This is the second year I’ve had my portrait booth at Reins of Life, a therapeutic riding facility with two locations in Indiana. This dressage show is an annual benefit affair, and something I can totally support especially since I used to volunteer at a hippotherapy program a few years ago. I can’t help comparing this year to last year because this year was different in so many ways. First off, the weather! It dawned clear and crisp but not cold, in contrast to last year’s cold, wet, windy day that never let up. Mud ruled last year (you may remember the temporarily white horse photo). Stunning new flower boxes, used to display the dressage letters, also appeared this year. Made the ring look really spiffy, just like the big time rings, which gave everybody, including the Reins of Life physically or mentally challenged clients (yes, they got to ride in the show too!) the feeling that they were part of a professional production.
Speaking of professional productions, NBC in South Bend sent a camera crew to document the goings-on, complete with an interview with Liz Grainger of Grainger Dressage, one of the prime movers behind the benefit show. I’ll be watching the news tonight–something I rarely do probably because I worked in TV news for so long!
And to finish up, a little added fun for what are usually viewed as staid, serious dressagers–some jumping! Jumping for dressage horses provides some valuable cross-training and also gets them into a more “forward”-thinking attitude. Which is what we’re always after but sometimes feel like we’re just chasing our tails instead.
The last pleasant addition this year is the installation of a memorial donated by a local firm honoring not just Reins of Life horses, but all horses who have served us and benefited us in their own special dedicated way. Carl Kay Memorials donated the four-foot high granite stone after they received a letter from a Reins of Life staffer asking for a small stone following the euthanasia of two program horses. It took a year to design, create and install, and features some of the Reins of Life horses and a rider in a laser etching. Neat!
Here’s a little slide show I put together for your enjoyment (you can pause the slide show to read the comments, just mouse over the lower part of the photos).