Friday, May 25, 2012


Scenes from "Mongol" the movie.  An interesting video of tribal battling on the steppes.  The central asians (and especially Ghengis Khan), had some fairly crafty war strategies.

Theatrical trailer:
Final battle scene:
Set to music:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May CREC Schooling Show

The May CREC show was held last sunday on the 20th, and Tommy did great.  He preformed the best that he's ever done at a show yet!  Wahoo!  Both of us showed great improvement - (yes, me too - I know, it's hard to believe...)  But it was nice.  =:)
Lined up in one of the english classes.  Our judge was Shasta Grimes from the Tri-Cities.  She was very nice, cheerful, and helpful.  Louise is on the palomino foxtrotter mare beside of us in line.  (Remember the Halloween show post from a few years ago when I showed Nettie sidesaddle?  Louise is the other sidesaddler that lives in Pendleton.)  The girl on the bay mare at the end of the line did really well.  Her horse was nice and consistant.  Something that I need to work further on....  
At this show, I made a conscious effort to avoid leaning forward at the "go" and to stay the hell out of my horses way.  Every time that I thought I was rocking too far forward and hunching my shoulders, I'd over-exaggerate and lean back into the saddle even farther.  It helped greatly, because Tommy is starting to develop an OUTSTANDING strike off into the canter.  My bad habit of leaning forward isn't helping him very much in that department, so I tried very hard to curb it to a minimum this time. 

He did the best in the western classes that he's ever done before.  I put the martingale on him and he managed to keep his headset and collection for most of the time.  Tommy has a bad habit of popping his head up and hollowing his back out sometimes in the transitions - but for the most part he kept it fairly level and rounded-up this time, which was an improvement.  The judge said that she liked him better in the western than in the english!  That was a totally awesome comment to hear!
"Ribbon boy".  These are just a few of the ribbons that we won at the show.  Tommy got 3 first places and several more second places in the western events, but Julie ran out of ribbons halfway through the show.  So, we didn't get to decorate his tail after all..... =:)  We entered a bunch of classes, and he did really well.
Which gave me an idea.....

The CREC facility is on a tight operating budget, and since they hold several schooling shows per year - sometimes the extra funds aren't there for a few things.  I REALLY appreciate the schooling shows in this area, and I don't want to see them go away.  (These shows have helped my horse and myself immensely!) 
So, in a small effort to pitch in and help out, I donated some "thrift store" ribbons that I made.  There are around 30 first place flower ribbons that I put together from materials that I purchased at the dollar store for under $10 bucks.  The little leather circles have "CREC" stamped on them, and the backs of the ribbons read "donated by the FOTATA".  These ribbons aren't much, but the competitors (and especially the little kids), will be happy to win something and not go home empty handed. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Transitional Grey

This guy was a bit of fun!  A Breyer Smarty Jones as a transitional "bay-going-grey" owned by Betty Hook.  This model is a simple repaint with a custom base that I recently completed in the studio.  The owner was nice enough to give me free choice on whatever shade of grey that I wished to do on this guy, and I wanted to try my hand at a dark gened transitional.  I've painted a dilute transitional (grulla) going grey before, but not a bay or a black.  It was a good learning experience.  He has some interesting subtle silver and rosey tones throughout his body.
This is our own real transitional grey on the farm, Suzette.  It's a terrible impromptu pasture picture of our girl, but it does illustrate the transitional greying process quite well.  (If she was brushed and scrubbed, it would probably be a lot better...)  Suzette is an arab x akhal teke cross that I raised from a baby, and a very sweet little gal.  She was born a very dark golden buckskin, but is rapidly progressing in her greying out process.  About the only areas that don't show any signs of greying yet is her knees and hocks - everything else on her body is peppered with little grey hairs.  She's been a very good reference for me for painting rose greys and transitionals. 

(It's interesting to note that when this filly was younger her hind socks had sharp pointy streaks that looked like jagged little spears going up her legs, like a sabino.  But the points are almost completely greyed out now and unrecognizable.  It was a really neat effect, and if I had painted it on a model - people probably would've thought that I was totally crazy.  But sometimes reality can be stranger than our own painting imaginations.)

Something else noteworthy is that most transitional greying horses are not dappled.  A lot of painters in our hobby want to dapple the holy living daylights out of just about every model that they do, but in reality dappling isn't quite as common on horses as we'd like for it to be.  (I'm as guilty of dappling the crap out of my models as the next person... and they DO look soooooo pretty that way!)  But, the truth of it is, it's hard to find a good reference photos of real transitional greying horses with dapples - because it just doesn't happen very often.  When I start getting too "dapple-happy" with my painting, there's a sharp slap back to reality waiting out in the pasture for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Prineville 2012

"The best laid plans of mice and men...."
We were at the Prineville ride for a "short" while this weekend.  This was to be Octopelle's first comeback ride in 2012.  For a number of reasons he took the year off in 2011.  I've been steadily conditioning him for the past 3 months in all kinds of terrain, so we were looking forward to getting back into the swing of things at this ride.

But much to my dismay, he showed signs of lameness at the vet check.  We did our initial check-in on Friday night, and he was slightly off in the right front.  It wasn't very bad, but he had a subtle shortness to his stride.  When I trotted him out at the check area there was a patch of gravel that we trotted over, so I asked Dr. Jen if she could wait until we got our boots on to try it again.  I usually always present my horses barefoot at the initial check ins, so the vets can see their hooves in full view.  Most of the vets like to pick up the horses feet and check their soles and frogs, so it makes sense to leave the boots off until after the initial check is over with.   
We went back to the trailer and I picked his feet out really well and got the boots on, and proceeded to trot him up and down the road in front of our campsite.  Much to my shagrin, the prognosis still wasn't looking too good.  The boots weren't helping very much.  So, my first thought was that he might be gimpy on his sole or frog of the hoof, and the boot might be too hard of a surface and not enough cushioning.  So I placed an easyboot foam pad in the right boot.  Still didn't help, so we waited.  I thought that maybe the trailer ride on the curvey road down to Prineville might've stressed him out a bit - or if I waited and let him relax awhile - by some sheer stroke of luck he might appear to be okay.  So I let him sit for about an hour, and he ate his hay and bucket of mash.  Afterwards, we trotted up and down the road again.  Still no luck.  With no visible signs of improvement, we made our way back up to the vet check to talk about the situation with Dr. Jen and the other vets. 
At the vet check, there was a convergence of 3 veterinarians who inspected his movement up and down the check area.  We had the boots on, and everyone had hoped that would do the trick.  But, it was evident when he was trotting uphill that something was still not quite right.  (Downhill was great, but the uphill was when he showed the signs of lameness.)  One of the vets pulled out the hoof angler contraption to check his hoof angles and see if that might be the problem.  There didn't appear to be anything wrong with the hoof itself.  Octopelle doesn't have the greatest hoof walls in the world, but it isn't anything to get overly concerned about.  The boots protect him on long rides, and I was reassured by the veterinarians that his feet are in good enough shape to handle a shoe quite well if I was compelled to put them on him.  So his hoof wasn't the issue.
So that left us with one area to check.  The legs.  And sure enough, it was the targeted problem area.  A different veterinarian ran her hands down both of his front legs and squeezed and poked and prodded in certain areas.  Ox twitched a few times below the right knee.  After pinching the tendon and ligaments on that leg, it was diagnosed between all 3 of the vets as being hyper-extended.  They said that it was really lucky that he had showns signs of it before the start of the ride, or else we could've done some serious damage by stressing it out even more during the ride.  (Possibly permanent damage.) 

I hadn't noticed the lameness at our house, because our ground is flat and he didn't show any signs of being gimpy over the flat surface, but the Skull Hollow campsite area has a definite incline - so the signs did show going up hill.  We have been conditioning on all sorts of terrain with some boggy areas up in the mountains from the snowpack melting off, so I chaulked it up to being too much "sinky" slippery footing for him to handle.  I'm going to start therapy treatments immediately on his right leg and hopefully get him back into good shape by the time the Klikitat ride rolls around in 3 weeks.

I was bummed out about not being able to ride, but I guess that this is what the veteran endurance riders would call a "temperance" situation.  Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad, and this ride just wasn't in the cards for us.  I'm really glad that the issue showed up right away, and we didn't start out and get stuck halfway in the middle of nowhere with a seriously lame horse.  I'm not the first endurance rider to experience this problem, and definitely won't be the last.  We'll always have the next ride to look forward to.
But the trip wasn't a total loss.  =:)  We did get to camp out for awhile and eat a nice barbecue steak dinner that Craig cooked.
And we drove a few miles further to Bend and tried out a new piece of equipment that Craig is thinking about purchasing.  We also visited a few of the small ghost town types of places on the way back home, which was kind-of fun.