Welcome. My goal is to stimulate your sense of adventure by sharing images of mine. Enjoy!
~Donna Bennett~ AKA Donna B.
Some good folks that I know are participating in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, Rich Garner and Victoria Cappetta of rural Virginia Beach, known as Creeds. The photos that I am sharing today are of Rich and a young Mustang mare called Rulla. Her build is slight, about 14.3 hands tall, and she is a grulla color.
Rich travelled to Ohio from Virginia Beach not knowing which horse he will be assigned to. He and other trainers participating in this challenge understand that it is the luck of the draw. Rich knows that training Mustangs offers unique challenges due to the strong wild instinct that these horses exhibit. It is obviously a challenge he enjoys since he has rogered up for it many times. For Rich and Rulla, this is the first day of training, which takes place in a round pen. Rich's goal for that day was to gain mutual trust and respect. Rulla's goal may have been to resist Rich's efforts at all cost. Today, he uses a hands off approach by incorporating a communication style that horses understand. Rich has a small human audience eagerly gathered next to the round pen to witness the first time Rich works with his new Mustang mare. Since Rich has worked with many in the past, he has a vision on how this day will go. He speaks to the audience, explaining his methods. He does not speak at all to the horse.
After an hour or so spent in the round pen getting to know the ways of this mare, Rich decides to go with his lariat to capture, then entice, Rulla to accept Rich into her space. He uses a gentle technique where he tugs securely on the rope until Rulla decides to give in to the pressure by stepping forward. Any amount of movement in the right direction, the direction towards Rich, is quickly rewarded by relaxing the pressure created by the rope. With practices of this nature, timing is every thing. Typically, on the first day of Mustang training, Rich would accomplish a first touch and maybe a halter. On this day, with this horse, he accomplishes neither. At the end of a two hour session both cowboy and horse are mentally and physically tired. Rulla has been especially challenging for Rich. He will press on tomorrow, as he only has 100 days to accomplish his goals according to the rules of the competition, with this seemingly unwilling mare.
Laura and Donna, co-founders of Whoa Snap, first met Dani at a barrel race. We were impressed with her riding ability, her beautiful horse, Stella and Dani's beauty. She looks as though she could be part Native American, the way she wore her jet black hair in braids.
We had an idea. Let's do a photo shoot with Dani and her horses in the style of Western Art! Dani poses as our Indian Princess, using both horses, Stella, the bay and Grace, the chestnut. Dani's mom, Donna, assists in the shoot and Laura's daughter, Christine, tags along.
As luck would have it, Dani's parents own the prettiest piece of property, not far from Farmville, VA. The natural setting is perfect for our shoot with Dani
On top of that, we were blessed with wonderful weather the day of our shoot. It was like the perfect storm. All of the factors that make a great shoot were in place. Please enjoy these images. Bring them into your home as appreciation of beauty, heritage, and earth.
I was blessed to participate in a real branding of 300 calves in Montana. I was so impressed by the talent and work ethic of the ranch hands, both men and women. The youngest was a teenaged girl about 14 and the oldest gentlemen was 90. You could tell he was doing this all of his life and had no plans to quit. The way it worked was first, the whole herd, all 300 mamas and their babies were corralled. The entire process was done by cowboys on horses. Then the mother cow was escorted out by a gentle horse, but the baby was not allowed to follow. A cowboy at the gate stood guard so that the baby could not pass. Once all the mothers were out, they stayed very close to the corral and waited to be reunited with her calf. Each calf was then roped by the hind feet and dragged to a spot outside of the corral for branding, vaccines, tagging and males were castrated. Two teams went to work on each calf immediately and each task was performed in unison. The calf was only tied down for about 5 minutes. Then it was released to go find its mother. And with 100% certainty, each baby reconnects with its biological mother without any help from the ranchers. Amazing! In this photo, the mothers inspect this calf to see if it's hers.
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