Monday, May 30, 2016

Vintage Equine Pt 2 - Bibliophile

Welcome to the second installment of my three part series on antique and vintage horse items. You can read part one here

Today's entry is called Bibliophile. Pulled off an endangered species, the bookshelf, we will be flipping through six different equestrian books published years ago. I can only assume that at least a few of you will enjoy a peek inside these old, musty paper jewels.

Like the previous entry, we'll begin with the first, the one that ignited my fondness of old books and got the rest of the collection started.

Heads Up - Heels Down by C.W. Anderson. 

I acquired this book from my middle school library. My class was the last to complete all three years (5th, 6th, 7th) in the old school house before it was condemned. It was the town's first school, built in the twenties and originally housing all twelve grades. The hardwood floors were treated in an oil based finish and the fire dept said if the school caught fire it would be completely engulfed in about three minutes. Yikes.

The library sent the good books to the new school and students were allowed to pick what they wanted from the leftovers. I have always loved books, I knew this copy was in the library and figured it was old enough to be in the give away pile. First chance I had, I went to the library and claimed it as my own.

Heads Up - Heels Down was written for a younger audience, probably tweens, and covers all the basics. First published in 1944, this copy is the eighth printing from 1961. It was printed in the USA and was lithographed by George C. Miller. Measures 9" x 7".

rough library copy

well rounded

i guess people have been all "judgy judgy" on
others' eq for years with a caption like that

I took this book home for good in 1992

The Observer's Book of Horses & Ponies, written by R.S. Summerhays

I have no idea where I got this, seems like maybe an antique store? I just can't say for sure. It's been on my bookshelf for years. It's small, but a super fun little read. The descriptions of the breeds are short and fact packed, perfect! Most have good photos accompanying them. The inside covers & adjoining pages have four different point charts for quick reference. Though small, the space was used wisely. This is a British book originally published in 1948. My copy is revised edition 1961. Measures 5.75" x 3.75"

front inside

back inside

Fun On Horseback by Margaret Cabell Self

Page 3 of this book begins with handling your new foal in the first twenty four hours before it develops a sense of fear. By page 34 you are doing light dressage :) After that, there's a good twenty pages on all kinds of mounted games and trick training. Some I want to try, some are just absurd. The entire second half of the 224 page book is kind of a let down. It's all military drill requiring twenty or thirty horses. I guess a pony club or summer riding camp could have practiced the drills but for the average everyday rider it's not realistic at all. Even so, it's still considered a welcome member of my old book collection. This book is copyright 1945, I have the third printing which is also 1945. Looks like the demand was underestimated. Printed in USA in accordance with the regulations of the War Production Board, interesting. Measures 9" x 6" 

nothing impressive

maze jumping sounds fun, would be cool to watch
 a bunch of advanced riders & see the different
 ways the course would ride

who's ready for this one?

Stable Wise by Lieut. Col. S.G. Goldschmidt

This one doesn't cover riding at all. It is 176 pages of horse husbandry and tack care. Very thorough book for the young cavalryman and civilian alike. Loaded with illustrations, especially concerning leg maintenance and conformation both good & bad. Most of what's in this book is still relevant today and I've learned quite a bit from it myself. Printed in Great Britain in 1934, originally published 1928. Measures 8.5" x 5.5"

printed on both front & back inside covers,
and the most awesome graphics everrrrrr

yes please

odds and ends, probably what the
artist just felt like drawing at the time

Horses, Saddles and Bridles by General W.H. Carter

The oldest horse book on my shelf, and also the most aesthetic cover of the bunch. Copyright 1895, mine's printed in 1906. It's a military textbook and loaded with over 400 pages of need to know for the newly enlisted, including near and off side profiles of every major foreign cavalry and drawings of their tack and equipment. Written when horseback combat was still a very real thing. Measures 8" x 6.25"

how 'bout that right arm?

you go, Chappie

those hands, predecessors of today's clip art.
also i feel really bad for this pony

they did things a little different back then

Riding by Benjamin Lewis 

I saved the best (IMO) for last. This book was approached from such a unique point of view. The author selected a horse and rider from a pool of contenders, built various scaffolding for his photography, and documented the transformation of the new team to a well educated pair. The instruction is clear and concise, the pictures are of the highest quality. This book was copyright 1936 and published in 1939, and measures 10" x 7.5".

selection of rider and horse

meet Cadet

Happy Memorial Day

The unofficial beginning to summer. Living at the beach, this could not be a more true statement. Traffic increased tremendously around here last week. It will now stay that way until Labor Day. 

I am working today, but my thoughts are with those who gave all for our country. Cliché, yes, but so many are out of touch with today's military goings on. A couple of my friends died in Afghanistan. They were both my age, and taken way too soon. 

As you cover yourself in sunscreen and enjoy that cold beer, just take a moment to remember what today really is all about. Happy Memorial Day everyone!!

Monday, May 23, 2016


We carry on with our my new found love of riding in the ring. And things are getting harder. Not because we are doing more difficult work. To the contrary, the exercises we work on are simpler than before.

In an effort to polish what we know, I dropped the jumps significantly and made finding the right distance a priority. Chipping is ugly & I'm over it. However the ground pole thing seems to be hurting more than helping. At least ground poles on the small jumps. 

I'd heard it many times from other riders, and it's true. Going back to smaller jumps is more difficult. Why???

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

his appaloosa really comes out in the summer coat

A couple weeks ago when the heat and humidity began creeping in, Razz started his bucking fits. It's the same fits he would have when I first got him. The bucks are his evasion to work and he does it with every new rider that asks him to actually do something. It took three months to get that crap out of him the last time. I just had to ignore them, keep riding as if nothing happened. Picking a fight, even the smallest reprimand, was the wrong answer. He would just come back at you with even more. Ride him as if nothing happened, and eventually he gives it up. I mean, he's only causing himself more work with his tantrums. If it's not working in his favor why continue? I wonder how long it's gonna take him to figure that out this time around. 

The first bucks came just as I was finishing up a very sweaty jump school. I knew it was close to quitting time but the boy still had a little left in the tank. I made the choice to take him through a couple jumps one more time and then walk it out. I had somehow managed to create six jumps out of all our shitty ring equipment. They were placed throughout the ring with no lines between any of them, and I was just popping over whatever I pointed him at. As soon as we touched the ground after what was supposed to be our last jump, he bucked. 

I get it. It's hot and he wants to go back to the barn. I didn't read too much into it, made him trot the tiniest vertical twice so that we didn't end with the buck, and began cool down. He should be a little tuckered. We wouldn't be building the fitness if he wasn't tired. And fitness is the whole point.

The next ride, the bucks started earlier when I knew he wasn't tired. He was bucking in generally the same area (next to the in gate) and they came whether we were jumping or flatting. I like to work on my circles and bending next to the gate for a couple reasons. One is to help disassociate the gate with leaving, the other is because it's one of two areas with better footing for circles. Whenever he gave a buck, I continued with whatever it was we were working on at the time. If it was circles, we just kept right on circling. If we were jumping, I came back around to the very same jumps. 

The next ride, even more bucks. At this point I knew what road we were heading down.


I've been recording most of my rides. Almost all have the teenage boarders in them. That's not on purpose. I prefer having the ring to myself (don't we all?). For whatever reason, we ended up in the same place at the same time. I would love to share some of the boy's antics with you guys, but since the teens are in most of them I just can't. The times I was lucky enough to have the ring to myself, the camera was on the opposite end and the bucks are hard to see.

Quality on this video is total shit. I need to figure out an alternative upload method. Also what the fuck was that first cross rail in the second time thru? I mean he barely broke stride. This is what I'm talking about with the smaller stuff now. Razz does not seem to respect the little jumps anymore. I know I have a lot to work on as well, but damn. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that maneuver he pulled. Its almost as if he was an Icelandic horse for a split second going over that cross rail. I remember riding over it thinking "he never lifted at all on that shit. WTF?" The whole ride was more or less a huge bummer. Everything was off that day. I put a ground pole in front of all my jumps after that ride.

And Razz takes it upon himself to jump the ground pole in addition to the jump. At first, yes, it was too close. But I moved it back. I'm talking from 12 back to 15 feet away. In front of a 2'9" vertical. And I swear to God he jumps both and leaves the jump up. The teenagers are gasping and commenting their disbelief. I'm always riding him to the jump, not the ground pole, so I'm on top expecting one more stride. I end up barely coming off his back as we sail over, and my core tenses up in an "oh shit" kind of way. How we make it over I don't know. I jokingly told the teens I think we're ready for a grand prix water jump since we are clearing the distance anyway. 

My dad came down to visit and go fishing last week. He came to the barn and watched me ride once while he was here. Razz bucked more during that ride than any others, and it was mostly a flat school. Of course I had to jump a few things for dad to see. I just insisted pony carry on until the bullshit stopped. It's really frustrating though. The teens came back from a trail about ten minutes into my ride, their horses all sweaty. And don't you know they came right in the ring and basically took over, setting the jumps to their liking even though I was using them. I will have to make it a point to come early in the morning or after dark to avoid them when I want a serious school. 

Then we received four days of rain. I'm not gonna complain because we needed it and I know a lot of places have been getting relentless amounts of precip for weeks. 

Saturday morning I decided there was too much garbage going on in the arena and we were gonna take a trail ride. It was a little foggy in the beginning but cleared nicely. I came across the neatest tadpole pool in the sand pits. It was a milky green color in places, and just milky in others. Not a nasty color. But interesting and rather serene. The whole ride was serene really. The woods were calm in the fog. 

it was beautiful in person

a four wheeler donut track

On the way back in I grabbed a shot of the corn field and track. The field goes to the tree line and about 1/3 of it over my left shoulder isn't pictured. I'm sure I'll be getting my fill of the track later on this summer. 

corn field

I found the leg bone of a deer in Razz's pasture Saturday morning, too. It was still hooked together by the cartilage when I found it, but as I carried it out of the pasture I was flinging it around, like a set of nunchucks with a tiny link in the middle, when it came apart and half of it flew through the air. I watched the single bone cross the sky and it reminded me of the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey when the apes are fighting among themselves. Both leg bones ended up in one of my gardens, accenting the feral cat skull my husband brought home last week. Total score!!

Sunday morning I went out early to get in a dressage school. I rode actively for 45 minutes. We never jumped at all. I focused on my position, and going an entire ride without a buck. I was really happy with how my lower leg felt, and we made it through with no bucks!! Yay for the little wins :)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Vintage Equine Pt 1 - OPP

OPP - Other People's Ponies

This is the first installment in a three part series centered around antique and vintage horse items I have acquired over the course of several years. I tend to collect small items that can be easily stored away, in addition to not breaking the bank. I haven't added anything new to any of these collections for at least a couple years. However, when I go through my things now, I'm still fascinated or intrigued by them. So I figured a few of you out there in bloggerland would also enjoy having a look. Today's topic will be vernacular photographs.

Vernacular photography is a fancy term used to describe forgotten photos taken by average folks of their everyday lives. Much like the album full of pics from your trip to Disney World when you were 12. These photos are generally older, and found in someone's attic by relatives who don't know anyone pictured. They are tossed in a box full of odds and ends that goes for $20 at the estate sale. From there they make their way into antique stores, flea markets and eBay auctions.

All the photos I'm sharing today are my absolute favorites out of a shoe box full. I like pics that I can personally relate to, or ones with lots of texture and opposing angles to draw the eye, or ones that are just completely bizarre. Writing on the back is always a plus. The caption under each photo represents actual dimensions in inches. Any numbers on the reverse sides that I do not mention were written or stamped by the developer. It's how they labelled photos from the same order. If I don't show the back of a photo then it is blank. 

This is the first photo I ever purchased. It's the one that got me started collecting. Rummaging through an antique booth, this pic just kind of fell into my hand. I stopped and stared. Even though the angle isn't all that flattering I couldn't help but think how cute the foal was. After deciding this photo was coming home with me I flipped it over to find a price but instead there was a message on the back. 
3.5 x 3.5 inches
This pony wouldn't stand still enough
for Daryl, May '50, Cal (ifornia?)

Here's a man enjoying the afternoon out on his grey steed. I'm not sure how much the grey steed is enjoying things. The guy is definitely having a blast with that huge smile on his face and his hat held high in the air. 
4.5 x 3.5
And a profile shot of the same grey. He appears to be well cared for.
4.5 x 3.5

A classic pic for the era. Could have been taken anywhere. No helmet, but her form is good enough.
4.75 x 3.75

Ok, this next one gets me going. First, um, I want to be there. Just don't kill the quarry. Second, the rider in the foreground seems to be entering some sort of time warp. Also pony in the middle is stepping under nicely. 
3.25 x 2.25

This photo is one of my ultra faves (a favorite out of the favorites). Ralph autographed it on the exposure, then someone else labelled it Ralph Witt on the margin. His horse has that wild look in his eye. I feel certain Ralph is giving that horse's mouth hell. The back has the most identifying information on it of any photo I own. 
4.75 x 3
Ralph Witt on his horse Frank. Mullinville, Kansas
Harvest of 1932

This one is just a cool pic. I like the expression on the man's face. Maybe he's getting excited about this horse's prospective careers. Someone punched a star in the corner for whatever reason.
5.25 x 3.25

A young horsewoman in the making. I wonder if she ever got her picture back?
4.75 x 3.25
Uncle Herchal, this is an American
Saddlebred stallion. I had an Arabian
white mare bred to him. That's me. Send
this back because I want to compare him
with his colt when it grows up.

Classic fifties Americana right here. The way it's labelled leads me to believe she was just driving by and pulled over to get a pic with the cute ponies.
3.25 x 2.25 Country in Seymour - 51

I call this one the rider without a face. Slightly eerie.
2.25 x 2.25

I always keep the next two photos stored beside each other. I think they represent two different facets of America from roughly the same period. The haves and the have nots.

The first one shows two ladies on horseback out in the desert. They're wearing those pants that look like skirts while standing. The wagon behind them has a man inside. I think they're pulling up stakes and moving on, or maybe these women had no choice but to get out there and help their men move cattle. Either way, they haven't been handed anything in life and aren't scared away by the thought of hard work.
4 x 2.5

The counterpart to the above photo shows an entirely different sector of the population. Money in the bank, food in the kitchen, nice horses in the barn. I can tell you one thing the haves did not have...a well fitted saddle.
4 x 2.5

This one isn't all that special compared to some of the others, but I always like the free jumping shots. I don't know how economical film and photo development were during this time, but it wasn't free. Someone loved this horse enough to snap a pic of it jumping alone. 
3 x 2

Way to strike that power pose before climbing on the crazy green thoroughbred.
2.25 x 4

I just love this. Where is this place? Taken when PBR was cool the first time around.
2.5 x 3.75

Now, please indulge me while I share a few non horse pics that I still find noteworthy. Starting with this shot of a young man and his bull. The subject matter is cool enough, I grew up on a cattle farm. But I'm sharing this one because of what's on the back.
3 x 2
Genuine Krystal Gloss. Guaranteed forever. Guess what? It's still incredibly glossy hehe.

How 'bout a couple sheep? I like sheep a lot. Anyone know what breeds these are? 
5.5 x 3.5
4.5 x 3.5

A couple kids acting like fools on the side of a mountain. I'm sure we would have been friends if I were born sooner, or them later.
4.5 x 3

I call this girl the "witchy woman". The back just says Hattie in tiny writing. I would have been friends with her too.
3 x 2

Like the bull photo, this one just hits home. Also an ultra fave. We had large gardens, and I was an only child. Even if you can't associate with this one, how could you not smile? The reverse is written in German, I think. My dad is also of German heritage.
3.5 x 2.5
don't know what this one says

Honestly, I don't know if I really like this one or not, but I can't figure out what's going on. Is it a play, or B movie promo shot, or is he for real? I don't know. It stays in my faves because I can't stop looking at it.
3.5 x 4.5

A picture of a picture of a man taking a picture of a deer. 
5.5 x 3.25

This guy looks more cheeky than my pony. Wonder if those wooly chaps still exist in someone else's collection?
3 x 2

Another ultra fave. Bulldog, complete with spiked collar. Also the photo lab messed up, the bottom margin is actually the top of another photo. The angle of this photo is spot on with the A frame porches trailing off in the background.
2.25 x 2.5

All the feels on this one. Seriously. The crushed velvet of the furniture, the smell of the fresh tree, and that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from the holidays. Let's hope they cut those lights off before they left the house.
2 x 3

Yet another ultra fave. This one is just touching. A farmer admiring his hard work. He knows things are gonna be alright this year. Comes with a note on the back.
2.25 x 4
Brother Frank C. Dell. About 1914 at North Rush.
Dad's farm which Frank bought 1912

Love me a nice hand colored photo. These were developed like normal and crudely filled in with colors. First off, a dog pic. The painter made sure to fill that tiny flower in with orange, hehe.
3 x 5.5

This photo belongs with the top one, same photographer. She has detail on her hosiery. Notes on the back.
3 x 5.5
TYPED: Patsy pup and Eva. Monrovia.
WRITTEN: Pat & Eva. Love me, Love my dog

The Great Wall of China, prior to it becoming a tourist destination. You can see the grass growing on top of the wall.
5.25 x 3.25

Again, an ultra fave. This had to have been mailed to a friend or family member who lived far away. A whole story is on the back, but the collie is never mentioned.
5.25 x 3.25
You can see in this view, as in the other similar one, the
wandering paths at the foot of the canyons, & on opposite
side is the "club"of the boys of the neighborhood including
Teddy. Strange doings and noises go on there I can tell you,
& you can signal very easily over to our side; surrounding
it are orchards & orange groves, beautiful when they are in
bloom. Directly in the foreground is my rose garden. 25 rose
bushes which you can only see a few of. And that wire fence
you see is covered with finest (?) tho not quite tall enough
yet to see good. They later grew ten & twelve feet.

And with that long story about the canyon we can conclude our first entry in the Vintage Equine.

Aaand, if I got the Naughty By Nature song stuck in your head, my apologies. You can get it out of your system here.