To anyone visiting the Texas Rose Horse Park during the 2014 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships, do not — I repeat, DO NOT — miss the trade fair in the large indoor arena. From big-name EN sponsors to independent or family-owned vendors, this year’s trade fair hosts a variety of shopping options for you to ogle, fondle, drool over, try on and take home with you after the show.
I am spending much of my time in the trade fair
impulse buying working at the Smart Tie booth, so allow me to take you on a multi-part tour of the many companies and products gathered at the AECs!
First up, Exceptional Equestrian, a mobile fashion boutique featuring drool-worthy brands such as Kingsland, Spooks and Schockemohle. To give you an idea of the class of their items, their slogan is, “Specializing in absolutely nothing you need, but everything you want.” So true! They are located right across from Smart Tie’s booth, and I have a feeling that I’ll be spending much of my weekend sneaking over to try on gorgeous outfits and playing with their adorable French bulldogs.
Just a short hop and a skip down the length of the arena, you can find absolutely gorgeous oil paintings by Texan artist Vida Tayari. The delicate details and realistic lighting of these paintings are only bested by the attention Vida pays to animals’ expressions. In addition to her powerful animal portraits, Vida’s landscape paintings and unique 3D paintings transport you to peaceful places with vivid colors and striking shapes.
Then there’s the Clip, a fabulous product created by Smart Tie that combines simple functionality with safety for you and your horse. I have the privilege of managing this small, family-owned company and am excited to be promoting it here in Texas this week. Used and endorsed by four-star riders like Ralph Hill and Becky Holder, The Clip helps teach your horse to stand tied in cross-ties or to the trailer, while giving you peace of mind because of its smooth, steady relief of pressure if your horse panics and pulls back.
We are promoting The Clip in tandem with my own creations “Do Or Do Knot” Rope Halters, custom-made rope halters with convenient snaps that allow you to safely lead or tie your horse. Stop by our booth for demos and unbeatable show specials. Also, remember that The Clip and “Do Or Do Knot” Rope Halters are part of the amazing, generous prize packs for EN’s AEC Insanity Contest!
Our trade fair neighbors at Zest are, in a word, fabulous. And perhaps a bit zany (in the best possible way, of course). Their booth is a multifaceted spread of fashionable clothes, accessories and footwear. There are several jackets that I keep eyeballing lustfully, and I will definitely be trying on some of their belts to see if a lucky one will be accompanying me back home after the show.
Our next-door neighbors on the other side are the one and only Stackhouse Saddles, created by master saddlemakers David Stackhouse and Lesley Ellis. Each saddle is individually handmade to fit the customer’s specifications for style, size, features and color.
Frankly, I find the saddles to be works of art, with high-quality leather and thoughtful details. Denny Emerson rides in a Stackhouse saddle, and says that he “could not recommend it more highly.” David and Lesley are personable and happy to help you find a saddle that perfectly fits you, your horse, and your style.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our AEC trade fair tour, featuring EN’s excellent sponsors.