Walking into the Trade Show area was amazing. There were things I didn't even know I wanted and things I had always thought would be cool if only someone would invent them...and it turns out someone has...and in every color you can think of!
So I tried to map out a route to hit each tent and I honestly never got to parts because there was just so much to see. Don't worry, it's now a personal mission to find everything there is to see but I can already tell that two weeks is not nearly enough to take in the entire WEG experience.
Walking the rows of tents was much like Trick or Treating for horse promo stuff, brochures and business cards. I hit a few tents before I was lured in by the big Isabell/Wintec/Bates signs. I got to sit on one of the new (not even released) Isabell Dressage Saddles. As I sat there discussing the features of this new saddle I pondered the necessity of purchasing a brand new saddle for The Nut as we were forging slowly into Intro Dressage. Part of me would like to outfit myself properly even if we never test above Intro B but somehow I just can't justify it...yet. The price you ask? Well....I'm told when they publically release it on 10/1 the price on the Wintec version will be $1299, but the WEG pre-sale price is $999 and they'll ship it home for me for free AND get a really nice, limited edition Saddlebag as well... temping....(note I wrote that in little letters) They gave me my first goodie bag, a tote with their logos on it and some toys & literature inside..fun & informative
That was just the beginning...I ended up with a couple more bags and lots of literature plus some free promotional goodies, like a hat from SmartPac, a pin from Ariat and a bale of hay...yes, you read that right, a bale of hay!
I stopped at the Standlee booth to tell them how much Coconut & I love their Timothy Pellets and told them the whole story about Coconut's delicate system. I learned the whole process about how they grow their own hay and can get consistent & quality product. That's always amazed me! He told me they go through the same process for their baled hay only it comes in 50 lb bales for a little bit less than the pellet and offered to arrange for a free bale at Dels so I could try it out. So I have in my hot little hands, a business card with his note for Dels to give me a bale when I get home. Furthermore, he was so touched by Coconut's story that he would like to have me write it out and send it to him for possible promotional use (good thing I wrote the Coconut Chronicles, eh?) Sending that to him right after this post!
I also had a great conversation with the folks at Back on Track. I'm extremely interested in their knee brace (in the $35 range I think) but I had recently read about these great blankets they make that help with pain relief for your horses. Their fabric is interwoven with polypropylene/polyester thread embedded with a fine ceramic powder. The blankets have shown to:
- Keep muscles loose between & prior to competition
- Assist tie-up problems, sore back shoulder & other muscular & circulatory problems
- Provide a relaxing effect for nervous horses
They also carry wraps and boots for various leg issues as well....plus they carry a full line of human braces that help with similar issues. Again, all quite tempting. Their WEG special is to purchase a blanket at the normal cost of $269 and they'll give you your choice of $100 in other product. again...tempting...
Have you ever thought to yourself "wouldn't it be great to have a camera inside my trailer with a monitor in my vehicle?" well...ponder the question no more because I met the nicest couple who have such a thing! Trailer Eyes is a camera that mounts inside your trailer on a C-clamp so it's movable and then you get a screen that looks and is about the same size as a GPS. There are just so many cool features on this one and for $259 (which includes free shipping!), I have to say this one would move to the head of my list...and I think that's their every day price!!
The boot-a-holic in me was WOW'ed by Der Dau, a custom boot maker. There were so many boots in so many colors with so many options I practically had to run out of there...it was very scary for someone like me who L-O-V-E-S boots! You want pink leather tall riding boots....you can have them! You want red leather paddock boots with alligator toes, you can have those too! You think it, I bet they can make it. While I was nosing around their booth, TWO women (not even together) were placing their order and the woman I was covertly watching was trying to decide if she wanted the leather or alligator accents to her leopard print fur paddock boots. I am not kidding! I couldn't even ask how much they went for but I hope to learn before the games are over. I got a couple of brochures but did not even tempt fate by trying on boots! After an experience like that my husband would probably sign the bills himself for the Isabell Saddle, the Back on Track Blanket AND the Trailer Eyes before he'd even think about letting me have my way in a place like that! But that's the kind of stuff dreams are made of...come on, you know you're thinking about your fantasy boots right now!!!
So after that I had to run to the comfort of Ariat. There were a couple of retailers carrying Ariat items. Ariat happens to be one of the main sponsors of the games (and supplier of the really cool volunteer wear!) so there is quite a selection of Offical WEG styles. What I was hearing today, however, is that there are limited quantities and the most popular items are selling fast and they WILL RUN OUT of certain items, like the polartec jacket (that I picked up today!). I saw a really beautiful reversible vest at the Dressage Championships last weekend, bit & leathers themed on one side and solid blue (but it also comes in red here) on the other with all of the Ariat and WEG logo info embroidered on. I came intending to purchase one but the jacket got me...as did a matching cap!
Ariat also had a really nice stand alone tent where they were not selling anything but were showing some of their most popular items and previewing items that are coming out soon. I'm loving the new look of a few of the collections they were showing, a plaid waterproof boot kept asking me to pick it up and there will be a matching line of clogs/mules and paddock boots as well. Then there is what I'll call a Euro-Inspired collection that has this very cool front zip in the tall boot style and interesting color accents! It's a whole new direction for Ariat and I think it will be a hit when it's released. Their tent sported some really comfy leather benches in front of two large flat screen TVs where they were showing the Endurance check in live. I sat and watched it awhile & thought of Monica who's here covering it. Check out her blog over at Horsebytes, by the way!
I stopped by the Breyer tent just in time to meet Shawn Flarida who had just won a gold medal in Reining. He was wearing his medal just until he sat down at the greeting table and then he took it off and laid it on the table. He was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. What timing that was for me! I did take a few photos but my lap top does not appear to be reading my SD card so that and others are stuck until I can get ahold of my SD reader at home.
Well, tomorrow is my first volunteer day so I probably need to get some sleep but I did want to share with you a couple of little tid-bits about the games: along with all the festivities at the Kentucky Horse Park there is a major city-wide party going on down town Lexington, The International Equestrian Festival with bands & food and other fun events. It looks like there will be something going on daily from 1pm to 9pm. I have driven by it twice now and it looks like I will need to PLAN to go there!
Also, I stopped at Walmart in Lexington (the one nearest the Horse Park) and ran into what appeared to be 4 different international teams. I don't know who's who, but they were together, dressed alike within each group, were wearing credentials and were not speaking english. I just thought it was kinda fun that EVERYONE shops at walmart!
OK, that's it for now. More WEG fun tomorrow!