Meet Lizzie and her sister Issy and their two ponies: Ben and Ziggy. It seemed the weather was against us as on two previous occasions the strong winds from “Storm Barney” and other wintery weather meant we had to postpone, so it was great to finally meet you both!
We began the shoot by Issy showing me around their yard. The location was wonderful with a variety of backgrounds including a wooded area, an open field and several tracks… oh and an airfield! Not something I’ve come across before, a run way at the bottom of the fields! They both assured me the ponies weren’t phased by it at all because they see planes take off and land all day!
Lizzie introduced me to her beautiful Connie x Thoroughbred Ben, who likes to lick everything! Lizzie was wearing a cosy knitted head warmer. It was a rather brisk morning; the shoot began when it was just 1 degree. Wrapped up in several layers, we all headed down towards the gallops. The sun was trying to break through the cold air, providing some beautiful lighting. The frost was just starting to melt so the grass glistened. I love it when their warm breath touches the cold air – very atmospheric!
Ben was very patient and willing throughout the shoot. He put his ears forward and posed – he loved the camera!
We began in a small wooded area before heading down towards the horse’s fields. Lizzie said Ben has done a bit of everything but seems to enjoy dressage and hunting. As we waited for a plane to take off, it was the perfect distraction to get Ben looking alert and in to the distance. Perhaps every yard needs a run way and planes – that’d make my job a lot easier haha!
Issy was “bucket shaker,” ensuring Ben looked the way we wanted him for each shot. The girls were both very fun to chat too and you could tell from the conversations that they both adore their ponies!
After a few bareback shots in the field alongside the runway we headed up towards the outdoor school for a few more shots. Before finishing up the shoot, the indoor school made for the perfect location for some black background shots. Again, Ben made my job very easy – he looked handsome and alert, curiously watching a lady empty her barrow on to the muck heap. This allowed me to get a variety of different shots which look beautiful, particularly striking with the black background.
Up next was Ziggy – a quarter horse, sports horse cross. His colouring was beautiful, his eyes were amazing! Issy evented him but unfortunately he’s now been retired to lighter work due to hock issues. Whilst I quickly munched on a Mars bar to warm myself up, Issy continued getting Zig ready. As a finishing touch she added some spray hoof oil! I’ve never heard or seen that before. We headed along the path through the woods along to the gallops, stopping on our way as we found interesting backdrops for a variety of poses.
We spent the majority of the shoot down by the gallops. The yard was beautifully peaceful, by now the sun had come out and we were all thankful that it was starting to warm up!
Ziggy showed off his “goofy” personality throughout, in particular he smiled and chapped his lips frequently which made for some very funny shots! Issy had warned me that he may be very stubborn when it came to putting his ears forward. Issy’s Mum joined us to help out with this – after he’d gotten used to the shaking treat bucket we had to find something else to get his attention. Issy played various songs and sound effects on her phone. We also threw my (flourcent green, so you couldn’t miss them!) gloves and lens cloth around which seemed to do the trick!
Issy was particularly keen for me to capture some natural, unposed moments between her and Zig. Whilst chatting away to her I continued to snap away as she talked about what her and Ziggy so the photos were quite candid – I love capturing personality and admiration owners have for their horses and I hope it comes across in these images.
As you may notice in some of the images, Ziggy doesn’t have a tail. Issy told me that it was because of an accident he had many years ago. I had a look at Issy’s Tumblr account prior to the shoot and it definitely doesn’t affect his ability to jump! Cosmetic differences in horses, just the same as in humans shouldn’t ever be a problem. Horses burst with their own individual personality, this is what you fall in love with!
As we headed back up towards the yard, Issy hopped on for some bareback shots. Brililantly timing as Lizzie headed back down to us, Ziggy fixed his eyes on her and that meant we had his ears forward perfectly!
The shoot concluded with some black background images before we headed back on to the yard to finish up.
Thank you so much Lizzie and Issy for having me come and photograph you and your handsome ponies! I really enjoyed my day with you! I hope you love your images!
You can follow Issy and Ziggy here: http://thetaillesseventer.tumblr.com/tagged/Us