Monday, May 31, 2010

Clinic day

Me !!! driving the cones at Teddy Bear Fjord farm in Mead, WA...... the host of the clinicians....

The story.....

A couple weeks ago, when I emailed Warren Riddle of Teddy Bear Fjords, and asked if I could audit the upcoming clinic, I had NO idea what a day I would have. I figured I would get there early, watch folks prepare, watch and audit and learn...but I had NO idea that my day would in fact be much, much more.....

Saturday morning I headed would be an hours drive to the clinic location at Teddy Bear farms, and I wanted to be on time...OK...for me, "on time" is usually a bit early.
When I arrived, I saw no one around.. but I quickly met up with Warren and he took me over to the dressage ring, dropped me at the feet of Brian Jensen the clinician, and set me to learning..right there and then!

Brain and Ursula Jensen had come to the clinic from BC where they live on their Fjord farm. They both hold judges cards for here and abroad. They raise and train a few high quality Fjords a year and compete also. These folks are well rounded in the sport of CDEs that is for sure. Brain has driven a variety of hitches, and now prefers the "four in hand" while Ursula often drives a single. As I spent the day with them, watching and learning, I do not think I have ever seen such helpful, kind clinicians....they have no "movie star" attitude about them, and the beginner is just as important to them and the advance student..lucky for me!

I got to sit next to Brain, and tabulate his markings during the dressage quiet moments I got to ask my own questions, of which there were many. After the dressage test, and his comments to the drivers, we headed to the cones. I intently listed to his direction to whips for the cones, since it is something I have never seen done! After the cones, the whips and horses usually did part of the marathon course.
Here is Sylvia Riddle going through the water hazard with her Fjord team.

Part of the reason I went to the clinic was for photography...I was NOT disappointed. There were ample opportunities through out the day, and I was wishing I had planned to stay Sunday too. Many of the teams were Fjords, but there were also single horses and whips. Often there were a different breed, certainly a different color!
One of my favorite shots from the day...I call this "Fjord Faces"

Around mid morning I heard talk that there may be empty time slots that needed to be filled with students...seems one gal that booked several time slots and could not come due to a sick horse....I jumped right in and volunteered to fill one of those time slots...oh HELP !!! I have no horse or cart! Warren and Sylvia Riddle, clinic hosts were kind enough to loan me a single horse and a cart for my very own lesson with a world class whip .....WOW !!!! talk about my lucky day.
Here I am !!! with Brain Jensen, clinician......whoo hooo !!! and below..going through the cones !
WOW...I learned so much, and I found that my hands were not quite as clumsy as when I drove for the very first time a couple months ago....yeah ! and also found..cones are ALOT easier at the trot....LOL....

Don't "judge" me just yet,.I know I am a bit out of position..but dang, this is hard! Brian wants me to drive the horses head, stay in good position, have good contact, and he expects me to breath too?

At noon we had a potluck lunch, hosted by Sylvia and Warren Riddle in their lovely home. We had a few rain showers in the morning, and Warren had a roaring fire to warm us all up. Lovely homes, gracious host....what more could you ask for? I met many of the INDS ( Inland Northwest Driving Society ) members, and found them to be a fun, helpful, kind bunch of folks...all with that interest in driving...

After lunch, we headed back to the dressage arena and I watch and learned more. One of the highlights on the day was Michael and Susie and their team of tandem Fjords. I used my skills to take some of the loveliest photographs of Michael, Susie and their team, the lighting, the weather, the scenery, you would probably think they were in Norway!
As Michael drove down the centerline of the dressage arena..all you could see was one horse! That was truly an awesome sight....and very, very correct...I think many of us can appreciate the training that goes into doing this...most people find it hard with one horse, much less two.

To say I leaned alot would be an understatement....I learned about so many things, from carts, to horses, harness, what things are strictly personal preference, tradition, oh so many things, and to take the lines in MY VERY OWN HANDS.....well, lets just say that though I was already hooked on driving...I am obsessed now ;-)

My most heartfelt THANK YOU to all the INDS members that were at the clinic, to Warren and Sylvia Riddle, "Ridder" my patient driving partner, wonderful, gracious, host farm, and to Brain and Ursula Jensen....I started at the top, learning from the best..and I hope to learn under you again...THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

BSB pictures

"Black shadow background" pics are a type of picture taken where you see the subject ( with me, usually a horse! ) standing at the edge of a "black hole"...this black hole can be as simple as an open door, or as big as the doorway for an indoor also works doing it outside as shadows fall on the ground....the result of doing this shot correct, is good lighting on your horse, and a solid black background that needs no touch up...some arenas are better than others...some have unique benefits.

Last week I had the chance to do some BSB pics of our beloved stallion "HeartBreaker" doing these shots always takes a handler, so I stopped by my friend's place for a little practice and some help in handling...I took a class on BSB last year, and found that my friend's arena was an awesome spot for this type of photo...his arena is very dark inside, and has a door facing south, giving us good sunlight to work, we worked a few minutes, got the shots I wanted and here are the results...HB was being silly, and insisted on smiling for us! enjoy !!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

cleaning up my act

There is just something about a sunny warm day that reminds me....all those dirty brushes and winter crusted halters need a bath !!! I have to admit..most folks probably do not enjoy scrubbing horse brushes, washing halters or other such menial jobs...but I do ;-)

Nylon halters have a way of getting dirty around here..and a quick soak in some soapy water goes a long ways to getting them clean.

Next comes the horse brushes, curry combs, both rubber and metal, hoof picks, assorted other tools, and shampoo bottles that have been used, but are not empty need a little clean up too.

and....after a good soak, a dash of fabric softener in the rinse for the halter and leads ropes ( to keep them soft and pliable ) they all get hung out to dry on my trusty clothes line....
AHHHHH !!!! Life is indeed good ;-)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dreams coming true

3 years ago, on my son Matthew's 21st birthday...a curly coated black filly arrived on our farm....I knew when she arrived, she would be here awhile....LOL..usually that comment is reserved for a foal that did not quite live up to expectations...homely, poor conformation, or something for me to know that foal would be a tough sell....BUT in this case, it was just the opposite! Named "C-C Hotel Kalifornia" and quickly barn named "Kallie" I have been watching this filly grow since that wonderful day....Kallie has grown up nicely! This spring, we took Kallie to our dressage trainer, to see how she would progress in training....and finally after weeks and weeks of rain, we got a break and I got a chance to see how Kallie is coming along under saddle with Trainer Mike.

Trainer Mike graciously rode Kalie outside for I could do a few pics of her...she is coming along really nice! Kallie is a very capable horse, she has a wonderful kind and willing to work under saddle attitude. Trainer Mike has just started her canter work. I was mighty pleased to see her large expressive trot at liberty, was the same trot under saddle.
Trainer Mike is doing an excellent job with her, and I am mighty pleased at her progress...she will be a wonderful and capable dressage mount. I am really impressed with her ability to "go long and low" this is not always easy for horses of the curly breed....this indicates a proper length of neck, and good physical ability.... As usual, I like to capture head shots, they say a horses eye is the window to his/her are a couple of my captures on Kallie's face and kind, willing attitude..enjoy! I certainly AM.
We shall see where your talent takes you, the world has lots of possibilities .

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Whaaattaaaaa Wedding !!!

Some events in life, just stand out more than others...a child's wedding has to qualify as of one those really special events. I can hardly believe it has been two weeks already! Two weeks since my youngest son, "Matthew" tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend/fiance' "Lauren".....
Wedding day was just spectacular !! We have one rain shower in the morning, then the rest of the day the outside lighting was just "soft box" ( light clouds/awesome lighting ) ....a photographers dream!
Our extended family started arriving on Friday, the day before the big event, we had a family dinner Friday night, and the groom-to-be made an appearance....Dinner at O'Shays..nothing better!

Saturday was busy...esp for me....Since the wedding was held at an event center, there was no Friday night rehearsal dinner..instead the kinks were worked out early Saturday and I held the rehearsal dinner as a rehearsal brunch friend Dawn Q. ended up being my right hand..there was not much time for the wedding part to eat and then get dressed for a couple hours of photos. Dawn even helped me put on my makeup....poor me....hard to put on makeup when you can not see your face without your glasses.....
When my Sister "Sally" called and asked us if they should come early to help...I said YES.....lucky thing too, she seemed to be the only one who could help us correctly put on boutineers and corsages...geeeeee. has it really been THAT long ago...? well...yes, it probably has.....I had certainly lost my touch. We also had a few cases of mistaken identity...James and Matthew look a whole lot alike...and at one point, James was banned from the dressing room, because he was thought to be the GROOM !!! even Lauren could not convince the door guard...
Here is James and his fiance' Elissa....
The ceremony was simple elegance.....vases of single flowers lined the aisle....white chairs were our seating and more vases of flowers were at the alter. Hardly a dry eye in the place as Lauren walked down the aisle....her Dad had been killed in a logging accident about 7 years ago...she gave a flower to each sibling of her Dad's family, and her Grandma I said...not a dry eye....esp me...... The minister ( a family member, who has many wedding ceremonies under his belt ) wore a kilt and quoted Scottish blessings..he did such a fantastic job...and after hours of practicing "VavRosky" he introduced "Mr and Mrs VavRosky....I now have 2 sons, and a daughter ;-)

Dinner followed the wedding, lots of time for good conversation and a chance to visit with the Bride and Groom...we left the event center around 9:30pm , when we left the Bride and Groom were still busy enjoying friends. Matthew had friends from elementary school, high school , college and work attend in his, of course all the family that could make the trip.
Pictured here was the other best gal at the wedding...our Great Niece "Edie" ...she made a lasting impression on us all...what a sweetheart she is!

Saturday night I slept very little.....a slideshow of the whole even kept running through my brain....everything about this was so perfect!

Sunday I had the honor of bringing Matthew's Jeep home...the Bride and Groom took their other vehicle on their short honeymoon, and I took the extra one home.....Got a few horns honked at me....the wedding part had decorated BOTH vehicles, not know for sure which one the Bride and Groom would be traveling in...better to be safe, than sorry. I also took a few moments to stop along the way and do some fun "wedding" pictures of my own.....
Guess I got carried away on the Jeep pics ;-) since I had no time at all, to take pics of my own..this was my way of satisfying my need for pics.

Whaaattaaaaa wedding this way...and we wish the Lovely Bride, the Handsome Groom all the best for years to come .....we were all surprised to see a photo album already made up..the Bride and Groom looking at pics of the Bride and Groom and ceremony ! What a clever idea...the photographer's wife was in another room, process and editing photos as the night went on...gotta love technology...

and...the proud parents.....looking a bit older than in our own wedding ....oh well !