Tag Archives: performance

BreyerWest 2017!

Last year’s return of a BreyerWest was a huge success, and I’m so glad Breyer decided to do it again this year! For those of us on the west coast who can’t make it to the big event in Kentucky every year, it’s really great to have our own awesome Breyer weekend in March!

This year I showed at BreyerWest live on Friday and then was the show steward for the Youth Novice show on Saturday (I wasn’t able to attend BW on Sunday as I had to leave for a work trip).

I had been prepping wildly for the performance division at BreyerWest all spring- I really need to start earlier for next year- and it was a blast to see it all come together. I showed my new horse, RoboClop, as well as my seasoned campaigner Nightfox.

I was particularly excited to show RoboClop for two reasons. Firstly because he is made with a interchangeable mane and tail, which was a really fun challenge to make. Secondly, because the incredibly talented mini tack maker Anna Helt of Dreamflite Designs had made me a goooorgeous western saddle set. I can make passable tack, but Anna’s work is in a whole other galaxy. It’s beautiful, precise, detailed… and fantastically easy to use!

Thank you Anna!

I didn’t have any entries in the Other Performance division, which gave me tie to prepare my entries and chatter away with other showers. My first entry was RoboClop in stock work. I am exceedingly pleased with this set up. I made the fancy gaming bridle and tie down to match Anna’s saddle and saddle pad. The rider is a new variation on my custom riders which better shows the action of a roping scene. In fact, this is the first time ever that I’ve done a roping entry with the horse and calf actually running. I’m also chuffed because at the last minute I realized my existing bell boots didn’t fit ‘Clops, so the one’s he’s wearing here are actually blue tape.

The next class was Western Games. I did a musical stalls set up with RoboClop and used two prop horses to complete the scene. I also adapted my judge’s booth (which I usually use for dressage) to work here, with a ring steward in control of the music for the game.

In the Western Patternwork class, RoboClop did Western Dressage and placed first! Here he’s wearing the pleasure bridle I made to match Anna’s saddle.

RoboClop placed third in Western Trail with a lope-overs set up. The tiki heads are actually pencil toppers that I acquired a while ago at a thrift store and have been using as props every since.

RoboClop placed second in Western Pleasure…

…and third in Other Western with an English vs. Western demo set up.

To my surprise and delight, RoboClop was named Champion Western!

Next up was the English division, which included Nightfox’s debut- in the Jumper/XC/Eventing class.

RoboClop also showed in this class. I wish I’d had time to get his splint boots on (putting two horses in the first English class with a full tack change was not a great plan…) but without them he placed fourth. This picture does show off his switched-out braided mane and tail for English!

Next up was Other English/English Games. RoboClop stepped in as a prop horse for Nightfox’s toilet paper pairs set up.

In English trail, Nightfox placed first with my trail diorama. Alas I only got a cruddy picture:

RoboClop’s final class was Hunter Over Fences. He looks mighty smart as a hunter!

Nightfox was also in Hunter Over Fences but I was getting tired, and the quality and quantity of my photos was decreasing rapidly. I seem to have also missed his entry in Huntseat Pleasure. Nightfox’s last class was Dressage.

And with that he earned Champion English!

For the overall callbacks, RoboClop was named Reserve Overall Champion! Overall Grand went to Sandy Lyles-Sanderson’s beautiful CM Wyatt, Frankly Scarlett.

Wheeeeee! What a fun day. A huge thank you to Erin Corbett for organizing BreyerWest and to Beth Rappleyea for judging performance!

 

NAN 2016: Day 1

We arrived in Kentucky on Sunday evening, and Monday was a blur of errands and preparation. Suddenly it was Tuesday and I was on my way to my first NAN.

The first day of NAN is OF Breed Halter and CM/AR Performance. I was excited and nervous. The hall was enormous.

The show hall

The show hall, with the very first classes being called.

There were twelve show rings, with multiple classes loading at one time. Thanks to some wonderful volunteers, it wasn’t too hard to follow the classes- we had an announcer keeping us constantly updated on the status of each class, and a volunteer manning a huge white board that listed which classes were in what rings.

The oh-so-helpful white board

The oh-so-helpful white board

For me, day one was all about performance. The day started with harness and then several costume classes. I didn’t have anything until the fifth class, so I did as much prep as I could for my upcoming classes and then wandered around nervously looking at all the entries on various tables.

Erin's four Quarter Horses winning top tens in their breed class.

Erin’s four Quarter Horses winning top tens in their breed class.

Finally my first class was called! I had two entries in Scene/Other Performance: Troy Soldier doing horse agility (well, in this case, mule agility) and Puns N Roses doing a liberty demonstration.

One of the awesome things about NAN is that after every class, the top tens placings are announced (in random order) and then they announce the champion and reserve. I love these announcements because you get to hear all the fun names, it’s exciting listening for your horse, and you get to cheer for your friends.

Scene/Other Performance was a big class with some very impressive entries. The announcer listed off the top tens… and the final name she called was Troy Soldier! It was a wonderful moment.

Erin snapped this picture of me, gleeful at winning my first ever NAN Top Ten.

Erin snapped this picture of me, gleeful at winning my first ever NAN Top Ten.

The awesomeness just continued from there. In the next class, Jumper/Cross Country, my old standby performance horse Nightfox won a top ten with my new Star Wars themed jump.

NAN-2016-day1-9

Meanwhile in the other ring, I was setting up my hunter over fences entry with PHF Richard Squared, my beautiful CM Seabiscuit that Tiffany gifted to me earlier this year. When the winners were announced, I was stunned to hear his name announced as Reserve Champion! One of Tiffany’s horses won Champion. Wahoo!

Thank you Tiffany!

Thank you Tiffany!

I love showing performance so much, and getting to do so at NAN, with so many of my friends, with the finest judges in the hobby and the stiffest competition… it was a blast. I was stunned and excited and proud as my entries continued to win top tens as the day went on.

Jaime - Top Ten Other English

Jaime – Top Ten Other English

Puns N Roses - Top Ten Stockwork with my new cows

Puns N Roses – Top Ten Stockwork with my new cows

Meanwhile Erin was garnering ribbons in both CM/AR performance and OF breed halter…

NAN-2016-day1-6

And Tiffany was kickin’ butt in performance with her trademark flare.

NAN-2016-day1-18

After a full day of showing we were down to the very last class- CM/AR Western Riding/Reining/Dressage. I had two entries in this class, both PHF Richard Squared and Puns N Roses. To my joy they were both announced as top tens. I was walking over to the table to disassemble my setups when they announced Puns N Roses as the Champion of the class!

I was so completely stunned, and then dizzy, and then I actually thought I was going to pass out. Folks were clapping and congratulating me and I had to sit on the floor until my head stopped spinning.

This is the face of someone who is trying to play it cool but actually cant stand up or speak coherently.

This is the face of someone who is trying to play it cool but actually can’t stand up or speak coherently.

Talk about a grand finale to an amazing day!

Packing up and heading back to the hotel is all a blur…I was so happy and hungry and excited. I have learned so much in the last few years- from my obsessive research on breeds and events, from countless blogs and tutorials, from my amazing mentors-turned-friends… and this day was in many ways a culmination of all of that.

And this was only Day One!

My performance horses with their winnings

My performance horses with their winnings

Breyerfest Custom Contest

I’ve never been more invested in Breyerfest than this year. Not only have I been helping Erin ready her performance entries for the live show (and making some last minute props!), but I also have a model of my own attending and competing! My horse Nightfox was chosen as a finalist in Breyer’s Custom Contest!

Breyer announced this contest in mid May, and (with a little encouragement) I set to work finalizing some details so I could enter Nightfox in the Performance Excellence division.

Rose City Live 2013

Rose City Live 2013

As someone who makes all my own customs, tack, props, etc., it’s wonderful to have Breyer host a contest where individuals enter horses of their own creation. I take a lot of pride in my DIY approach to the hobby, and it’s very rewarding to have it recognized.

All of the contest finalists in each division will be on display at Breyerfest from Thursday afternoon through Saturday night in the Artisan’s Gallery. Since I’m not attending, Erin will be setting up my scene (and thus making her first foray into mini performance!)

Sweet Onion Live 2014

Sweet Onion Live 2014

Thank you to Breyer for holding this contest and the judges for donating their time. I’m so honored to have been chosen and excited to have my work on display at the model horse event of the year. It’s my own little Armchair Breyerfest!

Are you going to Breyerfest this year? Send me a picture of yourself with my entry! It would totally make my day :D

Casting Cones

As I documented in a previous post, my first experience with casting was not entirely successful. But I did definitely learn a lot- and enough to embark on a smaller, simpler molding task as part of my performance prep for NW Congress last month.

Back in April 2012 I was preparing to show performance at NW Expo. I needed a single cone in two different performance set ups, one in Stablemate scale and one for a Schleich. I sculpted the two cones out of epoxy, and spent way too much time getting the base to be flat and square, and the cone to be… cone-shaped.

In progress cones

In progress cones

For NW Congress I needed at least four stablemate cones. But I didn’t have the time (or patience) to sculpt four more. Plus, I knew it would bug me if they didn’t match. But since the cone has one flat side, I realized that I could do a one-part mold and cast a few more relatively easily.

One part molds are simpler because you only have to pour rubber once, and you don’t have to worry about two parts fitting together perfectly. It’s also easier to pour the liquid plastic.

To make the mold, I took a little plastic cup (like what you’d eat yogurt or fruit out of) and lightly glued the original epoxy cone to the bottom, pushing it down so it was flush with the bottom. I didn’t want the cone to move around when I poured the rubber, and any little imperfection caused by a glue lump would be easily correctable by sanding (it ended up not being an issue at all).

making cone mold

I waited for the glue to set and so that the cone was firmly affixed to the cup. Then I mixed up my liquid rubber and poured it into the cup, making sure to cover the whole height of the cone. After it set, I had a nice little cone mold:

cone mold

Once the mold was done I poured my liquid plastic into it. I thought it might be hard to get it exactly full, but the flat base of the cone made it pretty easy. I recommend pouring from something that you can squeeze to make a kind of spout to control the pour. Handily, any little extra plastic that left on the top was only a very thin layer, so it’s easy to remove after the plastic sets.

I poured four cones, and with a bit of sanding and paint I had a lovely set:

set of cones

On the left is the original epoxy cone, and one the right are my four plastic copies.

The cones are great. I used them in a bunch of my performance set-ups at NW Congress, and I certainly will use them many more times. And if I need more, it’s not hard to make some!

cones in english games

I used the cones in English Games to mark the finish line in Red Light Green Light .

Cones are amazing useful for performance showers- almost essential, really. In fact, while I was working on this post, Jennifer Buxton wrote a post on her blog all about using cones in performance. She also mentions a great (and inexpensive) resource for buying Traditional sized cones. And as usual, a bunch of fun pictures too :)

NW Congress: Performance

Day one of NW Congress has the custom performance classes and halter classes for OF, Hartland, and Chinas. I was so busy showing I didn’t get to take that many pictures, but I do have a few to share.

I didn’t do that well in performance in terms of placings. Competition at NW Congress is top notch, and I still have a lot to learn! This was also my first time doing these new set-ups with Troy Soldier (Nightfox is taking a well-earned rest from performance). The judge was super helpful and gave me lots of great comments, so I’m excited to try these set-ups again. She particularly loved my cowboy curtain set-up, which was really awesome to hear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More pictures to come! You can also check out Tracy R.’s Picasa Album from the show.

Completing the Rider

So after casting my first halfsy-rider, I had to add back the missing parts and get her ready to go. First step was to build up her back with foil.

building rider - foil back

Next I covered that in epoxy.

Left: halfsy-rider, right: original sculpt

Left: halfsy-rider, right: original sculpt

And with several epoxy-adding sessions, she looked like a person again and was ready for paint.

building rider - drying paint

I actually decided at the last minute that her head needed to be separate so that she could look in different directions for events like jumping and trail. Now I can just plug her head into a hold drilled in the body, and it swivels.

building rider - body done

And so, after all that, I had a rider for Nightfox. And she was part of my champ winning performance run at Rose City Live.

finished rider

I’m working on several more figures right now, using the same half-cast method. I’m getting faster at the re-sculpting part, especially on those wee hands.

Right now I’m working on three figures, two riders and a walking person for showmanship and such. It’s nice to be doing a whole batch since I can work on one while epoxy dries on others.

new riders

The key here is not to lose those itty bitty heads. I’m making good use of some new little tupperwares.

New Props

My eyes are shot right now from staring at teeny tack all day, so I’m gonna blog about some props I made in the last few weeks. Tack is satisfying to make, and can be fun, but it can also be frustrating and it is hell on the eyes and neck. But props… props are just super fun all around.

Remember this arena? I was pretty stoked when I made it. And it worked just fine, and was a handy part of my performance gear for a year. But I got tired of lugging it around, especially since I was worried the dirt would come off so I always put it on top of things with nothing over it. Additionally, while it’s fun for rail set ups, it doesn’t have much space for things like trail or gaming set-ups.

new arena 1

So I hatched another plan. I wanted to keep the same interchangable fence, but with a larger, more portable, and more storable arena. I’ve been very happily using fabric as my arena base at recent shows, so I decided to go from there.

The new arena is actually super simple. It’s just a piece of hobby wood (14″ long for my minis) with holes drilled in it to accommodate the pins on the bottom of each fence. The fabric drapes over the wood and has little holes cut in it matching the drilled holes. The fences then just plug in to the holes in the wood, with the fabric in between.

new arena 2

A less than stellar picture, but you get the idea (and yes, the fabric has since been ironed)

So now I have a larger arena that is also way easier to transport and store. Compare:

new arena 3

The new arena was one of the first things I made when I got home from Rose City Live. A more recent creation is this cowboy curtain for trail.

cowboy curtain

Pretty fab huh? And as a bonus, the top piece comes off (it’s just plugged into the sides) which makes for much easier transport, AND the poles could be used in a pole bending set up! It was fun and pretty simple to make- it’s really jump hobby wood that’s been painted and glued together, with some holes drilled and some artfully cut plastic bags. Last week Robyn handed me the zebra bag as I was about to take her dog on a walk. I said no way am I putting pooh in there… I need it for projects! And I frittered it away like a little hobby squirrel.

NW Congress is only a few weeks away now… I’ve got a lot done but there’s still a lot on the To Do list. Time will tell!