Thursday, February 28, 2013


For the past five years, this picture has been a part of my Blogspot profile.
It's a good photo, but it's really old--like twenty years old.  As much as I would like to pretend otherwise, I do not look like this anymore.  

With that in mind, Ryan and I headed out to the barn today for a profile picture photo shoot.  My goal was to recreate the old pose, with Rev's head over my shoulder and my hand on his nose. 

That was easier said than done.
Seriously, horse.  This shouldn't be so difficult.
After several dozen failed takes, I got aggravated and tossed the leadrope to Ryan. 
Naturally, the best picture of the day did not include me!
Still, this one's not so bad.
Thanks to Ryan for all his hard work, and also to Teresa Buzzell for creating the fancy new blog header.  With your help, this old blog is looking brand new!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

And the saddle goes to...

Anne Field of Field of Dolls Studio.  Congratulations, Anne!
some of Anne's wonderful performance dolls
All told, seven hundred and fifty nine comments were recorded during the contest period.  I used a random number generator to choose the winning entry, which was left on the "HITS 1993" post.
Jennifer and CC in Ocala, FL 1993
I have to admit, the part of me that always roots for the underdog was kind of hoping the winner would be a kid or someone else who could not otherwise afford one of my saddles.  Anne is great, but she already owns several pieces of my work.
Anne's Victrix, Enchanted Eve showing in a rare BCS Western saddle
The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that Anne was the perfect winner.  Not only is she a dedicated performance shower and skilled hobby artist, she's also a fellow blogger.  Her Field of Dolls blog covers many of the same topics as Braymere Custom Saddlery, but from a completely different angle.  Additionally, she's a long time reader and supporter of the Braymere blog, and I feel privileged to count her among my hobby friends.  Congratulations again, Anne!  It's people like you who make writing this blog so rewarding!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One million

It's official.  The Braymere blog is a millionaire.
As luck would have it, I was knee deep in a parent teacher conference when the counter registered the one millionth page view.  Fortunately, Natalie Kilpatrick and Fabian Rodgriguez were able to provide me with screen captures.  I love you guys! 
I also love every single person who has made this blog a part of their day.  Thanks a million for all your support.  I could not have reached this milestone without you!

P.S.  The comment contest remains open to entries until midnight tonight.  Tomorrow someone wins a saddle.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Walking vs. jogging

One of the most basic mistakes a novice performance shower can make is to misidentify their model's gait.
Meme by Kate Cabot
In particular, the slow Western Pleasure jog exhibited by models such as Breyer's Zippo Pine Bar, Stone's Western Pleasure Horse and the KLF Phoenix resin is often incorrectly described as a walk.  This stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of what defines a gait.  The determining factor is not speed, it's the sequence of the footfalls.

The walk is a four beat gait with each foot hitting the ground separately in the following sequence: left hind leg, left front leg, right hind leg, right front leg.  When walking, the horse will have one foot raised and the other three feet on the ground, except for a brief moment when weight is being transferred from one foot to another.

The trot is a two beat gait with the legs moving in diagonal pairs.  
Graphic from the Pet Care Tips, Advice and Information blog
The Western Pleasure jog is nothing more than a very slow trot.  
It really isn't difficult to tell the difference between walking and jogging.  Just remember to forget the speed (or lack thereof) and concentrate on the footfalls.  No matter how fast or how slow a horse is moving, walking...
and trotting...
Still confused?  Please post your questions in the comment section!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

HITS 1993

In many ways, the 1993 HITS Winter Circuit was a repeat of the previous year. Once again, I made the journey to Ocala, Florida with...
Dave on CC
Judy with CC
one baby,
two big dogs, 
Mardi and Holiday
one little dog,
and one very nice Amateur Owner hunter.
Getaway AKA CC
I spent my days working in the same mobile tack shop...
which was parked next to the same Grand Prix jumper ring.
Nancy McClure on Mafito
Not every thing was the same, however. By this time, I'd been living on the A show hunter/jumper circuit for a year and a half. I was no longer dependent on my bosses for companionship. I had my own horse show friends. Even better, I had Cathy.
Cathy and Tsouri
I met Cathy at the tail end of the 1992 HITS circuit. We hit if off immediately and exchanged countless letters in the months that followed. By the time I returned to Ocala the next year, Cathy had become one of my closest friends.
Cathy and Jennifer on Valentines Day 1993
Cathy lived with her parents in a horsey community just a couple miles from the show grounds. She had a nice little barn,
a big pasture,
Bound and El Zortan
and lots of horses!
Jennifer with Seneca and RA Canadian Jade
Needless to say, I didn't spend a lot of time at the hotel that year. When I wasn't at the horse show, I was at Cathy's.
Cathy on RA Canadian Jade
Sometimes we rode in her front yard.
Jennifer on Seneca
Other times, we explored the trails...
Cathy on Tsouri
that wrapped around her neighborhood.
Jennifer on Seneca
When we were all done riding, we'd hang out in the pasture and talk and talk and talk.
Oh, I would have been happy to stay in Ocala forever! The weeks flew by and before I knew it, I was back in the truck, heading north and already looking forward to the 1994 edition!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Twenty years ago

At the beginning of 1993, my friend Trisha and I both had horse related jobs that wintered in Florida. I was staying in Jacksonville for a couple pre-circuit shows when I noticed there were four full days between the end of the first show and the beginning of the second.  That was more than enough time for a short road trip, so I borrowed my boss's truck...
and headed south to Palm Bay.
Trish and I hadn't seen each other since I'd moved from Colorado to Tennessee in 1991 so we had lots of catching up to do.
I especially enjoyed meeting her new dressage Arab, Zee... 
and watching the two of them take lessons from Trisha's boss, the international dressage rider, Michael Poulin
When she wasn't riding, Trish was really busy with stable work.
I tagged along and helped where I could, but this wasn't a barn that was particularly friendly to strangers.
Mostly I tried to stay out of everyone's way, which meant I spent a lot of time hanging out with the horses.  
This was not a hardship.  
Michael had some really lovely horses in his barn that year, including the Hanoverian stallion, Watch Me...
Watch Me
and his 1992 Olympic mount, Graf George.
Graf George
There was also a big herd of Hanoverian broodmares and foals on the property.
So cute!  Who needs people when there are pastures filled with foals?
Of course, you can't go to Florida and spend all your time at the barn.  Trisha's apartment was just a couple miles away from the beach, so we went there, too.
Time flies when you're surrounded by friends and horses, and it seemed like this trip was over in the blink of an eye.  Fortunately, I still had a lot of Florida circuit left to go, and the best was yet to come!