JC is now "7 going on 8", and this photo was taken when he was "5 going on 6", at the family branding where he rode with his granddad, dad, uncles, cousins and friends. That meant riding up to the north pasture (very, very early) to round up the steers and calves, and bringing them down to the pens for branding.
JC is learning the art of "cutting" (cutting calves out of the herd), which you can see in his pose. One hand holds the horn of the saddle, while the other hand holds the reins; a posture you take to preempt a calf (you have to be ready to move really quickly) from returning to the herd. His big plans this summer are to compete in cutting events next year. The New Mexico Cutting Horse Association does not sponsor children's events, so JC will compete with teenagers and adults from several western states.
The digital experiment is my "attempt" at a Delacroix inspired portrait. Doesn't quite match up to the master, but I did like the results, or maybe because it was a horrible photograph of JC, and because I enjoy him so much, I wanted a "Canon moment".
Thought for the day; I want to ride like JC when I grow up!