Meet Gini and her two grey ponies - Johnnie and Prince! These two super stars are Gini's eventing ponies. Johnnie joined the team last year, and Prince has been in the family for several years and Gini and all her siblings have evented him over the years.
I know Gini has been after a shoot for a very long time, ever since I first came and photographed her sisters horses last year! Millie was on hand to help get the ponies ears forward - she was just giving them a final flick over with a brush when I arrived, whilst Gini was getting changed.
The weather was less than perfect, despite the pretty reasonable forecast showing up on all of our phones - but we decided to go ahead anyway! The family had just arrived back from their holiday, in the not so sunny Morocco, arriving back to lots of mud and to find more BE fixtures cancelled.
The drizzle didn't put us off, and we began the shoot with some black background photographs. Both boys stood perfectly in the barn - they followed the treat bucket from side to side and enjoyed being hugged by Gini whenever she got the opportunity!
Before the shoot, Gini had told me her favourite time of year was Spring, which is why the shoot was organised for mid April - they were hoping for glorious sunshine, green grass and lots of pretty flowers. Well, it looked pretty much like a mid-Winter morning out there, the only give away that it wasn't were some very soggy Daffodils lining the edge of the grass.
The yard where the family is lucky enough to live, is home to their many thoroughbred broodmares, event horses and ponies, in the most idyllic, beautiful setting. With rose gardens, a pony, long sweeping driveways and paths and gorgeous little spots tucked away in the grass and woodland areas.
We spent a while photographing the boys together with Gini on the driveway up to the house, before we decided to take a short break to sit the incoming shower out! It was the dogs turn for a few photographs: Rupert, Dougal and Frankie. After much hilarity of trying to get them to all sit together on the bench, we decided it was best to photograph them all individually instead.
Just beyond the pond was the orchard - with lambs less than a week old, peering out from behind the bushes, it was a gentle reminder that it was infact, Spring! The orchard itself was full of flowers, it looks so beautiful! Most notably there were Fritillaria flowers growing amongst the Daffodils - apparently it's quite rare to find them growing wild, so we were of course, very careful to not let the dogs trample them! Up close these flowers are a dark pink/purple colour, with an almost chequer pattern of lighter shades mixed in. At first, I thought it was just the rain drops settling on the petals, but no, they have such an amazing pattern to the flower!
The three dogs are Clumber Spaniels - not a breed I've come across before until I met these guys! Each of them took their turn to model amongst the foliage. The grass was very wet, the ground was very soft and puddles of water sat in the divets. Stupidly, I'd not put my waterproofs on (despite them being in my car!) and I was thoroughly soaked, right through. But, by this point, I think we were all equally muddy and wet, so we just had to laugh it off! Gini, however managed to carefully pick her way through the standing-water and keep her white jeans spotless; and, more importantly - those gorgeous Fairfax & Favour boots that belonged to Millie!
I tentatively asked, because I knew how soft the ground was, if we were allowed to take the ponies in to the orchard. It was absolutely fine, and I was so pleased, because it was such a beautiful location! Gini bought Prince in to the middle, where all the flowers and trees were. I crouched right down to get the soft, bursts of colours from the flowers in the foreground, using the tree branches to frame my lovely models.
Prince took the whole thing in his stride and looked so handsome! He was an absolute saint when Gini hopped on board, for a couple of shots too. It was evident that Gini adored those ponies, and they adored her too. We all headed back to the barn and Johnnie was tacked up ready for his jump lesson! The barn was a hive of activity with horses being ridden and the lorries being prepared for a trip to Belton that weekend.
Millie then took me around to see some of the foals in the barn - by now she said they usually have the Feb/March arrivals out in the fields, but they've barely been able to go out because of the ground. We enjoyed some foal cuddles before heading out to see one of their adorable foals who was able to stretch her legs in the field.
A filly, by Ramiro B - Callie was born around 6 weeks ago and is so bold and friendly already. She had a few diva moments when she decided she wanted to play rather than have her photo taken! Her Mum, stood munching whilst Callie investigated us in the field, and had a good sniff and lick of my camera!
Lets hope the weather picks up in the next few weeks and these foals can get out in the field - and then I'm going to have to pop up and see them again! I mean, who doesn't love foals?!
Thanks so much for Millie, Gini and family for having me! It's always a pleasure to see you guys and of course, your horses!