Saturday, March 31, 2012

T's Az Shoot

My friend T and I took some time to do a shoot while we were in Arizona. She's a senior and wanted to include some pictures of herself in riding clothes with her senior pics. Looking for a good backdrop that wasn't filled with light poles and power lines, we braved a short hike into the warsh that had some possibilities.

Let me say right now, that T is astoundingly pretty. Plus, she was a natural at posing, which made my job easy. I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out:

Friday, March 30, 2012

March In Arizona

March in Arizona is...amazing. Warm, blue skies, nice desert weather.
 But don't be fooled- there are a lot of blooming plants in the desert at this time of year:
 I'm thinking Arizona is THE place to be in March.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Grand Prix

Another big event at the Scottsdale Show was Saturday night's Grand Prix, with it's $25,000 prize. The Grand Prix is for Jumpers, who are crazy, rather than Hunters, who are sane. At the Grand Prix, the jumps are BIG, 4'7" in this case, which puts them right about level with Shannon's nose. :) With Jumpers, it's all about speed and accuracy. They have a certain time to get around the course, the faster the better. If they knock down a rail, that's a penalty. It's very exciting to watch, but if any child or horse of mine were to do this, I'd be hiding in a stall back at the barn, crying, unable to watch.

We had good seats, right by the last jump of the course, where riders were desperate to finish quickly. That made of some dramatic pictures!
Some of these horses had serious hang time.
There were a few rails knocked down, but since the rails rest on a perfectly flat supports, they just get pushed out of the way and no one gets hurt. I usually don't/can't press the camera button in any kind of crash, but this time it just happened. Maybe because I wasn't emotionally invested in the horse or rider.
Out of the 15 entries, this guy was the winner. His name is Bjorn and he rode 3 horses in the class. Some of these riders travel from show to show, just to compete in the Grand Prix. Prize amounts go up to $100,000 for the bigger shows, but I'm sure he was happy with the $14,000-ish dollars he took home this week. What a life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Derby

On Friday night of our show week in Scottsdale, they held what's called a Hunter Derby. Riders get to wear their fancy coats and show in the big ring, under the lights. There is a $2500.00 prize offered, to be split in 6 portions, the winner getting 60% of the total, so it's no small deal. All 3 of our horses competed, along with 32 other entries. Each round receives a score and the top 8 scoring entries get invited back to jump a few more jumps, which are also scored. Add up the 2 scores and you have a winner.

Here's T, getting ready to go. That's Kari on Paris in the background. As you can imagine, getting good shots in the dark was a challenge.
Kari was first from our barn to go, being number 10 in the order. She looks pretty happy going in to the ring:
But, Paris decided that turning the corner to the first jump would be a perfect time to poop, so their first fence was a little weak, but the rest of their round was nice. Score:68.
T was in the 18th spot. She'd never done anything like this before.
A kiss for luck:
They held their cool and earned a score of 77! We were so excited, hoping she'd be called back!
Last of all the entries was Kari on Aiden. In this picture, you can see a girl wearing a purple shirt. That's Aiden's mom, holding hands for support and not even able to watch.
Kari and Aiden had a beautiful round...until they knocked down a rail on their last fence. Bummer. That took them out completely.
T's score held her in the running for a while, but then she was bumped by riders with higher scores. But still, the horses were good and it was exciting to see our barn friends do so well in a big class.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Horse Show Life

Horse shows can be (are) brutal. Physically, mentally, and emotionally brutal. How can something so exhausting be so much fun?? Here are a few behind-the-scenes moments from the horse show in Scottsdale.

Of course, Kari is the leader for us all. She makes sure we ride well and look good doing it.
 She's always at the side of the ring, giving her riders quick advice as they ride by,
And I know she feels good when her riders do well.
 Thank goodness our barn has a minimum of drama, which is really saying something, considering there are 30 or more teenage girls and women there on a regular basis. I'm not saying that we don't have our moments- there have been some major flip-outs- but compared to other barns, we set the standard for about each other and cheering our riders on.
 There's the supporting cast too, mostly parents, who keep things going smoothly. One of everyone's favorites is Donald who keeps us laughing,
And can heave his teeny 10 year old up onto her horse with style.
 Show Moms are also in charge of applying sunscreen- on kids and horses.
Then there's the contingency of dogs:
Slinky is the bad dog. She knows she's supposed to stay in the golf cart, and she does, to the spirit, if not the letter of the law.
I guess we wouldn't do this horse show thing if we didn't think it was fun, right?