Monday 1 May 2017

Mane Event Overview

I'm behind on my posting again, but last weekend (April 22) I went to The Mane Event in Red Deer. I didn't actually go for the weekend, just for half a day, because I also had to squeeze in a trip to Edmonton for some family stuff.

Mane Event is a giant horse expo. It started in Chilliwack BC, then expanded to Red Deer and now is also in London, ON, and Scottsdale, AZ. The Red Deer one is the biggest and it is massive. I tried to see if I could get photos showing the scale, but it takes up 3 massive halls, and all the booths and displays go higher than my head so you can really only see one row at a time. There is a full schedule of events all weekend that take place in two indoor arenas, a round pen, and a lecture area. Then there is the tradeshow. The Mane Event covers every horse discipline imaginable and it's really cool to have so many clubs, associations, and tack stores in one place.

Mane Event is what you choose to make it, here's how I spent my time there:

Dressage AGM

Since a lot of people come to Mane Event anyways, the Alberta Dressage Association decided to hold their annual general meeting upstairs at the facility on Saturday afternoon. I haven't been to the AGM in previous years but I had a special interest in going this year to a) match faces to the names that I have been communicating with related to the show and clinics I have been organizing; and b) be there in case there were any questions when they voted to approve the new rule that created my directorship position. It was really great to meet everyone and hear what all the area groups have been up to. I am glad that I am a formal part of this organization because it is a great group of people who are doing a lot to try and encourage the sport of dressage.

Lateral Work Presentation/Clinic

Shannon Dueck was the dressage clinician at the Mane Event this year. Unfortunately I could only catch one of her presentations but I really enjoyed it. It was titled "From Leg Yields to Pirouettes - How Lateral Work Progresses". She had 3 demo riders of various levels (1st, 3rd, and I1) and she went through lateral work from leg yield -> shoulder-in -> haunches-in -> renvers -> half-pass -> pirouettes. All of what she said echoed things I have heard or read before, but I've never seen it all put together like that and it made it all fit and seem not so complicated. It was a very well prepared and well presented demo.

Trailer Looking

There were at least six different trailer sales places set up with several of their newest and best horse trailers to show off. There was everything from small two-horse rigs to massive 4 horse LQ 5th wheels. It was fun to look at all the features. I wasn't seriously shopping, but I have debated upgrading my trailer to one with a sealed tack room so I was giving it some consideration. Instead of making me want a new trailer though, looking at all the options made me really appreciate the trailer I have. My tack room is exposed to the elements with open stock windows, but it is larger than a lot of other two horse trailers, and the fact that my door doesn't have a lip with weatherstripping makes it a lot easier to load and unload hay and tack bins etc. The latch on my dividers is simple, but it's simple in a way that I don't worry about it failing. Some of the fancy spring loaded contraptions on the other trailers might not stand the test of time as well. I like that my trailer is bright and airy and has no rear tack, some of the new trailers I looked at were a lot darker and seem like they would be tougher to get a reluctant horse to load into. A living quarters would be nice, but it also makes for a much bigger trailer that would be tougher to maneuver, and I have an SUV not a truck and they were all 5th wheels. Just style-wise, I didn't see anything that I liked better than my own trailer overall. And then there was price.... even the most basic trailers on sale were around $20,000. I bought mine for $4000. I think I'll keep it! Looking at trailers did give me a few ideas of how I should maybe modify my tack room to give me better storage though.

Feed Recommendations

There were several horse feed companies at Mane Event. I took the opportunity to ask several for feed suggestions for Kachina. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I got some very different answers. It did give me some information to look into though.


There wasn't anything I really needed so I wasn't planning on buying much, but I knew I'd probably find something. I actually mostly succeeded at saving my money and I'm happy with the three things I did decide to splurge on:

1. Cell phone thigh holder. In the winter I keep my phone in my coat pocket at the barn. Lately I've switched to a vest to still have a pocket, but even that will be too warm in a few months. I frequently ride alone so I think it's important to have my phone on me, but I struggle with what to do in the summer when wearing breeches (I haven't yet found a belt clip that is comfortable. This seemed like the perfect solution. The strap is made from soft neoprene so it shouldn't mark my saddle, and my phone slides easily in and out. When it's related to safety, the cost is pretty justifiable.

2. Sports bra. You don't need a photo of that. There was one whole booth of just sports bras. I am kind of a weird size so don't usually have much luck in finding one that works, but these girls had a great selection

3. Ceramic plate. This small company out of the Crowsnest pass consists of a husband and wife team that make and sell some beautiful handmade pottery and jewelry. They always bring a selection of horse themed pieces to the Mane Event. Two years ago I bought a plate from her that to me is the perfect depiction of collection and extension. I have it displayed in my house and I love looking at it. This year she had another dressage themed plate that I decided to buy. I can see my collection of pieces from her growing over the years.

Plate from 2015

Plate from 2017

The Trip Home

I left Mane Event at 8pm so I knew I wasn't going to be home until midnight at the earliest. About halfway though my drive I pulled over to help a lady who's car was smoking badly. As soon as I stopped, flames started being visible and so I made the call to 911 to get the fire department. While we were waiting, the fire grew quickly. Nobody was hurt which is the important thing, but it was pretty crazy, I've never seen a car just go up in flames like that. I ended up standing outside in the ditch in sleet and rain for about half an hour while we waited for the fire department, kept other onlookers a safe distance back, and gave my statement to the police.

The amount of fire when I got off the phone with 911


  1. That's quite an adventure! I went to the Red Deer one when I was working in Edmonton in 2014 and 2015, and I enjoyed how much more floor space they have compared to the lower mainland one - it's so crowded I actually don't like going anymore. Also, Alberta people are just friendlier ;)

    1. Are we? :-)

      It makes sense that you've been to the BC one! I don't know anyone else who's been to a different Mane Event, just the Red Deer one, so I can't compare, but the Westerner does seem to be really good venue for it!

  2. Sounds like a cool event. I've never been to one of those big horse conventions.

    1. Really? I would have thought there would be a ton of them down in California! Though I suppose if you have lots maybe they don't seem as important :)

  3. It was an action packed event to be sure. The demo sounded interesting. Congratulations on being a board member. I bet your enthusiasm will be a great addition. I love the plates.

    1. Thank you! I'm just director of an area group, not the overall Alberta Dressage Association, but it seems like a really good organization and I'm happy to be involved.

      I loved the demo and plates too :)

  4. Omg that car, terrifying!! Sounds like you really. Capitalized on all that the event had to offer - what fun!! I'm always the worst about making time for big expos even tho I know they're so awesome and such great resources

    1. The worst part about the car was that we were pulled over on the side of a busy highway so lots of traffic was still passing by, I was scared the car might explode and hurt people in the adjacent lanes.

      I was only at the expo for 7 hours so I really crammed quite a bit in!