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Wizard Session 76; JR Session 31: Little Lambs Eat Ivy

April 17, 2009

Thursday, 4/16/09

Before I went to the barn, my mom and I met a flock of spring lambs and watched a wonderful Border Collie named Riot do some herding.

Baby of Mine

Riot Herds the Flock

Quicksilver Q-Eye-It Riot, HXAs, TD, RN, FDCh-Gold (aka “Riot”)

Quicksilver Q-Eye-It Riot, HXAs, TD, RN, FDCh-Gold (aka "Riot")

Flehmening Lamb

Little Lambs Eat Ivy

This ewe was watching an airplane

Do Ewe See What I See?

Quicksilver Q-Eye-It Riot, HXAs, TD, RN, FDCh-Gold (aka "Riot")

The weather was warm and sunny. I worked both horses in the dressage court, which is on the edge of the woods and past the paddocks. Wizard and JR are both quite good about working by themselves but they do get a little bit of that wonderful magnetic pull toward the barn when they are in high spirits. I longed JR first, tacked up in a bridle and surcingle. I warmed him up at the walk and trot before putting the side reins on him- they were on the loosest hole and barely even made contact. When they are attached to the saddle, they are a tad shorter but they are pretty long when they are attached to the surcingle. JR worked about 10 minutes in the side reins. I then attached one side rein to the bottom ring of the surcingle and attached the clip to a tied piece of baling twine under JR’s chin, hooked to the bit. The single side rein encourages different muscles from the traditional side reins and I like it as a cooldown exercise since it asks the horse to travel more long and low and allows him to reach his nose out more than side reins. When JR’s longeing session was over (a litle less than 30 minutes, including warmup and cooldown), I took him for a hand walk on the trails. My mom came with us. JR was fantastic! He’s a little reactive to sounds and sights, but he did not spook a single time. We worked on a little hill that is used for dirtbikes, climbing up and down it a few times. I took him back to the barn and gave him a good grooming- he’s still shedding.

Wizard got an almost identical workout, warmup with no side reins, worked 10 minutes with them on, and a little work with the single rein set on the bottom ring. He was very responsive and seemed pretty comfortable in both directions. He rushed less to the right than he did last time we longed. He did get pretty excited when he saw Mary the Morgan come out to graze, but we worked through it. We then took a walk in hand on the trails with Mary the Morgan. Wizard was fantastic! He has a really big and fast walk, but I was able to rate it when needed. He did not speed up at all on the way back to the barn.

After both horses were cooled out and back in their stalls, I met with Danielle. She s a high school student who is interested in equine photography. I showed her how I do my basic liberty photos, using Mary the Morgan and Cee Cee the Quarter Horse as our models. Then I showed her how to get the most flattering angles for portrait work, and we practiced some doorway portraits.

Up until that point, Danielle was using her own camera (a Nikon- yay!). Then she used my camera :^) She did a good job! Check out her portrait of JR:

Portrait of JR, by Danielle

Portrait of JR, by Danielle

6 Comments leave one →
  1. oregonsunshine permalink
    April 18, 2009 12:38 am

    First, I love Danielle’s photo of JR. I just absolutely love how he looks and I like that Danielle did him justice.

    Next, I think Riot is awesome! I’d love to get my Copper (Australian Shepherd) in herding lessons some time. However, the nearest place that gives lessons is about 70 miles away. That’s just too far for right now.

    • April 18, 2009 12:52 am

      So glad you like it! I hope Danielle keeps up the good work :^)

      Thursday was my first day seeing herding in person. I was SO impressed!!! Riot was such a pro. What a treat to see a dog doing what he loves. I hope to see more in the future. I think we have a few competitions here in NJ.

  2. Sandra Rolfs permalink
    April 19, 2009 7:59 pm

    Wow…I envy Danielle…Trying to learn the artistic side of photography on your own is very difficult. I absolutely love the doorway portraits you favor.
    I would love to take some actually flattering photos of my horses with my new SLR 🙂 Have you written any tutorials or blogs for those of us who are not as fortuniate as danielle to have an awesome mentor?
    If so…where can it be purchased?

  3. April 19, 2009 11:30 pm

    Dear Sandra- thank you so much for your kind words. I wrote a chapter about photographing horses in a book called The Ultimate Horse Lover (HCI Publications). It’s available in bookstores and online at all of your favorite book websites. Perhaps I’ll do some tutorials in the future.

    Best of luck with your new SLR! What camera did you purchase? And more importantly, what lenses?

  4. Sandra Rolfs permalink
    April 20, 2009 8:55 am


    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post. I will order “the Ultimate Horse Lover” and work on improving my horse photography skills.
    I have joined a photography class at my local high school in the evenings to get the basics down and decided to buy a used Canon Rebal XTi with a EF 28-135 F3.5/5.6 IS lense from a friend. I will use this camera to learn and help me decide what camera/ lense will work best for me.
    I have shot one or two nice “doorway portraits” but remain very inconsistant with my results…often spend more time in photoshop than I would like 🙂

    Please consider a tutorial or two in the future…we would love it.

    Thank you again,

  5. April 20, 2009 3:56 pm

    Sounds like a great start! It takes a lot of experimentation and practice. Expect it to get ugly before it gets pretty :^)

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