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!

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Getting Excited for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

Anyone who knows anything about eventing has heard of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.  Even if you don’t event there’s a good chance you know about the only CCI Four Star competition held on U.S. soil.  Taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington from April 22-25, the event is also being held in conjunction with the Kentucky Cup Test Events for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Three of us here at Hodges are very excited because we’re taking a trip to be part of the action up close.  With dressage tests on Thursday and Friday, the Cross Country on Saturday and the Jumping Test and awards on Sunday, it looks to be an action-packed long weekend. 

With an impressive list of horses and riders entered for the event, the level of talent is high.  American Olympians Karen O’Connor, Phillip Dutton and Amy Tryon, among others, will compete against Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and Oliver Townend, who is attempting to become only the second rider to claim the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.  After winning the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Burghley Land Rover Horse Trials in 2009, the pressure is on to take the title and a $350,000 prize, in addition to the event’s own prize money.

Oliver 'Ollie' Townend aims for the Grand Slam

Sound exciting?  Want to join in on the fun?  You can view the full schedule through the RK3DE website, and tickets are still available online.  You can buy a single day admission if you can’t make it to all four days.  From my own experience, finding a local hotel room might prove harder than getting tickets, so get planning!

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!

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.

2009 Equestrian Cover Contest Winners

 

2009 Equestrian Catalog Cover
2009 Equestrian Catalog Cover

We are happy to announce the 2009 Equestrian Cover Contest winner: Julie Pollex!

The Equestrian Catalog went to press last week and it will be in your mailbox by the end of this week. What? You don’t get one?

Click here to request one >>

 and we will send it right off.

Can’t wait to see the winners in our catalog either? I don’t blame you. Click here to see the cover and the 10 honorable mentions>>

Fleecewood Mac

Fleetwood Mac

Check out Fleecewood Mac – #8. Yes we know that technically she is a Suri Alpaca but she dons our Equestrian Easton Sash and we thought it was a great shot.

Congratulations to our winners! There were a lot of great entries this year.

 

 

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.