Washington State Horse Park, August 10th, 2013
This past weekend was our first HorseFlicks film shoot for our new Akhal-Teke promotional video in the Rare Breeds series “Extinction is Forever”. This is the first of 3 film shoots, which we did to be able to include as many horses and people in the US as possible. We’ve had a very good response and I think the finished product will be fantastic. This is from my perspective – I brought 4 horses to the Washington State Horse Park for the filming. There were 6 other horses that came, although we had invited everyone in the Pacific Northwest. It went very well though, all the horses were great, the people were smiling and Jon Mays (the film maker) said he got some excellent footage.
We got there around 4 pm on Friday, as I didn’t plan on riding that day. We got the horses (4 bay boys, Astrachan, Andymn, Arzuw and Magdan) settled in and walked around looking at what was what. Gorgeous facility, lovely trails, really nice arenas and cross country. Jon showed up around 6 (I think) without Joanne, his assistant, who had food poisoning and was recovering in a hotel in Seattle. We took him around to the places we’d found to see if he thought they were ok. He agreed (he is SO nice!).
People started coming in, Catrina and Jeremy first with Mazaly, then Shannon and Craig and Tommy and Octopelle, then Erin and Kiyallah and Corbin (their 2 year old son) with the lovely stallion Kuwwat. I fed everyone hamburgers and hot dogs and we planned Saturday. Jon headed back to his hotel around 8 I think. Then it started raining, really really hard. A guy I met Sunday said it rained 5 inches in 2 hours. Lightning, thunder! I was hoping we’d have good weather in the morning and maybe the rain would cool it down a bit (it was over 90 on Friday)
Early Saturday (I woke up around 5 am), we got moving. We were going to start filming at 8 am, the skies were clear and there was no dust! Temps were around 65 to 70, so we started with Western riding. Jeremy was a great sport, in that Catrina and I had talked about him riding and he knew NOTHING about it. I figured we needed at least 1 guy in the film. He grinned and said “well, I haven’t ridden in a year, so can I see the horse first?”. I put him on Andy, who was a little wound up, but he’s pretty mellow all around. Now the problem was that Jeremy has only ridden one handed with a shank bit and Andy is dressage trained. There was some confusion on both parts, but they did a great job. Jeremy tried to do a reining pattern…well…there might have been a few good spots but both he and Andy were great sports. I think they needed a day or so of practice! But, he was smiling and did a great job.
Andy got a tack change and I put Dani Scott up for trail. Shannon rode Tommy in her western show gear – gorgeous! Bling to the max. She got some time in the ring by herself. Then, we brought out the dressage/English people who rode together. My friend Sofie had shown up with her Teke mare by then and they cantered (for the first time) twice. Everyone behaved great. Then, we got everyone in the ring, including me and Khan. Shannon did a tack change and came in her homemade Turkmen outfit – really nice.
Erin rode Kuwwat for a while in her endurance gear and then put on her costume too. All of us walked and trotted around, 9 horses strong. My friend Wendy had shown up with her NP mare Allie by then too, so we had some color besides bays. (Allie is a roan appy and Kuwwat is buckskin) We did some riding around, Jon filmed each person individually a bit and then we all lined up and the cameras clicked and clicked. Then, Jon had us all shout ‘Akhal-Teke’ at the same time for the film.
Then, we moved on to the trails and obstacles. I put Khan away, as he’d done his 15 minutes and we were both toast. Jon set up along the trail and got photos of them trotting by in the beautiful light and trees. Then, after a bit of that, we moved to a ravine that had trail obstacles and a big hill.
I’d sent Catrina to the water obstacle to school, as Mazaly had never done this before. The horses did some great up and down the hills, over the obstacles etc. Then, Andy and Ari (both had done great, but don’t have much recent exposure and were done) went back to the barns and the rest of us continued on to the water. Now, the park director and I had come to an agreement that there was NO JUMPING. Well….we got to the water and had Catrina and Mazaly, Erin and Kuwwat, Wendy and Allie, Monica and Danny. I think Shannon peeled off because Octopelle was sure this was an endurance ride and couldn’t figure out WHY we kept stopping and coming back. So, horses started walking through, then trotting and then cantering. At one point, we had all the horses in a line snaking back and forth through the water at a trot and canter. Big whoops and grins all around, horses included. Jon said during this “I think I need to get rid of my Arab and get a Teke”.
Then we went to the road and Jon did some film of horses trotting up and down and then galloping. At that point, it was pretty much noon and he had everything he’d planned on getting. We headed back to camp, put horses away and he did some interviews. He interviewed one of my riders – a very new to Tekes person, then we had lunch (more hamburgers and hotdogs) and then he interviewed Wendy, who owns the NP mare and a QH x Teke cross and then me. By then it was 3 or so, so we just all sat around and chatted. Some really great visiting was done. Jeremy even said that this was so much fun we needed to get together EVERY year and do a trail ride or whatever and then potluck. I think it’s a great idea and later could work into a show. Everyone else agreed that was a great idea. The WSHP is a nice central location and it really is nice.
We had the bunch trot and canter up and down the road, there was some whooping and hollering going on, along with big grins. Wendy and Alpowa are in front, then Monica and Magdan, then Erin and Kuwwat, then Shannon and Octopelle and I think it’s Catrina and Mazaly in back.
People started leaving (it’s so close that Seattle people just came for the day) and the ones of us left, me, Monica, Catrina, Jeremy, Erin, Kiyallah, Corbin (their son), Alice, Keiko and Kay (those three are from my barn and Alice was a champ all day, delivering water, brushes, etc) Jon headed back to Seattle to pick up Joanne and catch a red eye. So, those of us left had pulled pork, a great rice dish that Erin called “hippy dippy food” and watermelon. And wine and beer. Lovely evening, we made it until almost 8:30 and then pretty much pooped out. No problem sleeping for horses or humans!
Kuwwat, Erin, Kiyallah and Corbin Heatherstone taking a family walk at the WSHP. Monica Bretherton photo
Erin and Corbin on Kuwwat
Next morning, Monica and Keiko went out on a trail ride while I broke camp with Alice and Kay’s help and cleaned stalls. Then, we loaded up and headed home. Whew!
It really went very well, no real naughtiness, although there was some tension (wonder why?) and Andy and Ari’s brains did melt after a few hours. Can’t blame them, both are very inexperienced and they did great until it was too much. But, no problem, they just got to go back and chill and were fine. Andy’s trail ride with Keiko the next morning was excellent. Everyone else’s horses looked great, huge smiles everywhere, not a harsh word the entire weekend. Just compliments. Before I left, Leslie (the park director I’d been dealing with) came and shook my hand and thanked me. I thanked her too, as the facilities are excellent and everything was pretty much perfect!
We all headed out and I made it home (with a detour through Seattle, don’t ask) around 1ish. Then it was barn work and then rest!