TALES FROM THE TRAILS
There’s a lot more to do in Wellington during the Winter Equestrian Festival than participating in and/or watching shows. The somewhat chilly weekend of Feb. 20-22 featured a couple of special sale events.
The Tackeria had its 40th Anniversary Sale. They’ve been at their current location, at the corner of Pierson Road and South Shore Blvd., for a few years. I could recall each of their previous three locations: in two different stores in the Publix shopping center at the corner of Forest Hill Blvd. and South Shore, and then at the large store in the Wellington Marketplace plaza at the corner of Wellington Trace and Greenview Shores.
“We’re happy to have been in business here in Wellington for 40 years,” store manager Lou Cuthbertson said. “We’d like to do other sales during the season, but it’s too busy, so we decided to do this. Even though we didn’t have a lot of advance publicity, people are coming in to get some great deals. It’s not as crazy as Black Friday, but definitely more busy than usual.”
There were deals to be had on a variety of products, as well as occasional giveaways. Peggy Murray, Pessoa brand manager, was on hand showing off luscious saddles and the new Monaco LX tall boot.
“I’m amazed at the volume of business Tackeria has,” Peggy said. “There are a lot of foreign customers, as well as locals and people from all over the U.S. We’ve brought along saddles of every size. Because of the different seat and flap sizes, there are over 2,000 permutations. We can virtually fit any rider and customize the panels to fit any horse. And, for this sale, we’re giving away a free Pessoa bridle and saddle pad with each saddle. We’re thrilled to be part of the Tackeria’s anniversary sale. This shop is a real institution.”
I sat in one of the lovely saddles, which fit my seat if not my budget, and browsed through show shirts. In the end, I walked out with some hoof dressing, nicely discounted.
Over at WEF, the usual classes were in progress, ring after ring of impossibly beautiful horses. Browsing the shops is always a treat, even if it’s mostly window shopping for me. I love sitting in all those comfy saddles. And there are a few nice touches, like the shop which, instead of a bowl of free mints, had two buckets: one with carrots and one with apples. Then there’s the crossing guard on Equestrian Club Drive, sitting on a chair with his handheld stop sign, ready to halt traffic: not for school children, but for horses.
That weekend also featured the 2015 Equine Innovations Expo, hosted by Equine Solutions Inc. It opened Friday evening at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival during the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle, then continued at the Wellington Club at WEF on Saturday and Sunday. I browsed the booths Friday evening.
Fenwick Equigear had items made with a therapeutic fabric infused with liquid titanium. There were horse sheets, head and neck covers, dog covers and hoof boots. The salesperson assured me that the items assisted in improving blood flow to promote health naturally, the head cover had a calming effect and the hoof boots could help blow out abscesses. For humans there were gloves, headbands, hats and wrist wraps. Even if you missed the expo, Dover Saddlery carries their complete line of products.
There were Bite Lite fly traps and Riders Sleeves made of cooling fabric: put them on your arms, wet them down, and they have a cooling effect during any outdoor activity, not just riding. Muck Off all-natural body scrubs, butters and lotions, and Bug Off, a natural insect repellent for people, pets and horses, also were on sale.
There were horse gym treadmills, something called Liquid Gold which was said to have a calming effect, Golden Gro feed supplements, and Saddle Lockers: portable, rolling stainless steel containers to keep your tack safe at a show.
Sportz-Vibe showed off a massage therapy rug for horses with pockets for inserting vibrating strips over the shoulders, back and hind quarters. There was a separate neck piece available. You could even buy just the strips and use them on yourself. I briefly considered getting a couple of strips to help ease my occasionally troublesome back, but the temperature was rapidly dropping. Instead, I wandered off to watch the freestyle, in search of a cup of hot chocolate.