Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Horse Shows By The Bay

On Sunday I dragged myself over to spend some time at the big "AA" level hunter/jumper show, Horse Shows By The Bay in Acme, Michigan, just outside of Traverse City. This is its fifth year of existence, and it gets bigger and better every year.

Of course it was hot, but there was a nice breeze blowing, and by going as much as possible from one patch of shade to another, I managed to put in a couple of hours without collapsing. There is a lot of walking at this show, especially if you are going back and forth between rings to catch action at certain times, and I was grateful that my bad knee and back survived without too much protest.

I wore my floppy canvas hat which worked great for shooting and was pretty cool as well. I ignored the fact that I look pretty dorky in it, and only ran into one person I knew; my barn owner who already knows that I'm a dork and a little odd.

My main reason for going was to shoot the toddlers in the Lead Line class. It was held in the new Grand Prix arena, and I was allowed to go down and shoot from the in gate so managed quite a few shots as the kids waited for the class to begin. They are SO cute on their spiffy little ponies! Some were so small that they hadn't a clue what was going on and didn't care; they just wanted their naps.

I was quite disappointed to find that this new arena is not photographer friendly. It sits down a slope from the rest of the show grounds, and spectators are limited to sitting a ways up the hill for the show jumper classes. So, that is not a good vantage point for getting photos of jumpers to use for paintings. It didn't matter much on Sunday because I had forgotten to put the long lens on my camera before I left home, so I didn't even bother going back to shoot the big jumper Grand Prix class. Instead, I wandered around shooting show scenes and a little of the hunter rings but the light wasn't good and most of the jumps too far away, so those shots didn't come out well at all.

On my way in and out, I took some shots of horses being bathed to get more references for wet horses if I need them as I did for the Mural Mosaic project. I didn't get down to the pony ring but hope to catch some of the ponies when I go back on Friday this week when the dressage show will also be going on. Last year the dressage and ponies were in adjacent rings, so I went back and forth for most of one day.

My one complaint about this show is that it's very difficult to find a list of classes so that you know what's going on in each ring at any given time. In the past I was able to plan out ahead of time where to go at what times to catch the action that I wanted, but not so this year or last.

By clicking on the image above, you can go to my website and see a small portion of the photos I took on Sunday.

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