From Endurance to Dressage
When I received the email letting me know that there would be a photographer at the show on Saturday, I laughed and gave him my money. I double dog dared him to get at least one somewhat decent shot. He didn't get one, he got more than twenty. Of the forty-one proofs that Steve Michael Photography sent me, I bought five. I would have liked to buy more, but funds aren't unlimited.
I was so excited when I opened Steve's email informing me that my proofs were ready. That I had choices made me ecstatic. You've all seen the videos, so you know he didn't have a lot to work with. That there was even one that showed how beautiful Izzy is made my heart just melt with gratitude. Izzy and I have worked for so long to finally be able to show, and while our scores are pretty sucky right now, at least he looks happy and well cared for.
That maroon jack and helmet were a ginormous departure from my typical conservative look, but seeing it in living color makes me glad that I took the chance on it. Now that I am looking at our turnout, I think I need a white pad with maroon trim. Wouldn't that really set it all off?
The Gastro Elm has made such a huge difference for Izzy. Now that his tummy is feeling better, he's starting to develop a bloom that I haven't seen for several years. His coat is once again brilliant, and he's put on enough weight to cover up his angles. While he looks lovely right now, I think a few more pounds would do him some good.
The first five photos are from the the first day of the show. They were purchased from Steve Michael Photography and used with permission. Steve is based in Pasadena.
I didn't know there was a photographer on Sunday, so when I received another email with proofs after the show, I thought there was no way that I would be lucky enough to get a second set of beautiful photos. Was I wrong! Tess Michelle's photos were stunning.
The photos from Tess Michelle Photography were quite expensive, so I was only able to order just one digital print, and is it ever a stunner! The prints were much cheaper, so I did order a handful of those, but due to copyright issues, I can't share them. This last photo, purchased from Tess Michelle Photography, was also used with permission. Have a look at it.
Thank goodness for show photographers. I know it is a challenging business made up of long hot days without the guarantee of any sales and people ripping off your photos and publishing them without permission. I am sure I wasn't the only one to purchase these photographers' photos as they're just so beautiful. Hopefully, both photographers made enough to make the day profitable.
I am thrilled with the photos I was able to buy, so thank you to both Steve Michael Photography and Tess Michelle Photography!
Even though I got too busy/lazy to sign up for professional photos before the show, the photographer, Ashton Kingsley, was wise enough to shoot a series anyway. God bless show photographers. It has to be about as non-lucrative a job as one can get. It was 100 degrees, and yet he sat out there all the cursed day long shooting pictures of riders who probably weren't going to buy anything. Even if they had all turned out horribly, which they didn't, I would have bought one anyway. As it is, I bought a package of ten.
All of these photos were purchased from A.J.S.K Photography and used by permission. Visit A.J.S.K. Photography to schedule Horse Event Photography, Horse & Rider Portraiture, Equine Sales Photo/Video, and Non-horse related Event Photography (Birthday Parties, Graduations, etc.). I am delighted with the quality of the photos and am already working on getting some canvases done.
Support your local photographer!
It doesn't happen very often, but today, I am left with nothing to say which means I really have a lot to say but don't want to write about it. Instead of talking about my latest elephant in the room, I'll share a few photos.
I got a new iphone a few months back and can't believe how much better its camera is than was the crappy one on my last iphone. I particularly like the portrait mode, although it's hard to use with the horses.
To use the portrait mode, you have to be within 8 feet of the subject, they have to hold pretty still, and you need a contrasting background. I've had some luck though and managed to capture a couple of really interesting pictures. You've seen all of them already, but here a few of my favorites.
I have no skills as a photographer. My photos are all utilitarian and purposeful; there's no art to them. Even so, this iphone makes even me look like I've got some talent. If you've got any other tips for using the iphone 7 Plus's new camera, pass them along.
I had the camera for several months before I discovered the portrait mode. Who knows what else I'm missing?
Not from me of course, as I am completely lame. My intended post for today was going to be video clips of my Sunday ride. They are super entertaining, especially if you like watching paint dry. I say intended because I left my ipad at work yesterday, and the video clips are on it and not yet uploaded to YouTube. Sorry?
Instead, I'll leave you with this spectacular photo taken by one of the riders who participated in this weekend's clinic with Chemaine Hurtado.
I can't resist - one last comment: what is not to love about this moment? Izzy looks well balanced, soft in the connection, and check out that jump! All of that would be good enough, but a quick look at his rider (yeah ... that's me) reveals someone who actually looks like she's allowing it to happen rather than blocking the motion. And finally, I love the connection between trainer and student. Chemaine is right there in the moment with me, encouraging and coaching.
Many thanks to the photographer, Monica, for such a lovely photo!
I had a lesson with Chemaine last weekend. On the drive home, I was disappointed at what seemed like another two-steps backwards kind of day. While discouraged, I was also motivated to press on, keep persevering, stick it out. Chemaine convinced me that this horse is worth it. She's certain that once he gets it, he's going to literally fly through the lower levels. I didn't really believe her until I started looking at the media that Jen caught for me.
Unlike other lessons, I didn't have to try very hard to find lovely moments; the video clips were filled with them. I watched the videos in order, grabbing shots as I went, so these pictures were caught in order of the lesson.
So, here are nine reasons to love Izzy, and one that will make you go WHAT!?!?
1) Not stepping very deeply, but his poll is nice and high and his face is perfectly on the vertical.
2) He's not bolting through the corner - finally, and he's thinking about softening to the outside rein. He's a bit behind the vertical though.
3) it took us a while to go through this corner this soft and round.
4) And even longer to get through this corner!
5) You can practically feel how strongly he wants to get the heck out of Dodge in this photo!
6) Same thing here, but I like the steady and even connection that I am keeping.
7) I tried to make sure all of these photos were as level as I could get them. Notice that the top end of the arena is pretty darned straight. Then look at how much higher his withers are than his croup. This boy already has some serious sitting power.
8) He finally got soft enough that I could completely give the inside rein.
9) This is my favorite photo of them all. This was the softest and roundest canter that he has ever offered. Stride after stride I reached forward to pat his neck, releasing the inside rein the whole time. Look at how much he has lifted his back underneath me. Swoon! And I did this, me! Chemaine's lessons are the reason of course, but it doesn't change the fact that it was MY riding that made it happen.
During the week, I've been studying the videos and capturing screen shots. The images tell a much different story from the one I told myself on the drive home. It's not just a different story, it's a much better one, and it's true! I don't know how I got so lucky, but Izzy is truly a lovely, lovely horse.
By studying these photos (and the videos), I've been able to make some changes in my position and application of my aids. In just two rides this week, I've been able to affect noticeable change in how Izzy is working, and it is practically intoxicating.
But just so you don't think I've grown a big head now that I have such a fancy schmancy dressage horse, here's a blooper shot to keep me humble. And if I wanted to, I could probably find a hundred or so others just like it.
10) Dude is still pretty opinionated.
No worries, Izzy. I have seen the real you, and you are one fine dude!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read