This was my third trip to Stratord Hills Livery Yard and I could shoot there all day long, especially at this time of year. With it’s rolling hills, sprawling cross country course, wooded area, complete with bluebells and long track roads that lead you around the huge property, you are totally spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful backdrops.
This time around, I went to meet Danielle and her two beautiful boys, Baby and Oakey. Can we just take a moment to appreciate that the 17.1hh bay KWPN you see in these images is the one named Baby. How does Danielle ever tell him off with a straight face??!
Whilst both horses were involved, Baby was the star of the show. He is thirteen and Danielle says that he is her forever horse. They compete together in showjumping and dressage. He is also co-owned by Peter, who was persuaded to jump in on a few shots, too. Apparently Baby actually taught Peter to ride, when his daughter bought Baby with Danielle, but then lost her confidence and handed the reins (literally) over to her dad.
From the sounds of things, Baby hasn’t been easy for Danielle and when she first bought him they ran into some difficult times together. However, this horse is quite obviously (and understandably) adored by everybody who knows him and it’s clear that whatever issues they faced are now in the past. He has the kindest eye that looks perpetually worried and confused, which makes it difficult not to fall in love with him.
Oakey, the chestnut Thoroughbred, is a five year-old ex-racehorse who was apparently really not great at racing. Danielle has had him since May last year, so he is the newbie of the family. She bought him as a project and hopes to event him, eventually. Danielle said that when he raced, the other horses would have all finished the race and he’d be ambling along behind at a leisurely canter. However, with the wind blowing a gale, he didn’t mind showcasing his in-hand airs-above-ground skills a few times on the shoot. In the end, we decided that Oakey was just objecting to being naked, out in the wind and once he had a rug on and was allowed to graze, whilst Baby took centre stage, he was a much happier chap. 😀
Thank you for having me over to meet your handsome boys, Danielle. It was great fun!
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