Archive for April, 2011
On Monday I got to do a little trick training with the boys. Boomerang practiced his laydown several times, something he’s getting quite good at.
I’ve also been working on getting him to sit up after laying down – basically getting him to hold the position of half on the ground and half off the ground. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any shots of him working on this, but I was happy that he held it for a little less than a minute this time…..his longest duration yet. He catches on pretty quick, so it shouldn’t take him long to have it down.
Minnow was close by, as I wanted him to watch the whole process of me asking Boomer to laydown – and for him to see the praise/treats he was rewarded for it.
The ponies are very smart, and a lot of times they like to mimic what the other one does in order to get a reward. I didn’t expect Minnow to suddenly drop to the ground after seeing Boomer do it, but I did think it would help in the future when I go to train him to lay down.
The more times he watches Boomer lay down and be rewarded, the more conditioned he’s going to be to accept it as a positive experience. Minnow is much more sensitive than the other two ponies – probably because of his checkered past (and perhaps a little to do with his Wild upbringing) – and getting him to feel comfortable enough to lay down near me is going to be a challenge. To this day Minnow still will not roll out in the pasture if he thinks someone is standing too close to him. Teaching him to even bow was a huge task for him, as it was difficult for him to feel comfortable enough to lower his head and knees near people.
So for now I’m going to continue to let him watch Boomer lay down – and hopefully someday we’ll get to try it with him too.
On April 11th the ponies got to work on some new paintings. I regret it taking me this long to get them up on the blog!
It turned out to be another gorgeous day – the perfect kind of day for painting. This time I made sure to have time for all three of the boys to paint.
I can picture the purple haze of an evening sunset washing over Assateague Island, where Minnow was born 18 years ago. This painting has a peaceful calmness about it, and I bet Minnow was remembering his days on the island when he painted this.
Purchase this painting in the shop.
The burst of gold streaks across the night sky as a shooting star passes overhead. It lights up the darkness as Minnow and his Chincoteague Pony brothers stand grazing in the pasture. The ponies close their eyes and make a wish on this magic shooting star, a wish for more carrots and a mountain of grass. Because after all, isn’t that what any pony would wish for?
Purchase this painting in the shop.
Next up to paint was Boomerang. I really regret not having the video camera set up for his painting session because he had me laughing the entire time. See, the most recent trick that I’ve taught Boomer was to smile. Sometimes when the ponies learn new tricks they have it on the brain, meaning they begin to offer it a lot because they are sure that’s what I want them to do.
So when I handed Boomer his paintbrush dripping with paint, he began to try and paint WHILE smiling. Only smiling and holding a paintbrush in your mouth is easier said than done. Needless to say his painting technique was a little less than organized, but I couldn’t help but laugh at his silly antics.
So since Boomer was having a little difficulty containing his excitement at the thought of painting, I decided to let his big brother Blitz finish up the canvas he had started. Sort of a collaborative effort. I also wanted to make sure all the boys had time to paint before it started to get too dark.
It always amazes me when the boys paint – how differently each of them approaches it. Blitz learned to paint by watching Minnow out his stall door. Minnow truly was his teacher, I was and am merely the “tool” they use to get their paint. But even though Minnow has taught Blitz to paint, their styles are so drastically different.
I consider Minnow to be more of a “Jackson Pollock” style painter. In every sense he’s an action painter. Paint flies all over, one minute he’s stroking the brush up and down and the next he’s swirling it around on the canvas. You never know what to expect when Minnow puts his brush to canvas.
Now Blitz, he’s what I would call an OCD painter. He picks up the brush, eyes half closed, and meticulously strokes the brush in a sweeping up and down motion – on one section of the canvas only. Try to take the brush from him mid-stroke and he won’t have it. He’s not ready for more paint until he’s satisfied with the number of strokes he’s made. His whole process is very methodical, almost like he’s painting a fence.
Blitz added his own “fence painting style” strokes to the canvas Boomerang started and they produced this really neat collaborative painting…..
Boomer and Blitz may not have grown up on Assateague Island like their ancestors, but that doesn’t stop them from dreaming of the deep blue ocean. It floats around in their thoughts, a longing to dip their hooves into the salty waves as they crash along the beach. Perhaps someday they will get to experience the ocean, but until then all they can do is paint what is in their dreams.
Purchase this painting in the shop.
And of course, Ammo the Dachshund was there to clean up the mess after a beautiful day of painting.
I had my suspicions before, but now I’m pretty certain that I have a “fan” at the Breyer Model Headquarters. Why you may ask? Because within the past few years several models have been popping up that bare an uncanny resemblance to Minnow & I.
This model features a female rider with thick RED braids – tip off #1 that its me. When competing in mounted games I usually wear my hair (my RED hair) in 2 HUGE braids because trust me, you have never seen a red-head with as much hair as me. Not only that but the rider is on a pinto pony, that may not look exactly like Minnow’s clone, but there are some definite similarities.
Then a friend sent me over a link to the Art Class Set.
This model also includes a female artist with RED hair and a pinto pony. If that wasn’t enough, they come with paintbrushes and paint! Really!
Whatever Breyer’s reasoning behind these two models is, it’s certain that their “plan” has worked. Because I am now the proud owner of both of them! ha ha.
I’m really really hoping that my “fan” at the Breyer Headquarters is reading this, because Chincoteague Minnow would be more than HAPPY to model for your next “debut” mold of his likeness. Why not get the real thing? Complete with little Dachshund side-kick and all!
I bet it would sell out instantly!
What do you guys think? Should Minnow be a Breyer Model? Should Ammo be the first Dachshund mold? Does anyone else see the resemblances that I do?
Images from Breyer.
We’ve been waiting and waiting. Waiting for that perfect day, when the weather is warm, the sky is blue, and there is nothing we’d rather do than drag out the paints!
On Monday it reached 75 degrees, and on our small farm in Eastern PA – that meant that it was time to paint again. Winter always seems to drag on here. If the ponies had their way they would be painting ALL YEAR ROUND. Blizzards, Thunderstorms, Hail – nothing could keep them from making those magical strokes. Especially Minnow.
Me on the other hand, I hibernate in the winter. The cold is bad enough (there is no easy way to keep your hands warm when you have to hand sopping paintbrushes to an eager artist), but the lack of daylight is really what does me in. Trying to paint with the boys when it’s cloudy & grey out really does nothing for the “creative mood”. And the thought of dragging out the paints, the easels, the supplies (most of the time in the dark) in the dead of winter just sort of puts a halt to our creative juices. Although I have to admit the thought of standing in the middle of a blizzard (white snow all around) while Minnow paints a masterpiece does sound like a beautiful picture – I might just have the come out of hibernation next winter for that one!
But needless to say, I for one am glad to put the cold behind us. As I stepped outside on Monday morning I knew that I had to drop everything and make time to paint with the boys. Painting usually becomes an all-day affair for us. The set-up takes time, and preparing canvases before hand is necessary. Luckily this time I had a few ready-to-go canvases thanks to a some color suggestions on our Facebook page a few months back.
Several hours later I was at the farm enjoying the wonderful day with my favorite ponies (and a cute little dachshund). Minnow painted three amazing canvases and few little mini paintings as well. Unfortunately my beautiful day started to becoming windy pretty quickly, and as paint began to blow in the wind and I chased runaway paintbrushes – I had to cut short our session. Sadly Boomerang and Blitz had to sit the day out – as they nickered from the pasture in hopes of joining us. Sorry boys, today was Minnow’s turn, but don’t worry, there are plenty of magical days left to paint some more.
visit the SHOP
You might need sunglasses, because this painting is brilliant! I think Minnow was dreaming of warm summer days in the sun when he painted this. That, or he was trying to convince me to buy him a new pair of sunglasses for beach season.
visit the SHOP
Behind every cloud there is a silver lining. Magical things happen when you give the talented Minnow a paintbrush, and this masterpiece is no exception. Just when April showers come rolling into the farm where the ponies spend their days, Minnow can’t help but see the silver lining amongst it all. Or maybe he just knows that rain makes the grass grow!
visit the SHOP
My little ponies, scrunchies, MTV, Pac-Man, and Leggings – do you see it? I think Minnow took a trip back in time when he painted this Retro 80′s tribute painting. He may not have been born yet, but I can see him now….pink hair & leg warmers, every little girl’s dream pony! Minnow keeps the 80′s alive with this fantastic painting for all the retro fans out there!
Keep on the lookout for more paintings to come from the boys. I have a feeling they are going to be even more spectacular this year!
P.S. check out Ammo the Dachshund’s Blog for a recap of his day of painting with the ponies!
On Sunday we had a mounted games event at the farm. During these events we also like to add on a fun jackpot obstacle course for everyone. It’s great experience for the ponies & riders, and it’s fun to challenge yourself to try something new. Each time we have them the course gets bigger and better, and the riders that participate begin to grow. We’re hoping that this will turn into a popular event – as it really is a blast!
Here’s a quick video of Boomerang and I doing a run-through of the course before the show. We ended up making a few modifications, like taking out the “gate” which inevitably ended up being too much of a challenge.