Monday, May 2, 2011

The Mane Event 2011

I'm back and I survived! Actually I did more than just survive, I had a great time! But I'm not going to lie, I was exhaused last night!

Thursday evening involved a lot of this...
But our booth was looking pretty good when we were done. Now to wait for everyone else to arrive with their saddles.

Friday morning I got up good & early (watched a few royal wedding highlights of course!), went to the barn and decided against giving Brigit a full bath. It was ROTTEN outside, rain which turned to snow a little later on. Poor Brigit was soaked and shaking when I brought her in. So I just washed her legs with warm water and left her to dry in a stall with a nice pile of hay. Ran home to pack & finish ironing and then we were back to the barn to grab Brigit and my tack and we were off!

The Expo opened at 11:00 am so we had to be there before then to finish getting the booth set up. I was initially worried that we wouldn't have enough stuff for our booth but it ended up turning out really well, don't you think?
The two lovely ladies in this pic are Betty-Lynn and Amanda. I really don't think I could have pulled this off without them! Betty-Lynn makes sidesaddles and Amanda is a newcomer to the world of riding aside. We had saddles dating back to the 1700's.... Now that I think of it... Why didn't I take more photos of the saddles!! Darn.

Actually, after looking at the photos my camera took, I'm going to be purchasing a new camera very soon. This one seems to be wearing out and as you'll notice, most pictures are out of focus. How frustrating!

Anyways, we had a lot of fun answering questions and showing people what an apron was and how we wore it. It was great to have a saddle for people to try sitting in. We started a tally sheet on friday to count how many people tried sitting in the saddle. I believe we ended up with well over 200 people and probably 1/4 of those (ok maybe a tiny bit less) were men!

Friday involved a LOT of running around here and there to grab things we'd forgotten, man the booth and in the afternoon Betty-Lynn (who did the talking), Charis and I (we did the riding) had a demonstration in the round pen. I wasn't sure what Brigit would think of it but she did well.
On our way to the demo a friend of mine snapped this pic.

Betty-Lynn brought a bunch of saddles over to the round pen to use them in her talk about the progression of sidesaddles.
Then it was back to the barn to untack, change and man the booth some more. I have to say, I wish the hours weren't quite as late, we were exhausted by the end of each day. Friday the tradeshow ended at 9pm, Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 6pm. All that time and we barely even got to do any shopping! (ok I did some... hellooooo plaid breeches! hehe). I think I watched maybe 5 minutes of the Greg Best clinic, wish I could have seen more!

Saturday was another busy day but we had reinforcements come in!
From left to right is Jim, me, Betty-Lynn, Lee, Karen and Caitlin. Missing from the photo is Matt (our picture taker), Charis and Holly.

There was so many people on saturday! I couldn't get over how busy it was. On one of my trips in and out, I walked by a booth that had gloves for 50% off. I've been looking for a pair of nice brown gloves for FOREVER and finally found some here! What a deal!

In the afternoon we had another demo but this time it was in the big ring. Lee had done a write up and she graciously read it while we rode. Betty-Lynn let me wear her black habit, isn't it nice?

Here we are, headed for our afternoon demo. Charis on Peppy, Caitlin on Eddie and me on Brigit.
Pardon the blurry pics, I'm so annoyed with my camera! I hope some better pics turn up.
Caitlin went in her western outfit.
Charis rode in her queen's outfit.
And me in the black formal habit.

We tried to add some humor to our demo, so Charis & I rode in, while Caitlin ran in on foot leading her horse. When she went to try to mount by herself, Lee said "Ladies never mount from the ground!", so Caitlin whistled and her boyfriend came running in to put her up. It was definitely a crowd pleaser! We had a lot of fun showing off (especially our leg yields and lead changes). It was so hot in there that we were all out of breath after 8 minutes of riding!

Saturday night we had another demonstration during the "Saturday Night Equine Experience" as they call it. They put on a big show about 1.5 hrs long to show off different horses and ways of riding etc and the stands & floor space is usually packed. There had to be over 1000 people there watching! This was our 3 minutes of fame! It was just Caitlin and I so we devised a bit of a pattern and rode to "The Twist" by Chubby Checker. Everyone was impressed by our flying lead changes and we really got the crowd going when we let our horses gallop around the ring. It was really neat to hear that many people cheering as we raced around!
Unfortunately ALL of the pictures from my camera our evening performance were blurry.

We had so many people come by the booth the next day and comment on how impressed they were and how much they enjoyed watching us ride! I think the funniest comment was from one lady who said "That was really neat to watch... They didn't even look scared!". LOL

I think we did incredibly well for this being our first time having a booth, it definitely caught people's eye and generated a lot of interest.

Sunday we got to sit back and just watch the booth and do a little bit of shopping here and there. It was nice not to have to ride, we were all tuckered right out.


  1. Gosh you were busy! You & Brigit looked fantastic, and what an amazing atmosphere to ride in :)
    Is that Betty-Lynn of Tattersalls sidesaddles? I would love to know what her sidesaddles ride like, as they look gorgeous on her website.

  2. How neat! A plethora of saddles! Is that a table cloth or a piece of fabric on the left with saddles on it?

  3. Anita yes we sure were busy! I haven't been that tired or run off my feet in a long time! It was worth the effor though! Met so many great people and got to know some people better. It was exciting!
    Yes that is the one & only Betty-Lynn Tattersall! I will be going up to see Betty-Lynn at the end of the month and if I get a chance to try one of her saddles out I will let you know! I've heard they ride very well.
    (p.s. Anita, can you allow me to see your blog? If you want, email me at cheadle underscore chick .

    Yes there was sure a lot of saddles! It's actually a scarf from Austrailia that one of the ladies let us use for a table cloth. Her daughter lives there and sent it to her. Pretty isn't it?

  4. You will definately have to at least sit on one of her sidesaddles! I emailed her a few years ago, I was going to get one of hers, but then went with my Wendy Tidbold as it looks a bit more "traditional" for the local crowd. I would love one of her western sidesaddles though, they do look comfy for trail riding :)

    I've opened my blog up again - I had to take it down for awhile, as I was getting some nasty comments from certain people, hopefully they will leave me alone now :(

  5. I have had the chance to sit in her saddles, just not on a horse. They're very nice and the seat is comfy! I'm a bit of a traditionalist though, I love my old saddles.

    I noticed that after I left my comment last night. Glad to see it's up again

  6. Oh Michelle.. I am so thrilled your event went so well. That is just what I hope to do one day locally. Blurry or not - I LOVED your pictures and the way you told the story. I felt like I was there too!

  7. Thanks Julie! It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I can share it with you guys. I've invested in a new camera, so hopefully there will be no more blurry pics from here on!