Friday, October 5, 2012

A Busy Week In Parys

At the beginning of the year, Dawn asked me if I would be her research assistant, when it came time to gather the data for her master's degree. She has chosen such and interesting subject to research... how the confirmation of a horse relates to its movement, specifically in the Boerperd. At first I had no cooking clue why she would want to research this, surely a horse moves as it should? That was my thinking. But after this week, I have now seen that the Boerperd does in fact have different movements. There are two main areas in which they are classified. The horse is either a Traditional horse (who has a high knee action when he trots) or a Universal (who trots normally).

Dawn was invited to do her research study at the Boerperd National Competition which was held in Parys this week. People have traveled from all over South Africa, and even Swaziland to take part in this prestigious competition.

Dawn had an ambitious target to measure 100 horses. Not only are they to be measures, but also filmed on a high speed camera, to analyse their motion. This will be the largest motion analsys study ever done. The last published study was of 15 horses.

So first things first, we had to set up our research station. Because of our target of 100 horses, we would need to work into the night. We borrowed lights from Ian.
I even had a hand in setting them up!

And what do you know?!
They worked!! LOL
This would become my office for 6 very long days.

Dawn quickly realised that this would be more than a two woman job. So our team grew :)
From left to right, Takemore (Dawn's head groom at her yard. What a Guy!),sweet Laura (she is one of Dawn's students and was Dawn's scribe) Me (the photographer and videographer) Dawn (the big Cheese), Jana (Dawns BFF and assistant to Dawn) and last but by no means least Ankia ( also one of Dawn's students, who was responsible for saving all the video footage onto the PC)
This was my little spot. Once I finished filming I would then have to take confirmation photos of the horse. (So over the 6 days, I filmed 103 horses plus 11 for the accountability study, and took 1211 conformation photos. Plus stax of other ones too.)

I was also able to broaden my horizons, skills wise, Once I had taken my photos, I took off tail bandages!! Oh My Word!! This was a big leap for me, for I was the only 'non horsey' person on the team! LOL

So this is what the horses looked like once Dawn had done her measurements. It's like playing join the dots!! hehe
She measured from dot to dot. Also for the filming, the motion analyses software picks up the markers and tracks the movement.

Every now and then I was able to wander around....
There was a bathing bay close by...
These bays were drying off after a bath.

These two were grooming each other....aahhhh

and this one was fast asleep in the sun! LOL

There were a few horses that really captured my heart,
This big boy's name is Yankee (^^,)
He is owned and ridden by Johan De Klerk, who owns the Devondale Stud.
He is quite the champion, he aced his Dressage test

So beautiful...

All those red ribbons show first place (I took this pic with my phone, explains the quality...)

And then I happened upon the sweet Bubbles, a welcome little change.

On Wednesday, we had collected all the data that we would need, so we were then able to watch a few of the events.
The first one being the carriage riding!
This is Diederick Cloete from the Vlampies Boerperd Stud, and his horse, Cha Cha. He is one of the country's top Boerperd trainers.
 Oh My Word! This was quite an event.
The judges stand in the middle and all of the contestants ride around the centre.
It's not a race, more like they are judged on the horse's performance and the riders technique... I think.... 
I was standing next to a group of grooms, and they made this event even more special. Once the riders started, they got so excited, calling out their horses names!

Oh my word, they race around at quite a pace!!
Diederick Cloete was the winner for this event!

I was also able to catch one of Yankee's events.
This is such a cool pic, I so wish that it was in focus!
He only has one foot on the ground! 
He won this event too (^^,) 
The riders start small!
This little guy was competing in the under 8 age group!
Sweetest little guy, his legs don't reach the end of the saddle.

A pity this one is also out of focus, but I had to share it. This was the Traditional Stallion event. This chap won this event. He came hurtling by, look no hooves on the ground! Flip!! 
All in all, the week was a success. I learned a tremendous amount. Also brushed up on my Afrikaans, because EVERYONE speaks Afrikaans. By the end of the week, I was even thinking in Afrikaans! LOL
Here are some of my favourite pictures that I took this week.
This one is of a handsome guy called Franco!
Could have taken him home in a heartbeat, dunno what I would've done with him though?! 
Yankee and his groom, nice and relaxed in the afternoon sunshine. 
Foot prints (mine of course) in the sand! Promise you they are there, if you squint your eyes, you'll see them LOL

 Well the sun has set on my involvement with this study, now Dawn has to analyse it all. I'm looking forward to hearing about her findings.
It was great learning experience.
One thing I know for certain, I love to take photos, even if it was of horses legs and rumps!
I think the next chapter of my life may involve the use of my camera a whole lot more!
Here's hoping (^^,)
Lotsa love xx


  1. Wow my friend, very awesome description of our data capture week! It shows what can be accomplished when people willingly give of their time to help, things like this don't happen with out the support of the people close to you. Thanks.

  2. Gorgeous story of a memorable 'caper' (or is it 'canter'??)and quite 'the story teller' too.. I'm amazed & delighted to see your hidden talents coming to light my Darling Girl!!
    I do love your generous heart in serving others!

    You wear Jesus Well!!

    Thanks for keeping me up to date -
    Love Always,
    Momma xxxxx