A few months back I had an email from Michelle, asking if we’d be able to organise a day for me to go down and photograph the residents of Westlands Equestrian Centre, in Rettendon. So a couple of weeks back, I went to meet them all…
First up, I met Julie and her two girlies, Crystal and Felina. Felina is a thirteen year-old Hanoverian that Julie has owned for eight years and Felina is a seventeen year-old Connemara. Julie actually owned Crystal from a three year-old, before selling her on to a friend. When said friend decided she was going to have to put her up for sale, Julie just couldn’t resist buying her back. How sweet!
Second in front of my lens was Lauren and her gang. Lauren owns ex-racehorse Itsy. Itsy, known on the track as “It and a Bit”, raced until the age of eight and then had five owners in her first year out of racing! Poor little lady is a bit of a sick-note and has kissing spines, sarcoids and arthritis in all her legs, so she and Lauren mostly just hack and do the odd spot of light schooling. I also met Lauren’s gorgeous dogs, Bernie and Herbie, who were such a great little double act and thoroughly enjoyed their part in the shoot.
Then we had Poppy and her very handsome boy, Quisto. ‘Kippure Conquistador’ (what a super cool name) is a seven year-old Connemara and he and Poppy do a fair bit of showing together. Poppy has owned him from a baby and has done everything with him herself. And he is clearly her baby boy. He was such a sociable, friendly chap and although I know he was just interested in my bag of sweets, I’m going to pretend he loved me. Lol.
My next victim was the instigator of the whole shoot, Michelle and her boys, William and Prince. These two were both huge characters and the camera loved them. Prince, the chestnut, is Michelle’s twenty year-old ex-eventer. Michelle has tried to retire him four times so far. But every time he has decided that he’d prefer to carry on working, as was evident when he thoroughly enjoyed a gallop round the field, on our shoot.
William is the big bay and he is the newbie to the family. He’s five years-old and was meant to make 16.2hh. At last measurement, he was 17.1hh. And he’s super duper handsome, but a bit of a monkey!
And lastly I met Lisa and her gorgeous chap, Kyle. Kyle is rather large, 17hh, seventeen year-old Irish Sports Horse, aka Fatty! Lol. Kyle is quite a sensitive sausage and was pretty apprehensive about the shoot, until he realised all he had to do was stand in a field and look his usual handsome self. He and Lisa compete at dressage together and from what I can gather, have been pretty successful. I absolutely LOVED his cheeky tongue, that he poked out at me for virtually the entire shoot. So cute! Although Lisa said not so cute when it loses her marks in dressage tests! Lol!
I’ve just been informed by Michelle that the day after my visit, they liveries were all informed that Westlands would be closing it’s gates in the near future and that they’ve all got to find new homes. So hopefully these photos will have even more sentimental value now and will be a nice reminder of happy times and a lovely, friendly yard.
Thank you all so much for having me. What a gorgeous, mannerly set of horses and an absolute credit to all of you!
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