Alex & Shirley – ‘Mud to Makeup’ Shoot, Yorkshire

This summer, it’s been all about the Mud to Makeup shoots. And the day after we went to Milton Keynes (see previous shoot) Sherrie and I went on a little (very long) day trip to Yorkshire.

When Alex booked her shoot, she was living in Hampshire, just a couple of hours from us. But a few weeks after booking, she contacted me and said “Erm, slight problem…”
She was moving back home, to Yorkshire.

But not to worry, Sherrie and I love a road trip and we packed up our gear for a day up North. And what a lovely day. Sunshine, scenery and sidesaddle. This was such a gorgeous shoot!!

Alex has owned her super smart, ten year-old gelding, Shirley, for almost three years. Yes, you read that right. Shirley is a boy! I just could not keep a straight face when I was calling his name, across the field. Good job he’s so freakin’ handsome. And my goodness, has he got looks to die for or what?!

‘Shirley’s Downtown’ is a very dapper Dutch Warmblood cross Thoroughbred and he and Alex show at county level. They have just taken up sidesaddle this year. I also get so excited when somebody tells me they want photographs in their habit and sidesaddle. They create such classy, timeless images and are always some of my favourites.

Shirley and Alex have been trying their hand at some of the open HOYS classes and have had some very respectable pulls, aswell as two sixth places. So I wish them every success in chasing their ticket and look forward to watching their progress on Facebook.

We had such a giggle on this shoot, from the Yorkshire hills that gave us unfit southerners a serious workout, to the determined photobombers, who really wanted to be a part of the shoot, lol. You can see more of those in my most recent vlog.

But Shirley was an angel throughout and I think it’s safe to say that both Sherrie and I were a little bit in love with him by the end of our time there.

When they aren’t showing, Shirley and Alex enjoy hacking out, at the beach and on farm rides. “He is my one in a million horse who I hope to continue to have fun on for years in the future,” Alex tells me. “Every time I go up to the yard and see his face I smile. He makes me so happy and I don’t know if I will ever own a horse as special as him.”

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Hair & Makeup by Sherrie Warwick Hair & Make up Artist

 

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Suzanne & Winny – Equine Maternity Shoot, Essex

My shoot with Suzanne was quite an unusual one and I absolutely love to shoot anything a bit different, so it was one I thoroughly enjoyed.

At the time of our shoot, Suzanne was eight months pregnant and contacted me to book a maternity shoot, at her home in White Colne. She is due a little girl on 6th September.

I’ve only ever done one of these before, but I’d love to do more. There’s something so beautiful about a small, vulnerable bump and mum-to-be, interacting with such a powerful, yet gentle animal.

Suzanne wanted some pictures with her bump and her gorgeous, third-generation, homebred mare, Winny. So this really was a family occasion.

Winny is a beautiful Westphalian X Trekehner and is only two and a half years old. Considering her age, she was super patient and well behaved for our shoot. I think she was happy to pose as long as she was getting all of the attention and grass. Lol!

Suzanne also bred Winny’s mum and grandma, and just recently sold her mum. But with Winny, two other horses, a large family and another one on the way, she certainly has her hands full.

She tells me that she hopes to do dressage with Winny, when she grows up and watching her show off around the paddock, when we let her loose, it certainly looks like she’s going to be up to the job.

Suzanne really wanted her kids and partner involved in the shoot, but just didn’t feel that having them all crowd around a fidgetty two year-old was the best idea. So at the end of the shoot we got the family together for a little portrait and I absolutely love it. What a happy gang!

Huge congrats to Suzanne and family! Wishing you lots of love and happiness when your new little girl arrives.

 

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The Most Embarrassing Cinema Trip – Vlog #7

I have a confession. I love vlogging! And that is something I never imagined I would say.
I was terrified of getting on camera when I started. And now, I’m addicted!!

Welcome to Vlog #7. This one includes three gorgeous shoots, the most hilarious trip to the cinema and a very successful wedding dress shopping trip! 😀

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Thanks for watching.

 

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Barbara & Spot – Equine Photography, Essex

Emma, Lauren and I know one another through friends, so when they contacted me to ask if I’d come over and do a shoot for their Mum’s birthday, with the horse she and Emma share between them, I was very excited to meet him, having heard lots about him.

Emma and Barbara have owned nineteen year-old Spot since he was eight. His posh name is Heslegard Louisdor and he was originally bred over in Denmark, coming to England when he was four.

When they went to view him, the lady said ‘Oh, are you here to see Spot?’ to which they replied, ‘No, we’re here to see a chestnut’… Lol. “We turned the corner and found a handsome ginger,” Emma tells me. And he turned out to be the perfect mother/daughter share.

Spot, Barbara and Emma have done lots of dressage and showing, together, in the past, with Barbara doing mainly sidesaddle with him. But he now lives a quieter life, mostly hacking and schooling around the beautiful countryside surrounding Dukes Farm in Roxwell, and Spot doesn’t mind one bit. In fact, apparently he is happier now than he’s ever been.

The last few years have been a bit up and down for these guys, with Spot damaging his front suspensory tendon and then being diagnosed with bad ulcers. But he is now fully recovered and back in work, and Emma and Barbara have been doing a lot of ground work with him, too.

It was so lovely to meet Spot, after chatting to Emma about him many times. And it was great to meet you too, Barbara. Your boy is super handsome and was a stand-up model! I’m so pleased we got such a beautiful evening for this shoot!

 

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Esme & Derek – Equine Photography, Essex

Last year I went over to Rayne Riding Centre, in Braintree, to photograph Arabella. This year I returned to photograph her older sister, Esme.

Esme loved the photographs we captured at her sister’s shoot so decided she’d like something similar with her adorable little traditional pony, Derek. I just love that he’s called Derek, and I also love his super cute face markings! We all know I’m a sucker for a cute coloured cob. 😉

Derek is around ten years-old and was originally one of the riding school ponies at Rayne. However, when Esme sadly lost her last pony, Scooby, to colic, she spotted a gorgeous little coloured that reminded her of him. And she instantly fell in love.

Whenever she visited the yard she would go and give him carrots and groom him, just falling more and more in love with him. As Esme had struggled with health problems herself, she wasn’t riding at the time, so the pair just bonded in the stable.

But eventually, when she was ready, the yard owner offered for Esme to start riding Derek. Esme tells me that she isn’t the most confident of riders, but feels like she can do anything on Derek and that he has really helped improve her confidence.

However, Esme felt that, as much as she loved him, Derek was just too small for her. So, this lead her to a horse called Victor, who she tried to bond with, until one day he bronced with her and she came off. Her confidence was once again knocked.

But gorgeous little Derek was there to help Esme get back in the saddle. So, she put her worries about his size aside and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Derek certainly doesn’t let his size get in his way and keeps up with the bigger horses with no problems.

Esme is off to university in September, so she doesn’t own Derek. She loans him from the riding school and keeps him in the livery block, which is the perfect scenario for them.

“He really is the perfect pony. When Scooby passed away I didn’t think I’d ever find another horse like him, but Derek has shown me that’s not true. He is just such a lovely boy and I’m so grateful to have found him!”

Thank you so much for having me back to photograph you and your sweet little chap, Esme. I love your story and I love how much you adore one another. It was a pleasure to see you again and see you so well and happy with him.

 

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Polly & Kyra – Equine Photography, Essex

I recently went over to visit Polly and her horse Kyra in Brentwood. Apparently, before I arrived, they’d had quite an energetic morning, when naughty Kyra decided to five-bar-gate-hop into her field of choice. So not the best of starts to the day.

But luckily, she seemed a little more settled by the time I arrived. What a diva. Lol!

Kyra, or ‘Sharragh Swatch’ is a six year-old, 17.1hh, Irish Draught cross Thoroughbred. The story about how Polly came to buy Kyra is pretty cool. She actually saw her first when she was looking for a horse for a friend, over in Ireland, back in November 2014. She loved her, but felt she wasn’t what they were looking for and wasn’t looking to buy for herself.

Fast forward to July 2015 when Polly sadly lost her last horse and was on the search for a newbie. She found out through the grapevine that Kyra was for sale once again! Fate or what?!

However, after having her less than a matter of months, Polly and Kyra were competing at Milton Keynes Eventing Centre when Kyra threw a shoe. What sounds like an uncomplicated incident ended up resulting in multiple vet bills and the discovery that she had bruised her navicular bone and torn her deep digital flexor tendon, right down inside her left front foot.

Kyra underwent over six months of field rest, months of box rest, hand walking, remedial shoes and small field rest, before she was sound enough to be ridden again. But disaster struck once again, just two days before Polly had planned to get back on board.

Kyra was lame again! After an MRI scan, Polly decided to take her shoes off and turn her away, to give her time to come right. Kyra has now been turned out for a number of months.

Polly plans to try and bring her back in to work at the beginning of 2017 and is keeping everything crossed. However, if the worse comes to worse, she already has the perfect broodmare home lined up for her. Kyra has the sweetest nature and is totally field sound (as demonstrated by her scope over the gate!!) so would make a great Mummy, but obviously Polly would love to be able to get her sound and rideable, if she can.

I wish you every success with her Polly. I feel you’re certainly due a miracle, for all your patience and TLC with this little lady. It was great to meet you both. She’s certainly quite a character! 😉

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Jessica & Blue – A ‘Remember Me’ Shoot, Essex

A couple of weeks back I had quite an urgent message from Jessica to tell me that sadly, she was going to have to have her special boy put to sleep and she was hoping that I would be able to fit them in for a shoot before she had to say goodbye.

So I went over to meet Jessica and Blue, in Brentwood, the other week and capture some lasting memories for her.

Blue, or ‘Blobsta’ as he was regularly nicknamed, was a ten year-old Dutch Warmblood and Jessica had owned him since he was four. Not only was he huge, but he certainly had a character to match. He had a personality that you just instantly fall in love with.

During their time together, Jessica and Blue had plenty of ups and downs, including various medical problems. “He taught me everything I know – how to ride, how to cling on for dear life and the quick guide to becoming a vet!”

But when he was just seven years-old Blue began going lame with worrying frequency. Following a series of complications Jessica was forced to make the hardest decision any horse ownerever has to make and end his suffering.

“He was the most loving horse ever, I could literally kiss him all day long,” Jessica tells me. “It just wasn’t fair to put him through anymore stress and pain, as he was never going to be 100% sound. But I can honestly say that everyone that met him had a kind word to say about him, people would comment how beautiful he was wherever he went!”

And I can attest to that. He was a natural poser and the camera loved him. He was in my pockets and demanding cuddles from the moment I arrived and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to capture these memories for you, Jessica. I hope I have done him justice for you.

 

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