A New Job Skill Adds Marketability

rapt attention-1
Note the rapt attention by horses, riders and prize-givers as the particulate matter is suspended in air. Photo by Meg McGuire.

 

I’ve added a hot new skill to my resume: dirt thrower. Although not the same as mud-slinging, it has that same earthy quality.

While at the August Markel/USEF Developing Horse Championships and the Festival of Champions at Lamplight Equestrian Center, I was asked by pro photographers Susan Stickle and Meg McGuire to capture the horses’ attention during the prize-giving so they could snap the money shot. You know — that photo when the horse and rider pose with a judge and a sponsor or two? The people have been well-trained to grin on command, but horses–not so much. Hence, dirt throwing.

dirt pick up-1
Here, I carefully choose my attention grabbing instruments, selecting only the most equine enticing bits. Photo by Meg McGuire.

The highly-trained tosser picks up a handful of dirt and expensive arena footing and throws it in the air to attract the attention of the horse so that it looks like an engaged equine instead of a disinterested donkey. It takes a great deal of finesse to steal clear of the (ahem) horse apples while loudly trilling your “r” like you were taught to do in Spanish 101 when you learned to say “arroz.” Who knew that minoring in Spanish would enhance my job skills later in life? For some reason, horses are intrigued by someone rolling an “r” around and throwing dirt. Except ponies. Ponies look at you, flip you off and let you know that a carrot would have enticed them. Not dirt, you stupid moron.

two-fisted technique-1
Ever the consummate professional, I have mastered the two-handed technique, a skill acquired through exhaustive practice. Photo by Meg McGuire.
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Close-up of airborne arena particles used to enhance the photographic experience. Photo by Meg McGuire.

 

Susan has a nifty “neigh” sound on her phone that attracts equine attention, but she said it took her a lot of whinnying downloads before she found the magical call of the horse. So, I guess I’ll stick to throwing dirt. If you know anyone in need of a turf tosser, I’m the one to call.

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