Saturday, July 30, 2011

Holy cow Who is THAT?!?!?!?!

Once upon a time the Who's Who of eventing were nothing but young riders dreaming about riding in the Olympics one day. They eventually got caught by the eventing bug and started working their ways up from the tiniest tadpole division to where they are now. So what did these tiny versions of the Big Stars look like? What horrible clothes did they pair together thinking that it was highly fashionable enough for the Rolex trot up? Because lets face it- fashion has had some really ugly stages!

Some of the Big Names had famous eventing parents, others had parents that rode a little but never at the top, and even more top rider's had parents that couldn't tell you the back of a horse from the front end! Over the years these riders worked their way up from wherever they started to become what they are now, and only the future can tell what else they have in store for them!

But lets stop talking futuristic- I'm a little in love with the past at times- especially if there is an embarrassing photo involved. Unfortunately I do not have a truly scandalous picture of any of the Big Names, but I do have one OMG picture taken almost 12 years ago (fall of 1999) at a little event in Tryon, at a little place called FENCE. It's one of those pictures that the 2 Famous Amos riders would look at and go "AH! I wore those shoes???" or "Look at how tiny and short I was!" etc etc etc- but to everyone else they would look just fine.

It started long ago (1997) when a graduate A pony clubber moved to Charlotte NC. She immediately looked up the local pony club and asked about teaching lessons. From this she acquired many happy little kids on fat little ponies and turned them into hard core happy eventers on sleek and fit horses. One of the happy little pony clubbers was a young girl who had plans to one day ride in the Olympics. This young girl went on to represent Carolina Region at Pony Club Nationals and Area III at the NAJYRC.

So with that note here is the long awaited picture- though i'm sure you've already seen it since it's not like I can post it on the next "page" and make you flip over to see it, it's just sitting a few enter keys down already glaring at you for cheating by not reading all this type first ;)
I wish the photo would show up bigger, but it was taken before such things as digital cameras existed so it had to be scanned onto the computer and the translation to here made it that size. Anyways the two famous riders are none other than: Rolex rider Susan Beebee, hugging the extremely sexy and handsome chestnut (I'm not biased or anything since that's my horse!), and Jersey Fresh CCI*** winner Andrea Leatherman, wearing the Micky Mouse t-shirt on the right.
So I ask you, the reader, do you have any pictures of famous horses or riders BEFORE they became famous??? I do know (thanks to the powers of Facebook stalking) that the really tall girl in the photo, Annie, had none other than the famous eventing pony, Teddy O'Connor, living in her pasture sometime before he headed off to live with the O'Connors. It really is a small world!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cowboys and What???

How can you not get excited about a movie titled Cowboys and Aliens with Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and current James Bond (Daniel Craig) starring in it???? It reminds me of Independence Day, just set 100+ years before Will Smith kicked some Alien booty and saved the world. Now it's Daniel Craig's turn to use his trusty bracelet to zap all the bad guys away and rescue everyone that was abducted.

Yeeaahh..... who cares about the plot line!!!! This movie is all about Cowboys in action! This ain't yo Daddy's favorite John Wayne movie- this is Snakes on a Plane Cowboy style!!! Do you think Samuel L. Jackson starred in SoaP because it would win him an Oscar? No way- he did it because so he could say the famous quote and go down in history for making a movie about Snakes- on a plane.

Now I just have to find someone to go with me....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Would you like some cheese with that corn? a Look at Various Types of Horse Movies

Who doesn't love a good movie? A good movie can make you cry, laugh, fall in love, and cheer throughout the hour plus it's taken you to watch it.

Who doesn't love a good horse? A good horse can make you cry, laugh, fall in love, and cheer through the years that you spend time with your horse.

So combining the two together should cause a ripple in the universe so big and awe inspiring that it puts screaming, fainting, adoring, Justin Beiber fans to shame.

Wrong. Most horse movies suck. They are either so cheesy or corny that you either enjoy them a little or feel like you've wasted the past hour of your life that you know you can't get back. Every so often Hollywood does make a great horse movie, but compared to the thousands of bad ones out there, the great ones could probably be counted on two hands.

Most recently Secretariat has put my faith back into movie making using the horse as a primary character, and hopefully War Horse will continue to trick me into thinking Hollywood might have figured out a "Horse Movie". But it's going to be a long road before I completely forgive them for making such movies as Dreamer and Flicka (the remake- not original)- just to name a few.

I use to watch every horse movie I could as a little kid. Walking through Blockbuster (because those were the days before Netflixs and Redbox) I would stop if I saw a horse on the cover of the tape and take it home to watch. Plus my mom, also being a rider herself, owned a few of the classic "greats" on VHS, and we would also go to the movie theater and watch any horse movie that made it into theaters. Vault Disney was one of my favorite series because they played some of the old horse movies made in the 60's and 70's by Disney. These movies tended to fit into the category of cheesy love, but never-the-less they were enjoyable.

So with that being said I have divided up horse movies into 4 basic categories.

1st category is: Classic Epic Horse Movies
These are the movies that will be around forever and your children's children will still be talking about these movies- they will stay forever

2nd category is: Classic Cheesy Awesomeness
These movies will stay around forever, some may not always be well known, but should never be forgotten- they are still classics. The movies from the 40's- 80's are usually the ones to fall in this category- but not always.

3rd Category is: So bad that you're glad/wish you didn't see it in Theaters
After all movie tickets are expensive! Even though you wasted a little bit of your time watching these movies, you're still glad you saw it but will probably never see again. These are the movies that might stick around for a while, most likely not forever, but are geared towards the small girl or boy that dreams of getting a real pony for Christmas or their birthday.

4th Category is: Why did I just waste precious minutes watching the worst movie ever??
Unfortunately most of the horse movies tend to fall into this category. The director either tried to hard to make it and "Epic" movie and it failed miserably or the movie started out bad.

Now sometimes movies in the 3rd and 4th categories can be switched between the two categories, because lets face it- we all have different tastes in movies, but in general they still suck.

Movies in Category 1

The Black Stallion- come on- classic Walter Farley? Moments of cheese, but the beach scene- who didn't wish they could be Alec riding the Black on the island???

Black Beauty- classic book becomes classic movie- bring your hanky for the end!

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken- this one could fit in Category 2, but I think the ending makes it into a Category 1 movie

The Man From Snowy River- the hill- or should i say cliff??? Sexy Aussie accents, awesome horse, great music, what's not to love and make this into a Classic?

Seabiscuit- newer movie, that was nominated for Oscars. Oscars= instant classic!

Secretariat- This movie easily could of become a Category 4 movie, but the director and actors did right by this movie and made it into a Category 1 film. Thank goodness because Secretariat should be known and remembered for his greatness, not a crap movie named after him

And Lastly (for now- I'm coming up with movies off the top of my head so I might have forgotten some!)...

National Velvet- Now I couldn't decide if this movie should be put into Category 1 or 2. It fits the profile of Category 2, but if you ask someone to name a classic horse movie this will be the 1st one that comes to mind. It is the oldest and has famous actors and actresses in it that the general public know. Therefore there's a good chance that non horse people know something about this movie! (since I'm not a non horse person I can't say this with 100% accuracy since I only talk to horse people ;) hehe j/k) Elizabeth Taylor, Angelia Lansbury, and Micky Rooney??? Everyone should know them!!! Plus this is probably the most well known and loved horse movie, so how could I not put this into Category 1???? In truthfulness, this movie should have a category of it's own- the Classics of Classics- and anyone that wants to argue this can take it up with my lawyer- though I'll warn you he's very hard to get a hold of so keep calling if you really want to complain!

This post is getting long, and I should save some topics for others posts, so I'm ending here, but don't worry- more horse films are on their way!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

War Horse

"This one isn't just any old horse. There's a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be? I tell you my friend, there's divinity in a horse, especially a horse like this."
~War Horse

There aren't many things that can make me cry, but the book War Horse by Michael Morpurgo had me wiping away tears as they filled my eyes and ran down my cheeks. I had to stop at moments just to blink away the foggy collection of tears so I could see the page and keep reading. I couldn't stop- I just had to know if he and Albert found each other. I won't give away the ending, but I will say the last chapter was where the tears fell freely down my face as I thought about what each of the characters in the book went through.

Being a horse enthusiast, when I hear the word "horse" my ears instantly perk up and I investigate. When I heard that there was a play based around a horse, I knew I wanted to see it. Sadly the play was only being performed in London so it would be a while before I'd be able to see it. Then when it opened in NY this past year and my hopes of seeing the play were coming closer to being a reality. And then when I heard that Steven Spielberg was making it into a movie the chance of seeing it in action was just a few months away. I know that the play is going to be different than the movie- but the story line remains the same. I will still be waiting to see the play and when I get the chance you can bet I'll be one of the first in line buying tickets for the play and movie!!! But me being me, I HAD to read the book. So a couple of days ago I downloaded it onto my Kindle, and lets just say it just took one really long night to finish the book.

The story is told from the point of view from Joey, the horse, so it has a bit of a Black Beauty feel to it. But instead of the other horses talking to Black Beauty, it is more like a self monologue of Joey's life. The human characters talk to Joey and their words come through as the only dialogue in the book, and the rest is what Joey sees and feels. But this book is more than a story about a boy and his horse, it is about War, and the costs of conflict. Joey travels to both sides of the War, and when he arrives on the German side and is put to work bringing the wounded from the front to the hospital he notes "I had see the same gray faces looking out from under their helmets somewhere before. All that was different were the uniforms-"(pg 69) Without getting into a political discussion about War (because this blog is about horses, not opinions) I just wanted to say, that no matter what side you're on there is another side. And it might just take the honest opinion of an unbiased horse to make you realize that. WWI was a bloody massacre because war strategy hadn't changed, but the weapons had. There are parts in the book that Joey lives through that paint this picture, and while being a children's book for ages 8-12- it doesn't go into extreme detail, but you can easily imagine what Joey saw.

So without giving away the entire book and rambling on forever and ever, I send you off with 2 clips- The War Horse trailer, and video of the puppets from the play- I'm still in awe over the life like mannerisms that the puppeteers bring to the horse