Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Letter Art: BrickFair 2017

bf-letters-bham-1

This is what happens when one goes overboard on a bulk brick order. The letters are within a dozen bricks of 1000. The base is 6-700 bricks.

bf-letters-bham-2

In situ for scale.

Previous LEGO Lettering
Text Art: BrickFair (2014)
BrickFair: day 2 – Foto Friday: LEGO Logo (2013)

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Thoughtful Henry Photo by Elizabeth Hickman

Thoughtful Henry
Photo by Elizabeth Hickman

 

Previous Henry
Guest Cats: Caroline, Henry, & Kitty Wampus

Inspiration
So I Spent My Entire Day …
I Completely Lost Track …
I won’t give Whatever credit for the idea of a cat picture, that’s the Internet as a whole. However, the title is clearly an homage.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

bf-2017-studw2

bf-2017-badlands-2

bf-2017-models

Top & center: MOCs (my own creations) by others. Not much equine this year. Subjects wax and wane. This year, less castle, rural, horse-appropriate; more military & Star Wars.

Bottom: Models added to my herd. Shopping at brick-specialist vendors is an important part of BrickFair.

Previous Posts
Foto Friday: Horses of BrickFair (2016)
Horses at BrickFair 2015

BrickFair LEGO Expo site

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Adult Supervision

Driving Thursday

Recently, Greg & I were asked to help with a driving activity. It made me realize how padded our driving resume is.

On one hand, we both drive in two disciplines. I have competed for several years in one, and have practiced in the other. Greg has competed in both. The photographic evidence is pretty darn slick.

Alvin Ailey & Katherine ACCHS 2016 Terry Young Photography

Alvin Ailey & Katherine
ACCHS 2016
Terry Young Photography

Lyricc, Greg & Katherine MTCC Driving Derby 2016 Photo by Kate Bushman

Lyricc, Greg & Katherine
MTCC Driving Derby 2016
Photo by Kate Bushman

On the other hand, we have never been without an experienced horse to drive and an experienced coach to catch problems before they happen. Most (all?) of the horses, we have sat behind know far more about driving than we do.

We are certainly not ready to fly solo. As exhibit A, I offer the hash we made the one time we designed a marathon obstacle. Our set-up was illegal from the get go, then I eliminated myself twice. [Show Report II: DRIVING]

All this is as it should be. It makes sense to seek help with a new activity. I’m thrilled with the opportunities we have had and proud of the progress we have made. At the same time, I need to keep in mind how protected our sandbox has been.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Two for the price of one. Last month, holiday posts bumped coverage of Winter Tournament #1.

The question: Does Robert want to be an Academy Horse? [Looking Forward SSF]
The answer: Yes. Yes, he does.
In two shows, he is undefeated with one walk-trot rider, nearly so with the other, and has won a blue at both shows with me.

More importantly, he seems to be enjoying himself. The hours are longer. The first show was 6 classes, the second show was 8. He’s probably never done that in his life. However, an Academy day is still less intense than a single suit class.

At the first show, I was next to the ingate when he came out, switched riders, and went back on the ring. His confusion was obvious. So was his willingness.

‘I’m going back in the ring?’
‘I’m going back in the ring!’

The attention and admiration of a show horse without the work of a performance horse. Sweet.

Show specifics
Winter Tournament #1
Heathermore Farm
Moody, AL
December 10, 2016

Victory at first show with Robert.

A photo posted by @rodneyssaga on

Photo by Reagan Upton

Advanced WTC Adult – 6th of 7 with Robert
Advanced WTC Adult Equitation, Pattern – 6th of 7 with Sam
Advanced WTC Adult Pleasure – 1st of 6 with Robert
Academy Driving – 1st of 1 with Alvin

Thank you to the Wamble, Huguley & Upton families.

Robert
First class. Too tentative. Not going for it. At ringside, Coach Courtney said I was reverting to hunter riding. Husband pointed out that wasn’t huntering. It was just bad riding.

Third class. Sent into the ring with the injunction to ride like I drive, i.e. More Alvin!

Sam
Robert got a break & I did the equitation class on Sam. Patterns on Robert require finesse. When I rode this way with Sam, he wanted to know in the name of little green apples I was playing at. Note to self: when switching horses, remember to switch plans.

Alvin
Uncontested blue. Wheeeeee. Why do I bother with one-horse classes?
1) I’m competitive enough that it still feels like showing
2) It goes toward my 10,000 hours of mastery.
3) It’s fun.
~~~
Winter Tournament #2

ERA Stables and Elite Riding Academy [Facebook, Arab Tribune]
Arab, AL
January 14, 2017

Robert is feeling patriotic.

A photo posted by @rodneyssaga on

Photo by Darren Casperian

Advanced WTC Adult – 2nd of 6
Advanced WTC Adult Equitation, Pattern – 1st of 6
Advanced WTC Adult Pleasure – 4th of 6
All classes with Robert.

Thank you to the Upton & Huguley families.

… blue ribbon last time … better not f*ck it up this time … nice horse … if I screw up, it’s all me … we did this a month ago … so what … I still don’t speak Robert … what if he gets strong at the second canter like he did in my lesson? … no Sam for the pattern class … whaaa … Robert & I have never gotten all the way through the pattern …

We went in. Had three good-to-great classes. Made no major mistakes. Aced the pattern. One of my best patterns, including many that I have done with Sam.

This is why no one pays attention when I have a meltdown.
~~~
We take our showing very seriously at Team Stepping Stone.

I, rabbit. Photo by Michelle Duplichien.

I, rabbit.
Photo by Michelle Duplichien.

Yes, we do.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Another Nap Update

Last time I tried to shorten Milton’s naps, he voted to continue [Nap Update]. This time, I had hoped that the attitude changes with the new food [Feed Adventures] would eliminate the need to put Milton up for part of the day [Naptime]. Less barn work for me and a more horse-like existence for him.

Not so much.

Milton was grumpier than merited. Rodney was working well but wore a concerned expression. I finally put Milton up for a nice, long, 2- to 3-hour nap. Lots of hay. Lots of time to stand & chill. Smiles and relaxed expressions all around.

The fixed environment of the stall give Milton’s hyperactive Thoroughbred mind a chance to recalibrate. This I knew. I didn’t understand how deeply naptime affected Rodney.

Their bromance is complicated.

When food is involved, or might be involved, Milton goes after Rodney like shark after chum. We call him Sharknado. Rodney jumps away like a startled bunny. While we have never seen Rodney retaliate, we have noticed that Milton is the one covered with scuff marks.

The rest of the time, Milton follows Rodney around with slavish devotion. Rodney chooses where to graze. Milton trails along. If Milton is in the stall, Rodney will often leave the run-in shed once his hay is gone. If Rodney is in the stall, Milton never leaves. He will hang out until Rodney is let out.

I think Rodney needs me time.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Rodney on a Long Rein

A short-term goal for Rodney is to walk quietly on the buckle. You’d think this would be Horse 101. I’m not talking an animated walk, or keeping his frame without me holding him up. I mean a slow, gentle plod around the ring, and ultimately around the field.

As with riding bareback, the goal is to relax. As with bareback [Looking Forward], Rodney doesn’t not find it relaxing.

The ultimate goal is to develop self-reliance. Previous Horse would warm up at the walk, trot, and canter with the reins on his neck. You better believe I want my horse thinking for himself [Fifth Leg]. But that comes later. For now, a quiet walk would be nice.

Rodney has rein issues. If I pick up any contact at all, he curls up like a shrimp. If I drop them entirely feels abandoned out there on the end of the reins by himself. This is not a surprise. He gets tense being all the way out at the end of a lunge line by himself. Hence the close-up ground-work [Progress, Roping Rodney (illustration)].

Rodney deeply, desperately wants to do the right thing. Either from a kind heart, or from a severe dislike of being yelled at. Or both. Either way, when left to his own devices he has no confidence that he is making the correct decisions.

Of course, what goes through his horse-sized brain is not that self-actualized. But that’s how my overly-literate, human brain translates the feel.

So I loosen the reins, breath deeply, and tell him he is a big, bold, smart horse who is absolutely nailing the exercise.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott