Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Letter Art: Connect The Dots

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Process Notes
The intention was artistically avant-garde. Instead, I have created Poodle Letters. Sigh. I am living Ira Glass’ advice for beginners, i.e. my taste exceeds my grasp. [Definitions] Zen Pencils. Onwards!

2017 RS lettering

Pen & Pastels
NYC 2016

Previous Non-Alphabet Lettering Posts
Letter Art: Rodney’s Saga 2016
Text Art: Gallery 2015
Text Art 2014
Text Art 2013
Why the change from “Text Art” to “Letter Art” Definitions of Terms

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

A screenshot of Facebook statistics for Rachel’s post as of 2/24/17. [Why I Ride by Rachel Wamble]

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The same thing happened with the previous youth essay [Lightning in a Bottle ]. While the stats package has changed in the intervening two years, I judge the reach to be about the same. More FB shares on one; more direct hits on the other. (Since I use WordPress.com instead of .org, I don’t get Google Analytics.)

Regardless of the specific numbers, the award essays are wildly more popular than my average post. I try to enjoy the spike but not take personally the rise & subsequent fall.

As I said before, all of the credit goes to the author. All I do is recognize a good thing when I hear it.

Previous State of the Blog posts [list].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Today was supposed to be a photo of our new trailer hitch. Not so much. I won’t comment yet, except to say a) Greg is on the case, & b) never piss off the quiet ones. They will eat you alive.

Meanwhile, your thought for the day.
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I don’t own an umbrella.

I hadn’t even considered this until we piled out of the car for our photo shoot at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge [Foto Friday]. One of the other photographers asked if I had brought an umbrella. No, I thinks to myself, not only did I not bring one, I couldn’t put my hands on one if I had to.

If it wasn’t for horses, I’d be a couch potato. Therefore, if’ I’m going outdoors, strong chance that horses will be involved. Horses and umbrellas do not mix. Therefore, no umbrella – to such an extent that I don’t notice the lack.

What obvious things have you overlooked?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Driving Thursday

Greg driving Bliss, Katherine navigating. Photo by Angie DePuydt

Greg driving Bliss, Katherine navigating.
Photo by Angie DePuydt


Alabama Whips and Wheels Carriage Club Inaugural Driving Derby
Longshot Farm
Montevallo, AL
February 19, 2017

Preliminary Horse, Greg & Bliss – 1st of 1
Thank you to Kate Bushman, Whip Hand Farm

The first official AWWCC activity had seven entries, pretty good for driving. We had horses from Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Entries in the Training division where split among Single Horse, Single Pony, and Single VSE (Very Small Equine – really, that’s what it’s called), and Tandem. As a result of the entry/class ratio, everyone but the three VSEs won their class. In addition, Greg and Bliss took the Prelim Division as the only entry. Hey, I’ll take our victories where we can get them.

Coach Kate and her youngster, Jewel, won Training Horse. Bliss had the fastest time overall; Jewel was second. Go, Whip Hand Farm!

Each driver gets three tries at the course. The first is a practice round. The next two are timed. The best time is taken as the score. Greg’s rounds were awesome, of course. Not that I am biased in the least. He trotted Bliss quietly around the first time getting a feel for the course. Then, he laid on the speed. As the only Preliminary entry, we were the only ones allowed to canter. We did. After the second trip we came out for a break.

The third trip was going great, right up until Greg drove backwards through a set of cones. Within an obstacle, taking the wrong gate is either 20 points or elimination, depending on which way you go through what gate [Report updates]. In cones, anything but forwards and in order is the big E. Oh well, we still had our second-round time.

View From The Back Seat
It was a learning curve for everyone. In saddle seat driving, the driver is alone in the cart – with advice generously supplied from the sidelines. In CDE dressage and cones, ditto – minus the outside assistance. (If there is a groom in dressage (upper-level & multiples), the groom is not allowed to speak.) In CDE marathon, suddenly you have the peanut gallery hanging off the back of the cart.

When Greg headed in the wrong direction. I thought, ‘What the H*ll is he doing?’ However, I didn’t SAY, “What the H*ll are you doing?” I need to sort out in my own mind whether I am part of the team or animated ballast.

Previous Combined Driving Competitions
MTCC 2016
MTCC Driving Derby 2016 in Photo and Video

 Coach Kate driving Jewel, Kevin Smith navigating. Photo by Angie DePuydt


Coach Kate driving Jewel, Kevin Smith navigating.
Photo by Angie DePuydt

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Conflicts

Saddle Seat Wednesday

SSF logo

When people within the saddle seat world ask about my future, my standard response is that if I could jump, I’d drop y’all like a bowl of warm potato salad. I’m only half-joking. In response, Coach Courtney smiles benignly and points out that I could do both.

Technically true. Suit horses are in training 6 days a week and ridden by their owners one day a week. Auxiliary lessons are taken on school horses. The cost would be significantly higher, but the time commitment would be the same as now.

In the real world, you run out of weekends. The first ASB show of the season takes place the second weekend in March. Greg & I have only one other activity that month. Guess which weekend it occurs. Overall, of the six shows scheduled for the first half of the year, I have conflicts with four of them. I will undoubtedly have an abundance of show opportunities this year. But I can’t have it all.

Most of the conflicts are with Greg’s driving. He has been supportive of the horses since day one. He has not breathed a word of complaint about my extensive saddle seat showing. It’s his turn for a while. Unless Rodney decides to jump. Then, potato salad.

The next show on my schedule is at the end of May. No showing for 3 months. How will I survive?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

usdf-sweets

Since I have an eligible article this year, I have entered the AHP Equine Media Awards again. In 2013, my entry was a person experience essay [The Envelope, Please …]. I placed 4th out of 18. This year, I entered my profile of Phyllis LeBlanc, owner of Dark Horse Chocolates, aka Harbor Sweets [Sweet on Dressage]. The deadline is tomorrow. Results will be announced at the annual seminar in June.

Entering the contest has flexed my atrophied career muscles. I want to get back in the game. Although, I must confess this is not a new goal. I have been less than diligent.

One of my goals for 2014 was to get more paying work [7th Day]. I’ve approached it with the same intensity that I have used for horse hunting – a general willingness to be open to anything that falls into my lap. This has worked as well as you would expect.
10 Reasons to Get Paid to Write

(Shortly thereafter, Milton fell into my lap. From a fellow journalist, no less. But I digress.)

The challenge opportunity is that the industry has changed. Since 2008, staff positions have evaporated, which means more freelancers. This is what I have always done, so no big deal there. However, it also means competition from people who have done it more, if not longer, than I have.

These days, online is respectable and platforms are a must. It is no longer a matter of contacting the people with whom I used work to ask ‘Whatcha need?’ Or maybe it is that simple and I’m overthinking it. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Wish me luck.

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Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

My first new britches – in contrast to jods – in a decade.

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britches-2

My philosophy for schooling is to get as close to show attire as I can afford. Then, I don’t have any rude surprises in the show ring. Since Rodney has no shows on his horizon, I can go for as much comfort &/or bling as I fancy.

What’s wrong my old/other clothes? I have traditional britches, but they are less comfortable and more depressing. My tall black boots have to be reheeled. The last person to work on them left nails sticking up into the soles. Need to send them off. Someday. My black half chaps have gone walk-about.

My black Ariats [Before & After] are for SSF. I maintain separate shoes, brushes, etc. to minimize cross-contamination.

I picked the pants, because flashy. Brown boots, for contrast so I know which ones to wear where. Smooth leather half chaps instead of suede because I like how they look and I hate when suede gets worn & shiny. Since the half chaps are snug, I tossed in a two pairs of zippy, thin sox, so I can keep my thin show socks with my show gear.

Bottom line? Because I wanted to.

Ariat Boots & Half Chaps
Kerrits Pants
Noble Outfitters Socks
All bought from Carousel Tack Shoppe.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott