Western States Horse Expo 2015 Review
We try to make Horse Expo every year (last year we missed due to being at the Belmont Stakes for California Chrome’s Triple Crown attempt)…so 2015 was our…maybe 4th or 5th year. We cannot remember.
We used to hear great things about Horse Expo. Great vendors, giveaways, free samples, big sales, good clinicians, fun for the kids, and other notable pluses. Then the economy was not so great and we have not experienced a Horse Expo that we actually enjoyed in several years. The vendors were sparse some years. We were not given any samples for free and didn’t find many giveaways or drawings. And the weather was always miserable.
2015 was improved. Most importantly, it was about 5 degrees cooler on Friday than it usually is at Horse Expo (we can’t vouch for the rest of the weekend though). Every year we have gone previously it seems to always be in the upper 90s. By the time we left around 3:00 in the afternoon Friday…it was 90. That makes a huge difference (but it was still hot). We actually sat outside in the sun and watched a little bit of a couple of clinics and presentations. That’s the first time we have been able to stand the heat long enough to listen to anyone.
The biggest problem with Horse Expo is still the same problem…and that’s the weather. If it was in March…it would be the best event possible. That being said, no one we have ever gone with has the heat tolerance to sit out and watch any clinic start to end at Horse Expo. It is just too hot. It’s always bad, and it was bad this year too (even if it was better than average). Please move it to March or April or even May! Sure there’s a risk of rain, but it never rains too hard in California (at least we don’t think so compared with most of the country) and we’d rather sit out in the rain than the scalding hot summer sun. The number of people watching the clinics would skyrocket.
Enough of the weather. Now on to the good stuff.
The clinicians we watched were great, however as one would expect the topics are light and basic at best. We didn’t learn anything we didn’t know already from most of them, however the trailer maintenance talk was interesting. The Expo is much more geared towards Western riding than English. We wish there was a better balance of clinicians and vendors, but what can you do. We really enjoyed watching the draft horse showcase. We were happy to see them promoting the Draft Horse Classic, which we believe is one of the coolest events around. It’s hard to watch these gentle giants in their rigs and not be enamored. We followed them to the barns afterwards to take some photos as they were being cared for by their handlers.
The vendors were much better than recent years with some really good deals, however there were some vendors that were trying to take advantage and selling products that were marked up as much as twice the price they should have been. So do your research and know what’s a deal before you buy! We were able to get some KILLER deals at the Goode Rider booth ($20 pair of breeches? You bet)! We also were able to find several products we have not heard of before, so that’s always exciting.
A few new products were being shown off including Strip Hair (we’re sure you’ve seen the videos), the new Equimist bottles from Carr & Day & Martin (we bought a bottle of Dream Coat to review for you), and a new shine product that was hitting the market on Saturday (yup we missed it) from Equifuse. We are hoping we can get our hands on the Strip Hair and the new Equifuse product to review.
Our favorite trial was from the Australian Stock Saddle Company. They had a couple of people shining up boots with their Leather Keep product. We were so impressed with this product, we bought a jar (and will probably buy more in the future). Look for a review of this soon!
We also came home with a bucket full of free samples and reading materials. Some of the free stuff we received were a feed bucket, Banixx, supplement and feed samples, two grooming towels, a main comb, and some thrush treatment. There were various booths doing drawings for big prizes or spin the wheels for prizes of various levels.
The kids area seemed to be as popular as ever with horse painting (yes…body painting on white Arabians), a saddle up riding steer (yup…he was quite cute), horse shoe decorating and other fun activities. The one thing we missed this year is the Breyer booth (where did you go Breyer?!?!).
The biggest surprise was the absolutely tiny art show this year. In past years, this was a pretty sizable group. This year…it seemed very small. We’re not sure what happened with their entries, but this was kinda sad. Artists, you should think about entering next year! We are considering entering a few of our pieces.
The food seemed about normal for this event (which means not that good), however there was a vendor selling Beignets (not typical California food!)…and we told them next year they needed to come and bring some chicory coffee with them. With the vast amount of variety of spectacular food trucks around these days, the fact that they still offer sub par fair type food is a bit disappointing.
All in all, we had a great time at Horse Expo this year and will plan on attending again next year, hoping for even more improvements. We do have a tip, if you want to avoid crowds and not miss any good stuff (thing on sale get sparse as the weekend goes on), go on Friday! Yup, that means a day off work…but it’s worth it to save on headaches.