One of the highlights of our trip to California was the Santa Ynez Vaquero show and sale, in actual fact we planned our trip around this event, it was a two day show where there were demonstrations on subjects like building the bridle horse, vaquero style roping and saddle fit, alongside these demonstrations were a number of buildings full of trade stands.
The event was held in the tiny museum courtyard and the trade stands were in the museum it's self. The first demo was Sheila Varian, vaquero horsewoman and arabian horse breeder, She brought along one of her arabians and ran through the various stages of building the bridle horse, in the middle of the courtyard among a couple of hundred people. It was fascinating not only to hear her, but also to watch her horse cope with what was a very claustrophobic situation, obviously this horse did a number of these demos because he didn't bat an eye lid.
Day two's demo was Bruce Sandifer explaining the vaquero roping style, these was no easy task, the courtyard ( as mentioned tiny and full of people!) also had a very big tree in the middle of it, vaqueros are know for the BIG LOOP, 20ft loops! After roping the tree, Bruce had to adapt and use smaller loops, again his horse coped fantastically well, as Bruce explained the different loops used by the vaqueros, They sure had to be good with a rope, in the old days California didn't have fences, so the vaqueros had to be good at, A coming up with loops and shots from every angle and B, learning how to drift and go with the cow.
Inside the museum were the trade stands, for Mark and I it was like walking in to the biggest candy store ever! saddles, romals, spade bits everywhere and all for sale! We met up with our good friends Peg and Mike Vatalaro, Mike makes some awesome bits ad spurs, it was great to meet up with them again, we ended up spending far too much money on gear most of it with Mike actually, he's on the case making me some spurs so keep an eye out for pics when they arrive! they will be stunning! The thing I like about these fairs is that you get to meet the people who make the gear and they want to tell you about it! we always come away making new friends as well as some wonderful gear, and this year was no exception. Gordon Andrus is a gear maker from Wyoming, we bought a gorgeous headstall from him, his attention to detail os second to none. We also bought some amazing horsehair mecates from Jimmy Flores, Jimmy was a quiet man, and was fascinated when we told him we had come from England to this event, to remember him he gave us an article about himself, it just so happened that he is a brilliant hackamore man, and has just been inducted in to the reined cow horse hall of fame!
Saturday night was BBQ night, this was held at the museum of the cowboy, just down the road, This is a private museum only open to the public by appointment. The museum is in the home of Linda and Jim Grimm, I didn't think this show could get any better but i was wrong! there must have been at least 300 people turn up for the BBQ which was put on for free by Linda and Jim, and we all had free run of their stunning, stunning home! Every room was filled to bursting with visalia saddles, silver, bits, reins, costumes everything you could possibly imagine a vaquero would use or need, the highlight was on one wall of a very big room, they had the largest private collection of Louis Ortega rawhide braiding, there were all sorts, romals, bosals, bosalitas, you name it it was there! The candy store just got bigger! there was even a hall way dedicated to Borein art work.
This museum amazed everyone, the food was great, the company was fabulous and the museum was just out of this world.
The Santa Ynez show and sale was truly a highlight of our trip, and definitely worthy of a second trip, however the credit cards took a serious bashing so we will just have to wait until we save up again!
Photos of this stunning show will be added shortly in the gallery.