2011 Equestrian Cover Contest

Summer is often a busy season for horse show enthusiasts, with plenty of options on the calendar each week.  That said, I thought it would be a good time to remind you about our annual Cover Contest, where we award $2500 to the person who submits a photo with a Hodges ribbon deemed most “cover worthy.”  There are also ten $100 prizes for Honorable Mentions, who will get their picture printed inside the catalog. 

So what does it take to win?  There’s no exact answer to that question, but here are some tips:

  • Choose your background carefully.  Be mindful of tree branches and fence posts that seem to grow out of your horse’s head.
  • We should be able to see the front of a Hodges rosette somewhere in the photo. 
  • Kids are cute, but don’t discount pictures of adult riders, miniature horses, yearlings or even donkeys.  Any person or animal that wins an equestrian ribbon is eligible.

You can access an entry form and all the official rules here:

California trip photos

As promised in my previous post, I am here to share some photos from our trip to California.  After we finished up on Sunday evening at the Horse Expo, Rick and I drove south to Burbank after stopping in Fresno.  We were lucky to visit with Larry and Marnye Langer of Langer Equestrian Group who showed us around the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.  Here are some photos our our adventures:

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Visit to Western States Horse Expo

Last weekend, Rick and I had a great time in Sacramento meeting with customers and prospective customers at the Western States Horse Expo.  The Expo was huge.  There were four buildings filled with great vendors, a full schedule with clinics (by Olympians) and breed demonstrations, and even a separate Dogs Pavilion with demonstrations by Splashdogs, a dock diving competition for dogs.

Having grown up in New England and always ridden English, I’d never been to a horse auction before, and got to see them auction off over 100 western horses.  I quickly had to learn the auctioneer’s “language”… and be careful not to raise my hand!  I even got the chance to see a model horse (Breyer) competition.

Back out our booth, the customers we spoke with were excited to see our Pewtarex plates and bronze resin trophies in person.  They also were impressed by the wide variety of multicolor side streamers we offer.

One other thing: we also made friends with our neighbors in the booth across the way.  So if you’re out West and need some shavings, be sure to check out Rosebud.

Now I know you’re waiting for the photos… but due to a technical difficulty you’ll have to wait for an update tonight or tomorrow.

New Equestrian Products- Check ’em Out!

For those of you that were reading carefully, you may have noticed a few new products slipped in to our 2010 Equestrian Catalog.  At Hodges we try to keep an eye on new and different awards that stand out yet still fit in with our long-standing commitment to quality.

At the top of the list is our new selection of Pewtarex™ plates, bowls, and trays.  (Side note- I just love the horse print along the rim!)  These hand-finished pieces are a hefty and durable award or gift.   For dog lovers, watch for the dog line of Pewtarex™ coming out with our new Dog Catalog in May.  

This is the Pewtarex 5-3/4" plate

The other major addition is our new line of trophies.  All sizes of equestrian trophies are available in black faux marble, ruby faux marble, and walnut finishes.  Trophy tops come in a variety of English, Western, gaited horse and breed designs.  Prices start at just $6.00 and include engraving on the attached gold plate.

This is the 12" trophy with Ruby Red finish.

We have also introduced a new rosette, the Malden.  With Dorset points inside a 6″ ruffle, we think the design is a classic.  Last, but not least are our multicolor stock ribbons.  With fun, creative designs, like Dusty Bottoms and the Clean Pony Award, they are a great award or for children in your riding program, camp, 4-H group or Pony Club.

The Malden


So cute!

Riding 4 Reading

What do you call it when three passionate people get together with an idea? An Idea that takes the sport they enjoy and the animal they love and combines them with their high values of literacy and education?

Riding for Reading!

It’s a  non-profit organization dedicated to promoting reading, literacy and education through equestrian activities.  Hodges Badge Company is a proud sponsor.

Our our talented art department went to work a while back creating  a custom multicolor ribbon just for them with their own design. Well Marnye Langer, one of the founders of the organization, sent us an email with a cute picture from the Woodside Class of 2009 letting us know that their hard work paid off . “The kids love them” she said.   (That’s the design in the background on the banner.)

She also let us in on some good news. This year they hope to launch a new program: the Riding For Reading Children’s Hunter Class.  This class will expand their reach and  hope to have 50 hunter/jumper shows offer the class. 

Check out thier site and see how you can be a part of this great idea three people had to combine their love of horses, riding and literacy: http://www.ridingforreading.org/index.php

USEF 2010 Annual Meeting

The USEF had their 2010 Annual meeting this year in Louisville, Kentucky. Rochelle and Jessica  were there to represent Hodges Badge Company and meet with the attendees.  

As the Official Ribbon Supplier of the USEF, Hodges was proud to meet the directors of the multiple breed and discipline associations that attended the convention’s meetings.

As everyone headed to registration or picked up lunch they walked by our award display and had the opportunity to stop and say hello. It was good to hear that so many people  were very familiar with Hodges and our products. 

It was also good to be able to show them new products that everyone seemed excited about. One being the Pewtarex plates (check your 2010 Equestrian catalog [hitting the ground March 1] for details).

 It was also great to hear how different organizations in USEF use our ribbons.  (Have you ever thought about handing out a 12 inch rosette to all participants and then pinning on buttons to the streamers for each class entered?!)

Perhaps the best part of the trip for Rochelle and Jessica was that they attended the Pegasus Awards, a huge banquet honoring the stars of equestrian sports.  They watched as dressage rider Steffen Peters was named Equestrian of the Year, and Olympic rider and Chef d’ Equipe Jessica Ransehousen was honored for her lifetime commitment to the sport.

While we’ll be back to Kentucky in May for IHSA Nationals, our next event is the Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Hope to see you there!

The Quality of our products is VERY important!

Hodges Badge Company takes pride in selling Quality items. Your satisfaction is important to us and we want your awards to embody the hard work and dedication the recipients put into achieving them.

Every catalog we also strive to include new quality products to offer you more choices. These new products are researched extensively before being added to the catalog to ensure they can meet your needs.

Unfortunately, as with life there are sometimes some unforeseen problems. This has been the circumstance with the Resin Horse Trophies displayed in the 2009 Equestrian Catalog and on the Hodges website.

We were so excited to include this beautiful selection of trophies, however after several customers complaints of  unsatisfactory awards , Hodges has decided to discontinue this line immediately.

If you have any questions about this or need suggestions on another trophy selection, please do not hesitate to contact customer service. 



Equestrian Enthusiasts – “Can you afford to show this year?”

Every once in a while Hodges will come across a great article or blog that we think our customers will find interesting. This a great blog by Stacey Kimmel-Smith to help equestrian enthusiasts answer the question: Can you afford to show this year?

Check it out.

She also has some great resources at the bottom to learn more.

Wither the Equestrian Business?

Doug Emerson contacted me yesterday, wondering if I had a good feel for where the equestrian market is headed.  I don’t, but I have been watching this closely!  Please chime in if you have something to add.

Back in January, when inflation was relatively tame, and gas was only $3.25 a gallon, I met up with the Langers (of Langer Equestrian Group) at the USEF annual meeting.  Larry postulated that this year was gong to be ok, but 2009 was going to be really tough.  His assessment (one that I might add I agree with) is that owning and showing a horse is not something that people can start – or stop – whenever the price of food or fuel changes.

I have guessed that many people showing competitively have invested at least upwards of $250,000 between horses, their stable, a truck, a 5th wheel, maybe an indoor ring and land for all of the above.  Sure, there are people who compete from their backyard and haul a two horse trailer behind the pickup truck (it is what we used to do!), and this is a large part of our business, but larger shows like those run by Larry or Bob Bell attract competitors with greater expectations.  Land, barns, trainers, horses and professionals to haul animals do not come cheaply.  If you have made this kind of investment in your riding career, you do not stop just because the price of diesel went from $4 per gallon to $5.

Lets look at this differently; I own a motor boat which I keep on a mooring.  I figure that every year, between commissioning, the mooring, decommissioning, local fees and fuel it costs several thousand dollars to have this boat.  Last year fuel cost $4 per gallon.  Last week boat gas was going for $4.99/gallon.  I burn about 150 gallons/year, so the cost of owning the boat will go up another $150 a year.  As a percentage, this isn’t a lot, but the psychological damage is huge.  I use the boat much less.  I expect that we will see the same thing in the equestrian world.

People who own an equestrian estate won’t (or can’t) sell the property if they want to.  For them, this is a liquidity crisis.  No one wants to purchase their vehicles, or their horses, or their farm, since everyone else has the same problem.  Some equestrians will be able to weather this storm, others will have to stop showing and hunker down for a while (or worse).

This will all blow over folks.  Within a year or two market forces will bring new fuels to market.  Vehicles will become more efficient and new technologies will begin to enter the marketplace.  However, as it takes some time for everyone to put the brakes on, it may take a while for everyone to come back to the table, so if we see lots of folks exit the industry, it could take a while for us to return to the same level of activity.

From the standpoint of a ribbon manufacturer, I do not expect that we will see a huge fall off in order activity.  As long as each class still has at least 6 competitors, 6 ribbons will be awarded.  However, my guess is that classes with less then 15-20 entries are money loosers, and no show manager can afford to have too many shows that are money losers without doing something about it.  Frequently  that something will be cutting marginal shows – and that is something that we will certainly feel the effects of.