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2014 Year of the Horse Project

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse that extends from January 31, 2014 to February 18, 2015.

In celebration of horses and their spirit, I decided I would do something horse related every month for 2014—my personal "2014 Year of the Horse" photography project. The guidelines I've set are that it has to involve horses in some way, and, if possible, photography.

This is exciting because I really don't know what opportunities will come about from month to month. The times I've set out a specific plan, it fell through, so I learned to let the spirit of the horse guide the adventure, and let it take on a life of its own.

Some of ideas I have are to actually work on a horse farm, take a trail ride, photograph mustangs that are truly wild and not housed on permanent pasture lands, and participate in a horse photography workshop.

Will any of these or other horse-related opportunities take place? Check back monthly for updates to find out!

January 2014—Year of the Horse:

I was having a bad day so I grabbed a friend and traveled out to see the mustangs in hopes of brightening up my spirits. It worked! However, I neglected to check my camera gear and realized, once there, that I had forgotten to load my camera card. Thankfully I had my iPhone to document the day.

This trip encouraged the idea of the Year of the Horse project.

In one week's time, I had two unrelated friends discuss Monty Robert's book The Man Who Listens to Horses—a sure clue that that was my next horse-related activity for this month. What immediately grabbed my attention is that Monty, as a young kid, started to learn the language of the horse by observing the wild mustangs that resided near him. His life with horses and the changes he made in horse training unfolded from that moment on. Amazing story—very inspiring. I highly recommend the read.

February 2014—Year of the Horse:

Horses in winter has to be one of the most beautiful seasons in which to photograph them. So, I braved the elements and drove out to the mustangs again capturing some stunning photos of the horses in the snow.

March 2014—Year of the Horse:

Horses have made regular meaningful and personal appearances in my dreams for a long time. A friend of mine was creating a "Big Dream Book" asking people to submit their "big dreams" for the book—dreams that have made an impact on one's awake life. The dreams I submitted were all horse dreams that were very significant to me at the time. Here is one of them:

"Riding A Horse"

I'm observing myself riding a horse in an outdoor arena. This horse is dark in color with a blond mane. I notice there is a smile on my face as I ride the horse around the arena's grooved track.

I (the observer) think to myself, "I love when awake life catches up to dreams," and contemplate that as a Facebook status.

Secondly, I had a wonderful, unplanned visit with the mustangs with good friend and horse owner, Tammy Erickson, who has been an inspiration to me over the years. We brought along her Cairn Terrier, Sweet Tea. Despite the cold, rainy, blustery day, we had an enjoyable prairie photograph session and visit with the mustangs.

Tammy Erickson and her Cairn Terrier, Sweet Tea, in the Flint Hills of Kansas with a herd of mustangs off in the distance.

April 2014—Year of the Horse:

It was time to order a very large wall canvas of one of my mustang photos as a daily reminder of my project, of the Year of the Horse, and to honor the American spirit of the mustangs that we luckily can still appreciate today. The photo chosen is one of a herd of 200+ mustangs that I helped round up one day along with a number of ranchers. It was a little tricky to get photos and play roundup simultaneously, but I succeeded!

May 2014—Year of the Horse:

I knew The Kentucky Derby was coming up in May given my Facebook friends' posts about it. On that day, however, I was feeling under the weather and forgot all about it. Feeling fatigued, I fell asleep on the couch only to be awakened some time later by a friend's text alerting me to the start of the race! Despite my slumber, I managed to find the channel before the race began and watched history in the making as California Chrome took home the prize!

I have to add that this friend has never watched The Kentucky Derby, so to get a text from her was out of the ordinary. Spirit of the horse playing out here? I think so, and, obviously, not just for me.

It's only the first week of May when writing this, so I hope more opportunities come my way this month.

Mother's Day Mustangs

May 11, 2014: An unexpected jaunt into the Flint Hills afforded me a glimpse of an elusive mustang herd. Camera in hand, ready to fire, I crawled over the hill army style in hopes of photographing them before taking notice of me and running away. They are a perceptive bunch. It didn't take long at all before I was noticed and immediately lined up and headed for greener pastures.

Here are a couple of the photos edited in a tilt shift look—just for fun.

June 2014—Year of the Horse:

July 2014—Year of the Horse:

August 2014—Year of the Horse:

September 2014—Year of the Horse:

October 2014—Year of the Horse:

November 2014—Year of the Horse:

December 2014—Year of the Horse:

January 2015—Year of the Horse:








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