Monday, April 14, 2008

The More Things Change

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same but after visiting Equine Affaire this weekend, it would seem the more things change, the more we miss the way they used to be.

Now I know that the economy is bad and we are all feeling it in every aspect of our lives. The days of disposable income are behind us for now. The housing market has all but bottomed out and the equine industry is feeling the brunt. But what I witnessed at Equine Affaire this year was the result of more than just the economic slump.

For those of you that have gone in years before, you remember the endless rows of beautiful stallions in the barn and the overflow of vendors in the third building. You remember the line of cars that stretched out onto the expressway and the friendly faces of the people in the office that work really hard to make it the best year ever. For me having been there with my stallion and then being a presenter for years, I remember my cell phone ringing as I arrive welcoming me and hearing the friendly voices of the familiar faces that I see every year. But this year, my phone was quiet. My husband and I walked into the barn to find a third of the stallions that usually grace the rows of the Gilligan barn. There was no long line of cars as we approached the Fairgrounds and even a lot of the vendors that have been there as long as we had, commented on the changes that have occurred and the lack of excitement that used to exist among the people that work with them to create such a huge event. Some of them have been replaced with new people while some may be tired and overworked, I can only guess as to why things have changed but the effects of these changes were evident in the turnout and the overall mood of everyone we spoke with.

I smiled and said hello to a gal that I have worked with in presenting my seminars and she passed me with no recognition. No, I was not a presenter this year however after six years of volunteering my time as a presenter at this event a "hello Tena" is not too much to ask. I also spoke to another presenter that has volunteered his time for seminars for as many years as I and he sighed and his comment was "things have changed. It isn't fresh anymore and if you are not on the agenda this year, you do not exist." This is a very well known, well respected trainer and former judge.

The view from my horse is Equine Affaire past and present and the difference between them. It would seem that when we come to having a seminar that explores the difference between stallions and mares, it is time for an infusion of new blood in the ranks. We need to fill the barns with laughter and excitement and beautiful horses as it used to be and so easily can be again. We need fresh ideas for seminars with imaginative names and more and more new and creative ideas for the youth. I have to ask... "What happened?"

On a bright note, the two new books were everywhere and we stopped to sign them between shopping and visiting with old friends. I was pleased to see how well they are doing. The Foal Is The Goal book was still everywhere we went as well. We are looking forward to a full summer of book signing events and seminars. So maybe change is inevitable but we have seen the possibilities of Equine Affaire and what it once was and I have to believe can be again. I have seen first hand how much work it takes to create an event such as this and would so like to see them continue to succeed. Here is to November and Massachusetts and a great show.


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