Thermal

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“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.” ~ Elbert Hubbard


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Lessons in riding, photography and life.  The child had a wonderful experience during her three weeks in the desert.  She did her job in moving the pony named Mickey along to his next adventure, she entered the jumper ring for the first time with great success on a horse named Heid-n-Seek; and, she got back together with her best friend, Charly, who, together went on to great things in the hunter ring.  I am not sure what she would say was the highlight of her time in the desert.  Possibly winning on Charly, maybe successfully completing her first jumper course, or, perhaps simply being in the same warm up ring with US Olympian, Rich Fellers and Flexible.

The photographer “borrowed” a lens for the second half of the adventure…  borrowedlens.com is my new favorite hangout.  I’m one of the lucky photographers that lives within 5 miles of this little golden nugget, allowing me on a moments notice to go in and grab whatever new and exciting piece of equipment I need or just want to have for a play date.

The shooting was phenomenal.  The desert landscape was extraordinary with the first weekend blasting us with winter like conditions.  This winter storm resulted in snowfall on the nearby San Jacinto Mountains which created breathtaking views from the jumper rings.  Down jackets and snow gear were required.  Two days later, the temps rose and out came the shorts and t-shirts.  The shooting was more interesting during the cold snap, as the hot desert sun (after about 9:30 a.m.) makes for not-so-pretty pictures.  Much of my success was either before 10:00 a.m. or as the sun was setting.  Afternoon breaks allowed for being a spectator watching the elite line up of international riders who were flocking to Thermal for the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix.  Another story for another day.

I share with you some of my favorite shots from this last adventure.  The journey will take us in the coming months to elementary school graduation, a couple of garden shoots, a celebratory trip to Spain and horse shows around CA…all of this leading up to the child starting a new chapter as she enters middle school.   Wish me luck, Charly (if have a child who is 10, you get it).  ~ Peace!  J>

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ImageGoodbye Thermal ~

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Olympic Dreams

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“We all have dreams.  But in order to make dreams come into reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” ~ Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics ~ Photo courtesy of Cheval Photos

I have been saving this post for a few weeks because I thought today would be the perfect day to share this little story.  As you all know, my daughter, Ally, is a little equestrian with very big dreams.  Her dream, she will tell you, is to go to the Olympics one day.  While she is only 10, that dream, should it ever come to fruition could be as soon as 8 years aways.  2020 is the first year she would be eligible (you must be at least 18) for the equestrian Olympic team.  While Ally’s journey to 2020 may or may not take her to the Olympics, I can tell you this, without a doubt, many hours of training and many horse shows will fill the days of her future.  She is beyond horse crazy.  She has a passion that is her driving force.

Ally’s idol is Reed Kessler, who you see in the beautiful photo, above.  Reed Kessler is the youngest person in history to make an Olympic equestrian show jumping team, being selected on June 17 (while still 17) at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.  Reed celebrated her 18th birthday July 9, less than three weeks before the cutoff date to qualify for the Olympics in London.

The photo posted above was taken by my friend and fellow equestrian photographer, Selena Frederick, owner of http://www.ChevalPhotos.com.  Selena photographs many of the top riders in the world and travels to most of the high profile events in North America.  I feel very blessed to know her and call her my friend.  She inspires me artistically and has shown me that even in this small world of equestrians and professionals, there is room for everyone.

Selena was at Spruce Meadows when Reed was named to the Olympic Team.  I called Selena and I asked her if she could possibly ask Reed for an autograph for Ally. A napkin with her name would do.  I hate to ask for these kind of favors and understood completely if she didn’t feel comfortable asking.  Selena said she would see what she could do.  The next day I heard from Selena and she told me she had something to Ally.  Later that week that “something” arrived ~

As you can imagine the small child is beside herself.  A frame has been purchased and a space on the wall selected for the note and one of Selena’s beautiful photos of Reed.  You can check out the rest of Selena’s photos of Reed on her blog http://chevalphotos.com/3129/every-little-girls-dream.

Thank you, Selena for your kindness, your art and your inspiration!  Reed, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note to Ally.  Good luck to you and Cylana this week!  We will be cheering you on every step of the way!   You are a hero and inspiration not only to my little one; but, to many little ones with big dreams.  ♥♥

Poetry in Motion

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Quote of the Day:  “Ask me to show you poetry in motion, and I will show you a horse.”~ Author Unknown

In honor of the Woodside Horse Show which begins today, a photo of the painted pony the Bean got for her 9th birthday.  She will show for the first time as a nine-year old and possibly for the last time on her beautiful pony, Paint by Numbers.  They jumped a 2.9 oxer for the first time yesterday in warm-ups and the small child came home beaming.  To those of you who don’t ride, 2.9 means the height of the jump.  It also means a prescription of Valium for mom.  The dynamic duos have climbed all the mountains and now stand at the pinnacle.  Have fun this weekend, small child and everyone else at Nighthorse Farm!

Poise and Grace

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Quote of the Day:  “By “guts” I mean, grace under pressure.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

She arrived at Thermal with no expectations other than to do her very best.  She had dreamed of this moment for over a year.  She practiced and she prepared.  Moments before she headed out for her first jumping round, she looked at me and smiled.  It was a smile that spoke a thousand words.

I watched nervously.  I was not nervous about the ride, because I knew she would put everything she had into it, and my trust of the pony never waivers.  Nervous isn’t even the correct word to describe my emotions. The emotions were full of pride, respect and a knowing that it was time to let go.  She did not need to hold my hand for this one.

When it was over, her face said it all.  I think she felt a little like Rocky after he ran the steps in Philadelphia.  The definition of poise is balance; stability; ease and dignity of manner; self-assurance; composure; the condition of being calm or serene.  Today was share day at school and she wanted to share about her experience at Thermal.  I asked her if she wanted to take her ribbons to show her classmates and she said, “no, Momma, I just want to tell my friends about how it felt to ride my pony in the desert”.  It wasn’t about the awards, it was about the experience.  The poise of this small child never ceases to amaze me.

The definition of poise, the transitive verb, is to be balanced or held in suspension; hover.  This is what we get to look forward to in the years to come.  The poise and grace which this lovely 16 year old exemplifies goes beyond measure.

Haley, thank you for being such a beautiful example of poise and grace!  Good luck this week at Thermal!!  I promise many photos next weekend.