I enjoy reading blogs, especially those with gorgeous backgrounds in the photos. While I do try to stage some of my photos, for the most part I shoot, write and publish. For some time, I've wanted to post some photos of my wonderful boy Nick, and perhaps even some ridden shots. It hasn't happened because 1)I need a photographer for the ridden photos, 2)my chosen photographer hates, hates, hates the cold, and 3)Nick is growing out a bad haircut (totally my fault as I trimmed him as though he were an Arabian).
It's hard enough getting all the stars aligned for a horse photo shoot, but then I add in the need to look good myself. Pressure, too much pressure. So, in typical Mary fashion, I decided that you would love to see the real me, the real Nick, and ignore the dismal lighting on a very cold, windy day.
Wait, there's more.
They say "A dirty horse is a happy horse".
Scrubbing off a little more dirt through a game of tag.
I have a biology degree, and spent years studying variation and natural selection. Variation drives change in a species and has been called the substrate of evolution.
I look at photos such as the one below and while I see the differences, I also note how each shell is similar to the next. What details do you focus on?
Here is another example:
Each blouse is from V 8906, a newish pattern. The envelope art is a bit off putting to me, but I love the fitted look. For whatever reason, I decided to try it in a corduroy and you can see my gritted teeth in the photo! Next up was a turquoise and purple shot cotton=yummy. Finally, I tried it in a B/W floral linen (which I think is from JA) and while the fabric has a few teeny flaws, I love the flow of this fabric in this pattern.
Each blouse follows the basic plan of V 8906-slight peplum effect from darts, a sleeve which is cut on (magyar sleeve) and a V neck produced when buttoned.
Variations: fabric thickness, sleeve length, number of buttons/snaps, width of each dart, number of darts. The red blouse was sewn almost completely as directed, the blue has smaller darts, and the B/W has darts only in the back. Of all of these, I think the 3rd is my favorite, with #2 close behind.
I love the IDEA of the strongly darted blouse, but I am too short waisted to make it work. Better to go for a variation, and let natural selection "choose" the best adapted.
I have a wonderful memory of my mother and myself speeding along some highway in her Pontiac convertible, the wind whipping her turquoise scarf back. She is wearing cat's eye sunglasses and red lipstick, pants and a plaid car coat. I must be very young, because all I can see is the dashboard.
Pattern Review is running a contest for lined jackets, and I entered Butterick 5533. This OOP pattern is a classic car coat. Car coats are usually wool, A line, have deep pockets for your keys, and strike a balance between casual outerwear and a more sophisticated silhouette. They are meant to keep you warm in an open car and allow you to be well dressed as you leave your car and enter a building.
Mr. Biblioblog and I travel in the winter, and we drive for long distances. Getting out of the car in rumpled clothing puts a damper on my day, and so I have added this coat to my travel wardrobe. It will allow me to be comfy while driving, and look good when we stop. The pockets for dog treats are a plus!!
I used recycled hemp/linen for the shell, and a flannel for the body of the lining. The sleeve lining is of Bemberg rayon. The clasp at the neckline is a gift from Theresa of Camp Runamuck (thanks so much Theresa!), the buttons are vintage from my family, the hem lace is from my mother in law many years ago, and the flannel lining? sadly, JoAnn's. So, almost everything is repurposed :-)
If you would like to read more about the details, and see my entry, follow this link: B 5533 car coat review The contest voting starts in a few days-take a look at the gallery of coats and jackets...what an amazing group of jackets! I'll update this blog post in a day or so with some information about the surface design on the coat. It was done with chalk and markers.
In the meantime, I hope you fill your days with fun and creativity, Mary
As Nick and I trotted around the arena, I leaned back, moved my feet forward a tad, and rotated my toes out. I touched him with both spurs and he gave me a burst of "fast and furious" trot...not what I wanted. I remembered Dave saying "Leave your heels there-keep asking", so I did with more determination. I consciously relaxed everything but those heels and gave a kiss. There! Nick lofted into a lovely, round canter which he held for more than one circle. My feet came back a little, and he dropped into a trot and then halted square, breathing a little hard.
These cues are not at all what I am used to-but they are the cues my trainer used to teach Nick to lope correctly. This man rode broncs when younger, and worked cattle his entire life. Who am I to question his methods? He taught my reluctant to canter pony to GO...and for that, I am thrilled. The cue could be anything-inside leg on the girth, outside leg back; turn into or out of a corner; or even just a vocal cue. I watched a rider on YouTube wave an arm in the air, and I'm convinced he was using the arm to cue lead changes.
We all fall prey to complacency sometimes, and this summer and fall has been my time to set aside complacency in my riding, and work my ass off learning new skills. My own skills and competencies were not enough, and neither was the equipment I was using.
Lesson #1: We show horses what we want by applying a pressure, and then rewarding the horse by removing that pressure when he/she does what we want.
Simple, huh? But what if the pressure you apply makes no difference? In my case, I haven't used spurs in oh...20 years. Yep, just leg with an occasional light touch with a dressage whip. So, I hunted up my old spurs, and strapped those babys on. hahahaaaahhhhaaaaa.
Nothing. Nada. No response.
It was at this point that I thought I heard a very slight chuckle from Nick.
So I tried a bat (short, noisy whip)--->
Definite chuckles this time. I was starting to wonder if I had somehow had my experience sucked out of me-I was feeling like a pea green rider.
After many different techniques, and lots of round penning etc...here is what works:
Yes, I am now using 2 inch spurs with rowels. It takes what it takes.
Now, I have ridden in some variety of an English saddle since my 20s, and have spent countless hours practicing dressage and classical training techniques. I know there is attitude on both sides of the aisle-->western riders think English riders are sissy, and English riders think western riders are too insensitive. At this stage of my life, I just wanna ride. If Nick needs me to turn up the volume on the cues, I can do that. In fact, if he wants to go as a western horse, I can do that too.
Here is my new saddle!! I'm going to need to sew some western shirts :-)
The broom handle is inserted after getting the stirrup leathers wet and twisting them. The leathers will dry with a slight twist and the stirrups are then easier to get your foot into. Also, your legs hang in a more natural position with the stirrups out like that.
This is a used saddle (barely), and I cleaned it last night. I still need to wipe it down and condition it. It is a Circle Y saddle, a company well respected in saddle making. It has a rawhide tree, a detail I was looking for. The saddle is completely covered with tooling, and has cool braiding on the pommel. The suede seat is in good shape and is stitched with a beautiful design.
Here is a close up of the tooling motif:
Now, I need to find an Aussie hat with a helmet inside.