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Giddy-up!

21 Apr

Horses are a big part of my life, as is photography. Both started out as hobbies and are now optimistic career moves.

Yesterday, Omaha kicked off the first day of the International – a showjumping event put on by RFDTV. Omaha’s showjumping scene is rather relaxed, so much so that frustrated parents often make their children formally dress for the local schooling shows. Hey, gotta get some use out of that expensive coat before they outgrow it, right? I am grateful to RFDTV and the numerous sponsors for bringing such an event to my hometown. Hopefully, more will follow. Hopefully, schooling shows will return to polos and chaps. Leave the braiding and coats for the rated shows!

While I am still living my inspired high, here are some equestrian-driven photographs to spark your fancy!

Andrea Massari

Alexa Singer

Anna Malmberg

Wick Beavers

And for the conceptually creative,

Ulrika Kestere

I let my kids wear costumes and terrorize my horse

24 Jan

FINALLY!

I was finally able to ride yesterday. It is the first time in nearly two weeks. Rain, mud, cold, sick kids… Finally got to enjoy the lovely 60degree weather and take my lovely Stella for a ride.

Odd thing, though. I had not one, not two, but three people stop to watch me.

The first was an elderly woman. She has stopped before. Every time I go to approach her, though (to see if she is lost or needs something), she drives off. Weird, but whatever. At least I know how to get rid of her in case I’m not in the mood for an audience!

The second were two older women. They actually talked to me, saying that they have been trying to catch me while I was riding so that they can see me jump. Yeah, well… yesterday was the first time I had even been on a horse in two weeks… at best, some balancing exercises over an X. That’s exactly what I did, actually.

The third woman showed up as I was untacking. She had been walking her dogs and just stopped to watch. I told her that I had just finished and was actually in the process of unbridling. Her and I chatted for a couple of minutes…. she had a couple of foo-foo dogs, which Tenn was determined to pet, though he was repeatedly told not to!

Secret: I have terrible stage-fright while in the show ring. It is one of the MAIN things that keeps me from going to a show. I can’t explain it. It is something I’ve always dealt with. Ride like a pro at home, then have a meltdown in the show ring. So, I’m not really big on having audiences, especially after a two week break and when Stella isn’t (wasn’t) giving into her left side (we spent nearly 15minutes just working leg yields!). Again, I don’t know why! It is my craft… my thing… the thing I was born doing, yet I keep it to myself. My shyness aggravates my husband, who believes I should be competing head-to-head with the leaders in our region. At least I know he has faith in me, whether misplaced or not ;).

As usual, at the end of my ride, I let the boys pony around. They decided that they needed to dress like super heros, making this one extra fun… for me, not necessarily for Stella, who has a face of complete disgust throughout the short iphone set:

And, before someone crawls out of the woodwork… YES, my kids all have and wear HELMETS. They just wanted to show off their costumes. They didn’t do any “riding” without a helmet. 
Now that we’ve squashed that….
I put Cali for sale on craigslist. I doubt my ad will actually SELL my horse, but it definitely made me feel better writing it. My intentions were to weed out the brainless who wake up one day, thinking “Gee, I want a horse!” but I fear I’m a bit too brash. It did keep me entertained
Finally, Blogger’s video uploader basically sucks. I posted a short video of Nola trying to kill me via a Red Bull box. youtube. Yes, I drop an F-bomb. But, daaaaaaamn, those claw be zarp. 

Burning down 2011

1 Jan

I have several photography-related goals for the new year.

1. To actually start charging for my horse show portraits. I started out by just practicing and having fun with friends while photographing excited jumpers and nervous riders. Now that people are starting to understand that I actually do have the capability to capture their pricey warmblood in midair, I’m beginning to receive requests. I’ve fulfilled those request without a second thought (or charge) because I simply enjoyed it. I love the show ring! Both in and out! I think I will wait until after the USDF “First Dance” second level testing (mid Feb.) to start figuring out how to go about charging.

2. I want to learn about printing my own images and have a complete set printed and hung. My wall is a good place to start.

3. Someone out there is going to teach me about Wet Plates! It is going to happen! I have tried going the CL route and posting in the artists and creative sections, but haven’t received a hopeful reply. Press harder.

4. Do a little equipment updating. I’d like to add some lighting.

Burning empty grain bags last week.

And a Perfect Ten on the landing

27 Nov

The horse entry.

I’ve been working consistently with Stella since she arrived home from Tennessee. This week, I decided that I needed to finish this level of our course and prepare for something new. One more time around the course… Yep, that was the plan.

As we approached the first vertical of our triple… I found myself on my back, starring at the sky, and Stella at the other end of the jump, looking down at me like “Oh crap! That wasn’t supposed to happen!”

My mare… my lazy mare. My feet-dragging mare. My mare who rarely refuses a jump… EVER… refused, tossing me over her neck.

In the eight years that I have owned that mare, I have only fallen off twice. This was the only jumping related incident.

Painful.

I don’t understand it! She is definitely lazy and, once she understands the course or sees that she doesn’t actually have to work, she will drag her feet over everything. *Eye Rolling* She prefers oxors because they have height and depth. She will barely clear an X. Go figure. But this… this laziness… this is what I am used to. I am not, however, used to her slamming on the breaks and tossing me over a jump.

I replayed it in my head a thousand times. I got deep into my corner. There are six strides between the corner and the fence. She was calm and cool as we approached. We completed the other obstacles on course without incident. The only thing I can think of is that maybe I was anticipating the triple too much and got too forward into my two-point, signaling her to jump sooner then she should’ve. She knew she wasn’t supposed to jump just yet, got confused, and slammed on the breaks.

After I had my panic attack on the ground, I got back on and changed my triple to all Xs. Then combination of Xs and straight rails. Then back to the way I had intended. We jumped through it probably ten time and then did the entire course probably five times. Yes, I worked her. Leave me in the grass… witch! HA!

Oh, but the next day… Thanksgiving… with my in-laws coming over to my house… I was walking around like a little old man in a black dress. It hurt just to get dressed! I made a mental note of each time I had to lift my arms over my head and have decided to make Stella go through that triple the same amount of times! Bwhaha!

Now, I know it sounds as if I am extremely hard on my baby girl. In actuality, she is probably the most spoiled hoofed animal you will ever come across. She is my princess. My stinky, sweaty, lazy princess. But she knows when I mean business and that leaving me flat on my back was not a good thing. Period. Thanks to the holiday and now the rain, though, she will have a couple of days off 🙂