Tag Archives: reference

Too Many Legs

Remember that episode of Coupling where Jeff cries “I’ve got the keys to Paradise, but I’ve got too many legs!” ? Yeah, that was hilarious. My problem is mostly unrelated. Anyway…

I resculpted by Pebbles Saddlebred’s legs not once, not twice, but three times- with progressively more work but better results. There wasn’t much detail in them originally, which bugged me. And at this scale, it’s even more obvious when detail is missing.

Chrys 2.0 7-23-13

This third–and last–resculpt was partly inspired by Sarah Rose’s thread on Blab which follows her sculpting process for her new mini Marwari resin (my apologies to those of you without a Blab membership who won’t be able to view that thread). Her model had such gorgeous delineated detail on the legs, and I decided I would never be happy if I didn’t give it one more try on the Saddlebred.

Horse anatomy by Herman Dittrich – front legs

Horse’s lower legs are complicated and confusing. There are no muscles below the knee, but there are a bunch of tendons and ligaments going too and fro and creating all kinds of interesting lines under the skin. I found it extremely necessary to both photo references and consult my Herman Dittrich horse anatomy pictures. They’re posted on my Reference Photos page and also published in W. Ellenberger’s great Animal Anatomy.

My other invaluable resource was Kimberly Smith’s wonderful, big reference pictures. Every week Kimberly posts a bunch of big, high-res pictures on her site for model horse people to use. It’s great to have someone take photos with customizing in mind, because you get super useful stuff like this:

lower leg ref

Thank you Kimberly for letting me repost this picture

I’m really glad I took the time to redo the cannon bones, and do the research necessary, for two reasons. For one, of course, my Saddlebred looks much better and is much more correct for her refined, thin skinned breed. Also, it was great to practice and learn sculpting lower legs at this (relatively) large size. Because I’ve got a number of horses in line who need help in that department!

My poor Akhal Teke has no leg detailing, Alpo has a club foot, and my trotting TB has been sorely neglected...

My poor Akhal Teke has no leg detailing, Alpo has a club foot, and my trotting TB has been sorely neglected…

Yowza! I’ve got my work cut out for me on those guys. But I do feel a little more confident about legs now, so that’s something. Now back to sanding…

Inavale Farms Horse Trials 2013: the rest

I did continue to take pictures during the rest of the horse trials, although not as many as during the Beginner Novice cross country. But I did get some more good ones so I thought I’d share those as well.

After the Beginner Novice level was the Novice level. Robyn came to watch with me which was extra fun. We particularly liked this horse:

IFHT2013-N-rough draft

This pair finished 2nd in their division

You can’t tell as much from that picture, but he was a big dude- he looked half draft. He was listed in the program as “WB” and named Half Draft, and I like to think that supports our hypothesis. As with the Beginner Novice, there was a pretty decent variety of breeds in the Novice level.

IFHT2013-N-massive qh

This massive mare was listed as a Quarter Horse, but we couldn’t believe it. She was enormous and awesome. I’m not a big QH fan but one that looks half-draft? I’m listening!

There was also a few gorgeous Connemaras (and Connemara crosses), two Morgans, two Appys, and a horse whose breed was listed only as X (who we particularly rooted for).

A lot of the obstacles in the Novice course still looked pretty easy, as fits the level. Many horses refused at this step-down, however- it’s not particularly high but because of the shape of the hill, they don’t see it til they’re right over it.

This guy was unfazed by the obstacle.

This guy was unfazed by the obstacle.

The one part of the course that I was most impressed and surprised with (impressed that Novice folks could do it, surprised that they were asked to) was a step up with a tough turn to a large log oxer in the tree line. A number of riders opted to circle after the step up in order to get a straighter shot at the second jump, even with the lost time. I know I would have!

This pair opted not to circle and started the turn immediately after the bank- and at speed too!

This pair opted not to circle and started the turn immediately after the bank- and at speed too!

Only a few strides after the bank was this jump:

Not a great picture, but with the tree-line location and the proximity of the bank right before, I didn't have a better angle.

Not a great picture, but with the tree-line location and the proximity of the bank right before, I didn’t have a better angle.

At least one pair got the striding wrong and lost point here- we saw one woman land half off, cling to her horses barrel for a few minutes (while the mare stood patiently, thank goodness) and then give up and plop to the ground, disqualified.

The next day I was back at Inavale again to see the Intermediate and Prelim cross country, and catch a bit of the Beginning Novice stadium jumping. Unfortunately, most of my pictures from the Intermediate level didn’t come out. But I did snap this one the day before of the Intermediate water obstacle.

IFHT2013-Inter water jump

That’s a bounce between the logs and then about a four foot drop into the water.

Amazingly, that jump was one of the least difficult ones for the Intermediate riders- I didn’t see anyone have a problem with it in the whole division. The Prelim level fences were also extremely difficult. I couldn’t believe this line:


But damn, they made it look easy!

Later in the afternoon I went over to the show jumping arena to see part of the Beginner Novice. Inavale has some of the most amazing, colorful jumps:



The thing that proved the most difficult for these jumpers wasn’t an intentional obstacle- it was the umbrellas of two spectators sitting by the first jump.

This gelding was a total packer in the XC phase, but he could not get past the deadly umbrellas and was eliminated.

This gelding was a total packer in the XC phase, but he could not get past the deadly umbrellas and was eliminated.

I had made a note the day before to get a hold of a few umbrellas to jump Cochise near. This only made me more resolved to get some and desensitize him. I’m planning to ride tomorrow, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll get out to the Inavale XC course too.

Here are some more pictures from the cross country phase. Again, if you want to use these for reference or documentation you’re welcome to them.

Inavale Farms Horse Trails 2013: Beginner Novice

I spent this weekend in Corvallis watching the action at the Inavale Farms Horse Trials. My goal is to enter the Beginner Novice division next year, so I was particularly keen to watch that division.

I’m so used to watching high level eventing online, it was satisfying and exciting to watch people jump things that I knew I can jump- and a few that I have jumped before!


Cochise and I have jumped this barn! In fact, when we did it, it was on an upslope instead of this nice even ground.

It was interesting to see what obstacles caused the most problems, and think about how I–or Cochise–might have handled the same thing. A number of the horses balked a bit at the water, but they all eventually made it in.


Many of the entries, including this eventual division winner, splashed happily through the water at a nice trot.

Many of the horses took issue with what looked like a simple hazelnut table. I’m itching to get out to the course and try it. This horse took issue with the red barn.

refusal 01

But his rider got him over it on the second try.

refusal 02

Unfortunately he had some more refusals further on and was eliminated. As someone with a refusal-prone horse (in fact, in our 3 jumping show outings together we have never not been dismissed) I felt a particular pang of sympathy of those folks who didn’t get to finish the course.

Cochise and I definitely need to work on ditches and Trakehners. The Inavale Farms Trials has five main divisions from Beginner Novice to Intermediate, and everyone got a level-appropriate Trakehner fence.

trakehner line

A rider takes the Beginner Novice Trakehner. Far right is the Prelim fence and in the middle is the massive Intermediate fence.

I’m confident that Cochise and I could sail easily over this nice brush jump though. It was the last jump of the course and I was able to sit nice and close to it to watch.

the hustler

This pair took 2nd in the Beginner Novice Senior division.

As we moved further up the levels the breed listings got more and more uniform (TB, TB, TB, Warmblood, TB…) but in Beginner Novice there’s a bit more variety- as well as a healthy number of TBs and Sport Horses. One of the crowd favorites was this gorgeous Gypsy Vanner. I saw him earlier in the year doing a 3′ jumper course with ease.

mystic prince

This pair finished 7th in their division, feathers flying.

The Beginner Novice division also included several Quarter Horses, a Kiger Mustang, a few part Arabs, and a Morgan/Welsh cross. One of my personal favorites was this massive Percheron/Thoroughbred cross, Duke. I have also wanted a draft cross jumper so he definitely caught and held my attention. He finished 8th in his division.


Duke clomping through the water obstacle

I took a ton of pictures trying to document everything. Here are some more of the best ones from the Beginner Novice cross country. If any of these would be useful for you as reference or documentation, feel free to use them.

Reference Pictures Added

I had a lovely day out at the barn today and a fun ride. I took some more reference pictures and added them to my reference gallery.

Now that the horse’s have their summer coats it’s easier to take pictures of the hair growth patterns. I took some of Alice’s whorls and one from Cochise’s back to catch the way the hairs go along the spine and down the hindquarters.

flank whorl

Alice is extra fun to photograph because she is really showing the pregnancy now. She’s due in about 2-3 weeks, and has become quite wide. She’s always been the most agile little cat, but now she’s a bit more lumbering, and I hear she can’t roll all the way over. But there’s definitely a little horse inside her! You can feel it kick.

Pregnant POA (10 months, 1 week)

Of course, we’re all very excited for Alice’s foal. She hasn’t been color tested and has some of that funny appy bronzing, but we believe she’s actually a buckskin. Similarly, she’s probably a homozygous appaloosa (meaning she’ll pass on a gene to the foal) but we’re not positive. Dad is a palomino Welsh, so there are some exciting potential color combos! And really, with parents like these the foal will be gorgeous no matter what. I can’t wait to see what we get!

Playing with Pedigrees

I’m still chugging along on Martouf. He might not look terribly different from the last time I posted pictures, but he’s had detail added on his hooves, legs, tail, forelock, and ears. I’ve also done a few more back and forths between pastel and acrylics on his body.

martouf 3-4-2013

There is a show coming up in March that I will be missing, but Caryn volunteered to proxy show Martouf if I can finish him in time. I should be able to finish him up, which means I also need to make him a breed reference for the show. I was originally going to show him as a Warlander (Andualusian x Friesian) but because of his relatively short head I’m going to try him as a Moriesian (Morgan x Friesian) instead.

Since Martouf is a chestnut-based grey, he’d need a rather specific set of parents. It’s a possible color, but a doubly rare one- the recessive red gene for chestnut is rare in Friesians and grey is rare in Morgans (and none existent in Friesians). Since I am a little obsessive, I not only wanted to make a breed reference card but do a bit of research on parentage. No judge will see this, it’s just a personal project for me to see how my pretty rose grey guy could come to be that color. There are hobbyists who are very into pedigree assignment, and I am a casual and infrequent partaker of that aspect.

Genetically, what I need is a chestnut (ee) or heterozygous black (Ee) Friesian stallion and a grey Morgan mare also carrying at least one red gene. The red/chestnut gene is recessive, and this helpful site gives a quick explanation of how it works, as well a list of registered Friesian stallions that carry it. The Freisian studbook no longer allows horses carrying chestnut to be registered, although a number of these horses still exist and are used in Freisian Heritage or Freisian Sporthorse breeding.

Tinus PM

Tinus PM

I researched a number of Friesian stallions who carry the red gene, including the stunning chestnut, Renoir. For Martouf’s sire I chose the lovely and accomplished Tinus PM. This dressage champion is son of Jillis 301, one of the last chestnut-carrying stallions in the Freisian studbook.

Finding a mare was somewhat more complicated. Grays are rare in the Morgan breed, and I not only needed a gray but one carrying a certain base color genes. I can’t see that from the pictures, so it required researching the mare’s pedigrees.

I started with the indispensible Morgan Colors website, which gave me a list of known grays in the breed. I coupled that with the All Breed Pedigree site and some googling, and went from there.

I found two mares that I knew fulfilled the requirements (I found a number of mares who might very well be carrying a red gene, but since I wasn’t positive I scratched them off the list). FPS Frosted Creme Brulee is a 2006 gray mare with a palomino base coat. Palominos are genetically chestnuts with one cream gene, so I know she has two red genes (ee).

Winter Moon Light Kiss

Winter Moon Light Kiss

The other mare I found is Winter Moon Light Kiss, owned by Winter Moon Morgans. She is a 2001 grey mare, and although I don’t know her base color for sure, I know she is carrying at least one red gene- and that’s all I need. I know she’s a carrier for two reasons. For one, her dam was a chestnut so she must have a least one red gene. Also, “Kisses” had a 2006 chestnut-going-gray colt, so she clearly has a red gene to pass on. Looking back in this mare’s pedigree, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if she is herself a chestnut base gray. She even has a chestnut sabino full sister.

I decided to use Winter Moon Light Kiss as Martouf’s dam. I always prefer horses that have proven themselves in performance as well as having great pedigrees and nice foals. Kisses’ wins at Class A shows in western, huntseat, and in-hand sealed the deal for me.

martouf 3-4-13

Hurrah hurrah! My stallion Martouf (ee aa Gg, Tinus PM x Winter Moon Light Kiss) is coming to life. If you stuck with me through my color genetics rambling, I highly recommend you check out Leslie Kathman’s Equine Tapestry blog and also go play with this super fun visual color calculator.