These shoots never get any easier and I always drive away with a huge lump in my throat and a little tear.
Nicola got in touch last week to say that she was facing a very difficult decision about her boy, Noir, and asking if I could come over as soon as possible, to make sure she had some photographs of him. It’s never nice to receive these messages, but if I can provide even a small piece of joy or comfort, at such a sad time, I am honoured to do so and will bend over backwards to make that happen. I have a discounted price for these special shoots and I will always make sure I can squeeze them in within the clients’ time restraints, no matter how busy I am. I often move other shoots around to accommodate them, and as most of my clients are so great and understand the circumstances, everybody is always super understanding.
So, I arranged to go and see Nicola and Noir on Friday. They only live about ten minutes from me, so it was a nice local shoot and I was so pleased that the weather, although a bit grey and dismal, held out for us and the heavens waited until I was driving home, to open.
“I haven’t stopped crying,” Nicola told me, when I arrived. “So I might just lose it in the middle of the shoot.” My heart broke for her. She introduced me to her extremely handsome Noir and told me that she’d had him for seventeen years. “He was before my kids. He was even before my husband.”
Unfortunately, Noir has an old injury that will never heal. Nicola has kept him as a retired field ornament for two years, after a lifetime of competing together, and knows that now is his time.
We took a hobbling, but bright Noir a short distance, to a willow tree in Nicola’s back garden. She told me that when they initially moved into their house, before the paddocks were ready, this had been where he was first turned out. She felt it was a fitting place for his photoshoot.
Nicola has three showjumping ponies for her two daughters, so plenty to keep her busy, but it is clear to see that there will be a huge void on that yard once her main man is no-longer there. I hope I’ve done him justice for you, Nicola. He is super handsome and a total gentleman and I’m so glad I got the chance to meet him and tell your story. I will be thinking of you both, over this next week.