I'm sitting here in my big fuzzy robe, it is almost 8 am and I do not have the energy to even get dressed. TC was nice enough to feed the horses for me this morning, but eventually I am going to have to get some clothes on, and do something....anything at all.
My partner Mary, and I have spent 8 out of the last 11 days at the Buckeye Equestrian Center selling our wares. We set up on Jan 1st, which took us all day to set up. With each new event we add more racking and awnings, and of course merchandise as well. So each event is like starting over and we have to reconfigure how we will lay things out, and how we will get everything to fit in our allotted space. We have yet to actually "fit" and usually end up paying extra to be able to spread out just a little.
On the 2nd of Jan, there was a big tack auction close to where we were, so after working all day, we closed up shop, ran down to the auction and invested in some more inventory. I wish I could say it was all super high quality tack at spectacular prices. What it really was, was mediocre tack which they tried to convince us was top of the line. However, most of the bidders were pretty smart about what they were buying and we managed to keep the prices low enough to make it worth our while. There was some tack and saddles that were absolute junk, which of course we did not bid on, and then some that was better. I spent way more than I should have, as did Mary, but we came home with a decent selection of very pretty midrange quality tack at affordable prices, which we can now offer to the public for less than full retail.
As much as I want to only offer the very best tack you can buy, I have to be realistic in what most of the public can afford, so that is why I invested in the items that I did. Still the plan to also offer some very nice, one of kind custom tack for affordable prices is still in the works.
Anyway, by time the auction was over and we collected our items and made it back to "home", it was after midnight. Then we had to get up at 5:30 am and do it all over again. Our first 4 day weekend, we did very well, selling a few saddles, and tons of other smaller items. It was very cold that weekend and we were the only one selling gloves, so you can imagine we did very well with those!
We had not originally planned on staying longer, but were approached by the Classic Equine Futurity Folks, and asked to stay for 2 more weeks. We had gotten mixed reviews from other vendors on whether or not it was worth it, but they said we didn't have to tear down our booth in between events, so we opted to give it a shot.
We left everything there, came home for 3 days, tried to feel normal for a minute, and then headed back out again on Thursday morning.
I have to give a huge shout out to the folks at the Buckeye Equestrian Center. They treated us like family, made sure we had everything we needed, kept an eye on our motorhome and trailer while we were gone, and were just so darn friendly. They really made the trip worth it, and I do look forward to working there again.
Our first day there, before we even got unloaded, we sold another saddle. We had hoped it was going to set the tone for the rest of the weekend. However, it didn't. Friday was soooo slow. Very few people came through, and those that did had no intention of actually buying anything.
Saturday started out pretty busy until it started to rain. Then we had to throw tarps over everything and the crowd evaporated. It did give us time to post a bunch of stuff on line, which worked out well, because Sunday morning we had folks driving out just to see us, which resulted in two more saddle sales. It also resulted in a couple of saddle purchases which tends to hurt profits a little, but they were good deals and in the long run will bring in quite a bit of money.
I am most excited about buying a nice little Circle Y Martha Josey Balanced Ride saddle. I had seen a new one in Vegas at the NFR, and almost bought it, but was afraid I wouldn't get my money back on it. As luck would have it, a gal brought me one that was used, and I got it for a smoking deal. She had "ruined" the saddle by using duct tape to hold a pad for her broken tail bone on the seat. She thought that the glue from the tape would never come off.
As you can see it came off just fine, and I now have a very nice, like new saddle which I can (and will) sell and a very fair price. While these are still not the best of the best for barrel saddles, it is a very decent saddle with a nice feel to it, and I have a lot of local girls who will be thrilled to have a saddle like this.
So Sunday was a a fair day, but over all the weekend was not the big money maker we had hoped it to be, and since space fee's were not cheap for these events, we opted not to stay for the next event coming up in 3 more days. This required tearing down the entire booth, packing it all in the trailer and bringing it all home. We plan on going back at the end of the month for the big Pacwest race, and could have left the trailer there in a back lot, but I nixed that idea. I need my saddles home as I have a long list of folks wanting to buy on my side of town, and not having my inventory with me, really hurts my sales.
Here are a couple of pics of our booth this time around.
In other news, Trax and I had another lesson last week. We are graduating to flying lead changes now, and I am excited about that. True to form, Mister Anticipator, likes to show off and do them before I ask. While I thought it was pretty cool, Dana says he has to wait for the cue, so we had to back up a little bit and work on our set up. Ok, so let me rephrase...we are working on MY set up. Once I get my set up right, my horses both will be able to handle it just fine. I can't wait to get out there and practice.
I am supposed to go to a Ranch Versatility clinic next weekend, but I may hold off for one more time. Trax and I are coming along nicely under Dana's tutelage, and much of what she is teaching me is tweaked specifically to match how my horse learns. (which of course is not how many horses learn) Normally, going to a clinic you would find that teaching is pretty much standard across the board, but I have to be careful at this stage of the game. It would be very easy for someone to try to teach me something the way most people do it, and for me to try to implement that would confuse both me and my horse. I guess I am saying, if something is working (and it is) it is probably best not to mess with it.
I have not been on Melody in a while, so it is time to get back to riding her as well. She actually gets upset when I go and take Trax out and not her. She does not care for semi-retirement, and likes to be busy, so busy she will be. Killian needs to get busy too, so maybe I can get some desert time in for those two.
Other exciting news....we have been trying to get some sorting practices going on close to home for some time now. One of my new saddle clients, has just started boarding her horse down the street from me, and she is also just getting in to sorting. We have been working together to come up with a venue, and the cows, and we have finally done that, and it is right here in our neighborhood. So very soon we will have a designated practice night. I am so looking forward to that. I have the horse to do it on, now I just need to learn how.
So I guess it is time for me to get into the shower and go get something done. I am still pretty sore from yesterday, and a hot shower sounds pretty good right about now! Hope everyone is having a wonderful new year!