The other day I was doing a bit of historical research. I was digging around on Shutterfly for old show photos. It is interesting to see what I have done in the past and how I have improved things. I think it started because I pulled out Lady Intrigue for some show photos. I have not shown her in many years! I looked back in my showing records and I believed I stopped showing her in 2013! She has enjoyed a quiet retirement since then.
I have my eye on the Breyerfest show again. I think Lady Intrigue would be an excellent candidate for the show. But before we talk about new show photos, let's talk about old show photos. This first photo is from 2010. It is cropped a bit close and the top of the doll's head is cut off a bit. There is a gap in the wall, the footing is sparse, the doll looks really uncomfortable and doll-like, and the doll doesn't fit well in the saddle. At the time I thought this was a pretty good photo. And I was right, it was pretty good, I have certainly seen worse. But as soon as I opened up this photo the other day I cringed a bit.
Next up is a new photo of Lady Intrigue that I took on Monday (it was 45 degrees!). Since most shows these days don't care about the backdrop I did away with the arena wall (which I also no longer own), my footing is nicely laid out kinetic sand, the doll looks comfortable and realistic. She is also looking where they are going. I didn't really make huge changes to this setup, but it looks a lot different.
Next up is Lady's dressage entry (also from 2010). I have my dressage rails, letter, a couple of flowers, nothing super fancy. The doll again looks sort of like a doll, she should be further back in the saddle and, really, she needs her stirrups a bit longer. She is not looking where she is going. Again, this is not a terrible photo. But it is not a great photo.Now here is Lady's dressage photo from Monday. The doll is again sitting comfortably in the saddle. Her knees are on the knee rolls, instead of almost past them. She is looking where they are going. The dressage rails and flowers are fancier, which doesn't matter except that I like them. In my eyes this is a much more pleasing photo. It is taken in almost the exact same spot in my backyard, just in a different season/year. But if we totally ignore the background and just look at the horse and rider, this is a much more pleasing photo. Again, not a ton has been changed, but enough. One of these days I will do a post with some dolls looking/riding like dolls with some tips on how to fix them. And before and after shots, since those are fun.
I have been showing performance for a lot of years, 14 now I think. I am still always learning new tricks. It used to take me a good hour to tack up a horse and it was a struggle to know if it was correct when I was done. Now it takes me maybe 20 minutes to tack and tweak, if that. I can usually spot flaws more quickly too. But I still miss things on occasion. And I probably will until the end of time. But I am willing to keep trying and keep improving as much as I can.