Monday, December 17, 2018

The ugly Christmas sweater

I found this "ugly Christmas sweater" ornament at Walgreens. It's a little bigger than traditional scale, but close enough for my purposes.
And in this case, my purposes are dressing up George Morris.
So festive!
George's dog was today's Schleich advent calendar gift.
I like him even more than I like the sweater.
'Tis the season for giving and also getting. I expect to have something a lot more impressive to share tomorrow.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


Ryan just finished his first semester at the University of Colorado Denver.
As its nickname indicates...
the CU Denver campus is located right in the heart of downtown.
During a recent off-period, Ryan and his friends, Brandon and Aman, found themselves in the Denver Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. While there, Ryan helped himself to a bag of "Free Money."
I asked him if I could use the money to test a theory. He said I could, so I opened the bag and tipped it out onto the table. Almost immediately, the horses started to arrive.
Suspicions confirmed.
Model horses eat money.
Nom! Nom! Nom!

Hobby Christmas

One of my favorite events on the Colorado model horse calendar is our annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange. 
This year's event was attended by Heather Malone and Regan O'Keefe,
Renae Keller and Collyn Richmond, 
Dana D'Ippolito and Vicky Kitzman (and Regan again!)... 
and Fabian Rodriguez and me. 
We ate, drank and were merry, and a good time was had by all. Thank you, local hobby family, for another great year of friendship, fun and ponies!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday favorites

I've spent nearly fifty years hoping to find a pony under my Christmas tree. It's probably never going to happen, but if it does, I hope the pony is dressed in a onesie.
This is Cookie. She is Australian artist, Franceyn Dare's first ever traditional scale holiday model.
Cookie is a customized Breyer Misty in a sculpted Christmas onesie.
She is quite possibly the cutest model I have ever seen.
Every single part of her is cute.
So much cute!
I love her.
Cookie will be listed on eBay later tonight. There's no chance she'll stay within my meager budget, and that's okay. A pony this cute is bound to find a deserving home. 
Kudos and thanks to Franceyn. I love your pony so much. Thank you for letting me share her here!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Performance showing 101

In order to show performance, you need - at a minimum - one horse and at least one set of tack.
A basic but competitive entry owned by Teresa Buzzell
The horse is the single most important part of your performance entry. Different models have vastly different performance potential, and the easiest way to succeed is to start with a model that looks like it belongs in the class even before you tack it up.
Dun Up Purdy was built to be a Western Pleasure horse
As for the rest of it - the tack, the dolls, the props and the dioramas - it's okay to start small. Buy the basics and add to them over time. Develop an eye for quality. The good stuff is usually expensive, but will last for years with proper care.
Dun Up Purdy, Reserve Overall Champion Performance at Battle of Breeds, 2018
Shown in a tack set made by Margaret Teller in 2003
Research your events! If possible, attend a real horse show. Pay attention and take lots of photos. Watch videos on YouTube. Use a Google search to find rule books and reference photos. The more you know about the event you are depicting, the easier it will be.
The best kind of research
Prepare not just your entries, but also your show day. Study the class list and make a plan. Try not to overextend yourself. Tack changes are hard, and showing in every class is really hard. You'll have a better day if you concentrate on showing in a few classes well, rather than all the classes poorly.
Not a beginner's show plan
Practice before the show. Tack up your models and set up your entries. Take photos from several different angles and share them with friends who show performance. Ask for feedback. Take notes. Make changes
The notes don't actually have to go on your photos...
Double check everything before you leave for the show. Make sure all your documentation is printed and packed. Pre-tack your models, especially those which will be showing in the first couple of classes. Don't forget your sticky wax!
That time I tacked up fourteen horses the night before the show
At the show hall, introduce yourself to your fellow performance showers. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. We tend to be a friendly bunch, and it's common to see experienced showers mentoring newbies at the show table.
Allie Davidson sort of mentoring Hilary Schwafel at the Jennifer Show, 2016
It's easy to get flustered as you set up your entries, but try to stay calm and focus on the details. Before you leave the show table, step back and look at the entry as a whole. Is the tack fitted correctly? Does everything look neat and workmanlike? 
Tiffany Purdy taking one last look at her costume entry at BreyerFest Live, 2017
If there's time after the class, ask the judge what you can do to improve your entry. Take any advice with grace, even if you don't agree with it.
Judge, Renae Grinlaubs Keller handing out ribbons and explaining her placings to the performance showers at the Little Tree Youth Show, 2018
Of course, you should also take lots of photos, both of your entries and also the winners. These will be valuable reference material going forward, plus they're fun to share on social media.
Lu Heater photographing one of her many amazing entries at Rocky Mountain Spring Fling, 2018
That leads me to my last - and perhaps most important - piece of advice for new performance showers: Have fun. At its most basic level, performance showing is playing ponies with your friends. Enjoy the playtime!
Erin Corbett, Jennifer Buxton, Tiffany Purdy and Janna Shepherd having fun at A Midwinter Night's Ball, 2018
I hope this answers your question, Hellen! Thanks to Erin Corbett, Jackie Arns-Rossi, Kristian Beverly, Anna Helt, Michelle Masters, Tricia Wolford, Mary Vinyard, Janna Shepherd, Carra McClelland, Laine Lovstoan, Donna Draus Gruhn, Kim Bjorgo-Thorne, Amanda Bowe and Christie Partee for all your input!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mindful performance

I was a pretty good performance shower when I started this blog in 2008.
Flicker of Sunshine, Overall Performance Champion at Wild, Wild West live, 2007
I am a lot better now.
Olivia, Overall Performance Champion at Rocky Mountain Spring Fling, 2018
Some of this is resource related. I've spent the last ten years adding to and upgrading my performance collection. I now have more - and better - horses, dolls, tack and props.
Mostly, however, I've learned to be a better shower. 
I spend a lot more time planning my entries than I used to.
I ran out of time so neither of these entries happened... Next year, I promise!
This is something I learned from my friend, Erin Corbett.
At the show hall, I take pictures of every single one of my set-ups.
This is partly for blogging purposes, but it also gives me a good, visual reminder of what worked...
and what did not
LOL. I would say, "I tried" but I really didn't
After the show, I take a good, hard, critical look at those photos. I decide what should be changed and what could be improved. I take notes and make to-do lists.
One thing I don't spend a lot of time thinking about is past placings. My goal is to make each entry as good as it can be. If I do that, the ribbons will usually follow.
Third in her class, still the best hunter entry I've ever fielded
This probably sounds like too much work to some people, and maybe it is. However, I've found that - more than anything else - the key to performance success is being mindful. Prepare, execute, evaluate, then prepare again. Never settle for just clean and correct. Go for awesome.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Santa Paws

Speaking of Santa... Seth and I took the dogs to meet Santa Claus on Saturday.
They were both excited to go for a ride in the van.
However, Emma had second thoughts as soon as we reached our destination.
They huddled together nervously while waiting in line.
Darcy voiced her objections loudly.
Emma's protests were quiet but determined.
Then a Christmas miracle happened.
Both girls settled down...
and we were able to get some great family photos. 
That was so much fun! I kind of want to take them back next weekend.