Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Red Barn Festival 2010

(Andrea runs the colors to mark the official start of festivities)

Well, if I thought when I discovered that Kiki was off that I was going to have a lot of free time on my hands, I've certainly been freed from that impression over the past few weeks. After the whirlwind that was WEG, I had what seemed like just a few mere hours to get caught up before the insanity that is Red Barn Festival was upon me. Red Barn Festival is the big annual fundraiser for both the Stanford Equestrian Team and the Red Barn itself; it combines an invitational horse show (with classes like a 5 bar and a 4' speed class) with wine and cheese and a silent auction. Current team members (myself included) are in charge of physically putting the planning of the event into action and making it a reality (and for an event that annually raises over $30,000, this is no small task!).

(This year we also remembered Bill Lane, a US ambassador who was instrumental in the Red Barn's revival in the early 90's who passed away earlier this year)

(Stanford Equestrian Team alumni, along with Bill Lane's family, pose with the new Bill Lane Memorial Trophy)

This year I totally lucked out in the job department, and after a morning of helping to prep, got to help ref the student-alumni relay and then spent the rest of the day taking photos! My friend lent me her awesome new digital camera (complete with massive memory card), so I could just snap away to my heart's content (always a fun change from the necessary conservatism of my film camera). Talk about a good gig =)

(Nicole and Dreamer in the Student-Alumni challenge warmup)

(My sweet ref job... making sure that the relay contestants picked out the correct bit and assembled it onto a bridle correctly)

(The president of the Board of the Red Barn owns 2 Icelandic ponies that he always lends for the Student-Alumni challenge relay; here, Jane and Elding put the pedal to the metal)

(Loki wasn't as cooperative for Erica)

The 5 bar competition was the first of the "big" classes (after the morning student stuff), and is always my favorite. Last year I got the chance to ride Ringo in this class, and had such a blast! It was a little bittersweet to watch this year and think back to 365 days previously: Ringo and I jumped 4'9" like it was no big thing, and I was just bursting with excitement at the potential I thought our partnership had. If you had told me then how the next few months would go, I wouldn't have believed you; It's still just so hard to compare the light hearted optimism I remember feeling that day with the crushing frustration and doubt that defined our winter and spring together.

(Oh geez, this is getting a bit heavy; let's break it up a bit, shall we? Here's Handsome looking, well... Handsome)

I know that that's part of horses, but it was still hard to not think about all the what ifs again. I just hope that I can do well by Ringo at this point; even if he never jumps a stick again, let alone 4'9" (though at this point there's no reason to think that he won't be able to return to top form), I hope that I can give him a quality of life that will make up to him the horrible spring that I put him through. We'll see; it's only forward from here!

(We also had western demonstrations... I mean, why not?)

The 5 Bar ended being won by Stanford student Nicoletta Heidegger at the totally impressive height of 5'6"!!! Serious "holy crap" height. There was an interesting moment where the two finalists both had a rail on their first attempt at 5'6" - then, they got the opportunity to decided whether they would attempt again. I tried to put myself in their shoes and realized that I would have a pretty hard time getting over the nerves to face a jump that big, when I'd already failed once! I was super impressed with bravery of both the riders (and obviously the horses too!) when both decided to go for it again. Nicoletta pulled it out, securing her the win. Awesome!

(Nicoletta and Coolman in the winning jump!)

From there, we had a 3'6" relay speed class and then a 4' speed class. Both made me very nostalgic about jumping, which I currently have not gotten to do since August 22nd!! The good thing was that the height never looked too crazy, so at least I haven't completely lost my nerve (at least on the ground...) on my hiatus. Next year, Kiki and I will be there!

(My friend Emily competes in the relay)

(Emily's trainer Dusty competes in the 4' class)

(Mmm... wouldn't kick this horse out of the barn!)

(This one, either =) ... and his rider has only been doing jumpers for 3 months!)

After the riding was over, it was time to turn my attention to the silent auction. Very excitingly, I had three of my large prints up for bid. Even more excitingly, they actually sold! I was sooo terrified that they were weren't going to sell and it was going to be super demoralizing, but the three of them went for a combined total of $575, which is not too shabby at all. I was there when the auction closed out and one of the ladies who had bid on my work was there, too, and when she heard that she'd won she let out a big whoop and pumped her fist. How cool is that?? Someone was actually excited over something that I'd made! Totally unreal. I was sad to say goodbye to those prints, as I was very proud of them, but am so thrilled that they're going to make some other folks happy. I also got commissioned for some more portrait work from people at the festival, so I might get to make a little money from my hobby over the next few weeks! Very cool =)

(Me with my prints (one of which is directly behind me))

It's another breakneck week, now, before the Stanford Alumni Polo Match at Menlo on Sunday. I won't be playing, but I'll helping out and enjoying a day of polo at one of the nicest facilities in the bay area. Plus, I've talked to my friend whose camera I borrowed for Red Barn Festival, and there's a good chance I'll be able to take it for another spin. I've never shot polo before, which should be a fun learning experience to say the least!

(Phew! Red Barn 2010 = Complete! On to the next adventure...)


Kate said...

Awesome post and awesome pictures!!! "Holy crap" is right about that huge jump!

Andrea said...

It's so funny to hear Nicole talking about some of these particular horses every day on the phone (because even now, we are still THAT attached at the hip even though we haven't seen each other in like 2 years) and then see pictures and go OH! THAT is what she's talking about!
Congrats on the pictures selling! You are a seriously impressive photographer and I love seeing your millions of pictures on here.

Katherine Erickson said...

Thanks, guys!

And Andrea, that's too funny about the horses; I still can't believe what a small world that is!

Andrea said...

I was just hearing about Coolman's attitude today: "I will show everyone and everything - that jump included - who is boss." 5'6"... holy crap!!

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