Sunday, May 31, 2009


Beautiful day at last!! I spent time with the horses, brushing and grooming them, getting the tangles out of Ranga's mane, braiding Django's. Then I lay back under a shade tree and just stared at that gorgeous, robin's egg blue sky! I saw a spider web floating across the sky, barely missing the tree tops. It sparkled in the sun and gently rolled and tumbled with the velvety soft summer breeze. I think it was spider web. Maybe it was a gossamer thread from an angel's robe.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just how sweet is my Django? Not that Rowdy is a bad boy. He's just a wee bit stubborn. Today was worming day and the day that I was going to put on the bio spot for flys, fleas and ticks.  Django, as usual, was so agreeable. He dropped his head for me to put his halter on. I led him to the fence and tied him up and he stood patiently while I applied the fly repellant and giving him the wormer was easy as pie. Even Brandy, who is usually a pill to deal with when haltering or worming, was a doll since both I and the vet figured out that she doesn't throw a fit as long as you come at her from her right side. There was no head slinging or pulling away. I didn't even put a rope on her! Then there was Rowdy...he's another story altogether. The boy has a stubborn streak and he doesn't like being told what to do. It took me over thirty minutes to finally get him cornered and a rope thrown around his neck so that I could halter him. Oh, I did get him cornered in the run in once but the other two decided to join us. I didn't feel quite safe in such close quarters with three horses especially when two of them don't get along. Once he was haltered,  I didn't tie him up which meant I had to chase him around to get the bio spot applied to his rear legs and then he pulled a Brandy on me, clamping his lips closed and throwing his head up when I tried to give him the wormer. I did succeed in the end but I've decided that perhaps Rowdy needs to be haltered and worked with every day for a least until he stops running away from me. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's been a soggy month here in Tennessee. It almost seems as if it has rained non stop since we brought the "boys" here. The horses don't seem to mind though. Not only do they get to roll and cover them selves with what I'm sure they consider delightfully wonderful clay mud but they have gotten a long reprise from work since I've only been able to ride them once in the month that they've been here. Even with all of the mud and tangled mane, I still think Django is beautiful...and of course, Ranga Rowdy, too. But then I am a wee bit biased:)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Kentucky Horse Park

I just returned from Lexington and the Kentucky Horse Park where I was photographing Kaitlin Boling at May Daze a three phase event. It was my first trip to the Park. I plan to go back soon just so I can really explore the place. It is nirvana for those who love horses. I've posted a slide show/video on youtube with shots from the show and park. The photo above is not the best shot I got from the weekend but I love both the elevation of the canter and the light in this one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The New Kids in Tennessee and Scenes from Missouri

A few photos from both our trip to Missouri and the "new boys" back here in Tennessee. Mouse stayed in Missouri with Huston. She will be bred later this month to a son of the great Missouri Traveler named Traveler's Sensational Zane. He is a gorgeous chestnut stallion and so sweet. His name says it all; he has wonderful breeding. His sire was the aforementioned Missouri Traveler and his mother was a daughter of the famous Zane Grey. Between his breeding and Mouse's, we should get one amazing foal. I'm both scared and nervous--first time horse mom jitters. I am of course hoping for a dapple gray baby that looks just like its beautiful mom. Both Huston and my friend, Fran Forester, tell me that is most likely. Huston also tells me that our lovely Mouse is not a gray dapple but a silver dapple. Can you tell that I love this horse? I've fallen in love with her son as well, Sensational Boy J, that I call Django and her brother, Sensational N' Honey, who is known as Ranga (Australian for red) Rowdy. Both horses live with us now and fill my heart with joy ALMOST as much as Mouse did. I do miss that girl! Photos of all are on this little video that I hope you enjoy viewing. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Results from the Equine Ideal Photography Competition

The winners and placements in the Equine Ideal Spring 2009 Photography Competition were announced today. All four of my entries made it into the top ten of their catagories:
Head Study (Moonlit Grace) ~ 4th Place
Horses at Liberty (At Play in the Fields of the Lord) ~ 3rd Place
Black & White (Misty Morning Run) ~ Honorable Mention (every placement beyond 6th place)
Art (Once in a Dream) ~ First Place!! 
I was entered into the amateur division this year because I didn't make enough from my photography last year to qualify for the pro division. But the level of work in the amateur division was amazing and I'm so shocked and delighted to have placed this well with my entries. Next competition, I will be able to enter the professional division so we will see how I fare there. Thanks to everyone who voted for me for People's Choice. I didn't win but I still appreciate your votes so much. 
My friend, Geno Praag, has opened an Etsy shop, Praag Photography. Geno does the most amazing photography featuring the wild horses of Utah. His work is truly incredible.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Freedom Run

 We've had rain almost non-stop since Django and Rowdy arrived here and I've had few opportunities to get any photos of them. When the rain finally paused for a moment late Tuesday afternoon, it was almost dusk and even with the ISO turned way up on the camera it was difficult to get a good shot especially of Django whose extremely dark color (he's the blackest black horse I've ever seen) makes it difficult to get a properly exposed shot of him even in the best of light. So, I'd posted a photo of him on that I wasn't quite satisfied with because I still wanted to show him off a bit to my internet friends:). Alyssa Gray wrote to me and suggested that I crop so that what was best about the photo, the highlights around Django's upperbody and on his mane, would really be the focus of the image. I decided to try this and got to work on it. It was several minutes before I realized that I was working on an entirely different image than the original post but I was so pleased with the results that I just went with it. I posted the image on redbubble before I went to bed last night and I wrote in the notes that it was for Alyssa.  What a wonderful surprise this morning when I awoke to find a gift from Alyssa, the most beautiful story inspired by the image above of Django. I'd entitled the photo, Gypsy (Django got his name from Django Reinhardt the famous gypsy jazz guitarist)and the title, too was part of the inspiration.  The story, Freedom Run, had tears streaming from my eyes by the time I finished reading it. It is an extraordinary piece of writing from my extremely talented, Australian friend, Alyssa. And I (and I'm sure Django) am so honored to have inspired something so beautiful. Alyssa is working on a book of ekphrasis pieces she has written, both stories and poetry, all inspired by the artists of Red Bubble. She has asked to include my photo with this touching story in her book when it is published. Please take the time to read the story. It is so moving; you will be so glad that you did.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our New Boys

Hard to get a good shot of Django because I think he is the blackest black horse I have ever seen. Rowdy is like his half sister, he seems to love posing for the camera. Neither horse is as active as Mouse though. It might be a while before I get any running shots:) Excuse the mud, it's that time of year....rain, rain, mud, mud and two horses that love to roll!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Missouri Trail Ride

The place where Huston regularly rides, Lead Mine Nature Conservancy, is about 10 minutes from his home. It was a great ride, ten miles long and lots of streams and climbs and descents, a real trial by fire for trail green me Huston invited over some good friends of his (I will certainly add their names later after I talk to Huston because I'm a duffus who never remembers last names-sorry) to ride with us and they brought a friend of theirs. So we had a great group as we headed out to Lead Mine . As I said, the advice that Huston gave me on Friday, "Sande, you'll never get hurt as long as you stay in the saddle," certainly served me well on Saturday's trail ride.
 One of the horses that Huston's friends brought to ride was a bit excitable. They said that this wasn't typical behavior for him so maybe something was bothering him because he started bucking in the parking lot and kept it up all along the trail. I was riding Django, who wasn't as trail experienced as the other horses and of course, I'm a novice myself. Django kept wanting to "head for the hills" with me every time the other horse would act up. He was basically a very good boy though because he was easy to get under control and calm. About half way through the ten mile ride, the excited horse blew up again and started bucking. The difference this time was that he was right in front of us instead of behind us. Django, I'm sure, thought that something was ready to eat us all if we didn't get out of there. He started hopping sideways with me and I wasn't expecting it. I lost my right stirrup and went flying sideways out of the saddle. I was using English stirrups but thank goodness, I had them on a Western saddle. I reached down with one hand and grabbed the saddle horn and literally jerked myself back into the saddle seat and with my other hand, I turned Django around a bit to stop his jumping. Huston was beside me on Mouse and he simply asked, "Do you want to switch horses?" I told him no, I was fine and we rode on. After we'd ridden for a while, I rode up beside Huston and asked him, "Why did you want to change horses with me? Did you think I was coming out of the saddle back there?" Huston grinned and replied, "I thought you just might!" I laughed and told him, "No, I thought I was coming out,too but I just remembered what you said to me yesterday, you can never get hurt as long as you stay in the saddle. So I was determined that I was staying in that saddle." 
The trail ride was the reason that Steve decided he wanted to buy Rowdy, or Blaze as he was known on Huston's farm. I put Steve's saddle on for him and tightened the girth. The girth we had was too long for the saddle but I really thought I'd made it work...honestly:). I promise there was no thought of life insurance policy pay outs when I forgot to recheck the girth before Steve mounted the horse. We had ridden a short while and just passed through a stream when Steve asked everyone to stop so that he could shorten his stirrups a bit. The saddle had English leathers so instead of dismounting, Steve decided to adjust them while in the saddle. He leaned over and the saddle leaned, too! Before he knew what was happening, he and the saddle were nearly on the ground. Horses and hooves all around him, rocks below and his horse not only didn't move, he froze like a statue. He didn't even twitch a muscle while Steve untangled himself and dismounted and fixed the saddle. What a great trail horse!! When we'd finished our ride and were back in the parking lot untacking our horses, Steve walks up to me and whispers, "What do you think about us taking him home with us." I thought he was talking about Django and I said that I thought that was half the purpose of our trip to take Django home with us. He then totally surprised me (and any of you who really know Steve will be surprised by this as well) by saying, "Not Django, my horse!" I think he'd made this decision while he was hanging perpendicular to the ground. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

First Week With the New Kids

Fluid Motion
Longing in Their Hearts
The new "boys" are beginning to settle in here in Tennessee after a week on our farm. Brandy, our old Appy mare, seemed to fall in love with Mouse's baby, Django, immediately. She's never screamed at him or bitten or done anything harsh. She will nuzzle and groom him any time that he'll stand still for it and even doesn't mind when he slips into her feed bucket. Not quite the same relationship that she has with our other boy, Rowdy(named so for two reasons: he is rowdier on the ground than his calm under saddle self would indicate, lol...and Rowdy Yates aka Clint Eastwood, of the old Rawhide TV series, was my first crush as a tiny little girl. Which indicates my age as well as Mr. Eastwoods, lol!) Brandy put Rowdy into his place from the first moment they met and I watched the old girl plant a well placed hoof on Rowdy's rump when he attempted to share her food. He usually keeps a wary eye on her and gives her wide berth. This morning he was standing at the fence curiously watching Steve work at building a dam to stop the run off and gullies that we're getting from all of this rain. When Brandy came down to the fence, Rowdy moved away but evidently not far enough away for Brandy. She actually started backing up quickly in his direction and Rowdy decided to hide behind Django. Do you think he's smart enough to know that she wouldn't kick Django? I don't know if he realized that or not but it did stop her onslaught on him. 
I have yet to get a really good photo of either new horse. It seems as if it has been raining and gloomy almost nonstop since our return. So, the two photos I'll include with this post are both of my sweet Mouse, whom I'm missing more than I even thought was possible. These are both shots that I took at Huston's farm. One shows her staring longingly out at the pasture where all of the mares stay. I called the photo, Longing in Their Hearts, after the Bonnie Raitt song. Huston says that she still stands there every day and whinies softly but he doesn't want to let her out with the other mares yet for fear she'll be hurt. The other photo was also taken on Huston's farm the morning after we arrived and it is of Mouse being Mouse, lol. She really showed off for us the night before as well, prancing about and running and kicking, but it was too dark for me to get a good shot of that show. 

If I Could Fly

If I Could Fly
The wind of heaven is that which flows between a horse's ears.