Saturday, January 28, 2006

Xtreme Horsemen

Tommie and I just returned from Orlando. Two weeks on the road takes its toll. We drove all 2600+ miles with the horses and our dogs. Tommie and I have been working on many projects over the past 6 months and it has been exhausting just keeping up with it all. Tommie had this idea to get together the extreme horse people we know in this business to do their thing and we will make it an event. Well, we just did it in Orlando. First off, we celebrate and honor all horsemen. We support and applaud anyone who works with horses and especially those who have made horses part of their career. About a year ago, we were in Orlando and saw the mounted police. We always stop and talk to them in any city we see the Mounties on their horses. After the officers asked what we did and we answered them, they said “You guys are pretty extreme compared to us.” We told them they were more extreme than we were! When a crowd gets out of control, they have to go in the middle of it. If there is “danger” they are trained to go to it. They have to stay calm, work together, and be ready for any obstacles or situation (and also arrest people too!). That is truly extreme horsemanship. The Orlando Mounted Police and Orange County Sheriff’s Office Mounted division invited us to see how they prepare for the Florida Homeland Security Training and participate in their desensitizing program and games, a city ride along, and visit their modest stables. They are constantly on alert and taking care of their horses. We were truly impressed by how much effort they put out to keep their horses in top notch shape and they do it all day with a smile. (It must be from working with the horses.) Thanks again to the OPD and OC Sheriff Dept. Michelle, Cindy, Kevin, Tim, Larry, Mike, Randy, Ed, Terry, and everyone involved including the hardworking horses, King, Ditto, Kilowatt, Sammy, Dan Dan, and Duke. You guys were awesome. It was an experience we won’t soon forget. (There are so many people to acknowledge and thank I couldn’t do it all here, so I’m putting together a page on the website to hold it all.) It should be ready soon.
We also want to thank a family friend and a legendary horse trainer, Gibb Stepp. He really shows how you can connect with and understand a horse. He the trainer for the Orlando PD and at Disney World. When he speaks, we listen. It was an honor working with Gibb at the Grand Cypress Equestrian Center. Thanks to Claire and Tracy and their staff for incredible hospitality at a top notch facility. I noticed they also use Guardian Horse Bedding for all of the horses at Grand Cypress. They discovered how easy and economical it is to use too. We hope to be back there in the future.
My brother, Tommie and I have worked with the best entertainers in the business and we wanted to put together something that had never been done before. We did some research about the best bareback riders and families in the world and we realized we know and had worked with most of them. After many phone calls, we were able to get 28 bareback (rosin back as it is known in the early days) riders under one roof. They included the Donnerts, Zoppe, Suarez, Karoly, and Loyal along with the current bareback riders from the Arabian Nights show. We had the best of the best, so we put together a Sunday afternoon show for the public at Arabian Nights in Kissimmee, Florida, It was incredible. To see Mark Karoly , Timi Loyal, James Zoppe perform their signature routines while Robbie and David Donnert juggled on horseback as their father, Laslo ran the horses from the center ring. All of this while Enrique Suarez, the father of our good friend and 5th generation bareback rider Ricky Suarez (who is working at Cavalia), watched with a big smile on his face as he saw things he had never seen or hadn’t seen in over 20 years. “To get this many riders together is a once in a lifetime feat.”
It kept getting better as we kept upping the excitement by featuring six female bareback riders at the same time (One had come out of retirement to perform 1 more time!) and then seven male bareback riders in the same ring. It was amazing. A special thanks goes out to Arabian Nights and Hannah Miller. She gave us the venue and production crew needed to make this event happen without a hitch. Also to Mafalda Zoppe, Olissio, Matt, Gino, and Aramis plus Arabian Nights for letting us practice a day with their horses and using their ring curb. Tommie and I hadn’t ridden bareback in over 3 years, so we did the best we could to keep up with the pros. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. To see my friends who have traveled around the world performing their art of bareback share the spotlight with each other was such a thrill. To be part of it was an honor. We were truly in the presence of greatness; past, present, and future. Thanks to everyone who had a part in it and those who came by to see the show.
This was quite a week for us as we also filmed commercials for Absorbine and NorthEast Conversions Northeast Conversions. If you missed the shows I mentioned above don’t worry, we filmed it all in High Definition and are looking to get it picked up by a network or cable channel. We’ll keep you posted on the progress. It was hard work, but lots of fun. We worked with the best crew in the business, Paul, Darryl. Dave, JP, Paul, Duncan, Angela, Patty, Vicki and last but not least, Dafna. We also got to work with a family friend in the stunt side of our family, Grady Bishop from the “Extreme Stunt” Team. He provided the insert car for the steady-cam shots. Tommie kept him “on the throttle” especially when he was filming the roman riding.
Well, that was 10 days of work and 4 days of driving. Time to get back to work at the stables and office. Clinics are coming soon as well as the Equine Academy of Performing Arts.
Ride Fast… Take Chances!

Monday, January 16, 2006

On the Road

Well, I finally had a moment to actually sit and think, answer my emails, and get ready for this week. We are south of Atlanta for the night. We have an early AM meeting with a sponsor and then we hit Florida for a week of a video shoot for a show Tommie and I have always wanted to do with a director we worked with from PA. (It's too early to talk about it right now, but I will fill you in when I can.) We stopped for the night to rest the horses and went to eat at the restaurant next to hotel. While we were waiting for the food, I noticed a someone with a cowboy hat at the table across the way, so I had to see. It was Ken McNabb and the organizers of the Georgia Horse Council Expo. We went over and said hello and talked for a while. What a small world. Just wanted to say thanks for all the emails. Just to give you an idea of what's on the horizon; we are putting up schedules for clinics at our Equestrian Center, putting the final touches on the Equine Academy of Performing Arts school we are organizing at the Equestrian Center (June 2005 and who wants to be star!), more essential tools for training and having fun with your horse, three new DVD's, private clinics, exciting new acts, and that's just the tip beginning. We are meeting a lot of incredible people, accommodating sponsors, and wonderful horses. 2006 will be a great year. People are still writing to me about the Cavalia horse show. They see my picture and get my name from the program they buy at the show. It's actually been 1 year since I have been there. I really enjoy working for myself and following my own dreams. It is so empowering. (I also recommend everyone to see Cavalia if you can. They will be in Houston and then Dallas for the 10 weeks.)
Gotta get some sleep and be ready to drive to Jacksonville at 6am.
Ride Fast... Take Chances!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Here is me and our beautiful American Cream draft horse, Sugar Cookie. It was such a nice day out today, so I brought her outside to enjoy the sun and warmth and snap a few photos of her. She is such a sight to see and so loving. I am so happy to have her. I can't wait to start driving with her. We have lots of ideas and fun things planned. Everytime we put her out, someone stops by to see her or ask about her. She literally stops traffic! Ride Fast... Take Chances! Posted by Picasa

Tommie Turvey performs with Pokerjoe