Meet Michele and her 18 year old, bright bay mare, Connie! Michele has owned Connie for 9 years now. The shoot was a surprise birthday present from her son James and daughter in law Ellie.
I drove over to Finchamstead last Saturday to meet them both. They're stabled at a very lovely yard which has a brilliant cross country course - many of my friends have been there on a number of occasions to hire the course out, but I'd never been there! There were horses warming up to head out on to the course when I arrived - and what a lovely morning it was with the sun just starting to peep through the clouds.
When I arrived Michele and her two friends that had come to help were just finishing getting Connie ready. Connie has the iconic Clover Hill bloodline in her - when she was younger they used to enjoy eventing and jumping, but in the last few years they've focused more on flatwork and enjoying their time out hacking.
After some black background shots we headed in to the beautiful woods that surrounded the land. There were various tracks weaving amongst the trees, with bright emerald Ferns trailing over the pathways. Dotted around the wood were various logs and small jumps. Connie was a little unsure of what was going on to begin with when we placed her behind one of the logs, but she was soon distracted by the sticks, buckets and leaves being thrown around behind me, to get her looking.
The trees above provided the perfect cover from the sunlight outside, which by now was getting quite bright! When I first woke up it was very overcast, so it was a pleasant surprise that it did brighten up! Michele had brought a couple of different jackets to swap between, over the top of a pretty white top, just to add some variety to the shots.
Once we'd finished the shots in the woods, we headed back on to the yard for a quick change of jacket and shoes. It became quite obvious that Michele was a pink fan! Very colour co-ordinated, the bursts of pink all tied in nicely together and gave a lovely flash of colour to the images.
We headed across the road towards the horses fields - the grass there was growing at an amazing rate! There was a field just across the lane, just beyond Connie's field that Michele had eyed up for some photographs. On our walk to the field, I wanted to take a few shots on the quiet lane running between the yard and the fields - one of the shots involved Michele standing in close to Connie's chest, and we used treats to try and bend her head around, to look back at the camera. To begin with, I wanted her to look to the left, but with the yard entrance on her right, she was looking back up towards "home" - so, Michele swapped sides and we thought we'd have no trouble getting her to look to the right this time. Well, haha, horses will be horses, and she spent her whole time looking the opposite way, until a perfectly timed group of joggers appeared round the corner, and she turned to look round to them - bingo!
Initially Michele had planned for us to head across the course to the water jump, but with the course starting to fill up with horses, and Connie already starting to fidget, she decided that it would probably be too much of a distraction for Connie, so we stayed within the fields opposite the yards. Just by the gateway was a pile of logs, with little dandelions blooming up amongst the grass to give some little pops of colour.
Thank you so much to Michele for having me - it was a pleasure to meet you and Connie! And of course a massive thank you to Ellie for organising the shoot for Michele's birthday!