February 20th, 2011

Grounds For the Sublime

Today Kim, Skylar and I had our first family outing in quite some time. Since my parents moved out here in October, the demands on our time have been so intense that getting all three of us together has been extremely difficult. But although Skylar enjoys her time alone with mom and dad, she has expressed a strong desire to do one or two things each week as a unit. So when she learned that the stable where she has begun taking "English" riding lessons would be participating in an equestrian event out at the Pima County Fairgrounds this weekend, she proposed that we find a way to go as a threesome.

And we did, though her mom was very tired from a late night out dancing and her dad knew he should probably stay home and tend the mesquite instead. What with all the new media in our lives, staying on the same page even when we are together can prove quite a challenge. Luckily, having something as interesting to watch as horse jumping helps to keep distractions at bay. The outing was definitely a success, as reflected both in Skylar's good mood and the fact that her mom was able to catch up on her sleep afterwards with a rare afternoon nap. Not to mention that I was finally able to put my telephoto through its paces. It didn't hurt that Kim stopped to buy a fetching "bad guy" hat on the way to the event:

Skylar is almost as tall as her mom now which makes me do a double-take remembering the telephoto shots I took of them on the beach when she was two

Since Skylar's aim is to learn how to jump, I figured that I could indulge myself by taking lots of horse-and-rider shots, even if they didn't turn out to be pleasing from an aesthetic standpoint. Luckily, the overcast skies and the ease of getting a good vantage point enabled me to take some pictures that I can be proud of, even if looking at them makes me anxious about the prospect of my daughter flying through the air like this:

The expression on the face of this rider captures my own feeling watching her jump though the smiling man in the background seems to have taken it all in stride

For her part, though, Skylar didn't seem to be intimidated. She carefully studied each rider's navigation of the course, noting mistakes in posture or attitude. One horse refused to go over a jump twice in a row, disqualifying his understandably saddened rider. But Skylar insisted that this failure was at least partially the fault of the rider, since horses can sense when any trepidation in their riders. Here she is watching the action, looking, as I told her when I showed her the shot, "fiercely sophisticated":

I love watching Skylar when she is intent on watching something because her eyes seem to burn throgh their target

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