For me, April was a month full of my favorite discipline—reining! First, I spent a week at the National Reining Breeders Classic with fellow SmartPaker Kristen, and we were able to catch up with tons of our wonderful customers both at the show and in the surrounding area. I was really excited to see so many of the horses at the show using our Rockin’ SP tack and blankets! I finished up the month with a quick trip to Aubrey, TX, for the NRHA Corporate Partner Retreat. We spent time visiting with some of our sponsored riders before the retreat started, and then spent a few days getting caught up on what’s new in the Reining industry. As a bonus, the NRHA organized a Ride-A-Reiner session, so I had the chance to spend some time in the saddle with my new favorite Quarter Horse, Chyna!
Last month I got to attend the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. I had never been to Kentucky before, but from the moment we stepped off the plane, I felt like I belonged. Lexington and the Horse Park are really everything you’ve ever wanted them to be and more. Miles and miles of rolling acres of the greenest grass you’ve ever seen, lined with perfectly white-washed fences, and, to top it off, the picture-perfect scenery is peppered with hundreds of horses, happily and leisurely grazing in the sun. The 13-year-old crazy-in-love-with-horses girl inside me died a little as we drove towards the horse park. Plus the perfect 80-degree weather didn’t hurt my horse-induced euphoria!
My absolute favorite part of the week was getting to meet so many riders in person and getting to hear their stories! When I’m not at Rolex, I answer our phones as part of our customer care team. It always makes everything more real to me when I get meet the hundreds of riders that I talk with on a daily basis and see their faces and talk to them about their horses. Recently, I haven’t been riding much but talking to the other riders and hearing how much they love our sport has inspired me to get back into the saddle, and now I’m looking for a lease!
My other favorite part about traveling for SmartPak is that you become a sort of instant celebrity. I never realized how many horse people are out there until this trip! I would walk through a Starbucks or an airport in my SmartPak gear and have people calling out to stop me to ask a question or just tell me how much they love us! It just makes me smile when people say that you helped them through a rough patch by just lending your ear or that their horse is doing so much better on supplements that you helped pick out. And it feels really good to tell them that we love them, too.
At the end of April I had the opportunity to travel to the NRHA Partner Summit in Aubrey, TX. Our time was scheduled such that we were able to meet with some of our Team SmartPak riders before heading to the Summit. First stop was Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses to see Tom and Mandy. After seeing all of the foals and yearlings (including one that was born the night before), checking out a newly completed barn they added on, and talking some business, Mandy had horses tacked up for Kaitlyn and I! What an amazing experience it was to ride incredible horses at such a world-class facility. Chicken and Chyna took VERY good care of us. Next stop was HighPoint Performance Horses in Pilot Point, TX, to see Team SmartPak riders Charlie Cole and Jason Martin. We had a fantastic tour of the facility, which included meeting a baby kangaroo (“Captain”), a camel, two peacocks, dwarf horses, a deer, tortoises, a mean turkey, some prairie dogs, an amazing facility for the giraffe that’s coming, oh—and some really famous horses! Our final stop was Cardinal Training Center for the Partner Summit. We talked, laughed, networked, brainstormed, and ate some great food. Cardinal Training Center is a quite the facility and is home to some outstanding trainers. They were the most gracious hosts, and I look forward to a return visit.
I held a SmartPak Academy for a group of eventers from JH Eventing at one of our partner barns, Apple Knoll Farm in Millis, MA, during school vacation week here in Massachusetts. There’s nothing like grabbing some snacks, some carrots for the horses, and a bunch of shavings bags to create a fun, educational event focusing on horse health care. Many thanks to Jess Halliday of JH Eventing for organizing the event, Betsy and the team at Apple Knoll Farm for hosting us, and all the JH Eventers for your great participation!
I was fortunate enough to go on an amazing journey to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event with an incredible group! It was amazing to not only get to visit the “Horse Capital of the World” but also get to meet both customers and some of our sponsored riders. We had a great time getting to know our eventing customers better (although I was surprised at the diversity of disciplines attending Rolex) and we even got to watch some of the action, which was extraordinary (if you ever get the opportunity to watch a CCI**** please do so). All in all, it was an amazing trip where memories were made that will last a lifetime.
I recently travelled to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington, Kentucky, where I was able to meet up with our Team SmartPak riders who were competing and also many of the customers who visited the SmartPak booth. It was really fun to be able to connect our riders with our customers through the SmartPak Course Walk on Friday and autograph signings with Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton, Allison Springer, and Jan Byyny. Before the start of the course walk, we played a few rounds of SmartPak trivia with our customers to get going. Our customers are great! They knew the answers to questions from “What is the name of the horse SmartPaks were inspired for?” to “Who are our Team SmartPak riders who’s horses won USEF Horse of the Year?” Any guesses?
During the week of April 22–28, SmartPaker Sarah and I attended the BBR Finals in Oklahoma City. Other than being worried about possibly having to dodge tornados, we had a blast! Nothing compares to the fierce competiveness and excitement in the air at a barrel racing event—the speed and heart of these equine athletes are incredible. During our time in OKC, we also made a pit stop at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, which was quite emotional given what our city (Boston) endured just a short year ago. All in all, it was a wonderful trip where new friends and great memories were made—can’t wait to go back next year!
Last month, Lissa, Kaitlyn, and I headed to Aubrey, Texas, for the NRHA Partner Summit Event, held at Cardinal Reining Horses. It was great to network with other corporate partners, and we even got the chance to enjoy some time in the saddle, thanks to the Ride a Reiner event they organized for us. It was a ton of fun thanks to our very patient trainers NRHA Professionals Franco Bertolani, Brian Bell, Ruben Vandorp, Ann Salmon, and Billy Williams. And for me, the opportunity to ride the accomplished stallion Star Spangled Whiz—priceless!
This month, SmartPakers Carolyn, Kristina, and I took a trip to Columbus to attend this year’s Equine Affaire Ohio. With beautiful weather, gorgeous horses, and awesome people, it was a picture-perfect weekend!
Many of our amazing customers have visited us at our booths across the country, but very few have gotten to see what goes on behind the scenes. So here’s a sneak peek! I present to you, A Day in the Life of A SmartPaker: Tradeshow Edition.
Before our day begins, we take a moment to enjoy our coffee (a.k.a. “tradeshow juice”). Here Kristina lovingly demonstrates the caffienated delight that keeps us going throughout the show.
The best part of the show is when we get to meet all of our customers! Here Carolyn helps two of the 1000+ horse owners that visited us at Equine Affaire find supplement solutions for their horses.
The housework never ends! Once the trade show is closed for the day, there’s still cleaning to be done.
After a long day, we all take a breather. Even though we’re on our feet a lot at these shows, our Dubarrys https://www.smartpakequine.com/search/search?searchTerm=Dubarry&ck=s keep us comfortable AND stylish!
When April hits, that means warmer weather and one of my favorite trade shows of the year—Rolex in Kentucky! This year will mark my third consecutive year attending the show, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect week. There were just a few short periods of rain, but overall the weather was great. We had an awesome crew of 8 that worked hard to help our customers in the booth. We had a record-breaking setup day, leaving us some time to sneak away and watch the jog on Wednesday. A first for this Rolex crew!
Jamie and I were at the Better Barrel Racing Finals from April 22–28. As a hunter/jumper rider, this was my first experience at a barrel racing show, and I’m hooked! The athleticism of the horses and knowledge of their riders blew me away! Jamie and I had a blast meeting so many new customers and their four-legged friends! Luckily we were able to dodge some pretty nasty storms throughout the week, and I cannot wait to go back next year!
There is so much to do at Equine Affaire! This year in Ohio we met hundreds of wonderful customers and had the chance to see some really cool horses. When we’re at home in Massachusetts, we spend a lot of time talking to customers over the phone; it is so nice to meet many of them in person! I was very impressed by the amount of SmartPak paraphernalia. My favorite was a customer who bedazzled her SmartPak hat; it looked amazing! I also loved visiting the horse and farm exhibits—particularly the huge cuddly shires and the two mini donkeys that pulled a gorgeous little cart!
SmartPaker Kaitlyn and I had the opportunity to attend the NRBC in Katy, TX, over the Easter holiday. It was an absolute treat to get to watch some of the top reiners compete. What’s more, we were able to spend time with two of our sponsored riders, Tim McQuay and Tom McCutcheon. I also had the chance to venture out to meet some local barns in the Houston area. Talk about a fun weekend!
I attended my very first Trade Show, Equine Affaire Ohio, with fellow SmartPakers Megan and Carolyn. We had a blast getting to meet our customers face to face, seeing the equestrian industry in another state and meeting all the wonderful riders and horses that attended the show. I got to have lunch with some awesome customers and learned a ton about the horse culture. We even met a customer whose discipline is medieval jousting and jumping sidesaddle! I cannot wait for the next trade show to meet even more friends!