Wednesday, March 9, 2022

A New Artistic Venture

Expressing myself artistically has always been a huge part of who I am. It was my first self-taught hobby and played a huge part in my journey of finding myself during a time when I struggled to see value in who I was. 

I started small, on a college student budget, doing pieces for myself and friends. My real commission work breakthrough happened at my first art convention almost a decade ago when a friend offered to let me use a corner of her vendor table. I was unprepared to sell anything, but I put down a couple sketches I had done while traveling and hoped someone liked what they saw. I went home that weekend with nearly $1k in profit, just from doing what I loved. 

I kept on drawing after that. With each convention and commission, I used my earnings to restock art supplies that I needed to continue in the hobby - good materials were not cheap but doing commissions helped every bit of the way and from the ground up, I built a tight-knit community around my artwork and thrived, finally having found a place to express myself and my work. 

In recent years though as life picked up speed, I eventually found myself without motivation to pick up my tablet pen or pencil to draw for anyone, let alone myself. It was as if a part of me had went dark and chose to stay that way. Maybe it was the result of the pandemic or working through my emotional/mental trauma of my childbirth experience. I'm not sure honestly, but I knew something was wrong but I was apathetic to change it. 

Then about a month ago, I was contacted by a friend and repeat client who asked if I could take on an art commission for him. It was dusting off the cobwebs and flexing long unused muscles. I realized I missed being creative and I really missed challenging myself to learn a new skill. 

After giving it thought, I decided to take the leap into a new hobby and try my hand at model horse customization. In my mind, it was the natural combination of the two things I enjoy most in my spare time. Figuring out a new hobby has been quite the adventure so far. I've been learning about different model scales, live showing, photo showing, resin material types, painting techniques, painting supplies, and my favorite part- Collecting models to work with. 

My current project ponies in various states of prep and sculpting.
It looks like a mess now but this "diamond in the rough" stage is probably my favorite part of the whole customization process.

With my newly acquired model bodies, I did a few small projects to practice customization  techniques and I guess they proved that I was doing well enough to start taking on commissions. I'm currently working on my first custom order and I'm very humbled that what started out as a pipedream just a month ago is now reality. 

At its heart, I've always wanted this blog to have a shared focus of my two favorite things- riding and art. Customization seems to have neatly fit the bill. I'm still riding, enjoying trail time with Quest, and taking on catch rides when I can, but I'm pretty excited to explore and find my way back to this other side of myself.

Little guy has been watching me work on project ponies for a couple days now.
One afternoon, he asked for a brush and picked up a model bunny to “paint” <3

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Rest in Peace, Jamie

A couple weeks ago, we said goodbye to our family dog. He would have turned 18 next month. We got him as a puppy around 4-6 weeks old and he's been with us since then. My parents are pretty broken up about it, he was the fur child after both my sister and I left for college and moved out with our respective families. Though he slowed down over the years, his feisty bright personality never changed. 

I'm sure he's running his laps on the rainbow bridge now. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Product Review: Custom Yacht Braid Lead by Sunset Halters

It's been awhile since I've done a product review post. I really missed sharing about neat equine related things that I get to try out. I was contacted by Sunset Halters last month that I won a raffle for a custom 12ft yacht braid lead rope. This news was definitely a nice way to start off the new year.

The ordering process was easy and hassle-free; the hardest part was picking out what colors I wanted for the lead and decorative knot. Less than a week after sending in my order details, I got a USPS tracking number and my product arrived within one week...Talk about a quick turnaround, wow.  

So pretty in purple and black <3

The lead rope did not come with a snap (it's an additional cost for snaps) but it was an easy fix- I just attached an extra snap that I salvaged from an old frayed lead rope and it was good to go. I was impressed by the neat splicing work and the decorative knot gives it that extra customized detail. The 9/16" width definitely gives the lead a heavier feel compared to regular lead ropes and lends a nice weight in the hand. Nothing better than a functional piece of tack that also looks and feels good. 

Nice little details like the embossed sun stamped on the popper.

The 12ft length is very generous and will make it easy to tie pretty much anywhere at the barn or from the trailer. The length isn't too unwieldy to to store in a saddle bag yet it is long enough that if Quest needed a refresher while on the trails, I can hop off and do groundwork safely. 

The website mentions that the material is abrasion, rot, mildew, snag and fade resistant so time will tell how the the lead rope holds up to frequent use at the barn. 

So far though I'm pleased with the quality of product that I received and am impressed with amazingly fast turnaround time from order to delivery. The price will run you about $40 plus shipping. If you're looking for a good quality yacht rope product, be sure to check out Sunset Halters. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Time Flies

I can't believe we're already midway through January, where has the time gone? 

The holiday season finished on a very quiet note. With having a infant under 5yo and the height of the newest variant, we ended up deciding to pass on large traditional family gatherings and various get-togethers that we had originally planned. It was a little sad since there are a quite a few people in our families who never met baby boy and he's already 14 months old now. 

C started to walk 100% independently about a month ago and he has been unstoppable since. He decided one night that he was tired of holding onto things for support and suddenly he was off on his own...and didn't stop again for 30 minutes. It been such a joy seeing him really grow into his own- he enjoys engaging with new people with his bright smiles, is just a little bit naughty, and definitely has a mind of his own.  

Quest and I are doing very well. We have done a few trail rides and mareface has been sassy and ready to go every time. Equestrian goals for 2022 are simple:

  1. Getting Quest used to random human shenanigans as I want to introduce C to leadline riding in the warmer months so I'll be pulling out some of our old desensitizing toys and trying some games to get her used to all the wacky things I can think of. Mareface has always been rock-solid steady in the arena (to the point of being bored and half-asleep) so I honestly don't expect anything to really happen but better safe than sorry. 
  2. Take Quest off property for some fun trail rides. Since I sold my trailer last year, I haven't been able to really do much new trail exploring and I'm itching to do it again. Fortunately I have connected with friends willing to let me catch a trailer ride with them so hopefully the stars align for an adventure soon. 
  3. And if things fall into my lap, I'd love to do a catch ride or two in CTR or endurance but that is on the way back burner due to limited budget and PTO priorities. 

Other than that, anything extra that we manage to accomplish in the year to come would be a nice cherry on top. Hope you all had a great start to 2022 so far! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Finding Simplicity

It's been a few weeks since Thanksgiving came and went but in a lot of ways, it marks the official start to the holiday season. Well, at least in my mind it does. 

It's been fun watching Baby C take in all the sights and sounds. Though this technically isn't his first ever Christmas, its the first one where he is more than just a wiggling ball. Now there is holiday music, blinking tree lights, cooking food smells, cooler weather. 

The tree is in the dining room since its traditional spot is now occupied by C's playpen.
Our house is in quite the upheaval.

His innocent sense of wonder is really something to behold and honestly his genuine reaction to the smallest things is the humble reminder I needed that sometimes things in life don't have to be big, huge, expensive, or fancy to be memorable, enjoyable, or emotionally satisfying. 

Future trail rider in training.
C's balance and posture is actually looking pretty good- I think this bodes well. 

That mantra has been running through my mind whenever I spend time at the barn. It's been a few weeks since Quest and I did our last ride together and I was itching for the trails this past weekend. 

Before going to the barn, I stopped to buy a set of nippers to give mareface a quick trim. I've been having difficulty coordinating with the farrier I had used at the previous barn so I made up my mind to do what I could in the meantime. The nippers were a godsend and then the rasp made quick work. It helped that Quest stood nicely for me in the crossties. Good mare! 

I debated doing a full tack trail ride at first but in the end, I opted for bareback and bitless. We got tacked up with the little S-hack, my like-new Toklat Coolback bareback pad (which I got for an absolute steal of a price from a local horseperson), and made sure to wear my orange vest. 

The weather was cool and Quest was full of sass. When we got into the WMA, she immediately asked to move out. However we had seen a few trucks and a couple hunters in the parking lot so a speedy ride was probably not the best thing for that particular day. 

After a few reminders to slow down and chill, Quest did settle into her big walk and we enjoyed a lovely 3.5mi ride done in about 50mins. We could have done more but it was a little unnerving hearing all the dogs and rifles in the training area. We were in no danger at any time as the two areas are completely separated and inaccessible on foot but it was tough not to be on edge. Despite all that, it was a good ride and Quest felt 110% after her trim which I'm very pleased about. 

Happy birthday to me.
I promised myself a real bareback pad someday and finally got one!

I'm in total love with the Coolback and feel utterly spoiled by actually having a real bareback pad after making due with my DIY pad for the past 6-7 years. I think I need a neoprene girth since the girth that came with the pad is a little too slick and I could see that the pad slid back a little after our ride. Though for the price I got it at and knowing how much use I'll definitely get out of it, I'm not complaining at all and its an easy fix. Can't wait to do more bareback rides this winter!