Monday, December 1, 2008


Behind the scenes at the 2008 Christmas pony photo shoot
how I almost got killed (twice) taking goofy pictures of my horses

I like to think I treat my horses with respect, but like any doting mama, I want nice photos of the kidz for the holidays.
I had planned on doing the annual photo session sometime over the long weekend with the help of the ever-patient Mr. Fry. However, the weather and his schedule were not in sync, and I realized I was going to have to make it happen by myself. I really didn't want to be in the pictures anyway, it's just easier if someone's holding them, and you have more control over the background.

Step One
Make sure the subjects are clean and looking their best. This took much longer than I anticipated. We had just enough rain last week to make it sloppy. Poco hides the grunge pretty well, but Jaz lets the truth be known. He wasn't just dirty, he was caked with mud, pretty much from head to foot. He had mud in his ears! He either rolled in it or lost his footing during some spirited play. It took a rubber curry, a fine tooth curry and two different brushes just to get the chunks out. It was too cold to hose them down. They got their faces washed and their manes and tails baby oiled. Of course, as soon as Poco shook, he became Wildman Rockstar again, just like a kid with a cowlick.

Step Two
Choose the location. Because I had to do it myself, I tried to find a place where I could tie them but where you wouldn't see so much of the lead ropes and other background crap. The fence is too high and I would have had to climb to the other side. I thought about the round pen, which is the right height, but not sturdy enough to withstand their fidgeting.

Stupid Human Trick #1 or What the Hell Was I Thinking?
I know! Mike's flatbed trailer! I could tie them to the front bar, then I could get on it and crouch down, getting just their heads. The trailer is red, so if the front bar was visible, no big deal.

This trash bag was on the trailer, weighted down over top of what I think is the power pack to the hot fence. Shouldn't be a problem — it's not going anywhere, right?

Wrong! It was very windy (gusts to 45mph), so both horses were already jumpy. And I somehow completely forgot that Jaz has this thing about anything black — he'll spook at black water main covers, black tar road patches, etc. I tied him to that front bar, the wind caught a small corner of the bag, and he wigged. He actually plowed the trailer several feet (look at the skid mark) before I could safely release him.

By default, it was going to have to be the hitching post. In retrospect, I should have shut the garage door and put up all the grooming supplies, etc., but by this time, the Boyz were getting restless on top of being super spooky. You know that window of good behavior you get when you dress the kids up and haul them to the Sears Portrait Studio the day after Thanksgiving? That window was closing fast.

Step Three
The hats. I took the antler headband things from last year's photos and pulled the hats on over them. That left desensitizing the Boyz to the hats and the bells right by their ears. Not very hard, since the headbands sit in the same place as their halters.

Step Four

OK Boyz, smile! Jaz, honey, look at mama. And fix your hat!

Jaz, sweetie, don't stick your tongue out. Fix your hat!

C'mon Boyz, it's Christmas. Look happy! Jaz, baby, fix your hat.

Guys, if you don't cooperate, Santa won't bring you those new halters. Jaz. Fix. Your. Hat.

Poco! Stop antagonizing your brother! JAZU! FIX YOUR @#*% HAT!

As good as it gets.

Stupid Human Trick #2 or What the Hell Was I Thinking? (er, again)
I decided I wanted a really close shot of Poco's eye. Except I forgot to turn off the flash. I'm lucky I didn't get trampled. What a freakin' idiot I am.

I'm sure the Boyz are very glad this nonsense is over for another year.


RoSe said...

Very Merry Cute Leah, worth all the tailspins. I see a new career in store for you...ho ho ho.

Callie said...

LMAO! Very cute, however, they look a bit humiliated! LOL

The Wife said...

LOL! Very funny! Why is it we lose some of our common sense while taking our pets' pictures. I sat down in the pasture in front of the horses trying to take a picture of their heads in the sky this weekend. Then I began to think.....I sure hope Priss doesn't decide to paw or take off over me! Geez!

Thanks for the visit!

cdncowgirl said...

*wipes away tears of laughter*

O M G Leah that was too funny.
Ok so it wouldn't have been funny if you had been hurt, but you weren't so it IS funny. And the resulting pic is super cute!

C-ingspots said...

Too much fun!! Did Jaz EVER fix the *(&$* hat??? Horses!! They never want to cooperate with our goofy human ideas...

Leah Fry said...

I have more fun than anybody!

Welcome to all my new visitors today. Glad you enjoyed the antics. Please come back!

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Cute post.
Next year I am doing Christmas photos in the summer when the horses are cleaner, then photo shop in snow LOL

Jamie said...

Too funny !!! They look so cute in their hats !!!

Thanks for coming by and giving me the Christmas Carol idea....will try that next time....of course I sing like a sick seal !!! LOL
Guess I will just have to do it softly as not to scare the horses..

Love your site !!!

C-ingspots said...

Hi again Leah,
Thanks for visiting my site the other day. So, you have a friend in Grants Pass. That is south of where I live by about 3-4 hours I guess. I live in the northern end of the Willamette Valley approximately midway between the beach and Portland. I don't even know what the Happy Appy Forum is. ??? Fill me in...and thanks for the compliment on my horses. Yours too are quite lovely, even though they look a little embarrassed. hee hee :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh my goodness! I was laughing so hard...I as snorting! (not pretty!)

Photographing animals is just as bad as taking photos of kids...sometimes even worse. lol!
But it sure is funny.
I think your photos turned out great, actually.
And best off all, you didn't get killed! hehehe

Oh, and I've got a little something for you, too:

A Jewel for you!

New Mexico

Cactus Jack Splash said...

You have been given an award.
Pick it up at

cdncowgirl said...

Hey funny lady! I've left you something on my blog :)

ezra_pandora said...

lol!! How cute. I attempted to do a Chrismas picture this year with the two mares, two little boys and hubby. Guess who was acting up the most out of all of us? HUBBY!!! lol

I like your pictures. Your horses are adorable in those hats.

Laura Jayne said...

Oh... this is precious, and the story of it made me laugh out loud.

Pony Girl said...

Oh goodness, crazy story! I'm glad everyone survived and you got some really cute pics regardless! Love the headbands~ no way would My Boy let me put one on him!
I really wanted to do that xmas photo thing with w/My Boy this year. I did it last year. I have one weekend left to make it happen. It'll be weather dependent, thats for sure!

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