Perhaps the most important part – what did we eat and what did we buy…
Let me go ahead and disappoint you right off the bat. I spent a grand total of $42 at the trade fair, and the overwhelming majority of that was a gift for Bobby. I know, wtf, he’s such a tool, why am I buying him anything? I dunno, pity I guess. But otherwise I couldn’t find too many things that I just had to have.
Anyway, let’s back up a bit. Michelle (with 2 L’s. You’ll see why I say that in a minute. Why is everyone named Michelle?) and I got into Baltimore before noon, picked up our rental car, and headed north. Naturally we had to stop along the way at some hole in the wall place for lunch, where I got this giant plate of sodium.
After that we headed straight to one of Maryland Saddlery’s consignment shops (WE DON’T HAVE THOSE HERE) to poke around. Let me just say, they have a really impressive collection of randomly weird stuff.
Despite my best efforts, I walked out of the store with absolutely nothing. Twas a sad day. I totally would have bought these gorgeous Sarm Hippique paddock boots if they were my size, but alas they were juuuuuuuuust too-small enough to be impossible. Damn toes.
After that we were off to my other friend Michele (one L)’s house in Newark where we were given a proper greeting by a particularly friendly little monkey dog.
Thursday and Friday were pretty much totally consumed with judging. But besides giving us a place to stay, Michele (One L) also got us the hookup on a VIP parking pass and lunch tickets, so Michelle (2 L’s) and I majorly lucked out on that one. We got front row parking and free fancy-people lunch both days.
Despite long, exhausting days, we still managed to stuff our faces appropriately every night. We’re troopers like that. Can we just take a minute to appreciate UDairy Creamery and their giant cookie dough chunks? Look at it.
After we were done with the YEH workshop on Friday, Michelle (2 L’s) and I walked the 3* course. Well, part of it. We quit at just over halfway, because too tired. She’s only been to a couple of events before, and definitely not one of this level, so it was greatly entertaining to see her reactions as she walked up to some of these fences.
Saturday was our only free day, so we showed up early to watch the 2* and 3* XC. Michele (one L) was able to join us that day, and we all descended upon the trade fair together.
I pretty much immediately dragged One L over to the Eponia booth. I’ve followed this brand on Instagram for a while and thought they had some cute stuff… riding clothes, tack, etc. I knew that One L in particular needed a new dressage bridle and likes the PS of Sweden styling, but didn’t want to spend that kind of money. She said she wanted a 2-tone bridle so that it would match both of her saddles, and bam, there it was. Black with dark brown padding, rhinestones on the browband that pretty much perfectly matched her horse, and they had it in his size. Five minutes into the trade fair and I had One L dropping money like it was hot. Let’s just take a minute to appreciate how right I was though, it looks awesome on her horse.
There were a few more things in the Eponia booth that I was sorely tempted by but just couldn’t quite close the deal with my more practical inner self. She’s such a buzzkill.
We wandered around inside the tent to visit the smaller booths, and I bought Bobby his official FHI gear. They didn’t have anything left in my size that I liked, so I guess I just wasn’t meant to buy anything for myself there. Next I dragged One L and Two L’s right into Mango Bay, where they both proceeded to buy things while simultaneously convincing other shoppers to buy things too. We are a powerful force.
I kept waiting to stumble upon something really fascinating that I’d never seen before, but the only “new to me” thing I really saw was one half pad and it was a little weird.
Otherwise I mostly just kept circling back around and petting the Voltaire monoflap in a way that seemed to make the rep a little uncomfortable. Sorry, guy.
As far as fun splurges go, the trade fair was a bust for me. But convincing the L’s to buy stuff was almost as fun, since I didn’t have to spend my own money. My wallet is relieved.