The Equestrian Disney Land— Ohio Equine Affaire

 Equine AffaireIn today’s blog you get two for the price of one!  Kat Hayden is back to deliver another blog post and update us on the equine trade show scene.  Also joining her to add some color commentary is Abigail Tobey our resident fodder specialist.  Take a look how they got on at the Ohio Equine Affaire

Off to the Equine Affaire
I do enjoy going to trade shows as I have said in past blogs, but I especially enjoy going to them with fellow sales reps! It makes traveling more entertaining and it beats sitting alone at a restaurant. I was lucky enjoy to have my friend Abigail Tobey (our fodder specialist) join me on this trip. Abigail and I are the dynamic trade show duo! We can unpack and set up our booth in less than 45 minutes and she even lets me take a quick break to do some shopping when the show is slow.Kat and Abigail

Abigail and I hopped on a plane at 6 am in CT and landed shortly after 9 am the Wednesday before the show started. We arrived at the show, got our booth set up and headed on a little road trip to visit a customer of mine just south of Cleveland. As we were driving through the beautiful Ohio country side, I noticed a big fabric building in one of the fields. The closer we got the more familiar it looked. I got so excited I think I scared Abigail because I yelled so loud “HEY THAT’S OUR BUILDING!!” So after a successful site visit with my customer and a trip back to Columbus we settled in to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before the show.

We were fortunate enough to be somewhat close to IA so we could have our fodder sent over-night to the hotel. Everyone at the show loved to come up and see the “grass” growing in the channels. Abigail and I were going non-stop all Friday and Saturday, we even ran out of catalogs and information packets because there were so many people! I think there had to be thousands that came through the Ohio Expo Center for the vendor sales and clinics.

Kat Hayden

My favorite part of the whole trip was visiting with a customer who stopped to see us at the show. One of his friends had seen our booth a few days earlier and suggested that he stop by.  Abigail spent a good amount of time discussing the benefits of fodder for the 40 horses that he has at his boarding facility.  I also discussed a smaller structure for composting and talked to him about the benefits of fabric buildings.  A few days after we returned from the show Abigail and I received an email from our manager.  The gentleman that we had helped previously at the show had called in to speak with our manager and tell him what a wonderful job we did.  It was such a nice surprise for someone to take time out of their day and make a point of telling our manager his thoughts about us.  We do receive feedback from some customers, usually in the form of email, but it really did brighten my day to hear that a customer took time to let us know how much he appreciated us assisting him at the show.  Those are the little things that make our job so rewarding!

I recently have stepped into the role of Equine Riding Arena Specialist, so Abigail and I will be traveling to lots of different shows. Stay tuned for our next adventure! We are off to Sacramento, CA for the Western States Expo in June!!

Kat joined the ClearSpan team shortly after she graduated from Mount Holyoke College this past spring. While at Mount Holyoke, she earned a degree in biology and rode on the college’s dressage team. She has been riding for ten years and has a horse named Nate. The barn where Kat rides at also has an indoor fabric arena, which she loves! Kat says the best thing about working at ClearSpan is helping great horse people into the ClearSpan arena of their dreams.

What a grand Affaire!
On a gloomy Wednesday morning I prepared to head from my home in Connecticut to Ohio for a trade show. Scratch that, during a torrential downpour I schlepped myself out of my house at four in the morning to catch a flight to Columbus. Anyone who knows me well knows this is a dangerous combination; bad weather, early morning and (dum dum dum) no coffee yet. The good news is, the only direction I could go from there was up, and up it went.

This month Truss Arch Specialist Kat Hayden and I traveled together for the Equine Affaire. I am blessed that Kat and I are such a good match. Seeing her come into the airport a few minutes later made me realize we’re in this together and it’s really not that bad. We have one of those rapports with one another that goes unspoken. We just get it. Traveling is tough but when you’re with someone you click with, it makes all the difference. Things were quiet in the beginning, until we got our coffee. Even at 5 am, I knew it was going to be an excellent day. We traveled easily through our layover to Columbus. Getting through the airport was effortless and we even got a free upgrade on the rental car. Who doesn’t love that? The trade show location was less than fifteen minutes from the airport so we rode that charged up wave all the way through booth setup. Please, don’t be fooled by our petite sizes and sweet demeanors, we cranked through that setup in record time. Never question the power of two determined women.

Horrific rainstormsI joined Kat for a site visit near Cleveland that afternoon. While I love a good road trip as well as the next gal, the horrific rainstorms were not enjoyable. I got it that morning leaving my house I got it that afternoon, a solid three states away no less. “Whatever” I thought “rain won’t ruin our parade.” Wouldn’t you know, I was right.

The next three days were somewhat of a blur. Busy is not the word for the ClearSpan Fabric Structures booth. Not only were we exhibiting our beautiful indoor riding arenas but it was the first time introducing our new Micro Fodder-Pro 2.0 Feed System. With a daily production output of just sixty-pounds this system is perfectly sized for approximately three horses. Needless to say, it was a homerun in my opinion. With the show running from nine in the morning to seven at night, Kat and I grabbed dinner and relaxed a bit before getting back at it the next day. I have found that a properly charged battery is important, and not just for your fancy electronics.

Abigail TobeySunday was the last day of the show and things slowed down. It received a warm welcome from us. Kat got to do a little shopping and I was able to really enjoy the food vendors. (Again, please don’t let my petite size fool you, I love to eat.) When it came time to break down other vendors were shocked to see one of our tables was actually a giant crate. We took the table cloth off, opened it up and packed it lickity-split. Pretty slick.

Coming home, the trip was not as smooth as getting in. We had to change airlines due to a flight cancellation, and then there was a delay. I shouldn’t complain really. My trips are always super smooth and the delay didn’t set us back but an hour or so. I got to enjoy more celebrity tabloids and time with Kat in the glorious airports of Columbus and Charlotte, but really, by midnight, you want to be home. I think we can all agree on that. I wanted to see my dog Eleanor and sleep in my own bed.

I can’t wait to head out again, though. Kat and I will be at the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento this June! Be sure to check back to read about our adventures!

Abigail began her career with our affiliate company FarmTek as an intern in 2008 while she was still in college. She is a fodder, structure, product and dairy equipment specialist here so her days here are always eventful. Abigail grew up in Maine, splitting her time between the beautiful rocky seacoast and her family potato farm further north. Some of her fondest memories are spending that quality time with her grandparents and extended family, learning about hard work, patience and taking pride in what you do. That’s why she feels so blessed to work here and do what she loves.

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