Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hang on Emma! (and more...)

Some other fun ones I came up with....

Hang ON Emma!!!

And now Duke has found himself on a Pink Floyd album cover...

And ooo! Bosco too!!

Meanwhile Flitwick shows terrific jumping prowess...

oh ya.. and Bosco randomly shows up in a classic western...

And Hazel went on vacation herself..


Least anyone think I'm wasting incredible time on these.. they all were background cleared out images I'd done for my website a while back so it really was only a minute or two to dump them into new bakcgrounds. Got one? Go ahead and send it on! :D

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hazel can do it all! :D

I've been wanting to do this for months now. Finally had the time this afternoon to take some of the cleared out photos and find some copyright free action pictures to overlay/merge...

Viola! Hazel going wild!!

Tent pegging... ever heard of it? Me neither! (original here; )

(I should've really put a bridle in there but we'll just call this my nod to Stacey Westfall) :)

Ok, so EVERYONE wants to see her in jousting wear.. and there ya go! The angle matched up in this one really well too. (some are pretty bad, like the next one..)

Told ya!

I kinda wanted to leave the original horse in there too - it was a near to perfect match. That original is on wiki too.

Even those ponying horses need a work out now and then, eh? lol!

And watch out for the polo referee who rides the mighty mare! WhooHA! Power polo!!

And at the end of a hard working mare's day she gallops off into the moonlight. Well only a man's work is done at dusk, right? ;)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rescue ruminations...

There ya go Skye. I'm showing off your fiance again! ;)

Rescues. -sighs- Where to begin.

Well I have personally "adopted" a few horses or "held onto" ones that wouldn't have faired to well in the horse market most likely. The above fellow is one. Ironically I ran into his perfect "forever home" when I was talking to Skye at a live show and mentioned I had this perfect "hubby horse" but he had bad heaves and allergies and my farm's open plain high wind was pretty hard on him physically. Skye and Steve adopted him and there he is above in his second parade. She's always sending me stories and awesome photos about him and keeps referring to him as "your horse did ... blah blah blah". No honey. He's yours now. Go rip up the adoption contract, ok? He kept tearing our fences down and frightening the mares & taunting the geldings. He's perfect for them (despite my teasing), or I should say THEY are perfect for him.

Quite a few folks know now about the adorable but rather unmarketable appy filly that got abandoned on my doorstep a last year too? I am pretty sure I talked a tad about it. This lil gal ?
Anyhow, well after many months (in which she grew a few inches and gained some muscle fortunately), I managed to finally get the past owner to sign over papers to me so she didn't face the fate of an unbroke, fiesty grade horse. I also was incredibly fortunate to stumble across an appaloosa loving trainer who thought it was a great sign of character when a horse charges at you and shows you her heels. Frankly there weren't too many people I would have let LEAD the filly let alone consider selling her to. I absolutely consider it "fate" or a small miracle. In a few weeks the delighted new owner called me to tell me she was already riding her around show grounds and getting her exposed to that life. The more important point here though was that for the 10 months of abandonment I found myself receiving some charity myself. The farrier who deliberately snuck in to trim her when I wasn't around so that he wouldn't have to turn down my money. Some folks who tossed me a large bill to help offset her spring vet costs. It was actually a bit mortifying since I put myself in the position of choosing not to exercise the stabler's lien rights the state of CT allows on abandoned horses. I have seen fellow barn managers go through it and the fate of horses who have behavior or physical issues tends to follow the plotline of Anna Sewell's supporting horse character "Ginger". :(

In the past couple of years I have been offered more and more free horses.

In fact if anyone is in my region and is looking for free horses and has good horse-keeping skills perhaps I can point you in some directions right now.

Everyone hears that costs are going up. I'm not sure how publicized it is that many rescues are now overfull. And of course reports online of various rescues farms going belly up abound.

I haven't gotten a horse from a rescue. The above draft cross of Skye's (his name is "Flumpy"), came from an auction house. I saw him at the auction (wasn't there to buy of course). I tracked down the buyer the next day and tried him out. He had a pretty bad respiratory thing; and heaves was pretty likely right off the bat (at the time it was masked by a mild pneumonia though). Anyhow, the buyer (horse trader) knew he couldn't sell the horse for a profit when he gained weight/health so he offered him to me for the same price basically. Otherwise the plan was to send him back to the auction. Well. -sigh-. Clearly the horse, now coughing more, wasn't going to sell for much at the auction... I was pretty sure there was only a meat buyer competing for him the first time. So it just seemed a waste, as they say in Seabiscuit, to throw a perfectly good life away. Obviously Flumpy has proven he is quite capable of doing more than the average horse too if he gets his meds! :) Flumpy wasn't a totally altruistic horse either, I wanted a pony horse/trail horse at the time, and he was great on both accounts.
Flumpy & I had so many good times and horses like him have such a BIG place in this world imo. Right now it's killing me because I am seeing SO many more of these; perfectly good horses who's owners just cannot keep up with the costs that have pretty much doubled in the past 5 years. And they are just filling up the auction houses and rescues.

I don't think I've posted anywhere else about this yet but "Bosco" who inspired "El Embosco" was surrendered to a rescue this past year. They call it a voluntary surrender and require donations to do so. His mom couldn't afford the herd anymore after ending a 10year relationship that had been built around the farm. It's a big financial leap to make to pay for labor and hay and board when you previously had been in the business of making hay and providing those services. Especially for 3 horses. Bosco went to a local rescue where he was immediately adopted by a volunteer - I personally would have loved to adopt him too except that I just do not need another mouth to feed and horse to shoe. I took on the donkey because I can trim him myself with the guidance of my farrier... and he needs no food (air fern) basically. ;) No seriously, he came with Bosco's mom's last boarder who transferred over to my barn and who knows; the boarder may decide she needs the donkey to keep her horse company for the rest of his life. They are very closely bonded and the donkey ("Gleep") is really good for her OTTB's mind.

Anyhow, Bosco's mom donated all of her farm equipment and expensive helpful things like pipe pen panels and such. The rescue managed to find homes for all but 1 asap. That one? Lame. There are SO many unwanted lame horses out there right now.

There always were, but now it seems like a horse that has the slightest medical need (these are the older and yet wiser ones though mind you), these have no chance at homes anymore.

It is for this reason that I want to make the majority of my donations resins this year to local rescues I have somehow been involved with or know someone who has involvement with them where horses *I know* have found a second chance at life. Good horses that will eventually serve their owners well. Be it under saddle or as a good companion addition to their herd.

I had a long talk last night with the real Hazel's mom's owner. Hazel was a PMU baby who came from a farm somewhere out west in a lot of PMU babies. They went to somewhere in Virginia were local adopters went down and brought them to their farms to raise. We are going to find out if the rescue farms along the way still exist. Meanwhile though, with so many PMU contracts being canceled in 03-04 there are all these momma mares out of jobs that have found their way into folks homes. Not all of these folks are 501-3c official rescues and yet they are people with good hearts willing to keep horses forever that have "no purpose" (which essentially equates to "no chance"). It will be an interesting journey to see what's happened since Hazel made her childhood trip.

My sculpture "Hazel" was started when PMU foals were still being produced in high quantity for the industry, now there are some difficulties discerning who is breeding for drug contracts (as if that's a great thing - not!), and who is breeding for meat sales. It's really tough choosing rescues. Right now I am feeling it's important to support the cases I know are of dire need, regardless of what industry it's for (Thoroughbred racing, Standardbred, PMU, the old the tired or the hungry unwanted toss out privately owned). So we shall see I suppose.

I donated something like 15 resins last year to various hobby-show causes but this year I'd like to donate to the real horses who've inspired us.

Perhaps I can call it the "Flumpy, Lacey, Bosco, Hazel" fund. lol! -sighs- It's good to know of some happy endings and I'd like to see more personally. I'd like to see them close to home where right now I know of so much need around here.

Boy can I ramble when I ruminate.

ps add in.. if you are curious to see (or wanted to just outright donate too), here's Bosco (clearly not starving - actually obscenely obsese since I scultped my inspired by him sculpture.. because THAT is not too inspiring eh? lol!), and his rescue success story:
He never even went to the rescue farm itself. The benefit to my friend is that she always will have the comfort of knowing the rescue will take the horse back should the new owner not be able to keep him. Something my friend couldn't provide.

It's a tough choice for a horse owner to part with an animal. I can see why rescues are so popular when they DO follow up and make sure the owners are continuing to take care of the horses and will "always" have a home.

Again Skye. I can't promise that so you'd better keep taking care of Flumpy, m'K? Thanks! ;)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ack!!! What the heck man!?!

Ok, this is really becoming an issue. I swear. It will sound trite but it's NOT. lol!

I think it was exactly 2yrs ago to this month that I stopped riding altogether at the dressage barn. I know this because I had tendonitis in both elbows then, which means I went from asking to exercise the walk-only horses to asking not to ride at all. Point here being that I put away my half-chaps, spurs and RIDING GLOVES somewhere.

I neeeeeeeeed these SO badly.


I know, I know? WHA? A stupid post about some little cuts?

No really - every day 2x a day in the past two weeks since it's been too warm to wear the winter barn gloves, I've had nekkid hands. And every day SOMETHING I'm handling is giving me these fine little paper cuts. Ok, a few and you don't really notice/mind. But daily I've been trying like heck to figure out just exactly what's doing this. I've narrowed it down to the feeding areas objects. Sincerely though, I cannot for the life of me figure out when/how this happens!

And my hands are just in ribbons. Primarily my right hand.

I am hoping to HECK that when I wear the gloves again they'll snag on whatever is doing this so that I can duck-tape it up, sand it, or maybe even replace it.

Where is OHSA? Can I call them on myself? lol! -giggles-

Please though: wish me luck with this. It's gone beyond the intriguing mystery to the utterly maddening stage. Plus bleeding all over things is not cool. Don't the Chinese have some kind of paper cut torture method? I can imagine it's very effective. Very.

ACK! (off to drag out some totes now and pray I find those gloves!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

My list of people I am very grateful to for their input :)

Ok, this is a very important post to me.

In this niche hobby of sculpting horses I have found my fellow artists and clients to be the most supportive I've ever encountered in any artistic endeavor. As such, I have been mentally keeping a list of people I'm terribly grateful to... Grateful isn't nearly deep enough term to explain how appreciative I am when these words or emails come in at just the right time to give you the encouragement to keep going, or to click on the light bulb moment about what you are doing wrong. ;)

PLEASE UNDERSTAND: These are NOT commercial endorsements in ANY way. These are artist's and collectors, who I think deserve my most heartfelt thank you's for the TIME they have taken and the insights they have gone out of their way to share with me.

Whether you share a simple word or two, or go all out and wrote pages or talked to me for hours about your impressions and tips - all of your input guys, ALL of it has REALLY been a motivator for me; as well as simply a huge help at times when I'm stuck!

Bless you all!

It's common knowledge I suppose that artists often need/want outside eyes from time to time, but in the past when I have gotten help as well but I just never took the time to write it all down anywhere (nor did I have a blog to serve this purpose so woohoo for blogs!). This time, with this mare,especially since she has changed so much over time (improved I hope!) and diverged from my initial measurements of the real horse, that I sincerely can't express how appreciative I am of everyone's input & guidance. Sincerely. Can't say it enough!! I also think it's important to note how wonderfully helpful artists can be to one another. Gives me big warm fuzzies to be honest.

So with that said, in no particular order or level of input or inspiration, my utmost thanks go out to:

Sandy Lysles, Jackie Arns, Danelle Gatcombe, Michelle Platt, Tom Bainbridge, Anja, Fluer Veldkamp, Sarah Rose, Melissa Mistretta, Mel Miller, Heather Roell, Mary Caudill, Cassie Black, Carol Williams, Tracey Tariska, Kim Kiley, Carrie Sapp, Marilou Mol, Danielle Feldman, Caroline Boydston, Carol Huddleston, Mary Hirsch, Kate Cabot, Ann Harris, Liesl Dalpe, Sonya Johnson, Rayvin Brewer, Sandra Hottinger, Janice Kall, Lynn Fraley, Maggie Bennett, Stephanie Michaud, Lisa Gruetter, Sheri Rhodes, Will Rhodes, Skye Scioloto, Tia Lurie, Becky Turner, Danelle Gatcombe, Saana Magga, Lori Odishoo, Celeste Gerber, Jenn Danza, Julie Pritchard, Kim Bjorgo-Thorne,Yvonne Davey, Pat Coulter, Tibbi Searcher, Erin Schaefer, Paul Saunders, Liz Shaw, "twelvetrees", Michelle Thorsteinson, "ode2chumly", "For the love of horses", Kim Shepard, Lynda Strohmeyer, "breyerhorselover!", Karyn Ketner, Melissa Nei, Heather Abounader, Tina DeCaussin, Teresa Buzzell, Amanda Zims, Jennifer Irwin, "'NaradaOF", Corrie McDermott, "trillwing", Cindy Williams, Heather Downing, Jody H, Paige Easley Patty, Shelby Sly, Kirsten Wellman, Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig, Tracy Eilers, Daphne Mazuz, Ramie Nunally, Donna Lorello, Chris Nandell, Eliz Hinterkeuser, Jennifer Buxton, Kristi Sawin, Eliz LaRose
& There are so many more I can think of whom I've talked to in person or accidentally deleted their emails instead of sorting to a folder of comments. Anyhow, there are less than a hundred people there (so terribly sorry !!! if I've mispelled your name too!), shoot - I don't even know some of the real names there associated with the screen names (!) and yet I know I own hundreds of folks thanks for their input. Region 10 folks especially - thanks guys!

Again I cannot tell you all how appreciative I am of you putting up with me! Whether it was just a few words you went out of your way to share with me, ooooor whether it was hours on the phone or taking the time at a busy live show to repeatedly studying her and hand me a few clues. Thank you.

She's come a long way since I started her

& Now:

The people along the way have made the journey worth it. :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

How-to contact me if your emails are NOT getting through (bouncing or no response after a reasonable period)

News as of early April: I have a second email address which resolves a LOT!

I have now turned the comments on and allow "Anonymous" comments for non-blogger subscribers.

Here's what happens if you use "Comments" to contact me:

  1. You post a comment ANONYMOUSLY (this is KEY -> "anonymous" being selected is very important!)
  2. Put your email or a way I can look you up to contact you
  3. An email comes to ME but the comment does NOT get posted... and if it contains sensitive info like contact emails I will delete it after I retrieve it. Then I can send you my phone # so we can work sales info out sans the hassle of bouncing emails. :)

That's it really. It's not perfect but I prefer to have multiple ways to be contacted.

Alternatively I am also a member of "Blab" and "The Watering Hole" and "MH$P". Submitting msgs through those are great ways to contact me as well.

I'm so proud of myself for figuring out how to turn the comments on. Such exciting technical challenges in ones life. Eh? ;)

Someone snag this as a reference!

What a crazy breed cross: Percheron x Hackney!

Draft cross possibilities are so endless. Tx to the person who shared this with me!

I have to admit I came here with an ulterior motive. I wanted to see if I could turn the comments on. I'm not seeing the option to however. :-/ There's a moderate comment section above so I suppose at least I can remove any "adult" postings that crop up. I'll go look at that after I submit this. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I just had to share this tip.. :)

As I'm working on her pictures now I got to this one head on pic and FREAKED out. So I whipped it into photoshop, cut out a square (once it was aligned straight), and did the flip/invert/reduce to 50%.

I mean there is only so symmetrical you can be but dammit I tried really hard here so whew! The lighting can trick your eye pretty bad. I have so much more to say about that in general (like a whole new post on "this concludes how NEVER to start a sculpture" - lol!), but back to photos.

BTW, yes I will be posting Hazel's sales info later this month but if you want the low down, first dibs, ya gotta join my yahoogroup.