“If you give a horse a carrot, keep your fingers flat.”
When I was first given this advice by my Mother as a small child, I would flatten my fingers, and then try to bend them down, quite terrified that one of the horses would mistake one of my fingers for a carrot. And while the loss of a digit did have some charm, as it would get me out of practicing my violin, I decided that it really wouldn’t be worth all the hassle.
“Let the horse know you’re behind him. Run your hand across his butt when you walk behind him. That way he’ll know you’re there, and he won’t kick you.”
I took this advice as seriously as the bit about the fingers, and have never failed to touch the butt of every horse I walk behind. My Mother knows these types of things, she’s a horse person, a rat person, a cat person, a dog person- she’s an animal person. I take after her.
I went home recently for the first time in oh, eight or ten months. What did I do? I went down to the barn and mucked out paddocks with my Mother. Okay, alright, I confess. I scooped up five piles of shit, and then started taking pictures. But I was there for moral support. And, my dog Alasse, who came with us, didn’t scoop up any poop either, though I think she would if she could. She loves poop, and she loves going to the ranch. There are all sorts of smells, horse hooves to chew on, turkey poop to roll in. She loves turkey poop more than any other poop in the world. Unfortunately turkey poop happens to be one of the smelliest substances known to man, and so far the one thing that seems to really work on the pungent odor is a good scrub with Victoria’s Secret “So Sexy” shampoo. Lucky dog. However on this particular trip there was no turkey poop to be found, so we didn’t have to break out the shampoo, or deodorize the truck. Phew Heh.
Alasse (Now dogs are some photogenic creatures. Especially my Alasse. She is cooperative, She looks where I tell her too, she smiles, she looks cute. Is there one of those tv model shows for dogs?)
On this particular turkey poop-less trip, Alasse ran around with a stick, and was generally happy, and excited, and always managed to find the best bits of shade. I was out in the sun working on my tan- and taking photos of the horses. I take photos of animals whenever I can. Not because I’m a great photographer, but because I want reference photos. My mother is great with horses. She can get a horse (mind you, we’re talking about an animal that weighs about a ton) to do anything she wants. She just asks them to do it (she speaks horse by the way). So after she finished scoopin’ up poo, she got the horses to pose for me. She also asked them to run for me, which resulted in some great photos. This was great for me because photographing animals isn’t always easy- they don’t exactly know the meaning of “cheese!”
Mum Speaking Horse With Ira.
Ira (this is how he communicates with me)
When it comes to horses, without her help, most of my photos would look like this.
After several hundred posed shots, my mother sprayed down the horses and then let them roll. This is a great fly deterrent, and really fun to watch. I got some great shots of the horses on their backs, legs up in the air. I’m not sure if any of these will work for paintings, but they make me laugh. Ira sticking his tongue out at me made me laugh too. Ira and I are the same age, we were born in the same summer. He’s my Mother’s other kid. So it’s okay if he sticks his tongue out at me- but the rest of you, don’t get any ideas now.
I haven’t sifted through all the photographs I took, but so far there are a lot of good ones (horses are easier to photograph than rats if you have horse whisper to help you out). I have done one watercolor painting of Ira from one of the phtos (for sale here https://www.etsy.com/listing/108719794/blue-horse-watercolor-painting-horse). There will be many more paintings to come, so all y'all horse lovers better keep an eye ou!