Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Sunday March 2 2014
That's what you heard when you stood on the rail, as two (or three) pairs of horses pulling chariots and drivers thundered down the stretch in the Idaho State Chariot Racing Championships at Rupert Downs, Idaho, on a cool and muddy March weekend.
I'd never heard of chariot races, besides the Ben Hur days, even though they're pretty much limited to Idaho and Utah, and a few areas of Wyoming.
I didn't know what to expect - wild and crazy people and horses, crashing chariots, riffraff spectators. It was nothing of the sort, and it was nothing short of exciting fun. There were no crashes, the horses were ripped - cut - as in nice, sleek, finely-tuned Quarter Horse racing machines, and it was a friendly family atmosphere.
The Silver Creek Chariot Racing Association, which hosted these Idaho State Chariot Racing Championships, was formed in 1975. The racing season starts at the end of December and runs through the end of February; many of the winners here will go to the World Championships in Ogden, Utah at the end of March.
Fifteen races were run over a muddy track. The horses run over just about anything, I was told - dirt, mud, snow. Most of these horses race on the flat tracks in the summer. This is a way of keeping the horses fit over the winter. Besides, it's obviously a lot of fun.
Most of the horses were decorated festively, with pompoms and ribbons in their manes and tails, sparkles or glitter or gems on their butts, bright colored blinkers and colorful harnesses. Their stables had taken time and care to deck them out, and the horses knew they were something special.
It sometimes took a handler for each horse, or a pony horse for each, to escort them onto and down the track, but once the horses came out of the gate, they were focused and fearless, fast and furious, thundering down the track with their drivers leaning forward, yelling encouragement. Some races were won and lost by nostril hairs.
"I thought these people were crazy to drive these chariots," one guy said, "and then I did it. Now I'm hooked!"
It's easy to see why!
(If you're around Odgen March 22-23 and 28-30, you might want to check out the World Championships!
Here's a slide show of a few photos of the day:
(or link to album: https://picasaweb.google.com/113618720621188031303/ChariotRacesRupertIdahoMarch22014 )
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Sunday March 2 2014
I had nearly 200 votes from readers when I asked them to vote on a cover photo for my upcoming book, Soul Deep in Horses: Memoir of an Equestrian Vagabond.
The voting percentages:
#1 Gold Dust - 44.4%
#2 Stormy Herd - 20%
#3 Stormy Water V - 11.2%
#4 Doobie - 8.8%
#5 Harry - 4.8%
#6 Stormy Water I - 4.1%
#7 Dusting - 3%
#8 All photos - 2.4%
#9 None of the photos - .8%
Plus two write-ins for my avatar
I randomly numbered all the voters who chose Gold Dust for their first and only choice, and I used a random number generator to pick the winner of an autographed copy of my book.
I'm thrilled to award it to Imke Lamsma from the Netherlands! (And I'm also happy one of the "Anonymous" voters didn't win, because that person might have been a little hard to track down : )
This brings back happy memories . . . I first visited Imke and her family in the Netherlands in 2007 when she was a wee shy horse loving 8-year-old girl, who had just recently completed her first 8 kilometer endurance ride on her Shetland pony Panter.
Imke is on the right
Nearing my publishing date of April 1, I will post the resultant cover that I will design from this photo.
Thank all of you for participating - one voter coined it as "my Tribe" participating in my book journey. I appreciate all of you who took the time to write comments - many of them very well thought out. They often made me see my photography in a different light. I am glad you have all chosen to be a part of this ride, and I hope you'll all enjoy the finished work.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Saturday, February 22, 2014
These are NOT rippling muscles
Rolls, I tell you.
LOTS of love handles
"Dude!" I say to him, every day. "You're FAT!"
Every day, he blinks at me, and sighs, I know, but I'm still handsome.
Gotta give him that.
Now his diet is restricted. Now he puts his time in the Fat Pen. Now he's started working out.
Today he took me out on a ride, maybe 4 1/2 miles, the furtherest he's been in, oh, several years, and he didn't have a heart attack doing it. He did get sweaty and foamy, but he had a good workout.
You can't see the sweat running down his face in this picture, but it's there!
I don't think he'll ever be as slim as a racehorse, say, like Stormy was in his racing days, but maybe The Dude will at least trim off some blubber on his Owyhee Jenny Craig plan.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Thursday February 13 2014
Help me choose a cover for my book - win a copy of my book!
It's time to choose a cover for my upcoming memoir, Soul Deep in Horses: Memoir of an Equestrian Vagabond, due to be published April 1.
Most of you know I'm also a horse photographer, and one of my photos will be the cover shot.
I have narrowed the choices down somewhat to those pictured above and below. I have my own reasons for preferring certain covers, but it's often hard for a photographer to step back and view their own work objectively or artistically.
Which photo do you readers prefer on the book cover, and why? Which one grabs you? Which one works best with the title? Which one makes you want to yank the book off a shelf (or off Amazon), and plunge headfirst into the stories?
Please leave comments below, or you can email me privately with your comments to email@example.com.
Results of this survey and how the photos ranked will be posted after March 1. From the pool of people who chose the photo that ultimately ends up on the cover, I'll randomly select a winner, to whom I'll send an autographed copy of my book. (I've asked the featured horses not to campaign on their own behalf.)
And sign up for The Equestrian Vagabond Dispatch, the twice-monthly newsletter from The Equestrian Vagabond for exclusive publishing updates and general brouhahas (who doesn't like a good brouhaha?):
Stormy Water I
Stormy Water V
Saturday, February 8, 2014
February 8 2014
We got a foot of snow. Maybe two feet. I'm so delirious I'm incapable of measuring properly.
Owyhee seized the snow it so desperately needed (the mountains are now estimated to be a whopping 40% of normal, up from a dismal 25%), and I wallowed and raptured like never before.
Stormy and his herd mates didn't seem to mind the unusual winter blast either. Neigh, they hardly noticed it.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Tuesday February 4 2014
Just call me: Sick and Twisted.
I seem to be the only human being in Owyhee, and possibly on the entire planet, save a woman who moved to Alaska back in the late 1800's because she was hot all the time, who loves the cold.
There's been a whole lotta whinin' emails flying around here: "Wah! Wah! It's cold! I hate winter!" (Mind you, I just as loudly whine the polar opposite complaints in the summer!)
Just me alone, I was delighted to wake up to a surprise snow cover that snuck in overnight. I hiked up on the ridge in the morning, into a strong biting shivering wind that blurred my eyes with frozen tears and numbed my ears, as cold air seared my lungs with every breath. It was magnificent.
All over the place, I found that snow angels had flown in and glorified the beauty and delights of winter.
The horses didn't seem to mind a bit either. So, the angels and the horses and me, we are charmingly sick and twisted.