Friday, April 4, 2014

Vanity Shots

If you're familiar with Ellie and I at all, you know that any time we get together, there are lots of carbs, lots of ponies, lots of pictures, and lots of tack to go around. (Don't even talk about the one time she impulse bought a horse and we road-tripped it to Seattle and an epic tack sale. Let's just agree that my bank account took months to recover, and I wasn't the one with the horse.)

All that to say, of course we didn't limit ourselves to photographing my lessons. That would be silly!

Tack pictures!! 

I bought both of Courage's bridles with me because I was paranoid that he would break one and no one else would have a small enough bridle handy to loan me for the midget man. Then we got playing with Ellie's tack collection.

Meet western Courage the cowboy horse!

I think he's pretty adorable.

Possibly due to the aforementioned ridiculous tack sale trip, Ellie also had a cob size nunn finer figure eight lying around, plus a fun myler bit.


It's that adorable.

In fact, then we took him outside to do some shots and got this.



Someone should be a nunn finer model.

You doubt? I even rode him in it the final day of the clinic.

Pretty much it's his look. Ellie adopted him as her god pony and the beautiful figure eight came home with us on loan.

And another gratuitous figure eight shot.

I might as well point out that I brought a selection of bits to play with on cross country in case a certain Mr Runaway Racehorse took it into his head to be a nut.

I ended up putting his sprenger on the figure eight just because he's so soft and easy and I'm more concerned about getting him to take contact.

Of course sometime eventually he might give me some trouble about stopping, but we haven't run across that yet.

Fun candids! 

I was pretty apprehensive about the whole experience, so when Courage was able to hack out on a loose rein Friday morning, I was elated. I certainly hadn't thought he would be that good that soon.

I love how this picture captures that emotion.

Courage is the sort of guy who always wants to see what's going on. At the beginning of the weekend, he just hung his head out this window constantly to observe the world. By Sunday, he'd look out it, but he had learned to rest and be content in his own space.

Ellie also caught a couple of us together by the oh-so-photogenic barn. Courage was just being his usual sweet self and posing dramatically. This was after our first day on cross country (I think?).

This whole spring, I've been second guessing myself. Am I good enough? Am I overhorsed? Why am I even trying to show? What is the point of all this? Should I just quit pushing myself and trail ride?

I almost didn't go to our schooling weekend.

Instead of being stressful and hard and scary, the whole thing turned out to be confidence building and fun. I feel so much more connected to Courage now that he and I have actually done something together.

He came into my life at a really difficult time. I am finally able to appreciate the really cool horse he is and is becoming. He's sweet and smart and willing and talented. He's such a natural on the cross country course and dressage comes easily to him.

At the end of the day, the only question I'm asking is "Why am I trying to turn my event horse into a hunter?"


I guess I'll have to figure that one out.

I'm finally ready to have a new banner for the blog. I'd been putting it off because I just can't deal with certain things right now, but Ellie (artiste extraordinaire) designed one for us that captures not only how I'm moving forward with Courage, but also pays homage to the red man who brought me here.

It's a new chapter for the SprinklerBandit blog. I think I'm finally ready to write it.


  1. Love the new banner and the pics of Courage. Talk about photogenic!

  2. Gorgeous shots! And the banner made me tear up a little. It's beautiful and perfect.

  3. I love, love, LOVE the new banner! Such a perfect way to capture the two most important (equine) men in your life :) And I totally agree, you should send some Courage head shots to Nunn Finer and any other horse periodical/catalog and get him a modeling career!

  4. Noticed the new banner as soon as the link opened & I LOVE IT! Poifekt - Ellie is awesome, I need one of her special delivered to Lux please!
    Photos are fab & Courage looks stunning in his "loan" bridle - horsey model indeed! *swoon*

  5. Love love love the new banner! And Courage, in that bridle? Ermahgerd I wanna squish him.

    1. My thoughts exactly.

  6. I love the new banner. Very meaningful! Courage looks gorgeous, as always! :)

  7. Love the new banner! I am a true believer in the idea that I just want my horse to meet me half way. Easy horses are boring and crazy ones are dangerous for me, it's striking that perfect balance which it seems like you've found in Courage. I have to say that you could not have found a more perfectly named horse for the transition you've made in your life:)

  8. Love the new banner and really admire your grace throughout this whole process. I'm sure it doesn't always feel good from where you're standing, but I have been very, very impressed.

  9. I LOVE the banner! It also made me tear up a little. I'm so happy you went to the schooling weekend and that you and Courage have taken that next step together. He's such a good boy and you two are going to have so much fun together! I love all of the pictures.

  10. Oh the new banner made me teary. I am so so so happy for you and your gorgeous little OTTB man. Loving following your adventures!!!

  11. He knows how to pose for the camera- too cute!

  12. I am in love with the new banner :)

  13. The new banner made me a little teary too, as did that fabulous head cuddling picture. That feeling of getting through something scary together and it going so much better than expected is just one of the most magical feelings ever. So happy for a wonderful outing.

  14. I love the new banner :) So happy for you and your boy getting even closer through new experiences!

  15. Banner love! And Courage is the darn cutest horse eva!

  16. The banner is outstanding, and so are those pretty, pretty shots of Courage! :)

  17. Everything about this post is wonderful!

  18. Love the pics, and banner. We all have our quit and trail ride days (I have many many of them) but it sounds like you are figuring each other out, and with a greenie, its kinda about sucking it up until they find their stride and then eventually you realize you have an amazing, trained horse where once a green-bean stood.

  19. Love the banner! and the nunn finer bridle really looks fantastic on him! So many good things!

  20. I loved getting to hang out with you and get know the little man better this weekend. He and I are the best at hand grazing <3. So glad you like the new banner, I had a blast making it. ALL THE PHOTOSHOP! :)

  21. You are doing such a fantastic job with Courage! Love thr new banner!


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