Well, Cidney’s photoshoot was certainly not without drama! I first met Cidney when I arrived at her yard on a very sunny October day, when her friend, Lauren, booked a group photoshoot.
However, our first attempt at Cidney’s shoot served as a stark reminder that we are working with unpredictable, potentially dangerous animals. Now, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding riding a horse without a hat, in this country particularly. Of course, in many other cultures riding with any kind of protective hat or helmet is almost unheard of. But in the UK, where health and safety is a priority, riding without a hard hat is often heavily frowned upon.
It is one decision that I keep adamantly out of, when it comes to my clients and their photoshoots. I’m happy to advise on outfits, locations, make-up, hair, etc. but I make a concious decision not to even comment on whether or not they should wear a hat or ride bareback. It is entirely up to them and I do not want to sway their decision either way. Whatever they decide, I’m confident that we still achieve great results with their images, so I always keep quiet on this particular matter. And it often surprises me just how many people do opt to hop on bareback and hatless. I’m not complaining, but it’s just something I expected to be more problematic, when I started this job, than it has been.
And ninety-nine-percent of the time, everything goes smoothly. However, Cidney became the unfortunate one-percent, when we were about fifteen minutes into her shoot, about a month ago. It was a simple mistake and nobodies fault. Cidney’s pony, Minnie, moved slightly, as Cidney was given a leg up and one thing very quickly led to another, which resulted in Minnie’s hoof connecting with Cidney’s head. Luckily, hoof must has literally just skimmed head, because thankfully Cidney was only left with a superficial wound. I say ‘only’, but I’m sure it was pretty painful, poor Cidney looked pretty pale and there was a significant amount of blood. But we all know that it could have been a lot worse.
Please don’t start hurling a barrage of abuse at me, or Cidney, in the comments for these images. Horses are dangerous animals. We choose to partake in a dangerous sport every time we sit on their backs. And I’m pretty sure there are very few of us who abide by the BHS way of doing things, every day. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and this incident was an unfortunate accident. Had it not happened, I would have put Cidney’s images up, as I do with every other shoot, and nobody would have even batted an eyelid that my model wasn’t wearing a hat. However, as you can see, when we rearranged Cidney’s shoot for a time when she didn’t didn’t have a mouthful of dirt, she did choose to ride with a saddle, hat and in the safety of the school. She told me that she wanted photos of her schooling bot horses because, and I quote, ‘Mum’s not good with the camera.’ Lol!
So, moving on from the drama… We rescheduled the shoot and I visited the yard about half an hour from my home for a second time, last weekend. The weather was changeable and blowing a gale, but Cidney was full of smiles and we had such a giggle. I really love her energy and infectious grin. But most importantly, we avoided any involuntary acrobatics!
Cidney owns two beautiful mares, Rosie and Minnie, who she competes in showjumping. Cidney’s mum tells me that the little coloured mare, Rosie, is a super pony and that she really trusts her to look after Cidney. Despite her small size, Rosie competes amongst horses much bigger than herself and tries her heart out for her young rider.
Minnie, the chestnut, who is half owned by Geoff Billington, is the younger, more anxious of the two ponies, but is apparently incredibly talented and boy can she move! Cidney went to Geoff’s for a few days worth of training and ended up buying half of Minnie, who I’m sure has a very bright future ahead.
Cidney is great with both of her girls, and the clearly love and respect her just as much as she loves them. I’m so glad we finally got round to a calm, stress-free shoot to capture the bond Cidney shares with her two horses.