Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Energetic Equines

Once again, I want to share some photos and moving footage of our energetic equines, so inspired to capriciousness by the briskness of the changing season. Even the ravens have been participating, though I have been unsuccessful in capturing their amazing acrobatic sky-diving displays on camera.
This is our "Zen" Elm tree, rising up majestically in the middle of the open prairie. Last year, about this time I painted a large original watercolor very similar to this scene here, excepting that in my painting there are no horses and we are viewing the tree looking north instead of northwest, and the sky is more dramatic (which it really was on the day I took my reference photo). I'm pasting the digital image of the painting here for you to see.
This painting captured the attention of one of the local ladies in Gore Bay even before I had it matted or framed. She was good about waiting for me to compose a verse to accompany it (which I do with all my watercolors because--with the exception of the rock paintings--my work is the combination of painting, poetry and calligraphy). With the sale of this "Zen Elm" painting I was able to cover three months rent on my studio as well as provide the herd with several bags of breakfast oats and purchase a nice bottle of wine to celebrate with Kevin at dinnertime. To be able to work every day at a "job" I love and have it provide for those whom I love is something I am exceptionally grateful for.

But you are not here to look at art, you are here to look at horses! Let's enjoy some moving footage of the foals playing. First up we have Interessado trying to get a bit of a game going with Animado. Animado is now six months old. Interessado is just a handful of days over two months, but full of big-boy rambunctiousness.

Next, Fada and Interessado give themselves over to frisky foal play. You'll see Interessado slip and lose his footing briefly with incredible recovery and you'll also see how adept Fada is at bucking while galloping. How do they defy gravity the way they do?!

Some photos now, taken during one of the circular, "nip at flanks & hocks" games between big Jerry and Animado. Note how even a huge-bodied, long-backed, weak stifled mule can collect when there is a fun game to be played! We can also appreciate how beautifully Animado conforms his body to the arc of the circles he is describing--no rider, using legs and reins to shape him from poll to tail is necessary for such poise--natural collection, self-carriage and lateral bend are obvious, even in a young horse. Play in a suitable environment is an excellent trainer!

This next video clip shows us one of the intense sparring games that Mistral likes to get Altamiro involved in. Even at twenty-seven, showing a bit of stiffness in his hindquarters (likely do to the ignorance of my competition dressage riding years ago), Mistral likes to show off. And what a vocalizer this Arabian gelding is! I can tell you, when you are walking through the woods and hear this sound--it sets one to worrying that some horse is getting killed. More than once I've run out to where this equine roaring is coming from only to come onto a scene of peacefully grazing horses...much as you'll see when you reach the end of this clip. It's always amazing to me how quickly these horses erupt into wild games and just as quickly, like the flick of a light switch, shut down the energy and drop their heads to graze.

The next two photos are stills I've extracted from the moving video...having just learned that I can do this. I'm looking forward to finding some time to go through some of the videos I've taken and select those exciting moments when the horses are showing their finest form. Here we have Altamiro during some of the footage I took when he was chasing off the pups. I'm a bit close with a faulty angle to my camera, especially in the second photo and this unfortunately makes Altamiro look somewhat "squatty". I sent these images to Hardy, and he managed to give them even more clarity with his software, though he said there isn't much one can do about the distorted perspective. I'll have to make sure that I'm not too close next time.

What I appreciate so much about Altamiro is his natural capacity to lower his hindquarters, with good flexion of all his joints, making for wonderful collection and an excellent posture from which to spring up and outward as his projects himself towards the sport of sending the dogs off running.
I'll wrap up this journal entry today with a more subdued photo, that I love for its subtle colors, and of course, for the focused look on Animado's whole body.


Kris McCormack said...

Hello, Lynne -- in your introduction to the first video in this post you are calling young Animado by his venerable sire's name...


Lynne Gerard said...

I"m glad you read the blog tonight and picked up my goofy error! Silly blogger, I am. Thanks for being an astute proof-reader!

Annemiek said...

Hi Lynne,

A wonderful entry again. The youngsters and the “oldies” playing, what a lovely sight. And the ravens in the tree. What a beautiful photo, the color of the tree is fascinating.

I really like the photo and the painting of the “Zen” tree, and I would love to know what verse you composed to go with it. You must be swamped with inspiration, when I look all the images and what is going on, I wish I was a painter myself!

Leslie said...

Hi Lynne,
I really enjoyed this post with all the video clips and photos. Your photography is getting better month by month! Well done!! I am surprised at how beautiful the scenery still is even though the colour is mostly gone.

Lynne Gerard said...

Annemiek wrote: "I really like the photo and the painting of the “Zen” tree, and I would love to know what verse you composed to go with it."

I guess I'm gong to have to ask the owner of the painting, because I cannot find the journal book which I had been using to work on verse compositions during that time period. I know its around the studio someplace, under a pile of unfinished work! I could guess what I wrote, but might not get the thing correct. Seems to me it bespoke of wind and change...

Leslie, thank you for dropping by with your comments. My photography is completely novice and hit & miss, and I still don't make best use of my camera's features. I'm not match for a learned pro like yourself...what helps me out is having good looking subject matter in a fascinating setting--and luck! It is, indeed, so beautiful here even as so much of the vegetation has died back or lost its colour. I'm always taken with the evocative forms of naked tree limbs against grey skies and all the nuances of sepia and violet.