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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Equestrian Life, On Display

I have observed that most people with decorator shelves in their homes fill them with a variety of plants (real or fake), or the occasional objet d'art. We have a couple in our house. The one over the front door does hold a plant, but it also has a number of old-to-extremely-old family items: an antique drum, a violin, a ukelele that belonged to my grandfather, a battered bugle, a trunk plastered with travel stickers, a couple of suitcases and my dad's camera that he got in 1958. So, lots of cool stuff with great memories attached.

For the one in my bedroom, I immediately envisioned an area where I could display things pertaining to my life with horses (fortunately Hubby was okay with this plan). I started with my old saddle, which you saw in the last post, and have added many other items that are significant to me. Most people who have seen this collection don't "get" it; I imagine it just looks like a bunch of junk. I am hoping that you, dear readers, will appreciate these things a tiny bit more.

So, without further ado, here is the north end:
On the far left you will notice some little Palomino horse models. This mare and foal pair are china, and at one time were really beautiful. Unfortunately, they were played with a lot when I was little and suffered the consequences. The poor foal is standing precariously on three and 3/4 legs; after mending all four of his legs multiple times, I think Dad just gave up on one of them. So he's missing a fore from knee down. But it's okay, he can still stand up leaning against his momma and he's still adorable.

Then there's that weird-looking grey thing. That is a mask that I made out of papier mache when I was about 9 years old and was Grey the Horse for Halloween. My mom made a hood with a mane, and an excellent suit complete with tail to go with it. The outfit was a bit hit, although other kids liked to knock on the mask and ask if anyone was in there. My son wound up wearing this whole outfit one Halloween (and won a costume contest), so it's been through two generations now.

The rocking horse actually made an appearance on this blog some time ago, along with the Buck Breyer model, so I won't go into huge detail here. Here's a close-up again:
As far as the formerly-blue ribbon - well, that's a really special one, and has a great story attached. I promise I WILL get to that but it needs its own post!

Going back to the shelf, you've also already seen the boots on top of the Secretariat Breyer, and the lunchbox. The little trophy to the right of the lunchbox I won by making it to the State finals in 4-H Horse Bowl with my team. I loved being in 4-H and learned an awful lot through the program (you will hear more about it in the near future). Horse Bowl in particular was a lot of fun but very nerve-wracking. It didn't help that I was told I had to be the "nutrition expert," which meant memorizing a lot of facts and figures about Ca:Ph ratios, protein percentages, and the like. Math is not my strong suit. I would have been a lot happier in charge of anatomy or diseases but nope, the team needed help in nutrition so that's what I got. All's well that ended well - we didn't win State but got darn close!

The tall trophy peeking out from behind the lunchbox is actually not horse-related (I won the Grand Prize in a Science Fair) but it's the only place it fit. You know about my old Prix de Nations saddle already, but how about those ribbons? Well, I'm sorry to say the Champion is the one and only Championship ribbon I've ever won in a horse show, and the other is my first Reserve Championship, seen in this photo when I was 7 years old:
Aboard Little John, the best darn pony EVER.
Both of these were earned at Tricorne Farm horse shows. No other Reserves or Champions have been forthcoming YET (yes, it's been quite a drought given my current age), so these are proudly on display.

Someone might recognize that tall and furry horse model on the south end of the shelf. She's Penny, an American Girl horse owned by the Colonial girl in the series. Darn thing cost a bleeding fortune and while my daughter liked her a lot, she did not inherit the horse-obsessed gene from me so Penny is pretty well-preserved. Yours truly had a good time tacking her up when Daughter had friends coming over to play. :-)

Last but not least is the very odd-looking spotted item on the far right. You would never guess what it is in a million years - other than that it hopefully looks a bit like a horse - so I'll just tell you: it went on a totem pole. Huh? Well, one summer I volunteered as a leader for Daughter's Girl Scout summer day camp. The kids were small, so we adults pretty much had free rein on what we did and what our own little groups would be called. The overall theme of the camp was "Native American." So what is more Indian than Paint horses??? Hence, I named our group the Painted Ponies.

I had a lot of fun with this theme, none more so than when it was time to make a totem part for the camp pole. Each group was issued a plastic one-gallon ice cream bucket with holes cut in it as the base, and I built the head and neck out of foam rubber. The kids helped apply papier mache and paint the horse head when it dried. The totem parts were dropped on a broom handle and when they were lined up, I have to say the overall effect was pretty neat. Incidentally, ours won the prize for Best-Looking. :-)

So there you have it, one of my main horsey areas in the house. Oh yes, there are more! What can I say... my family are good sports about putting up with Mom's taste in decor.

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