Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 4-H

Happy New Year Everyone.  I hope you celebrate.  One of the traditions is to make new year's resolutions.  I don't know that I always do.  But a new year rolling around makes me think of the past behind me and what is finishing or ending.  Then I think of the new year coming and what could be better...what I might like to change.

Two years ago I resolved to live healthier.  I have lost over 60 pounds in the last two years.  I went from a size 20 to a size 10 - 12.  I didn't just go from point A to B there were steps and plans involved.

First I had to make healthier eating choices.  I had to LEARN what healthy foods where and how MUCH food I was supposed to eat to be healthy and fuel my body.

Next, I had to begin an exercise program to burn calories and help my body so that I could be fit.  The goal wasn't necessarily losing weight.  It was to have a healthier life style.  So exercise was important.

Getting enough rest, dealing with stress, making and keeping medical appointments all branched out from that first goal of wanting to live healthier.

So as you go into the new year think about the things in your life that you would like to be different.  Break it down.  Make some goals.  Lets see how we do during 2011.

Part of making and keeping resolutions is sharing them with others to help you be accountable.  See today talking about my decisions to live healthier helps me.  By sharing my goals with you, I can resist that left over Christmas cookie calling me.  So, share your thoughts and resolutions with us.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Traditional Model Horse Jump Props

We've been talking about the hobby of Model Horses and I had to share these jumps that were created for the Traditional Sized (9 - 12 inch) models.  Comment on some things you notice or questions that you have.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stable Mate Jump Prop on a Budget

So in my earlier post you have seen a variety of real live jumps.  Perhaps you would like to create one for your model horse.  Here is a fun idea for a jump for the stable mate size.  We used this for the Dash for Cash running model I have.  It ends up looking like a logo jump with the gum on either side and jump poles positioned between the gum packs.

Purchase two packages of the gum in the flat rectangle boxes they look like a slab of plywood if you are thinking in minature.  I won't endorse any particular brand so the photo is just an example.

On the inside--narrow side of each package glue a minature popsicle stick available from craft stores.  This will form an area to attach the jump cups.  Another set of the small craft sticks can be cut in half and glued across the bottom of the pack to help it stand up.  Those can later be covered with the stuff you use for footing in your scene of camouflaged with plants.

Craft Sticks.: 
"These are very similar to the larger popsicle sized sticks we've used but they're a much smaller size -- only about 2 3/4 inches long by 1/4 inch wide."

This is the basis of your jump.  Now you need jump poles and jump cups.  The poles for Stablemate size again are easily made out of fireplace match sticks cut off and painted.  Make sure an adult helps you with the cutting on these.  And if you use the long fire place matches cut off the striker and dispose of them.  A blog for another day is all the varieties of things you can make out of craft sticks, match sticks and other bits of recycled stuff with a bit of creativity.

The jump cups are another matter and you will need help of an adult to do this part.  

Take as many pop tops from soda cans as you need jump cups.  I usually put three poles on the jump which would require six individual jump cups = six pop tabs.  You only need the tab popped off the drink.  Another rabbit trail to follow someday is all the wild things you can create from pop-tops.  Oh MY!~

An adult will need to help you cut the bottom end of this pop tab off with wire cutters.  Then bend it so that the rounded bottom part forms the jump cup and the two parts that you would see sticking up in the photo become the part that you glue around the small wooden Popsicle stick on the end of the box of gum.  It makes kinda a U shape.  Do you see it in your imagination? Take some time placing this where you want it as a jump cup.  I believe we initially used sticky wax to attach the cups because we wanted to be able to use them in different places for different scenes.  

(((STICKY WAX:  The stuff you get from the orthodontist for braces.  It is the model horse hobbiests magic goo.  Use it to stick down anything that shouldn't be flying away....from props to pieces of tack straps that want to flap around.))))

Okay you are almost finished.  You have your jump and the jump cups.  Paint your poles white or put wide stripes around them like you saw in the real live jumps.  

Now you need two straight pins or small pieces of wire and two triangles of paper that fit in scale with your jump.  One read and one white.  On the white one write in sharpie marker the number that you want your jump to be on course.  Jump 3 for example.  This gets glued to the straight pin and poked in the gum pack on the left side.  The red "flag" do the same and place on the right side poked into the top of the gum pack.  They form the flags on course.  Red on right always and the jump number can vary put I place if on the left.  Some times I make a little tent card with the jump number on it.  It just depends on my jump design.

Now write up your explanation card for what is happening in this miniature scene.  I make a tent card to do that.  Just card stock cut like a double 3 X 5 inch card so that the front holds your description and the back keeps it propped up like an easel.  Remember to use successful statements and vivid descriptions.  

Now tack up and position your running horse leaving the fence.  Remember to leave room that he would have landed after the jump and gained his full running stride.  There you have an easy economical Stablemate sized jump that was fun to make.  You'll have a lot more fun using it at your next show.  I think Sabra won a class with this jump design.

Happy Model Horse Collecting.  If you make a prop you are pleased with an want me to show it on the blog feel free to email it to me at and I'll show it to the others on a future blog.

Ms. Renee'

Stable Mate Jumping Division

We have been reviewing the hobby of model horse showing this week while we are all on Holiday Break.

Jump poles can easily be made out of fireplace match sticks for the stable mate size and regular dowels for the traditional sized model horse along with recycled bits and pieces.

Take a look at these jumps and see if you get some ideas.  Share with us what you think.  The general rule is bright colors and speed for jumping.  You still have to jump clean without putting a pole down.  

Hunters are slower, with jump colors more natural, white, wooden, greens.  etc.

I tend to like the bolder, bigger, brighter Jumper Courses.  Tell us what you think.  

 Notice the red flag on the right side of the jump.  And the jumps on course have a jump number.  See the number "3"

 Jumper jumps are often very elaborate looking.
 They can also have a logo for their sponsor.

They can be quite different
 Sometimes the name of the show is promoted on a jump like this American Invitational one in Tampa.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Model Horse Stable Mate Jumper Class

So you think you wish to show the jumper or hunter division with Stablemate sized horses.  There are a couple of models that lend themselves to jumping easily.  Because, of course, they are in a pose jumping and mounted on a clear base.

The warmblood pose can be convincing in a jumping arena as well.

But what shall we do with the example from yesterday.  This little running horse fellow.

For similar reasons as the speed event example yesterday, you would not be successful positioning this guy running toward a jump.  The thought from the judge would be that he will just flat out run through the jump.  However, position him AFTER the jump and you have a whole new story and a pattern for success.

Write up your explanation card something like.  "After clearing all eight fences on the jumper course this horse races for the finish line in record time."  My little jumper of this model is a bay and we named him "Dash for Cash" but you never put the horse's name on the description card.  You don't want the judge to recognize show horses by name.

Tomorrow how to make a stable mate sized jump prop simple and easy on a budget.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Model Horse Collecting - STABLE MATE Size

The smallest of the collectible toy horse family is the Stablemate at only 3 inches tall.

Your entire show string could fit in a shoe box.  These little fellows are hardy and durable but once broken are much harder to repair.  A paperclip and apoxy with a new paint job can fix the larger traditional sized horses.  Now so much with our more petite models.

Of course there is the same infinite variety as the larger cousins.  Here is a lovely warmblood that could be used for jumping or dressage showing.

This fellow is advertised as a sport horse.

Gaited horses are equally popular.  this horse could be used as a Tennessee Walker or National Show Horse.

This running horse pose can be used in any number of ways.  Lets consider two show uses of this pose.  First off any of the speed events or gymkhana divisions.  For example, poles or barrels.  It is important to remember he appears to be running flat out hard.  So the strategy in showing him in those speed events might not be posing him in anything that requires bend like around a pole or barrel.  If he were positioned headed toward a barrel a judge might take away points saying he wouldn't stay tight around the barrel going that fast.

So what to do with this eager fellow?  

"POLE BENDING. Pole bending is a timed event.
(a) Each contestant will begin from a running start, and time shall begin and end as the horse’s nose crosses the line. A clearly visible starting line must be provided. An electric timer or at least two watches shall be used, with the time indicated by the electric timer or the average time of the watches used by official timers to be the official time.
(b) The pole bending pattern is to be run around six poles. Each pole is to be 21 feet (6.4 meters) apart, and the first pole is to be 21 feet (6.4 meters) from the starting line. Poles shall be set on top of the ground, six feet (1.8 meters) in height, with no base more than 14 inches (35 cm) in diameter.
(c) A horse may start either to the right or to the left of the first pole and then run the remainder of the pattern accordingly." Pole Bending Rules

Position him headed for home.  Each display has an explanation card with the entry to tell what the horse is doing.  Write your card up saying something like:  "The horse is racing for the finish line after successfully running the pole pattern in record time." 

The general style is you do not use your horse's name on the card to prevent judge recognition of show horses that have been champions before.

Easy made pole bending props for Stable Mates.  In live (real) horse showing the specifications on poles is as follows:  "Poles shall be shall be set on top of the ground, 6 feet in height, and mounted in bases with a 14 inch diameter.  Poles shall be PVC pipe, and bases shall be rubber or plastic. For added safety, PVC caps are recommended.  Preferred color for poles is natural white, but red, white, and blue rings shall be allowed.  Solid rubber bases are preferred, but hollow plastic bases shall be allowed only if filled completely to emulate a solid base." Pole Bending  Rules.

Take a small piece of bread dough clay and make a disk like base for your pole.  Then take a long fireplace match stick, or a bamboo meat skewer or a very small dowel.  Remember scale on this one.  A pole too big (thick or tall) is going to look out of place.  The fire place match stick is about the right thickness.  Cut it off to the length you want.  Take a look at this real life combination for what 6 foot height should be in relation to your 3 inch model horse.

And there you go.  Pole Bending prop simple and economical.

Tomorrow see what we can do with this little fellow in the jumping division.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Model Horse - Infinite Variety

The size of your model horse isn't important, we love them all and no matter the size they are great to collect, halter show or performance Show.

An informative Ebay article describes the sizes as follows.  "Collectors use common terms, most coined from the Breyer company, to describe sizes of model horses.   Traditional is the largest size and typically measures 8-10 inches tall.  Classic is the next size down, and measures around 6 to 8 inches tall.  Little Bits, Paddock Pals, and Stone Chips size is another size down; it is also called "Curio Cabinet" size, and typically measures 4 inches tall or so.   "Stablemate" size comes from the Breyer company and is used to describe horse models at 3 inches tall.    Candace Liddy, a famous equine sculptor and model horse creator, coined both "Bantams" (two inch tall models) and Micro Minis, models standing just one inch tall.    While some horse models are larger than Traditional size, so far we haven't found anything smaller than micro mini!"

I am most familiar with the Traditional size 8 - 10 inches tall.  The Classic Size 6 to 8 inches tall and the Stable Mate size 3" tall.  In my future articles these are the sizes I will talk about the most.  But no matter the size, breed, color, each model horse has something wonderful to offer the horse enthusiast.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Model Horse Collecting For All Horse Lovers

When I was growing up every Christmas I asked for a horse.  Of course coming from working class parents I NEVER got one.  Duha!

Through the world of model horse collecting horse lovers can learn more about their favorite animal.

Model Horse Collecting Basics can be found at this web link.  There are several companies that create these collectible "toys" in a variety of sizes.  The most noted are two giants in the industry.  Peter S. Stone, creator of Stone Horses

and Breyer Horses.

Model horses come in any variety of sizes and breeds and colors.  You could spend a happy collecting career just pursuing all your favorite breeds of horse in all your favorite colors and innumerable poses.

It can get quite insane!!!

However, you can take the hobby several steps farther.  You can continue to pursue your interests into the show ring.Model Horse Showing

There is the halter division for all those bare beautiful models in all their infinite breeds and colors and positions.  Or you can purchase/ make tack, equipment, props and begin to build scenes to pose your models in for various "show" classes.  Anything you might see in real life is fair game with very meticulous rules for performance....just like real horse shows.  Shows can be live where you attend and place your model on the tables with others or they can be photo where you send in pictures.  Infinite variety.

Arabian Costume on a Peter Stone Horse.  

Hunter/Jumper division with a Gem Twist mold Breyer Horse

These two horses were customized by the exhibitor and placed in a race horse scene.  She made the tote board with her computer and some matting.  *Julie Pritchard*

Another Scene of Julie's with a custom horse.  They can be very elaborate.  This is a day fox hunting.  Can you believe that the tree leaves are really fix tank greenery plastic plants?

Western Trail Division

Yes, Even Jumping Mules!!! *Julie*

So...Let your imagination run wild with Model Horse Showing and collecting.  There is the benefit of being able to own a stable of champion horses of all disciplines and breeds .... without the exorbitant feed bill.  And hey! no mucking stalls either.

Model Horse Showing can be an awesome experience to learn about horses and horse showing.  And hey isn't just for kids.

If you would like more information about model horses and model horse showing.  Contact Ms. Renee' for how to get involved in this new hobby collectible project.

COUNTY EVENTS DAY: Traditional 4-H Attire

                                                       The standard 4-H Attire
Boys:  Black Pants
           White Shirt
            Black or Green Tie
           4-H Lapel Pin or Patch
           Boots or dress Shoes

Girls:  Black skirt or pants
          White Blouse
           Black or green Ribbon tie
           4-H Lapel pin or patch
           Boots or dress shoes

Options are 4-H Jacket or Green Vest with 4-H Patch and Pins.

This is the recommended dress known as "Standard 4-H Attire"  This is expected when representing your club and Baker County as you move on from County events to District Events competition.

It is certainly acceptable at our County Events Day.  However, since we have not had county events for a while we will be gracious lenient this year and accept a more casual form of dress by allowing members to wear their 4-H green polo shirts.

A polo shirt has short sleeves and a collar made from t-shirt fabric.  You can sew on the 4-H patch or have the shirts embroidered over the left chest with the clover.  Some of our livestock members use them showing animals at the fair.

Certainly in the afternoon for the fun and games you can change into your favorite jeans and 4-H t-shirt.

If you have questions about 4-H dress check with Ms. Renee'.  the idea is to look clean and polished to do your best at your speech or demonstration.

Port Quality Assurance Plus Youth Training

WHEN:  January 13, 2011

WHERE:  Columbia County Extension Office, 164 S. W. Mary Ethel Lane, Lake City, FL 32025
                 6:00 PM Sign in and Welcome
                 6:15 PM Good Production Practices 1 through 10
                 8:00 PM Review and Certification

Call to REGISTER AT 386-752-5384 OR email : before JANUARY 12TH.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

4-H Makes Science Fun

Bill Heltemes is our RSA - Regional Specialized Agent.  He sends us word of a special opportunity for 4-H members to learn SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) based skills.  Hear what he has to tell us about this opportunity for youth.

"NOVA is a popular PBS program. Beginning January 19th and for the following 3 weeks NOVA is airing a science based program: “Making Stuff” Making Stuff Hot Link that is a perfect fit for 4-H.  An Activity Guide and a volunteer guide – Outreach Toolkit will be provided along with additional resources.

I am working with Pam Shamel from UF based WUFT PBS station and Dr. Kevin Jones chairman of the UF Materials Science Engineering Dept. to offer this program to counties served by WUFT TV. This will initiate what I hope will be a long partnership with WUFT as they are very interested in continuing the support of action oriented science programming.

I invite your participation.  I am looking for volunteers who would like to start a 4-H Science Club. At the beginning the club will focus on the “Making Stuff” curriculum.  Each volunteer will receive the materials needed to do this. In addition I will arrange for the training of these volunteers. Time and location to be determined after locations of the volunteers are known.  If you don’t have a SET based program yet in your county – here is an opportunity to get started. 

The Making Stuff program airs Jan. 19 and 26 and Feb. 2 and 9 at 9:00 PM ET.  It is not necessary to have your volunteers and clubs in place by the time the show airs. The programs will be available on the NOVA and the WUFT websites and accessible as needed.  If the best volunteer training time is during YDI (Youth Development Institute January 25th - 29th) Youth Development Institute - Hot Link we can arrange for that.

Dr. Jones and Pam will also become resources for your volunteers.  Thanks and if you have any questions let me know.
Bill Heltemes
NE Region Specialized 4-H Agent
University of Florida"

Bill is asking for me to recruit leaders interested in working with this project. It sounds really cool.  If you are interested let me know.

Ms. Renee'

I'll go on record as saying "I love science.  I'm a REAL science Geek!"  I just attended the "Human Bodies" Exhibit in Atlanta.  It was AWESOME.