Saturday, November 16, 2013

Teaching (or maybe learning) patience

Calabar has a set time frame for riding. It is generally about six furlongs, though we have been stretching that of late. And he has funny ways of telling me he thinks we are done. He heads, of course, back to the mounting block at the center of the arena. Regardless of which arena, there is a center and a mounting block signalling his intention to end the session. 

Ears of displeasure
In the indoor arena, there are trail obstacles set up. We have used these often as part of our cool down time so he believes if we do them, the riding should come to and end if he heads towards them. Regardless of where we are in our ride. We have also ended with a few jumps a little cross rail, so he will also wander over there in hopes of getting back to his dinner.

I am not an ogre. If he is doing what I am asking without arguing, I don't drill him endlessly and we end on a good note. However, if there is grumpiness or a little too much attitude, well, we have to work a little longer. 

This leads, as you may guess, to a little conflict now and again. 

We are learning and teaching patience together. 

Becoming impatient and bossy with Calabar is a losing battle. He is 1,200 pounds of opinion and unless I convince him we are having fun, I will not win. So, yes, sometimes I interrupt our collection and dressage work to jump over the cross rails a couple times. I don't care about form or how he comes out of it--we can worry about that later--I am more concerned that he gets to do something he likes so we can go back to doing what will help both of us be better in the long run. 

I figure we have lots of time to make us both better as a team, so taking the time to have some fun along the way can't hurt.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

A Few Photos from Breeders' Cup 2013

For the second year in a row, I ventured down to sunny Southern California and Santa Anita for Breeders' Cup to promote awareness of Thoroughbred Aftercare. This year, Steve joined us and did a fantastic job handing out turquoise bracelets to the thousands of attendees to this premier racing event.

A Wear-To-Care bracelet worn by none other than Goldencents, winner of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Photo courtesy of CARMA.)
While there, I got to practice some of my newly gained photography skills--no more using the Auto setting for me--on some of the most beautiful subjects in the world.

Note: Flag race program while photographing or shortly thereafter so we know who's looking at us.
And just so you don't think I only photograph tall, dark brown horses:

Pretty red horse after a race. Distracted once more by beauty, details are lacking.
And for Lena Rey, a spotty pony horse taking a break between races:

Not too bad for a dark, indoor shot. It's the spots, they help.
This horse appears to be worried that the human is blocking his photo opportunity:

You're in front of the camera, dude.
And there is something in this shot that I just love, some energy between horse and handler as they center on each other with everything spinning around them:

His hat says "Street Girl," so.. Street Girl?
Got a few shots of the races, too, but often there are heads in my way. Go figure. However, there are names!

Gary Stevens on Beholder
Authenticity and Close Hatches before the Distaff
Golden Ticket before the Dirt Mile
Goldencents before (winning) the Dirt Mile
I'm still editing, looking for photos that are without human heads or are otherwise interesting. My photo skills are still improving, but I'm having fun with it all and obviously love the subject matter.

Hard working pony horses and outriders--kudos to these guys!
Same gorgeous horse pictured above in black and white. Hubba hubba.
Breeders' Cup is a two-day extravaganza of racing with some of the finest horses in the world parading right in front of you. This year also visited the event with tragedy. Secret Compass and jockey John Velazquez both paid a terrible price to be part of Breeders' Cup. My snapshots are meant to tap the wonder I feel in the presence of beings that seem not of this earth sometimes, not diminish the loss of a beautiful horse and injury of a talented rider.