Bloggin’ in Bath, well…
First day in the UK was a success! Rented a car, my brave husband drove us out to Bath (while I navigated) – it was definitely something out of National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation. Took the Roman Bath tour; had tea at the Jane Austen Center with mom, and walked (more…)
My heart hurts…
This morning was heartbreaking. Waking up and finding out your first horse passed away tragically last night – there are no words. I handed Ryan (my husband the phone) as the tears poured out and
the uncontrollable sobs swept in. Julie, “Tim’s” current owner messaged me about what happened. “Literally in 2 hours he went from happily eating an apple and cribbing to being gone. I gave him a kiss from you on his soft nose and told him what a good boy he was. I miss him already, I’m exhausted, but I wanted to let you know first, because I know he was special to you too.”
Truly, he was a special horse. He was my first horse that I owned – I was so proud of him, even for the silly 4 year old he was at first. We spent so many beautiful moments together; out on the trails, jumping around the arena (crazy homemade jumps that he could’ve cared less about), galloping along the grassy lanes near the barn – we even played hooky from work one snowy sunny day and went for a trail ride with our besties (Amanda + Esperado). He gave me confidence to jump big, as he jumped everything I put in front of him – I could gallop him around bareback with a halter and lead rope. If you’ve ever owned your own horse, you know the feeling, the bond that is only between you and your horse. (more…)
Summer has been full of adventures, and I’ve been a Slacker (yes, with a capital S) in terms of blogging. There’s really no excuse as I’ve had many photographic adventures — thought I’d share this one. A few weekends ago, we took our friend Shannon out whale watching for her birthday! It was a beautiful day out on the water (yes, a few people lost their breakfast heading out – yours truly was NOT one of them) and an even better day to get OUT of the desert heat (108 that day?). Here’s a few of our adventures at sea, and although we saw no whales, we saw hundreds of dolphins, or porpoises (shows how well I was listening to the captain). PS. Our friend Shannon (the blonde) is single and ready to mingle! Just sayin’ =) (more…)
Raw Moments: Rich Fellers and Flexible
These past few weeks have been unbelievable for me. Although I came very close to attaining Media Credentials for the Olympics in London, I just didn’t quite make the cut. I’m over it, promise. I believe there’s a reason for everything, so I’m looking forward to whatever that is during the last few weeks in July and into August. Out of all the places I’ve travelled to this year, Spruce Meadows (Calgary, AB, Canada) takes first place. All 4 +1 alternate USA Showjumping Team members were (more…)
Santa Monica, CA
Life has been BUSY and I can’t complain. I’ve been working on a number of different projects for various publications (which you will see in the coming months) and one project took me out to Somis, CA. As Ryan had a meeting with some of his business buddies in LA, we decided to make the trip together. After having lunch in (more…)
“Impossible is just a word” – RLO
This girl blows my mind – I met her almost 3 years ago. She started riding and training in the desert – she needed a place to stay, and we had an extra bedroom. Long story short, we both found out we were from WA (which is a big deal b/c WA peeps rock and we all know it) — aside from growing up unknowingly 45 mins. away from each other, we hit it off pretty quick. Did I mention she’s swam the English Channel and around Manhattan (more…)
Yesterday I had the privilege to photograph PDHS (Palm Desert High School) Senior Allie Zech. After shooting at her beautiful home in Indian Wells, she took me to her Graceland: Indian Wells Golf Resort. Known by all the members in (more…)
Totilas v. Rath
With all of the controversy about Totilas and his new young German rider Matthias Rath, I decided to post a few of my own thoughts and share them with the “www.”
One of the most rewarding reasons why I shoot horses is to capture the bond between horse and rider. Whether it’s horses flying over 1.60m courses or galloping over unmovable natural (GYNORMOUS) obstacles in the cross-country field, it takes a certain level of trust, confidence, knowledge and experience. For me, owning, riding, showing horses taught me a lot about myself. Lucky for me, I didn’t have the entire world of dressage closely following my every move. With Matthias in one corner and Totilas in the other, it seems that the 2 are rattling each others’ cages and searching for solutions to progress.
Now don’t get me wrong, “Poor Matthias” is definitely not my opinion, but taking the reins on a very expensive (rumored 18 million Euros) and accomplished stallion is no task for the weary at heart – or the inexperienced. Was it fair for Totilas to get sold? Well, that’s water under the bridge. But oh, to be a fly on the wall (or Totilas’s croup) when he arrived in Germany.Was Matthias excited to have the ride? Was there a hint of over-confidence in his approach to his new partner? I can imagine Olympic Gold Medals dazzling in Matthias’ eyes – well, perhaps that is presumptuous, but to have that as a realistic goal in less than 12 months– isn’t that a secret dream that every competitive rider holds close to their heart? Opportunities like this are what some riders work their entire lives to maybe achieve, and Matthias got his go at the ripe old age of 26. Jealous, perhaps…who wouldn’t be?
Not being a hard core dressage rider, but very much respecting and enjoying my time in a dressage saddle, I would absolutely categorize myself as a jumper rider to the core. But if presented with the opportunity to ride Sapphire or Hickstead (RIP) I’m not sure I would instantly put on my boots and breeches and head out to the International Grand Prix ring. Maybe I’m a wimp and the daunting idea of being under the constant scrutiny of not only my coaches, owners, and competitors literally gives me nausea…But learning how to connect, partner, and communicate with such a brilliant animal–to bond at such a high level, and develop mutual respect and trust goes beyond money.
In my own experience, (hundreds of hours behind the lens and) in the saddle, I thanked my horse daily for his resiliency and forgiveness of my mistakes. God knows we all make them and will continue making them. Contribute it to breed, personality, whatever — a horse’s ability to continue on in the midst of miscommunication is an admirable trait. One that is to be respected and not overused. Resiliency, in both horse and rider seems an absolute necessity in achieving success.
Like any relationship, forgiveness and resiliency are only a few of the many ingredients required in the true bonding process. Creating a bond that can withstand hardships, difficulty, misunderstanding, and inexperience may mean humbly being the first to approach the other. (Again, to be a fly on the wall during the training sessions with Rath and “Toto”). There isn’t enough money in the world that can buy a horse’s respect, understanding or true success. Gold medals — maybe. But consistent greatness takes more than money, it takes a connection – a bond that can blow scores of 80% out of the water! Not even the best coaches, riders, breeders in the world can purchase that “bond” that is shared between a horse and his rider. Edward Gal and Totilas absolutely brought dressage to a new level – attracting dressage and non-dressage (or even horse people for that matter) around the world. Separating Edward and “Toto” –even for all the money in the world, just didn’t seem right.
Many felt the blow of that divorce, and it’s easy to point fingers and mutter our high opinions of the situation. But I have to force myself to look ahead with optimism. That same hopeful optimism that sees potentials in OTTBs or hot headed horses…again, contribute it to beliefs, personality – whatever you’d like, but I think that if Totilas and Rath can get past this challenging and awkward “get to know you” time without too many bumps…they have the potential to achieve success beyond their pasts. We can all admit that it takes time to get past the “dating” phase and start learning how to really work and communicate through the daily challenges that rise up. I think what the transaction of Totilas shows us, is that there’s a bond between a horse and a rider, one that cannot be purchased. Will Matthias and Toto get there? Time seems to be the sole author of that ending.
This bond, it’s a one that can (and must) be earned through each drop of sweat, with every stroke of a brush, with the many tears undoubtedly shed. Every time our powerful horses allow us to place our feet into the stirrups and step into that sacred time of riding, is another opportunity for both to grow closer in their partnership and strengthen the bond which can draw out the best in both horse and rider.
For more information regarding Totilas and Matthias Rath, please visit: www.eurodressage.com
Only in Wellington
A few quick images from my time in Wellington – 1 in particular that I haven’t ever seen before – can you guess which one? =)
Timeline P.2 – May + June 2011
Ok, less writing, more photos =)
Starting with MAY 2011: Rolex Wrap-Up, Photo shoot (of me – Thanks Jeff Marsh Studios!), memorable shoot out at Rancho Polo with Aly, her trainer and her beautiful horses, and Young Life Barn Dance –Let the good times roll!! June was my BIRTHDAY month (29) – it was full of cupcakes, dinners, the new iPhone 4 (white), some traveling to the coast, Mom graduated with her BSN (Bachelor’s of Science, Nursing – Go Mom!!), lots of hiking, and time, OUT of the desert, beating the heat at The Oaks (aka: Blenheim Equisports’ summer series) out at San Juan Capistrano, CA. — July was a very bittersweet month and will have it’s own post. August – December — hold on to your seats!