I have mixed feelings about Equine Affaire. When I go, I am always happy to be there; seeing lots of friends, beautiful horses, clinics, shopping and everything that goes with Equine Affaire. The thought of the crowds and noise usually deters me from jumping right in and driving up there though. This year I had decided not to go, plenty of other stuff going on in my life, I didn't need to spend an extra day in Massachusetts, I could go next year. Plus, I could spend that extra day with my own horses.
But, Linda didn't have very many people volunteering to work in the ECTRA (our competitive trail riding club) booth. So I emailed her and told her to pick a time slot she needed covered and I would go do it. I ended up working the ECTRA booth Sunday morning from 9-12.
As in years past, once I got to Equine Affaire, I had a great time. Working in the ECTRA booth is fun, tons of people stop by the booth and ask about the sport. I had a lot of fun telling people what we do, and helping them find rides in their area that they could come ride or volunteer at.
We share a booth with the Morab Association, and Bert, the lady that runs the booth is a lot of fun. We ride Leverett (the 25-mile ride in May) out of her farm, and I always enjoy talking with her during the quiet times at the booth. The Shire association has the booth across from us and the stall where you can "meet a Shire" opens up right across from the ECTRA part of our booth.
The people with the Shire in the stall on Sunday morning had a lead line strung across the open stall door as a stall guard, so their mare, Jet, could hang her head over the door and visit with all of the people at Equine Affaire. Josh and Elena, Jet's owners, both left the stall for about a minute (one to get a muck bucket, the other to get a pitchfork) and were only ten feet away, when Jet ducked under the lead line and walked right across the aisle and over to me. I was really surprised, but just reached out and grabbed her halter and then Josh was right there, taking her back (and closing the stall door).
Bert looked over at me after they took Jet away and said, "That horse really wanted to meet you!" Whether the horse wanted to meet me, or saw an opportunity to look for treats, I'm not sure, but went over and pet Jet for awhile anyway.
After I left the ECTRA booth, I wandered around Equine Affaire catching up with people I hadn't seen in awhile. It was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up a little. Then I went back to C Barn (Jet had left the Stroh building before I did, and a new Shire came in) to say hi to Jet one more time and take her picture. Cool horse, and very impressive that she got her 16.2 hand frame under that lead line and out!