Saturday, March 9, 2013

In which we shop, eat, talk, play, lather rinse repeat, a disjointed post

We've been working our tail feathers off here at the AERC Convention.
This post is a little scattered because I'm trying to cover all the bases without actually being organized. Somehow, that never works out as splendidly as I think it should.
Go figure.

Lots of pretty stuff for sale at American Trail Gear

Sherri and Diana have been instructing me in the fine art of being a convention vendor.  It's hard work!  I think I'm not actually a "natural" at it, but I'm learning a lot.

Gail suggested that we go to a Bask restaurant...ooooh, good food!

We are endurance riders, however:  food is fuel, and we refuse to run out of fuel!

And then, there's the shopping.   Funder is looking for a Specialized  Saddle.  Anybody got one for sale?

She looks dubious?
 And then again with the eating.
Endurance Bloggers' All-You-Can-Eat Sushi dinner, (clockwise from left):
Allison, Merri, Mel, Aarene, unknown guy at another table,
Ashley, Lucy, Funder

I conducted an Endurance 101 seminar in a GIGANTIC room (think: Olympic swimming pool).  It was a pretty good session.
A girl and her microphone: it's a beautiful thing

The audience worked hard to make it good, and I always appreciate that.

The session was very interactive.  New riders asked questions,
and then 5 or 6 more experienced riders would offer solutions...
all of which made sense, although sometimes the solutions
contradicted each other.  Endurance riding is like that.

Merri and Funder helped to demonstrate how to teach vet check and trot-out techniques when there's no horse available.

Pink'un is a terrible endurance pony.  She bucks, she pulls back, and she kicks.
Also, she hates to trot-out.

And at the end of the day, Mel and Tess entertained the crowd outside the ATG booth.

And for our next trick:  we'll be back in the booth selling shiny tack and a cool book today.  If you're in the area (hint, hint) stop by and say "hi!"

We'll pack up tonight and hit the road for home tomorrow.  But right now:  egad, I've got to run--the trade show opens in 10 minutes and I need to be there!

It's good.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In which I go for a little wander, and look for art on the way

Clear skies this morning, after a gusty-windy night in Reno...

Trees in a pocket park, downtown Reno
and I was dying to get out and wiggle today!

Sherri and Diana wanted to relax and gamble, so I pointed the Christine at the Nevada Museum of Art and let it show me the way.

Alas, like most museums, this place doesn't allow photography in the galleries, so I can't share photos on the blog.  If you want to see what I saw, visit the link above.

The best horse art (aside from the Deborah Butterfield horse above) is in the "Work Ethic in American Art" gallery on the third floor, which is not featured on the museum website.  Too bad.  There's some neat stuff there.

Freeway on-ramp

Since I can't share that part of the day with you, I will share photos of the public art I saw while I was walking.

Overpass pedestrian bridge.
I'm not sure exactly what is being depicted here.
Coyote?  and a duck?  and a...clam?

 Some art was clearly chosen by a committee.

Mural outside a tattoo shop

Other pieces were the vision of a single artist.

Detail of the tattoo mural

 In Reno, artwork can also be

Security bars over a business window


Bike rack at a school

 ...or just hysterical.

Custom grill outside a saw-sharpening shop

Or, just for fun.

Some kind of traffic control box outside a children's learning center

 Or, just for pretty.

Stained glass window at a burger place

Or, just because.

Decorative lampshades installed on a tree.
Yes.  I love this.

 Because, if it makes somebody in this town happy, it can be art.

The wrought-iron fence outside this body-shop featured car logos inset,
and climbing rose branches intertwined.  

Tomorrow is load-in day for vendors at the AERC Convention, so we're heading to bed early.

Watch this space tomorrow for some previews of excellent shopping. If you're coming to the party, remember to like American Trail Gear's Facebook page--we'll give the first five "like-ers" a free endurance sponge!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In which we name things and drive like crazy to beat the weather forecast

We set sail yesterday from American Trail Gear Headquarters.

Diana got the motorhome as a birthday present last summer,
but they've never gotten around to naming it.
We fixed that today, and christened her the Barbara Lee

This morning, we blew a fuse while simultaneously making coffee and heating the rig.  Oops.

It's okay!  We have a manual and tools...and a flashlight...and my reading glasses.... Phew.  Catastrophe averted, and Sherri got a cup of life-giving fluid before we hit the road.

Then we discovered that the rig's GPS system was uncooperative.

But it's okay!  I brought back-up!

Thank you, Google Navigator via Aarene's phone.

 My phone has proved itself so useful that we christened it today too:  we call it the Christine in sideways-homage to actress Majel Barrett who voiced the Enterprise computer and played Nurse Christine Chapel on the original Star Trek episodes.

Yes.  I'm that kind of nerd.  I thought you knew.

Nerd at the helm!

The rest of this post is pretty much photos we took on the road.  Sherri used my camera while I drove...uh...mostly....I didn't use the camera when the road had any traffic on it, anyhow.

Iced-over Upper Lake Klamath

Ominous clouds in south-east Oregon

Interesting rocks...California, I think.

More interesting rocks.  I would like to ride here someday.

Blue sky, gusty winds. 

Thawing lake.  California.

More clouds and high desert.  Nevada

We beat the weather and arrived safely in Reno.  Tomorrow, I'll seek out a museum (and a library, probably) to entertain myself, unless AERC staff is able to let us in early to set up the tack shop and book-signing table.  
Meanwhile, there's pretty food on the table.  

Salads.  The ATG girls make sure I eat properly on the road!
We're warm and parked and comfy, and didn't have to drive in sn*w.  

We've decoded the local wi-fi, and (you already knew this):

Life. Is. Good.

In which I visit a biothane rainforest and invite you too

"When we started the business, Diana couldn't even reassemble a bridle after washing it."

Over the rainbow?  100' rolls of biothane
Well, that's changed.

Nearly five years ago, friends Diana Seager and Sherri Romero took a road trip up to Edmonton, Alberta to buy a biothane tack-building business which they re-named American Trail Gear.

They hauled all the materials home to a wonderful little workshop in Diana's basement and started building cool stuff for horses.

White River Youth Equestrian Team proudly sports American Trail Gear tack

Now, the workshop is a cozy little den,

full of biothane belting, thread, spools, bobbins

buckles, snaps, rings,

the Wall O' Hardware
 and, of course, "Martha."

Martha is a Consew machine especially rigged for heavy synthetic materials.

Martha is a bit temperamental.  She doesn't like changes in temperatures,
but she responds well to chocolate and sympathy and a
fine vintage small-machine oil.
Sherri is a little bit afraid of Martha, with good reason:  Martha is strong enough to sew your hands together if you aren't very, very careful.

Martha also doubles as a mechanical bull for kittens.

Matching bridles and breastcollars ready to ship out to a drill team

The entire shop resembles a tiny rainforest, full of brightly-colored tack instead of flowers and birds.

Now, as I write this, huge heaps of shiny biothane bridles, breast collars, cruppers, bit hangers and reins, as well as

hay bags, rump rugs, sponges, bale bags, gear bags and a plastic horse-head called Horace
 are all crammed into a cargo trailer, headed for Reno.

We're on the road today, and will be setting up the American Trail Gear shop in the exhibition hall at the AERC Convention in Reno on March 8th and 9th.    Come visit us there!

Vendors are free and open to the public (there's a used tack swap too--bargains anyone?).   I'll be selling and signing Endurance 101, and conducting an Endurance 101 clinic at the convention.

You can come see me, too!

And hey: go over and "like" the American Trail Gear on Facebook.  The link is HERE.  The first five people who visit the ATG booth in Reno after liking the page can choose a free endurance sponge in the color of their choice.   Tell 'em you saw it on Haiku Farm!

It's good, y'all.  And in a few days, we'll be at AERC.  And that will be especially good!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

In which "the Dog Days" are the very happiest of days for dog folks

City-people have off-leash dog parks.

We have Fish Creek Farm.

Though it's usually a very horse-centric place, on a day like today with minimal rain and minimal work assignments, everybody and their dogs show up at the barn to socialize.

Roo-dog thinks that playing ball with a bunch of dogs is great fun.

Sometimes Roo catches the ball

and sometimes Bella has the ball

sometimes Selah has the ball

And, sometimes Emmie has the ball.

Connor doesn't usually get the ball.

When Connor gets the ball, he runs away with it and won't bring it back.
Jaz never gets the ball.

The ball is too big to fit in the mouth of a Min-Pin.  

But that's okay.  We can all play together.

 I've been trying to take better dog pictures, and I'm happy with some of these:






When we're all done playing, we head back to our trucks and go home.

Life is good.  Especially for dogs.