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:

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