I really wanted to do one of those super cute Christmas pics of Speedy wearing a festive hat with pine boughs woven through his mane ...
Didn't happen. For a variety of reasons. The first of which is that I don't own a festive hat nor do I have the time to gather pine boughs and weave them through his mane. Instead of that, I clipped a crinkled red ribbon to his mane and then spent the next fifteen minutes trying to convince him that there were NO COOKIES in my pockets so please STAY OVER THERE!
Here is the result. Click photos to enlarge.
I started The Eighty-Dollar Champion on Saturday and read over half of it in one afternoon. It's that good.
There is a quote at the very start of the book that spoke to me so directly that I knew I was led to this book for a reason.
So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
- Christopher Reeve.
Thank you Mr. Reeve for summing up my dressage experience. I often times feel as though this journey into dressage is happening by the sheer force of my will. None of it has come easily. None of it has just happened. It takes a concerted effort each and every day to make the next step a reality. This quote will now follow Lilo Fore's as a reminder to myself to press on.
I finished Elizabeth Letts's book last night. If you're not familiar with the title, it's a biography of Snowman, a horse who was rescued from the killers, and Harry de Leyer, who not only bought him off the slaughterhouse truck, but who then trained him to be a champion show jumper. It's a horse story, but at the same time it is a re-telling of America's history during the 1950s.
There is no dressage element to the book, but the story of how Harry scrapes up enough money for schooling shows and then for the rated shows all in effort to create a champion that he actually owned will resonate with every amateur out there. Most of us can't afford a $50,000 horse and a full-time trainer. Neither could Harry. Instead, he bought discarded horses and trained them himself. Harry's "discount" journey will ring very true to most horse owners whether they're show jumpers or not.
As I read the book, Harry's relationship with Snowman reminded me so much of my own gray pony. Like Snowman, Speedy loves the attention of strangers, particularly from kids. While Speedy will probably never be a National Champion, I still love him and value him as a member of my family as Harry valued Snowman. I think many of us have, or have had, our own Eighty-Dollar Champions - even if they never actually earned the blue ribbon to say so.
Banner beneath the theater's portico
On Sunday, a friend and I made the drive to Los Angeles to see the stage version of War Horse
at the Ahmanson Theater
I knew I would like it, but I didn't know how much
I'd like it. It was really terrific. I'll admit that it started out a bit slow, and I was feeling a bit nervous as I was the one who talked Janet into going with me. I didn't want her to feel as though her money had been wasted.
I shouldn't have worried, within no time, adult Joey bust out of the blackness to a rousing applause from the audience. From that moment on, I was literally captivated by the show.
If you've already seen it, you already know how effective the simple set and special effects were. The simplicity of the stage literally set my imagination on fire. The main backdrop is a torn piece of parchment paper. What they were able to do with that one shred of paper was amazing. If you haven't yet seen War Horse
, I don't want to spoil it for you.
Both Janet and I were in awe of the horses. They were so life-like that when they froze with the rest of the performers, I wondered at how they were able to keep the horses so still. There were some very dark moments with the horses that were a bit creepy: the way the horses died, the carcasses left to rot, and the ghost horses who have not yet left this world, but who are very nearly gone.
If you do go and see the stage performance and you've read the book or seen the movie, ditch those images and enjoy this adaptation of the story. No, it doesn't follow the book exactly, but that's okay. Enjoy the interpretation that this playwright chose to present.
To see some really interesting footage of Joey, visit this link
. Be sure to watch the Adaptation
link. The most interesting link can be found here
. It's a great video showing how the puppets are built. Fascinating ...
Me and Janet (right) in front of the theater.
We went to a matinee showing, so there was plenty of daylight to admire the views from the theater's plaza. Click to enlarge images.
First of all, thank goodness it's Friday! That means Saturday and Sunday are fast approaching.
It's not often that my work and equine worlds collide in a good way. It's usually a collision wherein my horse world comes out beaten and bruised. Although last summer when my head and face met up with the arena pole, it was my work life that was the one sporting the black eye, literally!
But I am getting off topic. The point of this post was to share a good collision. On Thursday morning, one of my students shyly handed me a drawing she and her dad had done the night before. I oohed and ahhed appropriately and promised to hang her work at the barn. And I did. That very day. Here are the pictures of her artwork.
Her artwork is hanging at the bottom.
She captured Speedy G's mischievous look perfectly!
Have a great day!
Here is the painting donated to GEAHS's Open Dressage Show's Silent Auction. It is truly life sized at 3' 6" x 3' 6". It is framed in black which contrasts beautifully with the horse's tack and black points. The painting will be available for auction this Saturday, May 7, 2011.
The artist is Tomi Glover, a local equestrian and master of all things that can be done with your hands. She gardens, builds, constructs, designs, and repurposes anything you can think of. She is truly a "Jill-of-all-trades." If you would like to see more of her work, she can be reached at 661-872-8396.
I had seen some of Tomi's work on Facebook as well as around the barn. I knew about the silent auction and decided to ask Tomi if she would be willing to do a small equestrian piece for the show. I quickly added that I would pay for her supplies as I know these things can get fairly costly. Not only did she refuse to allow me to purchase the supplies, she generously volunteered to use her own hand-stretched canvas and then even built the frame. It is so gratifying to have such gracious people in my life. I only hope that I can do something equally as kind for her.
By the way, here is the original model. Amazing work isn't it? I am definitely considering commissioning a portrait of Speedy G!