Congress!!

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.

Kudos!

 

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:

• more than 17,000 horse show entries
• houses than 8,500 registered American Quarter Horses over 3 weeks
• attracts more than 650,000 people to the Columbus area
• brings more than $110 million to the central Ohio economy

The Congress includes:

• an AQHA-approved Quarter Horse show
• AQHA-approved racing events
• more than seven acres of equine-related commercial exhibits
• a youth tournament
• horse bowl, hippology, demonstration, public speaking contests
• collegiate and 4-H/FFA horse judging contest
• educational demonstrations and lectures
• a queen contest
• the Super Sale horse auction
• Million Dollar Stallion Avenue.
• the Professional Bull Rider tour at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus.

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
Most attendees of the Congress are members of the American Quarter Horse Association. According to a recent AQHA membership study:

Average member age - 46
38% male
62% female

83% reside in a rural, farm or ranch area

41% hold an undergraduate degree
69% attended college

53% farm, ranch or are a management/professional

Income:
69% $50,000+
28% $100,000+

Riding style:
68% ride Western
36% ride English

Average horse ownership
7.6 American Quarter Horses per household
88% spend at least one hour per day with their horses

Average yearly expenditures
$774 average spent on tack and saddles
$592 average spent on Western clothing, apparel
$451 average spent on English clothing, apparel
$557 average spent on horse care products (excluding medications)
$510 average spent on horse care medications

Source: 2002 AQHA Membership Survey

Show Location
The Congress is held annually at the 360-acre Ohio state fairgrounds, which is officially called the Ohio Expo Center. The Expo Center is located at 717 E. 17th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, 43211, along interstate 71, just north of downtown Columbus.

Show Dates:
October 1-24, 2010

The Congress: founded and sponsored by the Ohio Quarter Horse Association
The Ohio Quarter Horse Association founded the All American Quarter Horse Congress in 1967 as an event to showcase and promote the American Quarter Horse, and to educate horse owners about the care, training and showing of horses. The show has continued under OQHA's sponsorship for more than 40 years, and is managed by the Ohio Quarter Horse Association's elected officers and directors as well as three elected Congress Tri-Chairman. The OQHA board meets on the third Monday of each month to conduct association business as well as manage the ongoing needs of the Congress.

 

 

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.

 

Vendors A-F

4 Rodeo

Absolute Innovations

Air Chair

All That Show Clothing

Animal Art

Anvil Brand Shoe Co.

AQHA

Arenus

Armstrong Saddlery & Trailer Sales

August Trailers

Australia Stock Saddle Co.

Ball Sign Co.

Berry Fit Company

Best Shot Equine

Big Dee’s Tack

Bloomer Trailers

Blue Gem Shop

Blue Ribbon Custom Tack

Blue Ridge Signs

Brondes Ford

Bow River

Brand Builders

Buckeye Feed

Bunk House Conversions of Alabama

Burlingame Industry

Kathleen Burns

Ken Caldwell

Campbell Enterprises

Carmichael Trailers

Carolina Moon

Cashman’s

Cassidy Casuals

Cedar Furniture & More

Center for Anthropological Studies

Chick’s

Classic Equine

The Collection - Golden West

Coughlin Automotive

Cowboy by Choice

Cowboy Custom Conversions / Bloomer Trailers

Custom Bits and Spurs by Maheu

Custom Classics

Custom Tails

dac

Dailey Fence & Supply

Ken Davis and Sons, Inc.

Day Furs

Denim and Diamonds

Doris Show Place

Dubarry of Ireland

Duster Camper

Dutton Bits

Eclipse Aluminum Trailers

Elite Trailer Mfg. Co.

Equiface Saver

Equine Technologies

Essential Way

Exiss Trailers

Exiss/Sooner

Farnam

Featherlite

Steve Flick Custom Saddles

The Folck Agency

Foot Relief Insoles

Four Star Trailers

Franco Silversmiths

Vendors G-P

Game Ready


Kevin Garcia Originals

 

The Ginger Horse


Gist Inc.

Gold Creations

Golden Royal Saddlery

Grants Leather

Grapevine Canyon Ranch

Gray Horse Trading Company

Hannah

Harris Leather & Silverworks

Hart Trailers

High Plains Chaps

Highlands Financial


The Hitching Post

 

M.P. & K.D. Horn & Leather

 

Horse World USA


HorseLoverZ.com

Indian Arts & Crafts

Judy’s Tack

Justin Boot Company


Keith Saddle Shop

Kendalls


Kids Travel Zone, LLC


Kiefer Built Mfg. Co.


Kuhn Turf Equipment


Kurtz Brothers, Inc

 

Kustom Kritter Fitters

LaGrange Leather

LaMundial Custom Boot Makers


Lazy B Trailers

Leonard Truck & Trailer

Liberty Coach

Logan’s & Connie’s Western Supply

Longaberger

 

Lorik Tool & Automation

 

Lucchese Boots


Markel Insurance

McLellands

MD Barns

Moochie & Co.

 

Nelson Mfg. Co.

NRHA

NSBA

Nutrena

Old Frontier


Pards

 

Permanent Impressions

 

George & Lisa Perry


Priefert Manufacturing

Professional’s Choice

Purina Mills

Putting On The Glitz

Pyranha Insecticides

Vendors Q-Z

Quality Rubber Resources

R & R Limited Editions

RAMM Fence Systems

Reed’s Trailer Sales

Reinsman Equestrian Products

Reveal 4-N-1

Ricart Ford

Rick’s Ranchwear

Rockin J Horse Stalls

 

Rodeo Drive

 

Rod’s Western Palace


Roth Show Equipment

 

Phil Russell's Tack

Schneider Saddlery

Sean Ryon

 

S.R. Gold


Select Marketing

Select The Best

Shorty’s Caboy Hattery


Show Clothes Unlimited

Show Diva Designs


The Silhouette Shop

 

SmartPak

 

Snows

 

Soil Moist

 

Spine & Sports Chiropractic


Sites Enterprise

 

Straight A's Arena

 

Style Stable Products


Sundowner

Superstitch

Swan Creek Conversions

Swett Signs

The Tack Room

Texas Vet Supply

THY Enterprises, Inc.

Tribute Equine Nutrition

Tucker Trail Saddles/ Circle Y

Tin Cup Gloves

Totally Unique Enterprise

Tub's Tack

Tumbleweeds

U Dump Trailers

Uckele Health & Nutrition

Valley Vet Supply

Jack Wells

JR Wenger

Western Hauler

Western Horseman

Western World

Ralph Whitman Sharpening

Wick Buildings

Wild West Furniture

Wilkinson Enterprises

Kathy Williams Tail Extentions

Windmill Monogrammed Halters

Wire Horse

Wire Works

Patsi Wolfe

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.

 

http://www.oqha.com/congress/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=36&Itemid=46

 

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.

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Comment by Robert Johannesburg on October 20, 2011 at 10:59am
This sounds incredible! I need to start saving up so I can go. I am assuming it's around the same time every year, right? And you sound like someone after my own heart! The shopping is just as important to me, mostly because I love to spoil Shadowfax. And we've recently been in the market for a kensington horse blankets, so this would be a good chance to look around!
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