Friday, December 25, 2020

My Kilbourn pair, plus Santa

 When I read about the Kilbourn Collector's Corner cover pic contest on FaceBook, I got inspired.  My ideas leapt from blankets to harness to Santa to a certain unfinished Criollo pony.  What a rabbit-hole of a chain!  Who knows where these things wind up?!  I only know I was spurred enough to get out the TSII Red Team Harness and refit it to my matched Kilbourn pair (which took all evening).  I also tried finding other pix of tacked-up Kilbourn horses.  In the process I found something that had been lost for more than 3 years,... and I hadn't even known it was missing!  This was fun.

This story begins in 2018.

There is a blog post on the 2018 acquisition of these matched bay geldings:  The Traditional Loot Shots.
Finnegan, also known as the Copperfox Irish Sport Horse, was first released in 2015.  Loughnatousa Fabio is the name of the solid red bay (also known as Superman, which I think is a stable nickname).  Breyer's Rangoli, the first bay on True North, came out in 2017.  As soon as I saw Rangoli I fell madly in love (and I do mean madly.  I still have plans to etch my own); I only had to wait until Breyer released a regular run bay.   I could hardly believe it when Icabad came out so soon.  Even their stars match!!  Twenty-eighteen was a very good year for me.

 My first thought for a pic of matched Kilbourns was this.   It features what they've got on now,  'wearing around the house,' as you would say.  Dry The Sea, my Icabad, was wearing tack.  I knew from the start I wanted to show off tack.  :)

The rage for digital photo-showing has inspired me to enter two shows so far; then it sank below the surface.  Why does it come bubbling back now?  I can tell the answer is complex; for now, let's just say the Kilbourn contest offered an escape from a probably ridiculous but still perceived expectation of perfection.  I have no photo backgrounds.  This is a driving pair, but I have no vehicle with a pole suitable for light horses (only the Hitch Wagon!).  With the weather the way it was, I couldn't even go outside.  It is too bad that sometimes the amazing artistry of other people's entries is, paradoxically, depressing.  I should know better.  (And, I should let this be an excuse to PhotoShop more...)

Perhaps recovery is merely a function of time... the dip and rise of a heartbeat graph line...

The solid-blue, white-lined blanket that says ""Timaru Star II" is a gift from my generous friend Lynn Martin Isenbarger.  The space-fabric blanket :)  is a beautiful commission from Nichelle Jones of Desktop Stables, specifically for this horse.  Loughnatousa  is correctly pronounced Lock-na-two-sa (it is the name of an Irish stud) , but I keep calling him Loff-na-toosa.  Somehow I haven't found a better name...  Here, the camera makes his head look big.

On the way to what I had in mind, I put them side by side.  It matters how you position them.  Loughnatousa is larger, though not by as much as this shows.

If you put Dry The Sea in front, suddenly they're perfect.  My camera exaggerates the front horse just enough.

The slight difference in color is lost under certain conditions:  See the first and second pix of this post.  If you do notice it, it just makes them more realistic.

Getting out the harness and fitting it was an exquisite pleasure.  I've had this set for 30 years and every needed part is long since made and put right (or so I would like to think!).  It was originally built on a research ship in the middle of the Pacific (I'm not making this up.  Meteorological field experiment TOGA-COARE 1992-3).  Later I replaced most of the hardware with gold filled, which I hadn't known about (or obtained) until about 1995.

I used a clothespin to hold the reins for this session.  Note the bell string around Dry The Sea.  I only have the one string so it goes on the horse closest to the camera.

They're both going at the same speed, a canter.  Think cantering isn't done in harness?  Haven't been to a Combined Driving Event, have you...?!  There are speed elements.  They run.

See the ring around the crossed inside lines?  Put the rein of the horse who carries his head highest on top.  It's not too hard to pick which horse that is.

This is my second-favorite shot.  I was using my left hand to elevate Dry and my right to hold the camera.  Action!!

But none could top this one.   Finally, this is what I was after.  I believe I was inspired by photos I'd seen in Driving Digest magazine.  True to life, the bridles are slightly different; Loughna's has the tandem-wheeler's rings, and somehow their cheek keepers don't match.

The flaw I see is that Loughnatousa's off foreleg appears too small for his size, and unfortunately placed stridewise in comparison to Dry's.  But that's the way it goes.  Without those forearms you'd have a harder time figuring out the molds.  ... Maybe I should just crop it.  OH and what a great opportunity to get rid of that scuffed ear...!


Later fixes I see (this must be the ever-critical judge) include moving Dry's neckpad to before his withers, and raising Loughna's mouthpiece a bit.  Both nosebands are a little lower than they should be.

I should stop here.  But I didn't.  I took Dry The Sea (because he's been Horse of the Day for some time now) and put him to the Red Sleigh, using my new doll (still working on a name, Anne!) and my old driver Steve the Cowboy.  Then I dug out my Santa.  Steve decided Chereene (?) should drive.  He also thought his magnificent fur cloak would cover them both, ... which was a bit farfetched.

I'm hoping you don't notice she's dropped a line (I didn't notice either).  Nor that Santa seems to be perched uncomfortably on the back seat, no doubt ready to tumble down the moment Dry hits a bump.  I won't tell you he's pinned in place.  Man I need a better Santa.  It's a good thing Dry's so strong.

What's PhotoShop for, if not to fix a lady's troubles?  Here, I raised that rein for her.  Above, I extended the snow, which started as a piece of white fleece.

 Merry Christmas everybody!!

I mentioned something lost at the beginning of this post.  It was the folder which held the pictures of my unfinished Maxixe wearing the 2016 Pony Hackamore.  I could remember shooting him wearing it, ... but could not find the folder,... which was exasperating, to say the least.  I remembered the blog post about that very Hackamore, which saved me in the end:  it proved I'd taken all those pix.   I finally went over EVERY picture I'd ever taken that fall, and there it was:  I'd somehow stowed the entire folder inside another folder!  "It happens."  But this was my first time with so basic a mistake.

A Pony Hackamore 

I have had real fun with this long shoot, and I am relieved that "photo showing fever" can come back.  I love Morgen Kilbourn sculpts and currently have 5:  True North, Finnegan, Maxixe, Bobby Jo/Sheila and the Baroque Horse Bust.  I am still hoping to get my Christmas letter out before Valentine's :)  and I am so thankful for all the blessings we have enjoyed this year.  Indeed we have been blessed,... 

... still I AM looking forward to 2021...!

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