Sunday, March 29, 2009

for horse owners - worms and chemicals

A friend has just completed some interesting research into horse parasites and chemical treatments. If you're in the mood to read about integrated pest management, dung beetles and chemical resistance the report can be downloaded free at:

You can also read an article I wrote on the research at an earlier stage:
horsepoint article

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

thoroughbred in ink

thoroughbred painting in ink by ophelia keysIn response to a question by Grey Horse Matters, I thought I should share some info on how often I sketch. While I have seen artist blogs where the artists produce a painting a day (and for those who actually do that - wow!), I find that the practicalities of a day job and fitting in horseriding, writing and friends requires me to paint in bursts.

'Works in progress' are always current works, and as soon as I do a little drawing/painting burst I will post these recent images in preference to older ones. Sometimes I look through my sketchbooks and pick out images that I want to share. This one is an older image, when I was first getting really into ink. There are things I would like to change about it, conformation-wise, but the beauty and challenge of ink is that you have to stand by what you do!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

dog portrait in pencil

pencil drawing of dog Here's a drawing of my husband's beloved dog 'Helen'. Unfortunately she needed to be re-homed, but I got to meet her for a day. Very lean, sleek and full of love and mischief!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

horsey memories

ophelia and tina at the Collingwood children's farm
Thanks to Grey Horse Matters for sharing these horse questions. Here are my answers where they should be (e.g. not clogging up her comments page! - Just a reflection of my enthusiasm). If you would like to answer the questions, visit Grey Horse Matters to copy them as she's kindly listed them without the answers. So here's a quick history of my horsey life ...

1. How old were you when you first started riding? A few times on my grandmother’s horses when I was 2 or 3(?), then a break until I was seven
2. First horse ridden: A quiet thoroughbred
3. First horse trotted on: a lovely, portly pony, Phantom
4. First horse cantered on: Phantom
5. First Horse fallen off of: Windsor, a feisty Standardbred. I was chatting to someone and he gave a big kick to a horse behind him. Found myself on the ground in front of him (he looked even more astonished than me).
6. Most recent horse fallen off of Windsor. I must have learnt my lesson …
7. Most terrifying fall: surprised and winded rather than terrified.
8. First horse jumped with: Star. Wicked black pony.
9. First horse who ran away with you: Clive. A trail horse. No brakes whatsoever.
10. First horse that scared the crap out of you: Clive. Thought all horses had some sort of brakes!
11. First horse shown :!) Never shown.
12. First horse to win a class with: Never competed. Won best presented pony at a rainy day pony club comp in the barn!
13. Do you/have you taken lessons: Yes, as often as I can afford.
14. First horse you ever rode bareback: Tina – lovely palomino pony with anxiety issues. Got so using a saddle seemed uncomfortable.
15. First horse trail ridden with: Lost in the mists of time …
16. Current Barn name: _
17. Do you ride English or western?: English
18. First Horse to place at a show with: Never shown
19. Ever been to horse camp?: Yes, lots of fun.
20. Ever been to a riding clinic? Only to watch – seen Nadine Capelman, Anky etc.
21. Ridden sidesaddle? Only jokingly.
22. First horse leased: Never leased
23. Last Horse Leased:
24. Highest ribbon in a show: Never shown
25. Ever been to an 'A' rated show?: no
26. Ever competed in pony games/relay races?: at horse camp
27. Ever fallen off at a show 28. Do you ride Hunter/Jumpers?: no
29. Have you ever barrel raced? At horse camp. Unsuccessful.
30. Ever done pole bending?: Yes, very successful due to the fact I was on a tiny pony and everyone else had horses.
31. Favorite gait: canter
32. Ever cantered bareback?: As much as possible, as my pony’s jolting trot was out of the question.
33. Have you ever done dressage?: Take lessons.
34. Have you ever evented?: No. Too scary.
35. Have you ever mucked a stall?: Yes!
36. Ever been bucked off?: No. Oh, but there was a donkey that gave me a good run for my money (much to the amusement of everyone watching – I think they started to lay bets). Luckily he was small enough that I was able to elegantly step off (from my position, half- wrapped around his neck). He was called Joker.
37. Ever been on a horse that reared? Yes, a few, but only with good reasons. (The sudden appearance of an emu, for example)
38. Horses or ponies. Horses are easier. But I think those cunning ponies are great fun.
39. Do you wear a helmet?: Always
40. What's the highest you've jumped: Don’t know. Had my eyes shut. Not really. My teacher kept putting the jump higher and higher, but I was focused well past the jump and tried to avoid looking at it as much as humanly possible.
41. Have you ever ridden at night?: Yes, it’s lovely (unless you’re on the road)
42. Do you watch horsey television shows?: Whenever they’re on
43. Have you ever been seriously hurt/injured from a fall?: No
44. Most falls in one lesson: Never fallen in a lesson. Though have ended up on the horse’s neck a few times with jumping refusals.
45. Do you ride in an arena/ring?: Yes, as well as road and trails
46. Have you ever been trampled by a horse?: No, thank goodness!
47. Have you ever been bitten?: Yes. By a wicked Shetland pony, among others.
48. Ever had your foot stepped on by a horse?: Yes. Ow!
49: Favorite riding moment: Riding in the manege in the light of a full moon – beautiful!
50. Most fun horse you've ridden: A riding school pony - Tina. I used to always ride her bareback. She had the silliest, fast trot and the smoothest canter of any pony or horse I’ve ever ridden. She was very nervous and I felt like I built a very close, trusting relationship with her. We had great fun!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

free jump - ink

Ink drawing from my sketchbook of a warmblood 'free jumping'. The initial drawing used Wolff's carbon pencils, which are lovely to use for dark, fine lines, rough texture or softened with water. I then used artists' pigmented ink over the top. This was quite a quick sketch.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rembrandt's lion

One of my favourite painters of animals - Rembrandt! Very inspiring. This lion has so much character.

Friday, March 6, 2009

byerley turk I

First phase of a pastel drawing of the Byerley Turk, one of the three legendary foundation sires of the modern Thoroughbred.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

work in progress - rearing horse II

rearing grey arabian horse in pastel
See Feb 25 post for the first phase. I have began working in more light/shade contrast and adding some detail. I like to put the eye in at an early phase, because then I really feel that the image has began to develop its own presence - its own spirit!