Tuesday, October 28, 2014

La-Di-Dah what is a Horse?

In unsurprising news I haven't blogged or ridden my horse anytime recently.

Hopefully this will change by next weekend... more on that.... next weekend.

For now I'll blog about things hardly horse related that have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Remember that time I went to a glorified line dancing convention last March?  Well I did it again.  And it was awesome.  Here are some photos that probably only I will find funny, but look anyways, because it was all so funny.

For example, my friend spent the ENTIRE weekend in this fricken chicken mask.  She rode to NY wearing it, danced in it, and woke people up wearing it.  Maybe she took it off to shower, but I'm not sure.

Also, check out this sweet foliage.

This is a broken light.  It's broken because I demanded to be carried to dinner and my 6'4 friend picked me up, threw me over his shoulder, and directly into the light.  Yes, I broke a hotel light with my head.

The silly people at the hotel gave my roommates and I adjoining rooms with our other best friends.  Naturally we dragged their mattresses into our room and had a slumber party.  Don't worry, we put them all back before we left and the hotel employees only hated us a little.

On a horse related note, for the first time in 13 years my horse bit me.  In her defense it really was an accident... I was tacking her up in her stall, and when I went to tighten her girth she swung her head around and snapped her teeth like she does every. single. day.  This time she got a little closer than normal though, and grabbed my thigh.  By the time I even realized what happened she was halfway across her stall because she knew she was in trouble.  I was pretty pumped about my bruise though.

This photo looks kinda racey... it's not.

So I saw Eric Church.  It was maybe the best concert I've ever been to.  He is now right up there with Tim McGraw.

View from my seats

And well, here's a horse.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Equine Photoshoots

So way back before I even started blogging, one of the first blogs I read was She Moved to Texas.  And I remember clicking through all of her related articles one day, and stumbling upon this one, regarding tips for portraits with your horse.  I really liked this article and thought that if I ever started blogging one day, I'd like to do my own spin on it.

As you may have noticed from the photos on my blog, I love photos of myself and my horse.  I spent years lusting over images on google, and later pinterest, and always thought of what I would do if I got photos done of Mollie and myself.  A few years ago I got friendly with a girl who took absolutely fabulous photos as a hobby.  As a fellow horse back rider, her favorite subjects were horses, and lets just say Mollie and I were willing participants :)  Here are a few things I've learned along the way.

So serious
1. Select an EQUINE photographer: I cannot stress this point enough.  I'm not going to lie, I've seen some friends of mine post "professional photos" that they've had done that I wasn't overly impressed with.  Just because someone advertises themselves as a photographer doesn't mean they've worked with horses, or outdoors at all!  All three of the photographers that I have used happen to be equestrians themselves which I think helped tremendously.  They knew what I was looking for from a horse-y perspective and I really believe it played a part in how the photos turned out.

I like photos where my horse looks good
2. Think long and hard about your outfit choice(s): This is something that I learned a bit through trial and error.  It is SO important to go into a photo shoot with a clear idea of what kind of "look" you're going for.  Do you want formal photos?  Do you want to ride your horse for some of the photos?  Do you want to look more country, or classic equestrian?  All of these things are important in selecting your outfit.  Along the same lines, make sure that you feel confident and comfortable in the clothes.  There was nothing worse than picking an outfit that I thought would be cute, and then realizing it wasn't cute at all in the photos.  While I want my horse to look nice, I really want to look nice in the pictures too :)

Not my favorite outfit because the shirt was too billowy :(

3. Practice: This sounds kind of silly, but it isn't a bad idea to practice standing around with your horse.  Not only did my friend at Knoopdawg Photography take my photos, but I also "assisted" her on many other photo shoots and there was nothing worse than a horse and rider that were awkward on the ground.  If your horse can't stand on a patch of grass without dragging you all over it, that photo you wanted in the pretty field with your horses head in your arms probably won't work out.  Make sure your horse is comfortable with the various locations you plan on shooting in, and isn't a total tool when asked to stand still.

Not what we were going for Molls....
4. Communicate to your photographer: If there's a certain photo you have in mind, TELL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER.  Even better, bring in/show them inspiration photos ahead of time so you're both on the same page.  If you want candids, tell them.  If you want to look at the camera, do it.  If you want them to take the lead and have a really artsy shoot, be open to their ideas.  This is your shoot, and you should get what you want.

So art-c
5. Have a game plan: This is a really easy way to make or break a photo shoot.  If you show up at the barn with 16 different outfits, still haven't decided how you're going to "dress" your horse, and are already wearing a photo shoot outfit to get your horse ready... you're screwed.  Always have your outfits narrowed down, but make sure you have a big t-shirt or something barn appropriate to wear when getting your horse ready.  Decide ahead of time how you want your horse to look (whiskers trimmed and mane pulled?  braided?  au natural?) and take the appropriate steps to getting them ready.

Fuzzy winter horse is fuzzy

6. Have fun: Corny as all get out, but have fun when you're taking these photos and enjoy the moment.  It sounds cheesy but when I'm standing out there with Molls getting our photos done it really causes me to reminisce about everything we've been through together, and that's part of why our photos mean so much to me.

Sometimes candids are the best :)

Photo Credit goes out to Knoopdawg Photography (photos 4, 5, 6, and 7), Doug Foscale Equine Photography (photos 2 and 8), and Polar Square Designs (photo 3).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Fotos: Part 2

One day I'll create a real post about my actual horse and our riding.  Lots of changes happening that have me in a weird head space, so for now here are more photos from our fall photo shoot.  Once again, all photo credit goes to Doug Foscale Equine Photography.

Who doesn't love a Mollie portrait?

Love the lighting here

Wear a helmet kids

Also, hold your reins

Love me some B&W

The foliage game was strong

This came out way better than I imagined

Cookie mugging

Listening ears :)

My favorite, I think

But this is a close second :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Fotos

Part 1 of what will probably be many posts on this matter.

Photo Courtesy of Doug Foscale Equine Photography

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Ride Recap You Say?

For the first time since school started, I rode my horse today AFTER WORK.  Praise be the school gods who allowed me to leave school only an hour after school actually ended.

Also, today is brought to you by Halloween socks because, October.

Anyways, got to the barn and Molls was SO SUPER ENTHUSED TO SEE ME.  Just kidding, she looked like this: 

But in a surprising twist, Mollie was freaking phenomenal today.  Maybe this had something to do with the fact that I went into this ride saying I was going to nit pick my position and see if it helped.  Umm newsflash self, riding with correct position is pretty effing helpful.  

When I took a lesson on Montana, one of the things I came away with was "keeping a triangle" between my shoulders and the top of my head.  If I bring one shoulder back, the other has to come forward, and vice versa.  And my head always has to be dead in the middle of both shoulders, stretching up.  Whenever Mollie would be "almost there" in her connection, and I would align myself with the triangle in mind, she would really just come together.

Her half pass left is becoming really solid and it's so satisfying to look into the mirrors at the end of the ring and being able to actually SEE her legs crossing over.  Like, a real horse.  Right still leaves a little to be desired but one is better than none, right?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Not Dead... Just Almost

Oh hey, I'm still alive.  Barely.

Ugh this work thing blows.

The short version is, I stepped into a classroom with a LOT of issues, some of them have been somewhat resolved, but most of them are not.  I'm in a very frustrating position because while I know the cause of some of these issues, I'm not in a place where I can fix many of them.  So basically I've been working insane hours, still haven't gotten paid, and hardly remember what my horse looks like*.  Oh, and I also decided to go back to school because I'm psychotic.

*Newsflash: She really doesn't even look the same, her winter coat came in roughly 100x darker than usual, and I need to get a photo for evidence.

So when I periodically hop on the Mollie horse she's been ok, and I just thank my lucky stars that this horse can have over a week off and be totally sane and normal when I decide to hop on bareback in a halter.

I now present you with a photo dump because words are hard.

So I have these friends that I've known for about a year.  They INSIST Mollie is a pretend creature because they've never seen her, but this all changed about a week ago.  They were far more enthused than Molls, who is enthused by nothing.

The one perk to being back at school means it's AUTUMN!!! And there's nothing better than trail rides in the fall in New England :)  Being on the back of a fluffy white unicorn helps too.

The above fluffy white unicorn thinks the berry bushes in her paddock are her own personal buffet, and is adorned in purple streaks erryday.

Sometimes I'm irresponsible and go to concerts on school nights.  Two weeks in a row.  First was Colt Ford (he was meh) and then was Chase Rice (he was AWESOME).  Not on a school night was Adam Fears, who is a lesser known artist who came to play a concert at the place I go line dancing.  The guys were AWESOME, stuck around afterwards to take photos and sign autographs, and even let us teach them some partner dances :)

Colt Ford at Toby Keith's
Chase Rice at House of Blues

Dancing with the oh-so-sweet drummer from Adam Fears.

You know what's not awesome?  Pulling in a horse to use in a lesson and finding his entire hind leg covered in blood.  This photo was taken after I'd cleaned it up, I really should have gotten one beforehand.  It was gnarly.

Luckily there are lesson ponies like Katie who make up for it by letting 6 year old boys lead them inside without putting a foot out of line :)

And here's a gratuitous awkward Mollie photo because this blog is supposed to be about her after all. Girl sure knows how to accessorize ;)