Introducing HoofPrints Photography!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So I've decided to finally get serious about trying to turn my love of equine photography into something that I can attempt to make some money from.  Now I know that I'm never going to be able to quit my job and do this full time, but I have fun with it and if I can make a little money on the side then great.

Saturday morning I took the camera with me out to the barn to shoot the Windhurst Event Team practice.  Tiffany was there and rode Bugs with Rachel and Airy.  They both had great jump schools.  Bugs in particular was so in his element.  He was so excited to be jumping big fences.  And speaking of jumping big fences, Rachel jumped her first 4' fence!  Woohoo!  Go Rachel!

After Rachel and Tiffany finished their lessons it was time for the younger kids to ride.  And both Ari and Astrid had personal bests when they jumped 3'.  So proud of both of them.

I had a quick lunge lesson on my horse, in which he just keeps getting better and better.  I love my pony!

Sunday I got up early and headed out to South Farm for the day.  They were holding their first Mini Trial that day and I decided it would be fun to go and practice my photography.  I got there in time to watch stadium for the training division before I headed out to the cross country course.

After the training division finished stadium I headed out to the cross country course to get a good spot before they began running horses.  After taking a look at the training course map I decided that the water would be the best place to hang out.  From there I could see four jumps plus the up and down banks in and out of the water.  As I headed down to claim my spot, I found out I wasn't the only one who thought that was the place to be.  I got to hang out with Melinda from Squibbs Photography, the official photographer for the Mini Trial. 

I stayed down at the water for the novice division as well.  They only had a pass through the water, so it's wasn't as exciting as the banks, but there was a jump right after the water and I could get a good shot of the jump before the water as well.  

After novice finished I decided to scope out a new spot.  Beginner novice only had the water pass through option and so unless they took the optional fence, I wouldn't get any jumping shots.  So I packed up and made my way over to the bank complex.  I was able to get a good spot up on top where I could actually see almost every fence on course for beginner novice and starter/very green.  Pretty cool.  I only ended up stay for about half of the 2 foot rides.  By that point it was getting late and I was pooped from standing in the sun all day.  But I had a great time, Sarah and her crew there always put on great events.  I love going there to ride, or just watch.  And I can't wait to go back in October for the last combined test to polish off my jumping before the Boyd Clinic.


Lunge Lesson Magic

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bonnie had Tuesday night off from work, which ended up working out well for me.  Meant I could stop out and ride after work.  Yippee!  When I got to the barn, Tammy was there with two of the girls she's been teaching.  They were riding Kaye on the lunge already, which was kind of disappointing.  Meant I couldn't jump her.  And Tiff had been out to ride that morning, so I couldn't ride Bugs either.  Oh well, good excuse for a lunge lesson on my pony.  So I tacked up the Pon-Pon and we headed out to the arena for 45 minutes of torture from Bonnie.  :)

It's amazing how well X is going on the lunge line after just a few lessons the past couple of weeks.  His canter work on the lunge is incredible!  His hocks are underneath him and he's together and very uphill in his canter.  And this was with no contact at all!  So proud of my boy.  And he really likes the lunge lessons.  I mean don't get me wrong he'd still prefer to be in his stall eating, but if he has to go to work, lunge lessons aren't so bad.



Monday, July 12, 2010

So Jamie the blacksmith was out this week and Bonnie decided to try one of her unusual shoeing ideas.  See Bugsy has never moved quite right, not off or lame necessarily, just not quite right.  And he always pulls his right front shoe.  Well Tiffany has been riding him a bit and Bonnie been watching him move.  And he moves much better without the right front shoe.  So maybe he has one leg just a bit shorter than the other. We had Jamie trim his right front just a bit shorter to see if we're right.

Saturday was chaotic as usual at the barn.  Rachel got there early, so we tacked up Naughtie for a lunge lesson. I lunged Rachel first and then we swapped places.  Then Rachel tacked up Kaye and I tacked up Buggers!  Bonnie wanted to take a look at how he was moving since it had been two days since he was shod.  We started out just walking on a nice loose rein.  Eventually Bonnie had us pick up the trot, still on a long, loose rein.  Bugs felt good!  And it felt good to ride him again, been a very long time.  So after we had trotted around for a while, Bonnie tells me to shorten my stirrups and hop over the crossbar.  Well, it's Bugs and he does get a bit exuberant when jumping at home, so I wasn't so sure about it.  But Bonnie wouldn't let me say no.  So with a little trepidation we dropped the whip and headed towards the fence.  And Bugs was such a good boy!  He just popped over it nice and easily, landed in an easy canter but quickly came back to the trot for me.  We jumped the cross rail a few more times and then Bonnie turned it into a low vertical.  He did get a little stronger coming down to the fence.  But still very manageable.  After jumping that a few times, Bonnie raised the vertical.  And that's when Bugs really started to have fun.  He really started to get strong going into the fence, and instead of just holding him and going with him, I got scared and defensive.  But we jumped it a few times, and as I relaxed and actually rode the horse instead of just sitting there, things got better.  We called it quits after that, it had only been two days since Bugsy's feet were done and we didn't want to push it too much.  Astrid measured the fence after we finished.  We had been jumping 2'7" which is my personal best with Buggers.  So that was pretty cool.

Later I ended up getting on Twinkie, first time anyone has been on her in probably a year or so.  So was cool as could be though.  I started to lunge her only because she hadn't been turned out in a while.  She quickly let me know it wasn't necessary, so I just climbed on.  Ari was taking a lesson on Fanny at the time and Katie was walking Tru under saddle, so Twinkie had plenty of company, which she really enjoyed.  She settled right into a good walk, no funny business or anything.  After a while I asked for a trot.  She was a little foot sore (she really needs a trim) but she was still very good for me.  The only problem was every time she passed Tru she wanted to walk because he was walking!  I was pleased with her though, for not having done any work under saddle in months she did really well.

After I finished up with Twinkie, the barn was getting quiet.  Most of the kids had left, we were just waiting for Astrid and Victoria to be picked up.  So I decided to pull Bugs out of his stall again and practice braiding the way I learned from the Phillip Dutton Camp Videos.

Patiently waiting for me to finish

The braids

Buggers looking very handsome

Practicing for jog ups

Begging for treats

Bugs says "If your not going to give me more peppermints, I'll just eat your hair instead."

We had talked last week about having a bonfire this weekend since Morgan would be up from Tennessee.  Unfortunately her Mom wouldn't drive her down to the barn (they were with family up in the Meadville area)  So the bonfire was cancelled.  But Astrid and Victoria ended up inviting Bonnie and I for dinner and a movie. So after we finished with the horses I headed home for a quick shower and then back to the barn to pick up Bonnie.  We made a quick stop at the AT&T store in Cranberry to get the wireless card for Bonnie's laptop and then it was time for dinner.  Astrid's dad cooked some pork and brats on the charcoal grill (Yummy!) Dinner was very good.  And the meal was fun and entertaining with the von Rintelen's.  After dinner Bonnie, Astrid, Victoria, Henry and I all headed downstairs to watch Flicka 2.  Good movie, fairly predictable as most horsey movies seem to be.  But we all enjoyed it.

Sunday I was back at the barn.  Cleaned X's stall first thing.  And then picked Miss and Twinkie.  And then I tacked Twinkie up.  She was a little tired and a little foot sore, but she still went right to work for me.  I warmed her up on a nice long rein, not asking for much.  After a while we trotted through the cavalettis Bonnie had set up for us.  She looked at them the first time through and slowed to a walk but she didn't hesitate at all.  Next time she just trotted right through like a pro.  After trotting the cavalettis a few times, Bonnie put a small cross bar.  Twinkie did stop in front of it but then she jumped from there.  I think the stop was probably more my fault than hers.  We jumped the crossbar a few times before calling it quits with her.  You could tell she was tired.  But I'm really very pleased with how she went this weekend.  Can't wait to get on her next week after she gets her feet done.

One of Bonnie's newer students came out in the afternoon for a lesson.  After I helped Denise tack up Kaye, I got Bugsy ready and rode with her.  All we did was lots of walking and trotting on the buckle, but man did he feel great!  He was very happy, and had a nice long stride.  He just really felt very good.

Bonnie's off Tuesday night, so I'll be able to get some weekday riding in this week.  And then Wednesday is Maeve's party at Ethan's house.


South Farm and the 4th of July Holiday

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

There's not too much that's better than a long holiday weekend.  I have to say I was really looking forward to the 4th of July weekend.  Ron was kind enough to let us out early on Friday at 3:30, so I enjoyed getting out then.  Of course I used my extra time to head out to the barn.  Astrid was there and Carlee and Colleen came soon afterwards for Carlee's lesson.  While Carlee was riding I tacked up Kaye for a jumping lesson.

Once again I am reminded how freakin awesome Kaye is.  After we had warmed up, we started jumping the single vertical that was set at about 2'7"  Jumped that once or twice and it was time to knot my reins and jump with no hands.  Been a while since Bonnie has had me do this particular exercise, but man does it really just fix my position so quickly.  So we jumped that several more times and then I got my reins back and was told to head to the triple bounce.  And instead of collecting Kaye to it, I ran her into and we stopped.  Completely my fault.  Tried again, but now I was a little afraid and so we had another stop.  So we went back to the single fence and jumped that a few times to get a nice jump, while Bonnie took down the first fence in the triple.  Then we turned for the bounces again.  Although Kaye was slow and I was holding her back through it, we jumped the bounces.  Second time through was much better once I realized that there was nothing to be afraid of.  So we jumped just the two fences a few times and then Bonnie put the first one up again.  Although our first trip through wasn't pretty, we did.  Jumped the triple a few more time, getting better each time, before we called it quits for the night. 

Saturday morning I picked up Astrid early, we headed out to the barn to feed and then we all piled into the truck to head to South Farm.  Bonnie and I had volunteered to jump judge for Sarah, and we figured it was a good opportunity for the kids to learn.  So Astrid, Rachel and Katie all decided to go with us, and of course Chloe tagged along too.  Made it to South Farm just in time for the jump judge briefing.  The TD was Cindy DePorter from North Carolina.  Super nice lady, very knowledgeable and very entertaining in her briefing.  Once the briefing was finished, we all grabbed lunch and headed out to our fence.  We were at fence number eleven on the prelim course.  It was a corner with a sharks tooth option.  And yes it was the infamous Rob corner, the one that you jump between the 3rd and 4th board.  We saw quite a bit of bad riding at the corner,  several kinda scary jumps and a few refusals.  And then there were several riders who never even made it to the 11th fence.

After the prelim division finished up we headed back to fence number one for the training division.  It was an easy, inviting log.  So we didn't really see any problems there, some bad riding of course though.  I did manage to get some good pictures from both the first fence and the last fence.  For novice we stayed with fence number one, although we did have to move to a different part of the cross country course.  Another easy, inviting log, but man was there some bad riding!  Including a very ugly, scary jump from a well known local trainer.  Then to finish up the day, we headed over to fence number three for beginner novice and starter.  Both of the fences were little coops, very easy for beginner novice.  Altogether it was a fun day.  But even though all I did was sit outside all day, I was beat by the time we got home.  I helped Bonnie feed the ponies and then I headed for home and my bed.

Sunday morning I was up early and out to the barn.  Mom was having the whole family over for a picnic at dinner, so I wanted to get my riding time in the morning.  Started out the day with some stall work.  Got Annie and Jade both cleaned while they were outside.  Then got X, Kaye, Bugs, and Cuddles done as well.  After we finished up with stalls, Bonnie had me tack my pony up for a lunge lesson.  She let me keep my stirrups for the whole lesson, but that was the only way she went easy on me!  X and I both had to work a lot.  We did a lot of posting trot and then quite a bit of canter work each direction as well.  By the time we finished poor X was lathered!  But he got a good bath which he enjoyed, and then he had his nice clean stall to go lay down in.  We grained the ponies and then headed home.

Mom's picnic was nice, always good to see the family.  Would have been nice if my brother and his family could have been there.  But Todd had to work, the hospital recognized Monday as the holiday, and Kris took the girls to one of her sisters.  It was still a nice evening with the rest of the family.  Jeffery was even able to make it down from Pittsburgh for a bit.

Monday, I had the day off, so of course I was out to the barn.  Ari, Victoria and Katie were all there as well. So we got quite a bit done.  I picked all the stalls I had cleaned the day before and then cleaned Fanny's stall as well.  The kids got Twinkie done and Katie worked on some of her stalls.  Bonnie gave me another lunge lesson on X.  Poor pony I think he was horrified when I tacked him up again.  But he's going very well right now.  He actually had a really nice canter on no contact at all.  So as much as he doesn't like the work, it's been very good to him.  I did feel bad though, pony was pooped!

Ari and Victoria tacked up Kaye for lunge lessons and I headed out to the hay field with my trusty steed Edgar.

I brought in the last ten bales for Bonnie.  I did pretty well, didn't have any problems until i was bringing in the last bale.  It was a heavy one and as I was coming up the hill, the front end of the tractor was off the ground!  So I was trying to use the brake pedals to steer, that didn't work out too well.  And then I lost the bale off the back of the tractor.  Of course it landed on it's end.  I use the fork on the tractor to tip it over on it's side.  And then I watch as the bale goes rolling back down into the field.  So I turn the tractor around and go back for it.  I was a little more careful and managed to get it up the hill on the second try.  I was glad that was the last one though.