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July's Round-up!

Wow, half way through the year already, that's crazy! It felt so long ago that some of you were booking your shoots in for the summer, at Christmas time. It's all come around so quickly! July was a pretty special month, with several exciting shoots to work on, as well as my first trip abroad to photograph!

My first shoot of the month was been one I'd been looking forward to for so long - an international photoshoot! Alicia, from Belle Equestrian had invited me out to Holland with her to meet and photograph Madeline, an international dressage rider, Belle's newest sponsored rider. Our trip got off to a stressful start, but the horses, scenery and beautiful yard totally made up for that, you can read all about it here!

I arrived home rather late from Holland, but after a power nap in the afternoon, I was all set and ready to head over to Mapledurham to meet Kayleigh and her two handsome pooches! Cockapoo Betty and Golden Retreiver Alfie were my models for the evening. The sun was setting across the golf course casting a gorgeous golden light across the greens. Avoiding the golfers, who too were soaking up the sun on a glorious summer's evening, we spent the session catching up on everything horsey! I photographed Kayleigh and her super handsome chestnut gelding Monty a few years ago! It was lovely to hear all about him again! Betty and Alfie sat and posed very patiently in amongst the grass and woodland and after much perserverance, we got some great shots of them sat together too!

Barbury, my favourite event of the year was the perfect opportunity to go for a day out in the sunshine. Yes, I totally underestimated how warm it actually was and I got rather burnt! I love the whole event, you can pretty much see the whole of the course from any point on the hill. I went with my friend Angie, along with our newest dog, Tag - it was the first time I've ever been to a horse trials and not taken my camera! I kind of felt a bit naked without it and I bumped in to several photographers and clients who couldn't believe I didn't have it with me! It was so nice to enjoy the event and not be rushed off my feet running up and down the course. Instead I got to enjoy and chilli and several ice creams!

Back on Track had comissioned a shoot of their newest sponsored riders, Jez and Lucy. Georgia, Sarah and I headed over to Hampshire to meet the team - enjoying the quiche and sasauge rolls on the way that had been freshly baked by Sarah that morning. As we arrived, we got to work straight away as the weather looked a bit unsettled. Jez and Lucy worked the horses whilst I snapped away, before we moved on to some more posed, portrait style images. Back on Track's range of products are a favourite amongst our whole family, both two and four legged I must add! The technology in the garments uses ceramic particles to help aid recovery and ease aching muscles, as well as keeping the muscles warm both before and after excercise. I love my Back on Track jumpers and T-Shirt, my shoulders and arms can often ache after a full days shooting, not helped by often long drives home and they really help relieve the pain!

Mandi and Shelley invited me over to their fields to meet their ponies and menagerie of animals! The main subject of the day was 30 year old Welsh pony, Cassie, whom has been in the family since 1987, a much loved member of the family indeed. Despite being 30 years old, Cassie was full of life! She kept us on our toes several times as she snorted and spooked, mostly at Savannah! She sure had the stubborn traits of a pony as we led her down to the field she kept digging her heels in! After meeting the rest of the herd, including the Jacob sheep and two donkeys, I got to meet Shelley's gelding, Alfie! You can read all about Cassie, Alfie and the rest of the shoot here.

Sheila was lucky enough to be given a voucher for a shoot by her collegue, Debbie towards the end of last year for her birthday. They waited for the summer to come around - the shoot marks a significant birthday for Sheila this year! I headed over to Amners farm to meet Caspar and owner Sheila, along with her neice, Charmaine. 8 year old Caspar has been part of the family for hte past 4 years and he certinally had a lot of character about him!

It was an absolute pleasure to photograph Kelly and Lady. Sadly the weather wasn't ideal for the shoot, but we didn't let that hamper us - Kelly kept on smiling throughout and we got some beautiful images of the pair of them together. Kelly was lucky enough to be given a gift voucher from her partner, Rob, for Christmas. I remember when she first booked the shoot in, the summer felt so far away - but before I knew it, July was here and I headed over to meet them both at the livery yard where they are based, in Curridge.

After Kelly's shoot I dashed home to start uploading the photos from my memory card. The car was packed and we were ready to go off on our family holiday! We had an enjoyable week in West Wales, exploring the coast. The dogs throughly enjoyed having the beach to run on - but I never felt too far away from home as our cottage overlooked a paddock of ponies!

I had two very special shoots this month with Claire. The first was with her "boys" - horse Jamie, husband James and their 14 year old dog, George. It was so clear to show how much Claire simply adored Jamie. She said he can be quite quirky at times and definately has an opinon to share, but she loves him dearly! I know how much Claire had been looking forward to the shoot so it was an absolute pleasure to finally get to meet her after so many weeks of chatting and planning! I then followed the shoot up with a trip over to their home to capture some shots of George at home. He's not been well recently and the trip to the stables had stressed him out a little, so we didn't get as many shots of him on the day, as Claire had hoped. George was far more settled at home, and with plenty of chicken bribery, we got lots of lovely images!

On a very warm, sunny afternoon, I got to catch up with Rose, her mum Kate and of course, DJ! We got some pictures of Rose in her new gear, from one of her sponsors, Horse Pilot. The range of clothing is made from a brilliant technical fabric with some innovative designs, which I've asked Rose to share with you all in a blog post soon! I'll be catching up with Rose in August before she has an amazing gap year in Germany, how exciting!

I thoroughly enjoyed my shoot with Julie and her 3 horses! It was such a fantastic morning, with picturesque views across the local countryside. Jessie was the star of the show, although, I'm sure little Teddy thought it was all about her as she pranced around the field, bucking, galloping and leaping around! Julie warned me she doesn't really like having her photo, and can be very shy when the camera comes out - she'd been assured by several other members of Chiltern that had, had a shoot with me, that the whole experience was laid back and totally relaxed! I love to capture that special relationship between horse and owner and it was very easy indeed to do that with these two! The natural shots are always my favourite during shoots and both ladies were a pleasure to photograph! We worked through a variety of different poses, bribing Jessie with Polo's where necessary! It was lovely chatting away to Julie during her shoot as before when I've seen her, she's usually just setting off cross country at an event!

Whilst writing this blog post, a little note popped up on my Facebook from Julie. She'd just seen her gallery of images and the write up from her shoot. I know how much she has loved reading the blog posts I've written about everyone elses shoots, so I was looking forward to her having her own!

"Rose Lewis, you are amazing!! I am so, so happy with my beautiful pictures. Thank goodness we will have plenty of wall space when the house is finished. You are an amazing photographer and your memory is amazing too as you never made notes when we chatted, but remembered everything I had said. They are truly special photographs and you have captured all of my babies perfectly, allowing their personalities to shine through- even naughty Ted! I am going to have a tough time choosing which ones to have enlarged. I can definitely recommend this experience to all other animal friends. Thank you Rose, you have made me very happy. Xx"

I'm cheating a little bit and writing this blog post before July is actually over, otherwise it could be several weeks before I actually get round to finishing it! It's currently raining and today's shoot has been postponed; whilst my computer is set to do a back up, I'm catching up with all of my blog posts. Tomorrow I will be packing to go away to Hickstead for a couple of days. With the RIHS and international dressage running, I have plenty to photograph. I have several comissions from various brands and sponsors who I will be shooting for at the event. Jessie Kirby will be there competing Orlando in the pony class so I am very much looking forward to catching up with the team there!

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