Recently, the U.S. experienced the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky and the horse world lit up with the news and events. But running at the same time was an annual horse show, also in the U.S. which was even bigger and could boast of more horses, more entries, more financial impact and more attendees.
For those who are unfamiliar with the show known as the All American Quarter Horse Congress, I include some facts and figures as put out by the Ohio Quarter Horse Association, the show producers of this show.
I have advocated an alternative to the current FEI sponsored games. Here is an example of another organization, certainly with less resources than the FEI (or at least you would think so), putting on a show which is statistically larger, and longer (as in 44 years) and which involves more disciplines.
As I was checking the results of the 2009 winners in reining at Congress, I noticed several people who also competed at WEG’s, and you need to know that at Congress, you’re seeing the best of the best just like you are in the WEG. Well, at least by showing standards – also just like WEG.
You will find multiple venues at Congress and definitely need your walking shoes. Golf carts and scooters which you can bring with you or are rented are all the rage there, due to the lengthy walking Congress involves.
Truly, the work of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association is a thing I marvel, and they’ve been doing it year after year for a very long time.
The 2010 Congress will run from October 1-24, 2010.
The All American Quarter Horse Congress is the World's Largest Single-Breed Horse Show. The show receives more than 17,000 horse show entries and will house more than 8,500 registered American Quarter Horses during its three-week schedule. The Congress attracts more than 650,000 people to the Columbus area, bringing more than $110 million to the central Ohio economy
Facts and Figures about the All American Quarter Horse Congress
The All American Quarter Horse Congress is the World's Largest Single-Breed Horse Show. The show receives:
The Congress includes:
Most attendees say that no matter how you describe it, the Congress is a show you have to experience to truly understand.
Demographics about attendees
The Congress: founded and sponsored by the Ohio Quarter Horse Association
I have had the pleasure of attending Congress several times. The last time was in October of 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
I went for a short weekend, and I don’t recall actually watching anything of the show itself. It wasn’t what I was there to see.
How can someone drive so far to go to a horse show without actually watching the show?
Easy. I went for the SHOPPING.
In all my years of horse shopping, there has never been an equestrian shoppers paradise above Congress.
Imagine being in a place where anything and everything involving horses is bought and sold especially is such overwhelming numbers.
Need a trailer? Well there’s quite a choice for you. Demo models of the newest trailers from just about every trailer manufacturer you’ve heard of (and some you haven’t) offering something for every horse owner. Slants, straights, stock, mini, living quarters, massive living quarters… the choices are endless. Add to that the hundreds of used trailers/living quarters offered, a gal could simply lose her mind.
One year, trailer shopping, I did in fact lose my mind!
Now you have to pull that trailer with a truck. Here again, hundreds of both new and used options ranging from the regular pickup trucks to exotic western haulers, trailer/living quarter combos in a self contained unit, all to die for.
I go, I look. I end up with trailer envy.
Oh, but there’s so much more.
Clothing, supplies, tack of every discipline (mostly because quarter horses DO just about every discipline) and all in sizes to accompany both the stock built and TB or WB built quarter horse types.
You can buy fencing, homes, property, horses, breeding interests, stall décor, show décor, tractors, feed and water tubs, solar systems, furniture…. The list goes on and on.
And then of course you have shopping for other animals as well, including pets and livestock.
One year, I did all my Christmas shopping there with items ranging from winter jackets to horse accessories to Indian pottery.
Think WEG had shopping? THIS is shopping. This link is from the 2009 list of vendors of NEW stuff. Used stuff isn’t even listed and can be found posted on the walls at the venues.
All That Show Clothing
Anvil Brand Shoe Co.
Armstrong Saddlery & Trailer Sales
Australia Stock Saddle Co.
Ball Sign Co.
Berry Fit Company
Best Shot Equine
Big Dee’s Tack
Blue Gem Shop
Blue Ribbon Custom Tack
Blue Ridge Signs
Bunk House Conversions of Alabama
Cedar Furniture & More
Center for Anthropological Studies
The Collection - Golden West
Cowboy by Choice
Cowboy Custom Conversions / Bloomer Trailers
Custom Bits and Spurs by Maheu
Dailey Fence & Supply
Ken Davis and Sons, Inc.
Denim and Diamonds
Doris Show Place
Dubarry of Ireland
Eclipse Aluminum Trailers
Elite Trailer Mfg. Co.
Steve Flick Custom Saddles
The Folck Agency
Foot Relief Insoles
Four Star Trailers
Kevin Garcia Originals
The Ginger Horse
Golden Royal Saddlery
Grapevine Canyon Ranch
Gray Horse Trading Company
Harris Leather & Silverworks
High Plains Chaps
The Hitching Post
M.P. & K.D. Horn & Leather
Horse World USA
Indian Arts & Crafts
Justin Boot Company
Keith Saddle Shop
Kids Travel Zone, LLC
Kiefer Built Mfg. Co.
Kuhn Turf Equipment
Kurtz Brothers, Inc
Kustom Kritter Fitters
LaMundial Custom Boot Makers
Lazy B Trailers
Leonard Truck & Trailer
Logan’s & Connie’s Western Supply
Lorik Tool & Automation
Moochie & Co.
Nelson Mfg. Co.
George & Lisa Perry
Putting On The Glitz
Quality Rubber Resources
R & R Limited Editions
RAMM Fence Systems
Reed’s Trailer Sales
Reinsman Equestrian Products
Rockin J Horse Stalls
Rod’s Western Palace
Roth Show Equipment
Phil Russell's Tack
Select The Best
Shorty’s Caboy Hattery
Show Clothes Unlimited
Show Diva Designs
The Silhouette Shop
Spine & Sports Chiropractic
Straight A's Arena
Style Stable Products
Swan Creek Conversions
The Tack Room
Texas Vet Supply
THY Enterprises, Inc.
Tribute Equine Nutrition
Tucker Trail Saddles/ Circle Y
Tin Cup Gloves
Totally Unique Enterprise
U Dump Trailers
Uckele Health & Nutrition
Valley Vet Supply
Ralph Whitman Sharpening
Wild West Furniture
Kathy Williams Tail Extentions
Windmill Monogrammed Halters
Woods Art Gallery
You can attend Christian style church services that when I went, were given by an organization named “Cowboys For Christ” on Sunday morning, if you can get up after a night of partying Saturday night at the Coliseum as it’s transformed into a bar/dance club. I don’t know if they still give it (I just loved the name) as this year’s schedule simply has it listed as interdemonitional.
Horses you can buy privately or at an event called the Super Sale. This year’s Super Sale is described on the Ohio Quarter Horse site as:
Since the very first Congress in 1967, the Congress Super Sale has provided the opportunity to purchase a registered American Quarter Horse. Bid on one of nearly 200 head of the highest quality registered Quarter Horses in the country on Saturday, October 16. You may contact Professional Auction Services to inquire about entering the Congress Super Sale.
There’s even this event (or maybe more of a place) called “Puppy Alley” where folks from all over the country bring to sell their latest puppy, and when I was there you could find adorable pups such as Corgi’s, Jack Russell’s, Blue Healers, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies and lord knows how many others.
There’s Million Dollar Stallion Avenue where the premier studs of the Quarter Horse realm are displayed in one place, and you can see the horses up close and personal.
Here’s a direct link from the pages of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association to this phenomenon.
Of course both here, and in the stable areas, you can find elaborate setups, made to look like a lovely leather sofa living room with a large screen TV in order to see videos of the stud and his offspring. Rugs, plants, artwork all finish the display. In the stable area this adjoins the decorated stall curtained stalls, with tack rooms full of items in matching colors.
Must take a month of packing for these folks to prepare for this show!
Oh, and here’s a word for those conscientious shoppers. If you shop during the last few days of Congress, everything becomes deeply discounted as the vendors don’t want to schlep that much stuff home. They are motivated to SELL.
And then, when you’re finished with all that shopping, there’s always that whole horse show thing.
You just have to decide if you want to watch classes for ribbons, trophies or points or perhaps a futurity/maturity or something else for money suits you better. You can do both.
Because Congress has everything, including this lil ole horse show.
Everything except vacancies in the surrounding hotels, that is. Make reservations early. As in now, for next year.