The Inside Scoop – Horse Businesses at the Arizona Sun Circuit

January 10th, 2016 8:56 PM | No Comments

By Nadia Aslam

Here at Sun Circuit, the trade stands have been tempting me all weekend.

Are you the same when it comes to shopping? Put me anywhere near a horsey store, and I’ll walk away with something new – whether I “needed” it or not is beside the point!

But as I walked by these different stands I started thinking, do we really know the companies we’re buying from? A lot of these companies are family owned and operated by horsey folk just like you and me.

We decided to get the inside scoop, find out how they got started, what it has been like along the way, and when they knew they’d made it!

Barbara’s Custom Hats

06 The Inside Scoop - Horse Business’ - Barbara's Custom HatsHOW DID THE COMPANY FIRST START?

“One hat at a time” Barbara laughs “I bought one hat, sold that, bought two more and kept going” she continues “there was a big need on the West Coast for good quality hats for the show pen” Barbara explains. “I went to Denver market and met Brooke Atwood with Atwood Hat Company, he believed in me and gave me an opportunity to represent his new line of felt hats.”


“What was really tough for the industry as a whole was when we had the EPM virus in 2010” she admits. “That almost killed the West Coast; nobody was taking their horses to shows.”


“The coolest thing is that my customers are very loyal, and it gives me great pleasure to help them look fabulous in the show pen – when I look out there and see all my hats going around, that’s a great feeling.”

The French Cowgirl


“I was showing horses, I’d sold my previous business and started carrying different products, that evolved into show clothing.”


“Oh it might have been three years ago here when my tent blew up in a wind storm because I didn’t tie it down properly.”


“Exhibiting with our group of girlfriends here at the shows has really been great fun, and helped us expand too.”

Woods Western

06 The Inside Scoop - Horse Business’ - Woods WesternHOW DID THE COMPANY FIRST START?

“We started thirty plus years ago; it was all because I showed and needed good clothes!”


“Probably the fire that we had right here at Sun Circuit in 2004, they had a trade show tent back then and it pretty much burnt to the ground with everything inside.”


“Hmm they’re all pretty good, but one of the best moments was probably twenty-five years ago,” Babe tell us. “There was a little girl that wanted a vest but couldn’t decide on which fabric, she  eventually  picked one” Babe goes on “but when she came for the fitting, I’d used the other fabric for the lining, it was reversible and she got both vests.”  



Glassy Lady

06 The Inside Scoop - Horse Business’ - The French Cowgirl AND Glassy LadyHOW DID THE COMPANY FIRST START?

“It was a little over a year ago and quite accidental, I posted a picture on Facebook and people started asking how they could order.”


“You know what, I have shot myself in the thumb with my nail gun, that was pretty awful.”


“Last year here at Sun Circuit, we had a really busy show.”

It was great fun chatting to everyone, and it reminded me that the horse community is one that supports its fellow rider, what a great way to be, and long may it continue!

We’re supported every day by our advertisers, companies just like these guys with incredible stories and fantastic products, they’re the reason we can provide you with great content – Thanks guys, you rock!

This was only a small sampling of the shopping experience at the Sun Circuit.  While you’re there, be sure to check out Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, Kathy’s Show Equipment, Pyranha, Show Me Again, Custom Tails, and SmartPak

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