Meet Nicola and her two ponies, Daniel and Thomas. I drove down to Fordingbridge to meet them all - it was a cold, frosty morning but the light was gorgeous! I got to drive through some beautiful locations, across Sailsbury Plain and past the cathedral.
Nicola had spent the morning getting the boys ready, they were allowed a little time out in their paddock to relax and make them a little more co-operative during their shoot. Nicola said that Daniel is a nightmare if he hasn't been turned out in the morning!
The boys lead a life of luxury - with custom made small doors to allow them to see over, a "Shetland proof" paddock, which can be rotated throughout the year and large fluffy beds to relax in! After an accident riding, Nicola decided it was time to hang up her riding boots and focus her time on something she could still enjoy - the ponies!
Daniel has been in Nicola's life for as long as she can remember. He's now 19, and she's owned him since he was a foal. He's the cheeky chap, don't be fooled, he may look cute but his personality makes up for his size! They do some in-hand showing together, but they enjoy competing and training in Horse agility. Daniel and Thomas came over to meet me when Nicola called them over! They were brushed and ready to go, looking absolutely adorable in their winter woolies!
Thomas is the youngster at just 18 months. Nicola led the way with a Shetland either side of her, down to the spot we had picked out at the back of the yard. The low winter sun was trickling through the row of trees behind the paddocks and made for the most perfect light. She had warned me not to get too close as they can be very excitable at times!
We began the shoot with both ponies, Nicola walked down the track, and then back towards me. The boys were on their best behaviour! Thomas enjoyed munching the grass along side the edge of the fields whilst the attention was on Daniel. We were pretty confident that Thomas wasn't going to go anywhere whilst he had all that grass around him!
With smaller ponies, I always like the owners to crouch down, if it's safe to do so. Being down at their height looks so much better in photographs, rather than the owner having to lean over them, or somehow get themselves in an awkward position to be hugging their pony. And of course, being down at that level means there's plenty of excuses to give them lots of kisses - although I'm not sure Nicola would have needed any encouragement!
The ponies were excellent models for the morning! Daniel went back in his stable for a quick snack whilst we focused on Thomas. He had the most gorgeous colouring and was just so lovable and inquisitive!
We finished up the shoot with some black background images - one of the other liveries got roped in to throwing various objects around to get the boys attention!
It was so lovely to meet the boys, after hearing so much about them! They're such characters and are obviously Nicola's pride and joy! I had such a lovely morning - although, I wish I'd worn a few extra layers, it was freezing!