My family owned race horses when I was very young. I remember weekends of visiting them on the farm where we boarded them and at the track, but I was never involved in their handling or care and I can count on one hand the number of times I've gone horseback riding. There was a stage in my childhood when all I wanted was a pony, but then one morning, I woke up and "Hungry Like The Wolf" was playing on the radio and from that moment forward, all I wanted was Simon LeBon.
My animal care career has been spent almost exclusively in the city and I rarely cross paths with a horse, but I was super excited when I was booked for a photo session on a quarter horse farm. I was also completely at a loss as to what to expect, what to bring and how the session was going to flow. Fortunately, the horses were very well socialized (though the foals could be nippy!) and the owner was extremely knowledgeable, so we had tons of fun and I took like 700 photos (actual, unexaggerated number). Here are a few of my favourites so far.
For some reason, I envisioned photographing horses as something done with a long lens, at a distance. My unexpected problem with these foals was not being able to get far enough away from them to get a good shot (hence, the wide angle, bobble head perspective). I also worried that the flash and reflector might upset them...much to the contrary, they were OBSESSED with the reflector and wouldn't stop following it around, licking it and trying to chew on it. The owner suggested that she was going to have to get them a reflector of their own, since they enjoyed it so much.
A palomino quarter horse looking over a fence with the setting sun behind her. I asked my boyfriend "hey, this is a palomino, right"? He responded that he wasn't sure and didn't they have spots, so I googled it. As soon as he saw all the photos, he shook his head and said that he really should have known that because growing up, his sister said the word "palomino" about once every 20 seconds.
Luke (sometimes known as "Lucifer", he knows why) and Penny (the horse version of the annoyingly affectionate cat) touch noses for a brief, tender moment.
Luke (aka Lucifer), looking all sweet and angelic.
Once it started getting dark out, the horses were restless to get inside, but that didn't mean the end of the photo shoot. I loved how the tones and textures of the old, worn wood in the barn complimented the sleek and shiny horses.
Georgie and Penny, two similar looking foals graze side by side in exactly the same position. One of the things I learned during this session was that foals have necks that are too short to reach the ground, hence the awkward position with front legs splayed out to graze. Their necks actually get longer in proportion to their bodies as they grow, enabling them to eat more gracefully.
Probably not a photo the owner will want to frame and hang on the wall, but it was too hilarious not to capture Penny's obsession with the reflector. For the record, the adult horses were not crazy about it.
I thought this old piece of farm equipment looked cool, so I made sure to include it in my photo of the sunset. When I got home and showed my boyfriend, he said "why'd you take a picture of the manure spreader" (only he didn't use exactly those words). Ummm... I guess because I'm a city girl.