It was so special to attend the Nations Cup in San Juan Capistrano, CA and set up as a vendor during the event!
Throughout the week I took photos for reference images and posted updates to Instagram. One of my favorite photos was one of Laura Kraut on Calgary Tame -- she had just walked into the schooling ring and was beginning to warm up. Her horse had such a sweet, calm presence so I snapped a bunch of photos as they started trotting right in front of me. I used one of those photos to paint from throughout the weekend. In the video you'll see the progress images, and below is the final painting.
The competition itself was incredible! The Nations Cup series is the sport’s oldest and most prestigious team challenge, with national teams from around the globe competing for one of the most coveted prizes in this Olympic discipline. It is a ten-event series, with the final competition being held this year in Barcelona, Spain in late September 2023.
Only an hour away from where we live is the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park where Blenheim EquiSports hosts shows throughout the season. This show ran concurrently with the Nations Cup (more on that in another post). During the early part of the week, I took photos of both hunter and jumper classes, as well as some horses in the schooling ring, which is one of my favorite places to watch some behind-the-scenes training and preparation!
I set up a booth in the vendor village for the week and was able to spend some time painting too. Check out my post on the Nations Cup for more details about what went on in the grand prix ring!
I'm a member of a coworking space called Hera Hub. It is a female-focused business accelerator with a wonderful, supportive community. The Hera Hub location in Temecula coordinated a wine tasting event for the members. So, I decided to drive out early and watch the show, take some photos, and cheer on the team from Oceancrest Farms before meeting up with the Hera Hub members.
Wow, what a gorgeous setting for a horse show! I only grabbed a few photos for inspiration for the backgrounds of my paintings. Here's one sample of what the view looks like from the Grand Prix ring! (There is a horse in the photo, but look at those gorgeous green hills!)
During the last week of the Desert series I finally made it out to Thermal, CA to enjoy the show! My plan was to take a bunch of photos for sketching, reaccustom myself with the horse show world, and cheer on my friends and the clients from Oceancrest Farms. I even got to warm up a few horses in the mornings -- what a delight to get to ride too!
Kimball Willson is a lifelong equestrian and oil painter.