Saturday, August 31, 2013


This is going to be a rant, as I'm thoroughly pissed...

A word of advice to sheep breeders: don't take your lambs to the auction yards. THE PRICES TOTALLY SUCK BIG TIME!!!!! Take your chances with private sales instead.

I just took my second load of young lambs up to the Lewiston livestock auction, and it will be the last time that I ever do so again. Their commission fees are totally ridiculous, and they only have a handful of bidders that even bother to show up to bid on anything. It's not even remotely worth the effort to drive up there. Talk about pathetic!

The first time that I went I took a load of yearling prime butcher wethers up in 2011 to run through the Lewiston sale. The prices were "supposedly" high at that time, but I only managed to get half of what they were worth - (and belive me, my regular private sale asking prices were NOT very high at all!) I thought that maybe I would get a better price this year for yearling breeding ewe lambs instead - maybe the bidders would like them more? WRONG!!!! They went for even less than what the wethers did! Not even a QUARTER of what they were worth!!!!!!! Argh. I'm so totally disgusted at the whole thing right now.

(And don't even get me started on the auction yards down here around our area - they're even worse! I only went to Lewiston because it was rumored to have better prices than LaGrande or Hermiston. Pffff... right!)

Lesson learned. I won't take my lambs to auctions ever again. I'd rather eat all of the extra ones instead.... (which is most likely what will happen from now on.)

Friday, August 23, 2013


I'm running a little bit behind on my posts lately...

On August 10th Craig and I drove up to the Washington State horse park near Cle-Elum. I had never been to this park before, but had heard some really great things about it. The park itself was all that it was cracked up to be. Nice facilities, outstanding arenas, and some trails and jump obstacles thrown in - a great place for people who love to ride their horses!

The reason that we were trekking up to the WSHP was to meet up with other northwest members that belonged to the Akhal Teke registry of north america. The registry had plans of doing another Horseflicks video (a sequel to the first one that was released a few years ago), and folks came with their horses to the first of three filming locations held across america. In total, there were 10 northwest Akhal Tekes that came to the park, (most of them purebreds, with two sport crosses). Producer Jon Mays was set to film the event.

On Friday, the night before the filming - there was a HUGE thunderstorm that rolled through the area with lightning that lit up the sky like some sort of half-crazed broken lantern. Craig and I got hardly any sleep at all. Both of our horses were in the little shed stalls that the park had provided, so luckily they were out of the horrible weather. The rain came down in a torrential downpour, (which sounded like a gigantic waterfall on the top of our trailer). All that I could think of was: if it kept this up the following day I really didn't feel like riding in it. That wouldn't be been fun at all. But fortunately, when morning rolled around the skies opened up and the birds started singing a lovely tune again.

The filming on Saturday morning went pretty fast. Everybody had met up on Friday night to discuss plans for the next day, and it was decided that we were going to be pretty quick about filming the different riding disciplines before the afternoon heat began to suck all the life out of us. It was a good plan, as the temperature crept up to a sweating point before too long. I started getting ready at about 6:00 a.m. warming Tommy up. He was feeling pretty snuffy from the big thunderstorm that had hit the night before, so I knew that I had to do some prep work before any kind of filming began. (The very last thing that I needed to happen was to have someone post a "chuckle-it-up" video on youtube of me sailing through the air doing a faceplant in a native turkmen costume.) So we saddled up and warmed up for awhile in one of the bigger arenas.

When 8:00 a.m. rolled around Tommy was pretty well warmed up and ready to get to work. His head had relaxed to a much nicer level, so we tacked up in our lime green western show attire and made our way into the designated dressage filming arena. Jon had us do a circle and asked us to pretend like we were in a class at a real show, so we did that. It was a lot of fun. After the western portion was done, the other riders were ready for english and dressage filming - so it was a good break for Tommy and I to get back to the trailer and change into our native costume outfit. (This would be no small feat to attempt, as it takes me FOREVER to get everything put on for it.) We hustled up and got our tack ready and headed back into the arena to film the next native costume portion. Erin Heatherstone also had a native outfit too, so we did some figure eight patterns together and both of us looked pretty spiffy for Jon's camera.

After the arena riding was done it was around 10:30 a.m. and everybody was ready to do some obstacle course filming out on the trail. I had to really hustle around and hurry to get Tommy put back into his stall and get Octopelle out of his, cleaned up, tacked up, change my clothes, and get ready to head down the trail in endurance attire right away.

Octopelle and I started out with the other riders at the beginning of the trail, but I could tell immediately that Ox needed some warm up time. He was adamant that this was going to be an endurance ride and that we were saddled up to do the REAL THING. He was definitely ready to rock and roll down the trail at a brisk extended trot. I decided to pull him from the group and we went back to the arena to do some proper warm-up exercising. He appreciated this greatly and made it evidently clear that he needed to burn some pent-up energy off. We did about 5 miles worth of laps. After the arena warm up session, we headed back down the trail to meet up with the group. Most of the other riders were galloping up enbankments and charging through water, so I decided to stay on the safe side and try to keep Ox calm and relaxed. He was already amped up enough as it was. We took part in some of the group trotting down the road for the endurance portion of the filming and then everybody called it good for the day.

After the trail filming was done, Octopelle was still convinced that we were on an endurance ride and he just wouldn't let the issue go, so we headed back to the arena and I let him burn some more energy off. (One of the interesting things about this breed is that they generally are never lacking in stamina or excess energy... which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the situation.) When we had done about another 10 miles worth of canter lap work in the arena, he was finally ready to settle into a good mellowing state of mind. At that point we headed back towards the stall and wash rack.

After un-tacking Ox and giving him a bath, Craig and I set up our chairs under the park BBQ tent. Cathy had brought some hamburgers and hotdogs and was grilling them up for everybody for lunch. Somebody else had gone to the store and had gotten some watermelon as well, so there was some delicious slices of sweet melon that I loaded my plate up with. We sat around the tent and visited for about an hour and then started packing things into the truck for the journey home.

It was a really fun weekend at the horsepark, and I'm excited to see photos from the other two filming locations in Minnesota and Kentucky that will happen next month. I hope that the next Horseflicks film will be just as good as the first one - if not better! =:)

Some nice "click n' paste" photo links from the event:
A re-tweaked Pam Demuth "Seize Aire" arab foal resin recently completed in the studio. A photo of the orginial unpainted version can be seen here:

I moved this little guys legs around to extend the trot out some more, added a bit of length to the neck, flipped the tail, painted him as a buckskin pinto (to match a mare that the customer owns), and created a custom stained wooden base. He's a cute little buggar!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bronze, El Numero Uno

I recieved a casting bid on my first sculpture to go into bronze today! Shortly after I got the message Craig and I drove up to the foundry in Joseph to drop the piece off. All that I can say is that - I'M SO DARNED EXCITED!!!!! I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!!!!! I'm going to have to try and wait patiently over the next two months for a phone call...

While we were touring Valley Bronze I kept oogling over all of the lovely patinas that were available and the different sculptures that were in the works. (I'm sure that the people who worked there probably thought I was a total nutjob... My eyes were bugging out most of the time!) The foundry gets projects from sculptors all over america, so the art in the place is really phenomenal! Craig and I took a tour, and I asked about a million questions...

While I'm waiting (impatiently) for the next couple of months, I've started on the next piece to try and keep my mind pre-occupied. (By the way, have I mentioned that I'M REALLY EXCITED...? The damned wait is going to absolutely kill me!!!!) And I'm working on customers models to be painted as well. My plan is that if I can keep enough stuff crammed in front of my face, then maybe the time will fly by faster for that phone call....

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I finally got the mounted native costume done! Yay!!!!!! It's been FOREVER in the making... but now, finally it's finished... =:)
Some of the components I had to hunt a long time for in order to put stuff together and make it look correct and authentic. It's very difficult trying to find some of the smaller antique decorations that won't cost a small fortune! After 2 years worth of hunting things down and building/putting stuff together - it's finally finished. Not sure if I'll ever get around to doing another complete native costume... as this one was a boatload of work to do!

I'm attempting to get the show board committee of the Eddie McMurdo to consider changing the evening "Arab/Half Arab mounted native costume" class into an "Open mounted native costume" class so that people with different horses (like me!) can compete. Last year there was a gentleman on a beautiful appaloosa in authentic pioneer/mountain man clothing that had to use the kiddy Halloween costume class that was full of goofy finger-painted up ponies. I thought that was a shame because his authentic costume was totally awesome, so I'm going to see if the board will allow a little bit of leeway with their program. One thing is for sure, the spectators always go nuts over the mounted native costume classes... =:)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pink Ribbon Classic 2013

Octopelle got his chance to go to a bigger show this year. I took him and Tommy to the Pink Ribbon Classic on July 27th-28th in Walla Walla under USEF judge Margo Hepner-Hart. I was so proud of both of the boys. They did so well. Octopelle had only been to a couple of shows in his entire life, (two local low-key schooling shows!) and he acted like an old pro at this bigger one.

There were horses there (um, a couple of arabs..) that were acting like total retarded idiots in the showring (and also in the outside warm-up pens as well), but both of my boys ignored their stupid antics. My horses have come to the conclusion that it's just not worth the effort to act like jackasses at shows...because it's just far too much work. I know that not all arabians are bad horses, but when a few rotten apples show up to events it gives the wrong impression to everyone, (both the general public and also to fellow exhibitors). There were some very nice quiet western arabs at the show, and it was nice to sit next to them in line and also in the ring. Not all are bad, but a few shouldn't have been there.

As an example, one of the "bad apples" that was acting like an idiot in the showring had actually hurt someone very seriously the night before the show started. On Friday evening the rider of the unruly horse was warming it up in the outdoor arena and it started acting like a total retard and threw the rider off. It then proceeded to gallop madly around the fairgrounds like a chicken with it's head cut off, and ran full steam broadside into an innocent bystander rider and her horse. The poor rider and horse got knocked off their feet and the stupid loose horse proceeded to scramble over the top of both of them while they were laying there on the ground. The unfortunate bystander girl (who was going to be a competitor at the show the very next day), was rushed to the emergency room and had a broken collar bone that will take her out of competition for awhile. I felt really horrible for her, as she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And after all that..... the person that had the problem horse had the guts to show the damned thing on Saturday and Sunday!!!! I was rather disgusted with the whole ordeal. The horse kept acting like a jerk in the showring and would spook and jump sideways into other exhibitors while they were trying to show. Octopelle and I had to maneuver around the nonsense most of the time and avoid the rider and her horse like the plague. I noticed that other exhibitors wouldn't even talk to that rider on both days. All that I have to say is: if one of my horses sent a fellow competitor to the emergency room - for whatever reason - I would be way too embarrassed to stick around for the next two days and compete! Ugh.

Also, there was also a stallion that showed up that was fairly out of control as well. He was REALLY green and probably should've done more schooling shows beforehand. Everybody that was in the arena kept holding their breath hoping that the rider wouldn't come off - or else all the rest of us would have to run like hell and try and get out of the way of the stallion. I'm just glad that I had two geldings and didn't take a mare this time....

But anyway, enough of the heavy. For the most part, the show was good fun, and everybody who was competing was doing it for a worthy cause. All the proceeds from the Pink Ribbons show goes to the St. Mary's Cancer Patients Assistance Fund program. It's nice to say that you are "riding for the cure"! - as most people were wearing t-shirts with that slogan on there...
On Saturday I was using my new english numbered saddle pad with a wedge. Upon using it further that day, I decided to remove the wedge since I was sitting a little too far up off of Ox's back...
A picture of the second day without the wedge. I'm sitting a lot lower now... =:) I also had to start using the crop on Sunday because Ox was getting too lazy to trot into the ring. (He thought that we should just saunter into the arena like an old plow horse taking a coffee break...)
And unfortunately in one of the classes I had forgotten my gloves! I really had to go pee in between classes, and I got back to the gate just in time for the next class - but had accidentally left the gloves on the fender of our trailer. I fortunately remembered them for the rest of the day...
Sibbea got a few pictures of Ox's russian mat. I didn't do as good of a job as I should've on it, because I was in a hurry to get him warmed up on Sunday morning. But it turned out good enough, I guess.
And I also sported my new "thrift store" Akhal Teke show vest in the western classes! I bought this little black vest for $1.50 at the local Salvation Army. I took it home and fixed it up with some swarovski crystals and designed a teke head from sparkly fabric that I sewed on. (I think that there is about $8 bucks worth of materials from Hobby Lobby.) I always drool over the Lisa Nelle and WannaGoSlow shirts and vests on the internet - but they generally cost hundreds of dollars for those beauties, so I bargain hunt for stuff that I can make myself. (My little cheapskate vest is nowhere as nice as some of the professionally made ones, but hey - it's personalized and works great for me...)
Our fledgeling venture one-handed at a big show. Tommy did pretty good, but he still noodles around a little bit with his body when he's allowed some leeway with the single hand. He loves the Kelly shank snaffle, so I showed him in that bit this time. This is his last year with a broken mouth bit (snaffle) that he's allowed, so he has to move up to a solid shank next year if we want to keep showing. (The Oregon/Washington Horseman rules state that a horse is allowed two years as a novice in a jointed mouthpiece, and then they're required to move up into a solid mouthpiece for competitions.)
We did pretty good at the show this year. Both Tommy and Ox got several second and third placings. But I'm still on the hunt for that elusive first place spot at this particular show....
My favorite picture that Sibbea snapped! Isn't he cute...? Tommy in the pleasure horse halter in-hand class. I'll probably end up ordering an 8 x 10 of this one... =:)