Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2013 AERC convention

I'm back home from the convention!

First things first: on Wednesday I decided I just couldn't go to Reno with stupid brown hair, so I went blonde. Except... it ended up pretty orange.
Accidental orange

I almost said fuck it and bought purple dye, but my husband (who was a big fan of the purple idea) said the orange didn't look half bad at all so I rocked that.

So I drove to Reno. The weather was overcast, but there was no snow til most of the way up Donner Pass, and then it was just light flurries. I made it over safely and met up with Ashley, Aarene, and the American Trail Gals. We all piled into the truck and headed into downtown Reno for Basque food.

(Side note: How Nevada is it of me to admit that I never ate Basque when I lived there, but I *did* have Picon Punch at an endurance event two years ago?)

The vendors had to go back to work, but Aarene and I played hooky and I showed her a little bit of south Reno - we drove down the new 580 thing to the Bowers Mansion exit, then looped back up old 395. It's very much the opposite of her Swamp, but I think she saw what appeals to me about it! ;)

There's new weird public art.
New art at McCarran and Virginia

And we went to the Sierra Trading Post outlet and I found a mis-sized deeply discounted VERY PURPLE ski coat. I bought it as Rides of March insurance - just in case the weather went south!
Purple parka!

Convention hotels are great places to people-watch. This is a pretty bad cell-phone-thru-windshield pic, but I must share it with you. Yes, the one girl is wearing pink ribbons on her thighs and black furry legwarmers.

I have to admit that in general, I did a horrible job of photodocumenting things, so most of the rest of this entry is just words.

I really wanted Reno sushi, which is quite good. (And that's coming from someone who lives and eats in San Francisco!) Lucy, Mel, Merri, Sanne, Ashley, Aarene, and four other non-bloggers joined us in an absolute feast. It was wonderful.

Then the sensible people went to bed, and I started drinking with two of the non-bloggers, because sometimes I must live up to the title of my blog. We put away a lot of beer (and one mixed drink) while talking about our horses until THREE AM. Then I staggered off to bed until almost 7.

So Friday I wasn't the sharpest tack in the box. I went to the Rider Biomechanics talk with Donna Snyder-Smith, but as always happens with those kind of things, it just left me sort of depressed and fatalistic. Things like that start with all the ways I'm damaging my horse by riding poorly, then a bunch of things not to do, with very little advice on what to do. To ride properly, one shouldn't put weight in the stirrups, or grip with the legs, or sit too heavily, and I'm not sure how the hell to sit without doing any of those things! But she did give us a bunch of moves to help open up the pelvis and increase balance, and they all reminded me of yoga poses, so I'm just going to do more yoga.

Then I participated in the Endurance 101 seminar. Merri and I took turns doing trot-outs with stick horses. I was the good horse and she was the good trotter-outer and we pranced lightly in front of everyone, then we switched. I was the bad trotter-outer and she was a terrible no-good horse - I looked at her, popped the reins, lost control, all the mistakes you usually make learning to trot out. It was tons of fun!

I spent a lot of time hanging out at the American Trail Gear / Endurance 101 booth. I meant to go do more stuff, but people I knew kept wandering by. I think I helped talk a few people into buying the book. Yes, it's for new riders (and there were a good handful of hopeful endurance riders at the convention), but it's a good loaner book too. If you have your thousand miles, you probably don't need it - but it's that book you loan out to that friend who thinks she might want to try endurance.

Mainly, I had so much fun hanging out with new and old friends. I am pretty quiet about my horse and endurance in my normal life - I will tell people I ride endurance, and I'll show off cell phone pics of my princess, but it's just not the same with non-horse people. We stayed up way too late talking about the ridiculous ways we've acquired horses, and the stupid things we've done with horses, and who's available to crew for what rides.

I bought exactly what I intended to buy: tights, a breastcollar, a crupper, and some bits and pieces. The tights are black with sparkly silver racing stripes down the sides, and you will see them in the ROM pics next week.

The breastcollar and crupper are a truly fabulous blue, and even more importantly, they have stainless steel rings - no more green marks from sweat + brass.
New tack!

They look great with my purple bridle and halter.
Pile o' tack

That's a real store-bought sponge on a string - no more ghetto homemade sponge! I also got a couple of new elyte syringes, a new squeeze bottle, and some strips of fleece to braid in Dixie's mane. They should soak up more water and help keep her neck wet and cool. I almost pulled the trigger on some ice boots, but I wanted to stay on budget. I'll get ice boots (and new Gloves, and maybe possibly a new saddle) in April.

I sat in both kinds of Specialized Saddles at the trade show, and they feel about the same to me. They sit very similar to my current saddle, so I think it'll be about as comfortable for me, and I can change the shims to make it fit Dixie better as she gains (and, inevitably, loses) muscle. So I think that's what I'll shoot for, but I wasn't ready to buy that weekend.

I've got a ride plan for the season, but I'm oddly hesitant to write it down for the world to see, so we'll just start with Rides of March and see how it goes from there. I think Dixie will do okay. When I got home from the convention, I put all her new gear on and took her for a short ride to make sure it fits ok, and she was fit and feisty.

The Reno weather looks outstanding for this weekend: low in the upper 30s on Friday night, then highs near 70 on Saturday. The ride is officially full! Red Rocks is one of my favorite areas and I'm really excited to get back out there. All I have to do is gather up a thousand bits and pieces of horse and human gear and get them packed away today and tomorrow. Ugh, the first ride of the season takes so much packing!


  1. definitely think the Red hair over the purple was the better choice, even though purple is my all time favorite color! Love the purple sponge..I am still going with my ghetto-sponge/bag made from a mesh -laundry-bag...
    The convention sounds like it was yet again a good time.. someday I might make it there.Good luck at ROM.

  2. the convention was fun! especially the Stick Horse Routine. Maybe we should go Vaudeville.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  3. Can't wait to hear about your ride--so glad the weather is looking good. Go team Dixie!

  4. Sounds like the convention was a blast! I had a similar dye mishap years ago and was red-headed for months afterwards.

  5. Oh NEW Sponge! My current green sponge was leaving little bits of green fuzz on Rose at our last ride and I bought this lovely new one just in time for us both to get laid up with injury.

    The convention sounds like it was loads of fun. I wish I could have been there to have seen those trot outs and hope that next year when this convention is in Atlanta that some of you fun people from out west will come because I will FINALLY get to go to the convention. My friend Kimi and I are already planning our mad money fund for the convention and fully intend to engross myself in lovely horsey thoughts the whole time. Can't wait to see the new tights!

  6. Meeting you and the other bloggers was the highlight of my year so far. (I know, I know: clearly I need to get out more).

    And your hair? Fabu.

    Eager for pix from ROM!

  7. Wow - you basically wrote my convention post. I went. I bought only what was on my list. I sold (most) of my tack. I did more talking and hanging out than shopping. I had fun. Yep. Except your "shopping" is much prettier than mine was.....(black saddle pad and a bucket of electrolytes etc....)

  8. Looks like a lot of fun. Very nice shopping, and hair! I love orange (of course) but would love to see the purple. Purple tack, purple hair, that would be seriously taking it to the next level. Have a wonderful ROM, looks like great weather this weekend!

  9. Looks like a lot of fun. Very nice shopping, and hair! I love orange (of course) but would love to see the purple. Purple tack, purple hair, that would be seriously taking it to the next level. Have a wonderful ROM, looks like great weather this weekend!

  10. I am glad that you are back in circulation and in good form having fun. Orange hair is better than purple, I think. Purple has never seemed the same since a 'repectable' colleague admitted to owning a purple wig for going out socially:)

  11. Great jacket choice!

    Although I follow you on FB, good to see you blogging again! Missed it!

  12. Love the purple & dark blue! Great convention "story" - since I've never been, fun to hear about how it all goes! Sounds like you had a blast!


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