Sunday, April 19, 2015

NW Expo Performance

On Saturday,  I had the pleasure of making the trek down to Corvallis, Oregon, to attend NW Expo.

This is a show that's been an annual tradition for the last 28 years (28 years!), and it definitely shows in how well-organized and smoothly run the day is. The show blazed through ten divisions of classes, including two non-concurrent performance divisions and all of the massive OF Breyer division after lunch, and still ended at a totally reasonable hour.

Without further ado, performance!

The day started out with a one-horse OF Harness class.

One of my favorite parts of the Region 1 shows I've been to this year has been seeing all the minis in performance- the first one I spotted was this adorable little Arabian in Arab Costume:

Quickly followed by not one...

An older tack set by Anna.

...but two minis in Parade!

And, of course, some very impressive bigs as well.

More minis in Other Costume:

And some familiar tack in Other Performance!

My focus on prepping for this show was getting Prudence ready, so my OF horse Blue Jay Way ended up without any Other Performance entries. Luckily, English rolled around in no time!

Probably my favorite part of the show was just being able to see this level of tack (and overall entry) in person- gorgeous!

(I'm not great at remembering which entries belong to whom and what tack was made by whom, so if you recognize anything, leave a comment and I'll update the captions!)

Little Blue Jay sported a bridle I'd thrown together the night before we left, but I think she looked cute!

The judge thought so, too: she snagged a second place in English Pleasure.

First went to this gorgeous and very correct entry.

Next up was English Trail.

I loved the props in this one!

The classes throughout the day stayed on the bigger side, with every entry on the table very worthy of a NAN card.

Blue Jay's simple poles entry was good enough for fourth.

In both OF and CM, Hunter/Jumper/Cross Country was a massive class with some stunning entries.

The show stopper in this class was definitely Erin Corbett's adorable jumping pony and his incredible jump by Tabletop Studios.

Blue Jay ended up with another fourth with the hand jump (and the slightly wrong documentation- oops!).

I didn't manage any Other English pictures except this one of Blue Jay snagging another NAN card with her dressage entry:

And to my incredible surprise, those two seconds and two fourths were enough to land Reserve Champion of the English division! Eee!

I had every intention of throwing Blue Jay into western as well, but her bridle had other ideas (it completely snapped while I was taking it out of the tack box- grr!).

So she was done for the day, leaving me to get pictures of the other incredible entries. Including more minis! Yay!

Clearly, gorgeous tack was a trend of the day.

Western Trail continued with the eye candy.

More incredible flowers by (I'm assuming) Tabletop Studios. I've never seen anyone else make such accurate and beautiful flowers!

I loved Mandy Hood's doll-less entry in Stock Work, with some clever sticky waxing to get that poker in place.

Complete with a cow target!

Tack by Erin Corbett.

This guy wore my favorite mini tack set of the day in Other Western- I wish I knew who it was by!

The clear Western Champion, and Overall OF Performance Champion, was this Palouse owned by Mandy Hood.

Reserve went to Erin Corbett's OF horse, this pretty Strapless. Very well deserved wins!

I was flattered to get an "Award of Merit" nod in the Overalls, with some very complimentary comments from the judge on my tack. 

After a break for lunch, we plowed right on into the CM/AR Performance division, starting with a three or four-horse Harness class.

The handsome CM John Henry snagged first, with Prudence landing in second.

The costume classes were all small...

...but mighty!

Leah Koerper's doll on this one amazes me. 

Oher Performance was Prudence's return to the ring after stripping off her harness.

The yellow ribbon in that class would be the first of many throughout the day!

After naming Other Performance champion and reserve, the eye candy kicked it up another notch for English.

This tack set was probably my favorite of the day. So beautiful! (This guy, owned by Erin Corbett, ended up with Overall Champion of the CM Performance division.)

Another third for Prudence in English Pleasure.

Mandy's awesome CM Harley I first met in March came back in English Trail.

Erin's jump came back in Hunter/Jumper/Cross Country, and it was predictably hard to compete with.

My micro jumper's new owner gave me her blessing to go ahead and show the set, but I honestly wasn't expecting much for it, given the competition.

All the pretty minis!

To my surprise (and delight!), the micro was able to snag second in that class! Woo! (The whole little set will be headed to NAN this year with its owner- I'm wishing it all the luck in the world!)

Prudence managed a sixth (aka last) in that class, which didn't entirely surprise me. Her entry in there isn't terribly exciting, and it's hard for a pony approaching a hunter trot fence to compete with the flashy exciting jumper entries! Her Over Fences entry will definitely be getting a face lift at some point before my next show.

At this point in the day, I was getting that mid-afternoon show burnout, and missed getting pics of Other English (Prudence's tandem riding entry got fourth, I think). 

I was too busy with Prudence's wardrobe change to catch Western Pleasure either, but did manage to get my act together for Western Trail!

This trotting guy and his gorgeous tack was the eventual class winner.

And the Mountain Trail base made its debut!

I got so many nice comments on it throughout the day that really made me feel validated for the hard work that wen into it- even though there's definite room for improvement, I thought it looked pretty cool.

Good enough for another third!

Moolisa the cow strutted her stuff in the Stock Work class.

I'm pretty sure that bit got popped back in before judging!

My Ranch Sorting entry was one that I didn't get to really polish before I showed it, and that combined with my general western cluelessness and the beautiful other entries landed Prudence in fifth.

Feeling a little bit defeated, I powered through to the last class of the day: Other Western.

I thought Prudence's western dressage entry was cute, but it's hard to compete with entries like this...

...and this!

She didn't place, ending my Performance day with a bit of a fizzle.

In retrospect, I wish I'd talked to the judge more and taken notes on how to improve my entries, especially in western where I feel pretty out of my league. In my mind (not knowing the judge's exact thoughts behind her placings), my entries lacked some polish, some were pretty vanilla, and I probably made a few silly mistakes here and there. 

Not to say a bunch of thirds are terrible placings! Considering the other horses on the table, I feel pretty good about them. I just know I can be in the NAN cards with a little more patience, research, and planning.

It looks like I won't have a chance to give it another go until probably September for Rose City Live; it turns out I'll be sending Anna on to Lexington without me while I spent six weeks studying graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design this summer. It's an incredible program, and I absolutely can't wait, but I am definitely disappointed to be missing the crazy fun that is Breyerfest!

Next up is a post with all the pretty halter pictures, and more talk about the show in general. Stay tuned!


  1. Yes, I read all of this --!! And loved it!! Thank you Grace -- it feels like I was there. Great comments and good reportage on a great show.
    I too would love to know who did the deeply-tooled Western saddle on the bay Harley.

  2. That saddle on the bay harley is by me! :-) One edit though - the overall champ Palouse for OF performance is owned by Mandy Hood, not me - my strapless was in reserve. In CM, we flipped - my cantering dun pinto stock horse was overall champ, and a lovely entry of Mandy's was reserve. Thanks for the lovely pics!

    1. Thanks for the edits, Erin! I'm glad I could get those straight. Congratulations again on your wins- your entries are truly incredible!