $10 each, two 6 gallon rubber feed tubs were $9.99 each (the smaller ones don’t hold the beet pulp/alfalfa mash as well) and the muck bucket was $14.99. They were good prices but if you look hard enough you can find those prices at some point during the year. That’s all I bought. It also helps that I really don’t “NEED” anything and really don’t have the money either. I’m broke!
I was also disappointed by the lack of free samples I brought home. What’s a good trade-show without an armload of free samples? I had some decent conversations, got my boots cleaned (I would have bought the oil if I had time to go back), got a piece of chocolate from Dark Horse Chocolates (another place I should have made more time for), and got a joint supplement free sample for old man crickety Zeno Bay. I feel like I spent most of my time just signing up for all the raffles and give-a-ways that I’ll never win.
I saw a lot of supplement companies and feed companies. Suffice it to say I’m satisfied with what I give the boys and don’t feed grain. Garth Brooks would be proud that I am literally Goin’ Against The Grain. The feed companies don’t like it much but the boys are looking great (I owe you an update soon on them too).
One booth that really got my attention was Pure Posture. Two chiropractors Dr. Beverly Marr and Dr. Chris Sova designed this product that works to improve posture through slow adjustments. I came across the booth late in my day, only 20 minutes before the trade-show closed for the evening. When I first saw it I was skeptical; being science oriented questioning and skepticism is in my nature.
The product itself is quite basic. It’s a wooden board with two wooden wedges shaped and placed at strategic spots. The “one size fits all” wedge is 2″ in height and they offer other heights for sensitive backs and for flexible backs.
The idea of Pure Posture is to lay on the board with one wedge on either side of your spine. You lay in position for 90 seconds, scootch up and lay another 90 seconds, and repeat this for a total of 5 times. In 7-8 minutes you stand back up feeling and standing taller and more aligned.
Of course I wanted to try it!
I laid back on the board. Initially I thought it was extremely uncomfortable, but what adjustment ever really is? Within the first 5 seconds my back cracked 3 times. I felt my chest open a little. Soon the board wasn’t giving me discomfort at all, it was as though my muscled melted to it. As I moved up the board to a lower section of my back it was uncomfortable again. Again, in a short amount of time it didn’t bother me. My back cracked again on our fifth position in the lower back.
I have had many experiences where I work out too hard and my back hurts or I sleep wrong and it’s difficult to sit up straight. When that happened I would try anything to relieve the pain. I twisted my body fast, I laid on the floor in all sorts of configurations. I have tried foam rollers, the bridge position, and laying across a yoga ball. I’ve tried hanging upside down on an inversion table. I’ve even gone as far as cautiously asking someone to stand on my back. When your back is off it’s difficult to do anything let alone have a good workout. I have missed workouts because the pain would have interfered with my ability to use correct form. I wonder if I had Pure Posture during those times if I could have had that relief I was so desperately looking for.
At the end of 8 minutes my posture, though not terrible to begin with, improved pretty noticeably. My head carriage came back towards center (I held it forward earlier) and that brought my chest up and lengthened my abdomen. I have included photos for you to see. I hear that the head being off center even an inch will add 10 pounds of tension so every bit counts. Our posture is so important…especially as equestrians our posture affects not only us but our horses as well.
I ended up purchasing this product and look forward to sharing it with my family who actually have back problems.
To check PurePosture out for yourself visit https://www.pureposture.net/
One other booth I thought was worth of a spotlight was Hylofit. They had a raffle for a free unit and man do I wish I had won!
Hylofit is a device that helps to monitor you, the rider, AND your horse during your ride. The horse’s monitor is an attachment for the girth while the rider wears a chest strap. The system tracks where you’ve ridden and the heart rates to see how hard your horse and you are working. More into it the device shows you zones of exertion so you know if your horse is working too hard or not hard enough.
Even better, if you have a friend video your ride you can pair that video to the Hylofit app so you get a real idea of where during the ride you or your horse was working hardest.
This system is such a great idea to help guide training. I often feel I don’t push Blade nearly enough, and this device would give me an idea of where I stand so I can be more confident in how hard I am pushing.
The system works with multiple horses and helps you design training programs for you and your horse.
Check it all out at https://www.hylofit.com/
And if you’re wondering, no, nobody is paying me to say anything. As much as I would love to receive free things (honestly who doesn’t?) I am not a sponsored writer, I’m just happy to promote those that deserve it. In fact, I pay yearly to keep this site.
When all the shops closed for the evening I walked the buckets to my car in the rain. I had gone the entire day on the protein shake I made at 7am and a Nature Valley granola bar at 11am. I bought the gyro I had been looking forward to all day, wrapped it up tight and made my way to the Colosseum for Fantasia.
Although it was a long day it was very worthwhile. I really enjoyed watching the clinics, seeing friends, talking to vendors, and seeing some of the educational booths. One booth featured dissections of horse anatomy and there was also a full horse skeleton on display.
I also really enjoy the breed demonstrations. There were less this year it seemed which was very unfortunate. I love seeing the different breeds and hearing about them from the presenters. This year I was able to catch Halflingers, Mountain horses (Kentucky and Rocky) as well as the Irish Draught.
I began my drive home at 10pm thoroughly tired from the days events. It was a great day. I wish I had more time to see the other presentations and to see the C barn where more horses were being kept. I would have loved a full day of clinics and more breed demos. One day was not enough for me but it was more than nothing. I made it home safely; had it been a longer drive I’d have needed to pull over I was so drowsy.
Tune in tomorrow for a recap on the clinicians I saw and the day after for Fantasia!
Keep reading at Clinicians of Equine Affaire 2018