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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2010
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    Wisco!
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    Default Anyone go to AQHA Congress to just watch?

    I am slowly inching my way toward my lifetime goal of showing at Congress, but have never been. Anyone go to just watch? If so, was it worth it, and what days did you go?

    I'm thinking about going this year to just watch the horses, and see the trade show.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2003
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    1,279

    Smile going to Congress to watch

    Yes, it's worth it to go and watch, but it didn't help my nerves when I finally got there!

    You can find the entire schedule of events at www.oqha.com. They have demonstrations, etc...
    ~~~~~*~*~*~*~*~
    Sometimes you have to do what's best for you and your life, not what's best for everyone else.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2006
    Location
    Canada
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    507

    Default

    I've heard it is VERY worth it to just go watch. The trade show is supposed to be amazing. I'd love to go someday when I have disposeable cash - and I'm honestly never going to own a QH.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    36,877

    Default

    Been a couple of times, only live about 90 minutes down the road. Seen the hunter stuff, some WP sections sifting down to the finals and working cow horse.

    It is a good spectator show. Seats in the main ring are sports arena style and climate controlled, they run pretty much on schedual, food is OK and the shopping is GREAT even if you don't have a QH.

    IIRC it costs too much (IMO) to park. Minor issue. And it is in a really crappy neighborhood, security on the grounds is very good, just outside, not so much after dark. Be a little careful and you will be fine.

    If you want to book a room, I'd do so away from the immediate vicinity of the showgrounds. Great upscale areas like Dublin and around Polaris mall are 30 minutes from the grounds and a better bet. Especially in the non horse shopping, hotel cost/quality and restaurant selection department.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2010
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    Wisco!
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    Default

    So cool!

    I have been thinking about going to watch some friends in the HUS category, and the trade show is something I would LOVE to hit up!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Location
    Yonder, USA
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    2,561

    Default

    It's a lot of fun looking at the huge selection of trucks and trailers and watching some nice horses work. It's particularly neat to go multiple times or when different disciplines are working, so you can see the wide variation within the QH breed. If you get a chance, the Open Freestyle Reining (separate ticket required) can be quite a show. They dress in costume and ride to music.

    IIRC, it's $20 per vehicle to park at the venue and charge each time you come in rather than by the day. And, yes, the surrounding area is rather sketchy, so parking and walking outside the fence is at your own risk. The venue is right on I-71, so a short hop from Polaris, Crossroads, or Easton. It's also handy to the Arena District downtown.
    ---------------------------



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    11,936

    Default

    Heck, it's worth it just to shop. My Dad used to take my sister and I and camp on the grounds for a long weekend. My grandmother used to make the trek with a carload of 4-Hers.

    And yes, it is the best place to buy a trailer on the east coast. The prices are GREAT the last day because they don't want to haul them home.
    ::If I was wrong don't you think I would know it?::



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2007
    Posts
    139

    Default

    I do ... I do!!! While I will never have the quality of horse to be competitive at Congress, I LOVE Congress.
    Been going for years - anyone else remember the badges for admission?
    I try to buy anything I'll need for the year (wormer, buckets, betadine, ointments, blankets etc). Saves me a little money usually due to the competition among vendors and I satisfy my spending "lust".
    We've been going the weekend of the Super Sale (auction) for the last few years as it adds a little more excitement. Bop from the classes to shopping to auction and back, also try to catch a lecture or demo. Oh ... and last chance to stuff your face with fair food for the year too!
    The parking charge covers admission for everyone in the vehicle with the exception of a few classes requiring separate ticket. Not bad.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2010
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    Wisco!
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    Default

    You guys are sure making it hard to NOT go!!

    It sounds like a blast... I would for sure want to go to watch the HUS classes, as that is what I would like to compete in someday. Plus the trade show... oh boy... better start saving now!!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2004
    Location
    South
    Posts
    993

    Default

    Yes, just to watch the jumpers.

    My group is the one in the stands that gasp, cover our eyes, and wonder how in the heck some of these riders haven't killed themselves and their horses yet.
    Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2006
    Posts
    1,822

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    I grew up in OH and if I lived closer, I would totally go just to spectate and window shop....and buy a pecan roll from the Sweet Shop trailer. There's gotta be (conservative estimate) around 5000 calories worth of gooey, nutty goodness in those babies.

    BES
    Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
    Crayola Posse: sea green
    Mighty Rehabbers Clique



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2010
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    Wisco!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schune View Post
    Yes, just to watch the jumpers.

    My group is the one in the stands that gasp, cover our eyes, and wonder how in the heck some of these riders haven't killed themselves and their horses yet.
    Why? Messy jumping, or jumpnig too high?? eek!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2008
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    Default

    I dont' go just to watch.. I also go to shop



  14. #14
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    Jun. 22, 2008
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    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokygirl View Post
    I dont' go just to watch.. I also go to shop
    Exactly! I'm bummed that my budget won't let me go this year!
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  15. #15
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    Jan. 30, 2010
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    where the red fern grows
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schune View Post
    Yes, just to watch the jumpers.

    My group is the one in the stands that gasp, cover our eyes, and wonder how in the heck some of these riders haven't killed themselves and their horses yet.
    I used to board with a girl who competed in the hunters and jumpers every year at Congress (and pretty much every QH show she could get to) and I am here to tell you- she NEVER did anything with her horse besides w/t/c, round and round the arena they went. I can confirm this beyond a shadow of a doubt- we rode at the same time pretty much every day.

    She talked about jumping the big jumps (apparently 4'6") but I NEVER saw her school above 3'3", she never took lessons, and she literally never did anything with her horse besides ride him round and round and round the arena. No exercises (flat or jumping) no lateral work, no patterns, no poles, no gridwork, lines HAD to be set perfectly, so no shortening or lengthening. Once I moved a line (my own jumps, btw) a few feet to suit the exercise I was working on that day, and she came unglued because they "almost crashed" after she'd jumped into it the next day without walking it. Then she proceeded to jump it again 3 more times before getting off and walking it, realizing the error and then promptly moving it back to a perfect 12 ft stride.

    The two things she would beat her horse over the head with were lead changes and jumping. She literally lead changed and jumped her seasoned horse every.single.day. Her training style was so strange to me.

    After all that, her horse went nicely, jumped ok, and was a steady and reliable partner (at least at home!) She regularly came home with belt buckles and all sorts of trinkets. I figured either the courses at these AQHA shows were REALLY easy, or her horse was an AMAZING and mind-reading saint of an animal.
    The best is yet to come



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by simc24 View Post
    I used to board with a girl who competed in the hunters and jumpers every year at Congress (and pretty much every QH show she could get to) and I am here to tell you- she NEVER did anything with her horse besides w/t/c, round and round the arena they went. I can confirm this beyond a shadow of a doubt- we rode at the same time pretty much every day.

    She talked about jumping the big jumps (apparently 4'6") but I NEVER saw her school above 3'3", she never took lessons, and she literally never did anything with her horse besides ride him round and round and round the arena. No exercises (flat or jumping) no lateral work, no patterns, no poles, no gridwork, lines HAD to be set perfectly, so no shortening or lengthening. Once I moved a line (my own jumps, btw) a few feet to suit the exercise I was working on that day, and she came unglued because they "almost crashed" after she'd jumped into it the next day without walking it. Then she proceeded to jump it again 3 more times before getting off and walking it, realizing the error and then promptly moving it back to a perfect 12 ft stride.

    The two things she would beat her horse over the head with were lead changes and jumping. She literally lead changed and jumped her seasoned horse every.single.day. Her training style was so strange to me.

    After all that, her horse went nicely, jumped ok, and was a steady and reliable partner (at least at home!) She regularly came home with belt buckles and all sorts of trinkets. I figured either the courses at these AQHA shows were REALLY easy, or her horse was an AMAZING and mind-reading saint of an animal.
    It may be that there are not many entries in the jumpers at Congress, so not too hard to come home with a ribbon. Unlike some of the youth classes, like showmanship that gets over 200 entries, and runs for HOURS til they pick the winners. They do get some reasonable entries in the hunter over fences classes, my best friend was 5th out of 95 entries about 13 years ago in the Green Hunter Under Saddle class. That was the best year, even though we were exhausted most of the time, but having a horse there (ok, not my horse, but still) was really different than just watching.

    I do remember the badges, that was the first year I went, and the sheer size of the place, and the numbers of horses and trucks and trailers literally took my breath away, I was like a kid in a candy store.

    Damnit, now you all have me ready to break out the credit cards, budget be damned. I am really craving a frosted brownie from The Sweet Shop, and a trip around Puppy Alley, and to go into every single living quarter trailer for sale. I wonder if Rods is going to have the midnight madness sale again this year, that was a hoot, it was like Filene's bargain basement.

    If you are going for more than a day, it is worth it to get the window sticker and park on the grounds. Some of the hotels also offer shuttle service to and from the fairgrounds.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
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    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World
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    6,194

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schune View Post
    Yes, just to watch the jumpers.

    My group is the one in the stands that gasp, cover our eyes, and wonder how in the heck some of these riders haven't killed themselves and their horses yet.
    You are not alone, my best friend and I were in the gasping section also. It used to be more fun when the jumping was in the Colosseum at night, with the bar open! Do you remember a saint of a buckskin named Teddy Dorsett? He was a crowd favorite, I think he would have jumped the course himself with no rider. He showed in the hunters for YEARS!

    And to answer the other question, it's because there are so many "close calls" during the rounds.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2011
    Posts
    113

    Default

    I just go to shop and love it!



  19. #19
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    Aug. 4, 2010
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
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    770

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    GO! It's a great shopping experience for everything (you can get amazing deals on stuff you will have to buy anyway). I stock up every year. I have never been as a spectator, but I think it would be worthwhile. Do try to book your hotel now, though. The good ones fill up quickly. If you end up going feel free to send me a pm. You are welcome to stop by our stalls and say hey.

    I go every year...to show. I do the hunters, eq, and hack. I love that every qh conversation on this bb has it's share of downers who think it's a great opportunity to rag on the QH industry and how 'backwards' and scary we are. I don't think the competition at the congress is easy at all. If all of those who look down their noses at how awful we are think it's easy then get yourself a QH and show us how it's done.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2004
    Location
    South
    Posts
    993

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoofs2118 View Post
    Why? Messy jumping, or jumpnig too high?? eek!
    Both, and way worse. From last year, only 2 or 3 riders I saw had any business jumping over 2'6".

    The trend is yank your horse to the fence, gun the engine, and barely make it over with your life. Missed lead changes, rocketing over fences cross-cantering, riders using the reins for balance or steering wheels.

    Balanced horses, smooth turns, correct distances, and calculated rides are not the norm.

    Quote Originally Posted by simc24 View Post
    After all that, her horse went nicely, jumped ok, and was a steady and reliable partner (at least at home!) She regularly came home with belt buckles and all sorts of trinkets. I figured either the courses at these AQHA shows were REALLY easy, or her horse was an AMAZING and mind-reading saint of an animal.
    The courses are not what I call ridiculously hard, but they are suited to what you'd find at regular B shows. Basic in and outs, bending lines, rollbacks... I don't remember any triples but there may have been one.

    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    You are not alone, my best friend and I were in the gasping section also. It used to be more fun when the jumping was in the Colosseum at night, with the bar open! Do you remember a saint of a buckskin named Teddy Dorsett? He was a crowd favorite, I think he would have jumped the course himself with no rider. He showed in the hunters for YEARS!

    And to answer the other question, it's because there are so many "close calls" during the rounds.
    I do remember a buckskin last year, and that one was truly scary to watch. The horse just plain out bolted at every fence, sliced every fence, and it was just ugly.
    Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars



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