Anna Rainbow Photography: Blog en-us (C) Anna Rainbow Photography (Anna Rainbow Photography) Tue, 20 Apr 2021 08:43:00 GMT Tue, 20 Apr 2021 08:43:00 GMT Anna Rainbow Photography: Blog 80 120 When loose dogs are a danger to themselves We all try and enjoy a little time out – away from our desks, or our own four walls – now possibly more than ever given the uncertain world we live in.

I feel incredibly lucky that living where I do I have plenty of bridleways and Queen Elizbeth Country Park on my doorstep. It makes exercising the lovely H (I know he should have a better name, but he came without one and as there was just an ‘H’ on his passport, so that is what stuck) so easy. However, this year – almost more than any other – has seen the number of out of control dogs grow hugely.

I’ve had dogs and horses living side by side for almost 20 years and in that time, only once has one of my horses reacted. When riding I’m very aware of coming across dogs in open spaces – they, like horses need exercising every day and what better place than off road in the countryside. But owners sometimes simply don’t seem to know their dogs and that’s a worry.

In the last few weeks, H has been barked at, chased, jumped at, lunged at, rounded up as if he was a sheep, snarled at, not to mention had dogs appear out of nowhere because they’ve heard him and but their owners haven’t. He’s also had dogs almost hanging off his tail as their aggression over spills.

H’s reaction – he simply doesn’t care. He doesn’t shy away, he doesn’t bolt, he doesn’t kick out – it’s amazing. A horse’s natural instinct is well known to be flight or fight, but my amazing little horse simply doesn’t react. The majority of owners are pretty good. If they aren’t sure and have seen us coming, they’ll put their dog on a lead. Ditto if they have a young dog, many of which are naturally quite scared of a 600kg horse looming large at them. However, some – as today – don’t think. They don’t think what might happen if their dog gets kicked because it’s scared a horse into reacting, or runs off because it’s scared or terrifies the horse into rearing or bucking, throwing its rider and galloping off. All of these outcomes have consequences, none of them good.

I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of unhelpful comments – why am I riding in a public place when they want to walk their dog to the skill of a rider is knowing when to stop. A public place is just that – open to all and the skill is not so much knowing when to stop as simply to stop when their highly over excited out of control pooch is running rings round my poor horse barking its head off.

In simple terms – please – if you don’t think your dog will 100% ignore a horse at whatever pace it happens to be going at, then hold on to it or call it back to you and put it on a leader. Of course there are circumstances when you may not have heard a horse coming, but it is still incumbent on you to have control of your dog. If your dog is loose and out of control, you at its owner can receive a significant penalty. If it gets trodden on, kicked or reared on by a horse, the injuries it will sustain will be at best life changing, at worse – not worth contemplating.

I feel I’m incredibly lucky that the lovely H is used to dogs and ignores them, but he’s been ambushed too often recently. Many other horses wouldn’t be so tolerant and it worries me that one day a dog will come off badly. If you’re in any doubt that your dog may try take a horse on, be aware of its body language and encourage it back you rather than adopt a wait and see approach. There aren’t many horses that are as good as H when it comes to unruly dogs.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) dogs equestrian exercising hacking horses Tue, 08 Dec 2020 20:36:14 GMT
First Post Lockdown Photoshoot - Martha & Rainbow What a way to come out of lockdown - photographing a Rainbow - yes really, this stunning little man is called Rainbow.

The shoot was originally a Christmas present gift voucher for a little girl and her pony, but our plans got put on hold in March. Three months later, we had a fab time on Frensham Common, basking in the early morning sunshine.

Rainbow wasn't overly keen initially, even having his head collar put on was a challenge, especially so early on a Monday morning, but once ready, he and his little jockey were just brilliant. A few treats along the way had a very positive effect as they kept him super focused, he seemed to know he was centre of attention as we rarely had to deploy any "ears forward" techniques as they were always forward! Being based so close to the Common, it made perfect sense to wonder down there and it also made it very easy to photograph at a sensible distance, although believe me, I could just have snaffled Rainbow up, bundled him in my car and brought him home.

Seven year old Martha has been riding for two years and has owned Rainbow - who she calls "my baby" - for almost a year now. Before he was hers, Martha had already been riding Rainbow for a bit so when he came up for sale it was a very easy decision, but he was a popular boy with others queuing up to buy him too, so she feels incredibly lucky to own him. Rainbow is a Welsh Section A who turned 20 years old on 25th May - a millennium baby - and what a party he had. A special pony edible birthday cake and carrot candles were the order of the day and he loved every morsel.

However, the first few months were a bit of a roller coaster. Rainbow didn't enjoy being ridden much initially which seemed a bit strange, but a routine dental check soon explained why, he'd fractured a tooth which was obviously causing him pain, so probably not surprising that having a bit in his mouth wasn't terribly comfortable. One thing followed another and in spite of trying to repair the tooth, the decision had to be made to take it out. Disappointed that she couldn't ride as much as she wanted, it didn't stop Martha spending lots of time with Rainbow and getting to know him from the ground and they now have such a great relationship, he's so chilled.

Once his mouth was fixed, Equine Herpes then stopped all activity and once that was all clear, Coronavirus once again made everyone shut up shop. Now though they are up and running. A member of Petersfield Pony Club Martha and Rainbow enjoy their dressage and mounted games and are looking forward to getting out and about over the summer months.

You have to give Rainbow massive credit for his impeccable manners. He spent the couple of hours during our photoshoot in just a head collar and while that's what you'd expect, the potential for some shenanigans was quite high. Picture the scene - open common land, plenty of things to nibble, water, other riders, a few people fishing, runners, dogs, you get the gist - and yet he was quite happy to pose with, for the most part, just Martha on the end of a lead rope. No Welshie of mine would have done that, they would have maxed out on every opportunity to click their heals and disappear across the horizon. Nothing fazed Rainbow, he had the patience of a saint while we placed him here and manoeuvered him there, never once grumpy, but always remembering that those treats from earlier in the morning were available for good behaviour.

Thank you to Martha's mum Jude and dad Mark for making Martha Rainbow's photoshoot such a fun one, a very memorable way of returning to what I love doing most - taking photographs of horses and their human side kicks.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) equine portrait frensham common martha photography ponies rainbow Sun, 28 Jun 2020 08:17:10 GMT
Wedding Bonanza Workshop – Take Five Things Last week, I spent three days fully immersed on a wedding photography workshop at The Forbury Hotel in Reading.

What a few days they were – I went with no preconceived ideas on what to expect. I booked on from an opportunity that came to me via Loxley Colour which I use for all my wedding photography prints. And as it was, relatively speaking, local I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn how others ‘do weddings’.

Run by the very successful and incredibly hard working Rob Pugh of RP Photography by Design, the workshop wasn’t just about taking photographs at a wedding, it was a whole lot more besides. This blog is about the five key things I’ve taken away with me to focus on – some could be expensive!

  1. Planning Ahead

As a wedding photographer, I always plan ahead, preparing detailed timetables, working out how long it will take me to get to the venue and all the other places that I will need to take photographs during the day. Overall, each wedding I undertake take me somewhere between 25-35 hours from the time of the initial enquiry to delivery of final images.

But there’s a lot to do in those hours and planning each element in detail, makes a huge difference to managing the day. Rob’s insight into how he preps for each of his weddings was hugely helpful. Much of what he does, I do already too – a real tick in the box – but some of the finer details I will add to my pre-planning as they will certainly create some greater efficiencies along the way.

  1. Photographing “wide open”

Rob photographs his weddings in “wide open” mode. What is wide open I hear you ask? It’s all about light and depth of field, associated with aperture and the distance between the nearest and farthest objects that are in focus. Working this way isn’t new to me, but I was certainly interested to hear Rob’s views and to put it into practice later in the week.

The wide open settings are best used for portrait shots where a narrow depth of field can give a stunningly sharp focus on the bride and groom without the distraction of a busy background.

  1. Natural or LED lighting

Churches can be tricky to photograph in, often with little natural light, especially if it’s late in the year or raining. Rob’s use of Rotolight LED lighting had some lovely results. Syncing his camera and a Rotolight NEO2 to the same settings, the resulting photographs still looked as though shot with natural light.

I’m a real advocate of natural light photography, but seeing the Rotolights in operation, this is something I’m certainly going to research further.

  1. Kelvin settings (how to get the best from a camera’s white balance)

Definitely something new and a really interesting change to having my camera in auto white balance (the only auto setting I use). The results are very easy to see once loaded into Lightroom for editing, the RAW images are far more consistent, therefore needing less post processing.

Kelvin, named after William Thomson (1st Baron Kelvin), is the standard international unit of measurement for thermodynamic temperature and follows the same increments as Celsius degrees, although there is no negative scale. Photographing in Kelvins gives a much truer colour representation. Being bold enough to swap AWB for K is work in progress.

  1. Post Processing

Lightroom or Capture One? I’ve only ever used Lightroom (and occasionally Photoshop), which are Adobe platforms. I like both of them, but they are heavy on my PC and often slow to react.

Rob demonstrated Capture One on our last day, it was super intuitive and very quick which has given me plenty to think about – stick with what I know or go all out and try something new?

There are far more than five things that I’ve taken away with me, but these are the ones that I’m factoring into my wedding photography business.

My images from the day are here - RP Photography Workshop


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) Photography wedding photography Weddings Workshop Mon, 17 Feb 2020 19:48:29 GMT
A new year photoshoot for Freya and Shadow For one of my first equine assignments of 2020, I met 12 year old Freya and her lovely black Welsh Section C gelding Shadow. Having had so much rain in December, we could have almost been under water, but luckily there had been a few dry days in the lead up to Freya's photoshoot and the Hampshire yard where she and her mum Sarah keep their horses was remarkably dry.

Freya has owned 13.2hh Shadow for about three years. He had come to the yard to be sold, but never left as Sarah really took to him and he has been the perfect pony for Freya. Together they now take part in local shows and are also regular Pony Clubbers. 

Shadow had clearly been briefed that he was going to be the star of the show and was beautifully cleaned and plaited. Freya too had a couple of changes to sort as she was keen to show both aspects to her riding. We started in the school to set up the black background shots, the majority of which were just Shadow on his own. Such a good boy, he so knew how to pose! I didn't even need to get any 'ears forward' props out of the car or even phone apps set up as Shadow had his ears forward pretty much permanently. To add to the party, Sarah's lovely coloured cob Minstrel joined in for a little double act. Two more different expressions you couldn't get. Minstrel was equally happy to stand loose in his bridle, but he was seriously camera shy often with a very worried expression on his face! However, it was clear very early on that Minstrel and Shadow are very good mates - not a cross word from either.

Once Minstrel returned to his stable, Freya took Shadow out of the yard up a lovely beech lined track for some in-hand photos. It was here that you could really tell how close their relationship is. There was quite a bit of activity and noise a couple of fields away, and it certainly attracted Shadow's attention. He took it all in his stride, but his expression showed that had Freya not been close by, he might not have been so chilled about it. He took reassurance from her that standing and looking was OK, nothing more required. And just to ensure she didn't get all the lime light, there were moments when Shadow would simply take a step forward and turn his head right across her face, if only to prove the point that he too was still very much the centre of attention.

The final part of our session was a quick bareback moment.  I think Shadow thought the day was done, but nonetheless he did as he was told, standing tall and all in all enjoying the attention he was getting from all of us.

Such a lovely morning capturing some happy memories.



]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) dressage equestrian equine eventing horses photography show jumping welsh section c Wed, 22 Jan 2020 22:11:40 GMT
Glamping, anniversaries, walking and pub stops What an incredible couple of days! I could almost stop there and let you image the rest, but would rather share the fun.

I love October, mostly because I married Mr Rainbow, but also because the time of year is definitely one of my best. The colours are stunning, the weather is often at its most gorgeous and the countdown to Christmas is on.

This year we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on 23rd October. Last year being a mega milestone we stole away for a day to London to relieve our first night as a married couple. This year, we stole away for two days to Dimpsey Glamping in Somerset. And what a treat it was.

Dimpsey's Hither Hut is tucked away in deepest Somerset. A beautiful shepherd's hut that in spite of its size, offers the visitor a level of luxury difficult to better. We've had a torrid year and taking time out hasn't been easy - a few days here or there, but always with work hanging over us and a to do list as long as your arm. At Dimpsey, there's a feeling a total tranquility from the minute you walk in the door. It may only be a stone's throw from the A303, but as a visitor, you really are in a little part of the world that feels miles from anywhere.

I had to work until lunchtime, so getting away on time was tricky, but we just about made it and two hours later were met by the lovely Amanda who gave us all the information we needed - mostly the important knack of lighting the hot tub and where we would find things in the hut. With the rest of the afternoon ahead of us, the hot tub lit, supper vaguely prepared, we set about doing absolutely nothing! A newspaper to read, radio to listen to, tea to drink and cake to eat, unwinding was really quite easy. We were even joined by a feline friend.

The greatest difficulty of night one turned out to be pizza cooking. The oven was easy to sort, but we managed to burn the garlic bread and totally misjudge how sticky pizza dough really is and by then, the oven had lost its heat and our pizzas their cooked colour, so our anniversary dinner was a quite low key, but it made no difference to the lovely evening. As part of our lovely welcome, Dimpsey owners Andrew and Emma had left us a lovely bottle of sparkling Pinot Noir produced by local vineyard Wayford. It's as if they knew I'm a serious bubbly drinker!

Supper sorted, bubbly drunk and the hot tub hot, I paid little heed to the rain and spent a heavenly hour lounging in that seriously hot, hot tub!

A lovely night's sleep and amazingly we didn't surface until after 9.00am, possibly the first time on of us hasn't been up and running by 7.00am to sort animals or children, for the best part of 20 years. We certainly made the most of not having anything to do, no deadlines to meet, no animals to feed, no children to ferry from A to B, so we did exactly that - nothing. 

In spite of the weather not being on our side, we hatched a plan to do a coastal work - inevitably researched in advance by Mr R - and set off to Seatown just under an hour away. There's no doubting we had a very wet walk, but we climbed a decent distance during our 6.5km walk, and much to Mr R's bemusement, completed our walk almost an hour quicker than the suggested time allowed. I know I walk quickly, but felt the timing was quite generous, I'm not sure Mr R would agree.

The good news was that as we completed our walk, the sun came out - typical - and we dried off quite nicely while feasting on a fab lunch at The anchor Inn, mindful of course that we also had dinner out planned.  A lovely afternoon exploring the beach, watching a few fishermen trying to catch their supper and chatting with our fellow diners unimpeded by time.

Returning to the Hither Hut in the stunning sunshine, meant a quick cuppa, another lounge in the hot tub and a few overly competitive games of dominoes before getting a lift from Amanda to gastro pub The Candlelight Inn for dinner. Again another fab meal, another lovely bottle of wine, this time South African Bon Vallon Chardonnay, which really lived up to its award winning status. Dinner done and a lot of laughs had, we wondered our way touch lit 'home' to our Hither Hut - not even 2 kms, mostly uphill and made up of a lot more laughter.

The highlight of our last morning was not actually getting out of bed before 10.00am. I'd almost describe it as decadent, but as we had no agenda, there was no set time to get up, so I indulged in breakfast in bed - another first - courtesy of my lovely husband. 

Extraordinary to think we both managed to take two days out, not take a laptop with us, not speak to or email a client (almost), not watch any TV, and not worry about what was happening outside our little glamping bubble. A perfect moment of tranquility before returning to the crazy world we live in.  Thank you Dimpsey for a little moment of magic, we loved it and hope to return.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) anniversary bubbly eating glamping hot tubs pinot noir walking Fri, 25 Oct 2019 21:04:17 GMT
Conquering my vertigo fears - wedding photography at new heights This is quite a personal one for me, but it may resonate quite far and wide.

Last autumn I was contacted by a couple looking to use me as their wedding photographer. As ever when a request comes through to do a wedding, my heart misses a beat and off I go an do a little happy dance. I really do every time, especially when I'd been recommended by a previous couple I'd photographed.

The date was free in the diary, the location was super convenient and we were set.

Roll on to the spring and I went down to meet the soon to be bride and groom to take some engagement photographs and discuss the day's plans in detail, visit the church and find out which field on the farm the reception was being held in - all good - then came the bombshell! They were looking to get an aerial photograph of them with all their guests. I thought nothing of it as at a few weddings I've photographed there has been a guest, or at one the bridegroom, with a drone to capture aerial footage. It makes for a good double act and several of my photos have the drone at work too.  However, there wasn't to be a drone here.

I was to be lifted on a telehandler - even writing this makes me want to sit on the floor under my desk! I suffer from vertigo in quite a major way. Even watching or thinking about people rock climbing or abseiling makes my palms sweat and my heart rate go through the roof. I'm very glad I was sitting down when then asked me or I might have fainted. With my fingers firmly crossed I agreed because I like to challenge myself. Over the next six weeks, I gave myself quite a few talking to's. The telehandler was totally safe, the cage in which I would be standing was totally safe ... but I would be in it on my own, nobody whispering in my ear that I'd got this and all would be fine.

The day of the wedding dawned and it was an amazing day, one of the few Saturdays in June it wasn't raining. The plans fell into place nicely, everything ran almost exactly to time and then it was the moment of the aerial photograph, With my brain in a spin, I didn't actually take a photo of the Manitou telehandler. We (I say we, I really mean they with a little positioning guidance from me) set it up to get the best overall view covered. In I got and up I went. The operator also had to in the photograph, so once I felt I was high enough up, he jumped out and joined the wedding party. I took several photos and thought I'd done it. It was at that point when they all decided I wasn't quite high enough!! Imagine where my heartbeat was then? 

Back he came and up I went, possibly another two or three metres on the ten or so I'd originally got to. I simply couldn't look down, but photograph I did, camera shake avoided and down I came. The relief of being back on solid ground was more than I can describe, but the buzz I got from overcoming one of my greatest fears in indescribable. I've never been good at heights and as I've got older I've got considerably worse, but I like a challenge and was so up for conquering my vertigo fears.

It was only afterwards that I was told they had to leave the Manitou engine running throughout the time I was in the air or the telehandler would have sunk back down while I was taking photographs!

The comments below sum up just what a fabulous day it was.

"As I said on the phone, we were really pleased with our choice of wedding photographer. You were very professional, completely ‘got’ what we wanted in terms of wedding photos (they are perfect) and had a great sense of humour on the day. We also appreciated the particularly long day you put in and the fact that you faced your fears to get our aerial shot! A huge thank you from the both of us."

So the moral of this - don't be ruled by your fears. Step up to the challenge and you'll surprise yourself. I know I did.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) farming photography telehandler vertigo wedding reception weddings Wed, 14 Aug 2019 07:23:43 GMT
Surprise birthday photoshoot with Mickey I've been desperate to share this gorgeous boy with you for a while, but as the images were a surprise birthday present, I've had to bide my time. Add to that, I photographed a few other beautiful beasts while I was there and a couple of team have yet to be revealed, so there is still a little bit of cloak and dagger going on.

However, I'd like to introduce you to Mickey, the stunning Warmblood (with a little bit of Irishness thrown in) that I photographed early in July. He's been with his current owner for just over two years and is currently going through a rehab programme following injury. He's almost back in full work now, but wow does he have a sense of humour when it suits him!

Mickey stands is every inch of his 16.3 hands and at 14 years old you would have thought he'd grown up, but believe me he certainly hasn't! He loved showing off in front of the camera, but when it came to trying to get him to stand in a field his impatience got the better of him - we lost him for many minutes! Once he'd had enough cavorting (luckily not quite fit enough to maintain 6th gear for long) he was easy to catch and we picked up where we left off. That said I was impressed to see that other than for one brief moment, his reins remained on his withers! How, none of us is quite sure, but at least his bridle remained intact, so in reality no one would have been any the wiser if they hadn't witnessed the shenanigans that went on in the field. Needless to say there are a few 'behind the scenes' moments caught on camera, so if evidence is needed of his not quite such perfect manners, I have it!

When in full work, Mickey mostly show jumps for fun, taking part in the occasional sponsored ride too.

He was a quirky pleasure to photograph and I'm so looking forward to seeing him in print soon.

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) birthday equestrian equine horses photography show jumping warmblood Sat, 10 Aug 2019 18:00:00 GMT
Camilla, her horses and a collaborative project Last week was certainly one of highs and lows, but putting the not so good bits to one side, the highlight of the week was a trip to High Wycombe to photograph Camilla Bingham and her gorgeous show jumpers.

I’m a big fan of collaborative projects. Following a conversation earlier in the year with Jess Crofts, co-founder and director of Stride Management, which has recently taken Camilla on as a client, we hatched a plan to go to Puttenham Place to photograph Camilla with her horses in a non-competition environment for her new website. And what fun I had.

Camilla initially evented before changing her focus in 2010 to show jumping. Following graduation from Hartpury in 2011, she took over the running of the farm, producing and competing a small string of very precious horses. Camilla now competes across the UK and Europe at a variety of heights depending on the competition and which horse she is riding. Most recently she has returned from Valkenswaard in the Netherlands with two of her horses – Fleurie and Felix.

The start of my day was a busy one, ensuring all the admin was sorted before setting off for a trip around the M25. The traffic wasn’t as horrendous as it might have been, but I’m still glad I left myself more than enough time to make the journey – I needed every minute of it!

Such a lovely setting and welcome from the team, I went on to meet the equine models. They were all so chilled – let me introduce them:

  1. Billy Drizzle – 13 – grey gelding – known predominantly as Drizzle
  2. Cassini II – 12 – grey gelding – Timmy to his mates
  3. Billy Belle – 12 – bay mare – Belle
  4. Feliano B – 9 – grey gelding– more often referred to as Felix
  5. Sportsfield Fleurie – 9 bay mare – just Fleurie
  6. Cambridge II – 6 – bay gelding – Cambridge

Impossible to pick a favourite as they all had such fun and totally individual characters; each had their own relationship with Camilla as well as yard manager Bill. Both mares were very gentle, but perhaps the stand-out character for me was Drizzle! As soon as he spotted the camera, whether in his stable, in hand or ridden, he posed constantly. If he missed the first shutter click, he certainly didn’t miss the next one – no encouragement needed for his ears to be forward!

Close to the end of the day, as I was about to go home, Camilla realised that her ‘baby’ Cambridge hadn’t actually been in front of the camera at all! Tucked away in his own little space, Cambridge is Puttenham Place’s first home bred out of Camilla’s original competition mare Wembley II. Although very much at the beginning of his career, Cambridge’s adoration of Camilla is clear to see. He’s still got some growing up to do and will soon be joined by another youngster as Wembley is due to have another foal very shortly.

A big thank you to Jess and the Puttenham Place team for allowing me to record a little of their history.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) Horses photography show jumping Wed, 29 May 2019 13:31:11 GMT
Felix's Bid for Model Stardom I first met Felix almost four years ago when he came to watch his younger sister at Mini Pony Club Camp.  He was 12 then and as now, loves a crowd and better still loves a camera, especially when he is in focus. But while I met him then I didn't know him as a person and certainly didn't understand just how much of sense of humour he has in spite of adversity.

Putting things into perspective, just living on a day to day basis is a more than just challenge for Felix, but moving that aside he certainly lives life to the full. As an example, he recently went boulder climbing (in a 4 x 4) and is off again before long to participate in an off-road Land Rover driving experience, so you get the idea. Life is for living and Felix certainly wants to do that.

He is a typical teenager too - fashion and fast cars are top of his agenda. His current favourite brand of the moment, is Abercrombie. His wardrobe has what he likes in any number of colour combinations. His super wheelchair is adorned with all sorts of brands - Ferrari and Vans are just a couple. The day I was photographing, he opted for a white long-sleeved logo tee and grey combat joggers and looked really good.  He was so excited to see a camera with a big lens!

Once we got started, Felix's excitement was difficult to contain. Tell him look up and keep his eyes open, would more often than not result in him looking at the floor and closing his eyes.  But why not? He was so engaging and really knows what he wants to achieve and everyone around him is left in no doubt about that. In the time that I was with him, I felt Felix's enthusiasm.  His ability to communicate entirely through his face is quite extraordinary. His eyes and more importantly his tongue are his ways of speech and everyone around him totally get his every word.

Not only that, his cat Frank, family black Labs - mum and daughter Bunty and Mini - as well as all the numerous horses all know and understand Felix. Frank opted out of being included in any photos with Felix, but the Labs and George the pony (because Felix chose him over Reko or Fly) were all game on to be included.

As we finished the indoor session, it was quite clear that Felix was in pain and in spite of trying to adjust him in his chair, he wanted out. And this is where is care team, on the day Rob and Jess, work with mum Tori to do what works for Felix. So we opted for a little time out and a snack - Felix tucked into a Viennese Whirl and coffee.  20 minutes later, he was a different child. Relaxed and far more comfortable, we headed off outside to do a second batch of photographs in the woods. Bunty and Mini came too, had a quick swim in a very dirty pond, and then joined us to be part of Felix's afternoon.  Just as we were heading home, we deviated briefly to the yard as Felix was keen to have a photo with George.  We were on borrowed time with the light at the end of the day, but I wouldn't have missed it.

It was clear by the time we'd finished, Felix was tired. So much stimulation took its toll, but regardless, he was still laughing as Rob helped him to bed and as soon as his head was on the pillow, he was asleep before the lights were out.

I was only in Felix's company for a couple of hours, but learnt so much about a boy I'd only seen rather than got to know.  He is quite an extraordinary character. His family and care team are all equally extraordinary, providing the very best surroundings and care to ensure he can live his life to the fullest extent for as long as possible.

Here's to you Felix and so hoping to see a teenage model career take off in 2019.



]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) model shoot models pets photography teenagers Tue, 05 Mar 2019 19:16:14 GMT
HiHo & Co's Be All You Can Be Instameet at Blackdown Shepherd Huts As I post this, it's difficult to believe that exactly this time a week ago Rosie Knight (she of KnightsBrand fame) & I were wending our way down the A303 to Somerset for this year's #HiHoandCo Instmeet and what a day it turned out to be.

We had both attended the first HiHo Silver day at The Fish Hotel back in September - well I was physically there, but remember little due to an unscheduled dismount the week before which left me with spectacular concussion, which I only learnt about some days later - and boy was it fun. So when the date for this year's event popped up, there was no way I wasn't going.  At least I could aim to remember the detail this time.

The timing couldn't have been better. The previous week, we'd all had our fair share of snow and given the amazing venue, if the snow had still be falling, it would have been quite a challenge to pull off such a day.

I was delighted that we weren't last to arrive this time, particularly given that Rosie had had to catch a 5.30am ferry from Isle of Wight! And what a greeting we got from the Hi Ho & Co team - Emma, Rhea, Ruth, Melanie, Sophie & Rachel (I'd like to say that I knew all 21 of the behind the scenes team, but I'd fall short there) - with beautiful personalised lanyards made by Mackenzie & George and buckets of tea (or coffee) with cake to kick off a frenetically busy day.

First off was a skills session from lifestyle blogger and photographer, Lucy Heath of Capture by Lucy. As a photographer, I'm always looking for new or different ways to photograph things. Having a massive table covered end to end with props, and not just any props - HiHo Silver props, Mackenzie & George props, even Fairfax & Favour props to name just a few of the gorgeous things we could chose from - Lucy gave us some great ideas and sent us off into the outdoors (now you get why snow mightn't have worked so well) with one of her vinyl backdrops to create our own flatlay images to showcase our individual business. I opted to photograph something that I can use more for my wedding photography than equestrian and had such fun doing so. So many little things all came together and even positioning my backdrop in different parts of the outside space or indoors, gave very different results.

From trying to be creative (not always easy for my old brain) to watching creativity in motion came with a tour of Blackdown Shepherd Huts' workshop. Bear in mind that these huts are hand crafted, but big enough to house a small family, this was no ordinary 'workshop', but one of considerable scale. The dedication and craftsmanship that goes into each and every hut is extraordinary.  The skill of the team that designs and builds a very bespoke product is stunning. We saw from almost the start of a build to the end product, which was due for delivery just a few days after our visit. And all stages in between were explained as we walked from section to section.

Next up - LUNCH - perfect half time breakout session to catch up with others, some of who I've met before, others all new, but the buzz in the room was great. I could have just sat and people watched for the rest of the day as everyone was so animated, chatting about what they'd all done during the morning, including a few vlog posts and capturing the magic on their phones. Needless to say, lunch was delicious - so delicious I had second helpings of pheasant goujons, and topped them off with a large helping of cheese and biscuits.

After lunch a bunch of us spend the afternoon with Sophie learning how to set up and style photos, to get the best from our surroundings (and what 5* surroundings we had) and how to utilise what we have when it comes to blogging, vlogging and looking to work with other brands. Loads to take away in my head and put to good use.

And to finish - tea and cake - couldn't have wanted for a better end to the day.

As Rosie & I travelled back, we reflected on our day.  So many inspirational people there, not only those running the show, but those attending too.  There were a handful of photographers, a group of bloggers, and a raft of small business owners all of whom came away with so much to benefit them, but all in slightly different ways.

Thank you team #hihoandco. I will await date number 3 with anticipation

Hi Ho & Co

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) #hihoandco creativity instameet photography skills somerset style Mon, 18 Feb 2019 10:15:24 GMT
Part IV - collaborating with Louise Mauferon-Vernet I've been photographing Louise Mauferon-Vernet treating either my horse H or other clients' horses for just over a year now. Watching her work methodically, treating each horse holistically is lovely to see, as each 'patient' visibly relaxes over the hour or so of their treatment.

More recently Louise has been treating H, initially using her hands as part of her traditional manual osteopathy, but she has also introduced a new FacialEdge tool to her treatment process. H's first FacialEdge treatment was towards the end of 2018, and he had a second session a couple of weeks ago. I have to start this by saying that whereas her previous treatments took place in the morning, this was an afternoon visit. H isn't an afternoon person; he doesn't like being ridden or made to do things, when he feels he should be either eating or tucked up in bed.

I knew Louise would be up against it and H lived up to expectations!  The good news was that he was generally in good shape and I'd certainly noticed he was 'softer' in his neck and more willing to work into an outline - even when doing our endless roadwork - so plenty of plus points there. However, once Louise got to work on him, he was prone to over react, possibly because she managed to pinpoint a few areas that needed her TLC.  I think it's fair to say that once he was allowed to have some hay to satisfy his hunger, he relaxed better into Louise's treatment.

His poll and neck were, as seems to be usual, still quite tight, particularly on the left which is his weaker side.  That said, Louise got some excellent neck bends and he reacted less as this element of his treatment was completed.

As the treatment on the rest of his body went on, H did put in some quite volatile reactions, mostly nashing his teeth, and no bites were forthcoming, but his facial expressions were quite clear, he would rather have been left alone. Again, with a little cajoling, he did behave better and really enjoyed having his pelvis treated.  How Louise manages to manipulate horses in the way she does, given how tiny she is compared to a horse of H's size, is amazing to watch. It seems effortless and I can tell you, H doesn't make picking out his feet easy even on a good day!

Following H's second FacialEdge treatment, he has been working well. He will work into an outline more readily, so now it's a case of keeping him there. This is part due to my lopsided riding technique, but also because he does suffer from quite a short attention span, so anything than catches his eye result in a loss of concentration.

Working in collaboration with Louise has given me a great insight into how she works with horses, whether they are in or out of work. Each one is different to the previous or next and she adapts her treatment plan to suit the individual equine character.


H and FacialEdge

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) Collaboration horses manual therapist photography treatment Sun, 17 Feb 2019 21:23:50 GMT
Collaborating with KnightsBrand Equestrian and those boots A few weeks ago, I popped across the Solent to meet up with Rosie Knight, the inspiration behind KnightsBrand Equestrian, which she set up just over two years ago to combine her love of horses and the equine world with her retail background. Having met Rosie almost a year ago, we'd put a plan in place to work collaboratively as and when possible and appropriate. The reason for my visit this time was to capture the magic of KnightsBrand's 2nd birthday and take photographs of some of the main products she stocks to use on her upcoming website.

From its small beginnings KnightsBrand Equestrian now has its own bricks and mortar at Lake Farm Equestrian Centre in Rookley, on the Isle of Wight. Lake Farm is a very busy riding school and competition yard headed up by 3* event rider Sarah Holmes, who also happens to be one of Rosie's brand ambassadors. What better place to have a shop.

My day at Lake Farm was a full on experience from start to finish. Not only was it KnightsBrand's birthday party, there was also a great show jumping competition, with the jumps starting really low for the young and nervous but ending up challenging many of the horses taking part. Throughout, yard owner Sarah and her parents were there to help everyone, creating a really happy atmosphere and giving those who didn't think they could get round all the encouragement they needed to do exactly that.

As the day progressed, I took the opportunity to venture around the local surroundings to take photographs of every day life within a stone's thrown of an amazing location. From bridle paths to pubs and beautiful views, I could have got totally carried away!

One of the main remits of my trip was to get images of one of Rosie's main brands - Bareback Equestrian -  so she can include them in her 'under construction' website, due for release later this year. The boots themselves are just beautiful with many of them made in Portugal. Once on they really hug your leg and give you a bit of 'extra grip', but more than that, if you can keep them clean enough, you could wear even the riding boots as fashion boots - how do I know this?  Because I now have my very own pair of Phoenix Long Boots and I've put them to the test, hacking out, show jumping and generally wearing them all day as they are so comfortable.

Rosie corralled a few models to photograph in their boots, not least Sarah who like me has a pair of made to measure Phoenix boots, and I had a great afternoon creating some fun shots for future use. 

Rosie's business is going from strength to strength with more stock coming online on a regular basis and I wish her continued success in 2019 with her very clever venture.

Bareback Boots

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) Bareback Boots birthday Collaboration equestrian horses photography photoshoot Tue, 05 Feb 2019 22:16:21 GMT
A good talking to myself about manning up and putting my brave pants on For those that know me, this will come as no surprise - the nerve I had as a young jockey left me a while ago - and while my riding is my sanity, finding a horse with a positive can do attitude that can take it or leave it from one day, week or month to the next, is a challenge in itself.

For years I rode my daughters' ponies, from 11.2hh to 14.2hh, keeping them fit for them to ride and compete. The majority of that was for my elder, gutsy go get 'em girl, for which nothing was too big and any competition a challenge she relished. For me, a lovely hack, a good day's hunting and the odd bit of combined training was plenty to keep me interested. So when the girls didn't have time to ride - being away at college or school - I thought I'd get a horse for me. And I did, but it didn't work out as planned and after three years, I couldn't ride her at all, so rather than waste her talent, I sold her and three years on she's as happy as ever.  Knowing when to make that decision isn't always easy, but making it when I did was perfect timing.

Once gone, I spent several months without a horse and not riding, but that wasn't me either so I went on the hunt for something else, trying this and that, almost buying something that ended up being sold before I could get a second look. Being bolted with on a horse I was led to believe was as safe as houses, did nothing for my frayed nerves, so when I walked into a yard and saw H standing looking back at me, I was really taken with this little horse, just clipped and washed standing under heat lamps in the middle of January, that as it transpired had already seen three yards in a week.

Roll on three years and my blank canvas has become quite a soulmate. He's not perfect, but I didn't ask for perfect, I wanted something that was 'nice'. Nice to handle. Nice to other horses. Nice to ride. Nice on the road and importantly nice to me. He ticks all those in bucket loads, but isn't without a wicked sense of humour. Leaves are scary, helicopters landing above his head (literally) are not. Pheasants are scary, dustbin lorries are not. Tennis balls are scary, being chased by out of control dogs is not - you get the gist. All that said his trust is extraordinary at times - so much so, when he met a recumbent cyclist for the first time on our hack this morning. He pays no heed to cyclists passing him at ridiculous speeds, but this was new. The cyclist stopped and said good morning as he's seen horses take fright at his strange looking contraption; H looked on in complete bemusement, turning round to ask me to tell him it was OK. I did, the cyclist moved off and H watch him go. We carried on on our way and it is for these moments that this little horse has a huge place in my heart.

However, his quirk when he has one (and I'm pretty convinced it's linked to his sense of humour) is his behaviour when out competing or hunting. Competing with me, he's been very good. Competing with others has been interesting to say the least. Throwing himself on the floor during his dressage warm up at his first ODE was the worst. The brilliant jockey on board flipped off, got back on and off they went into their dressage test.  The result meant nothing, he did it and was as if nothing had happened. One lazy pole show show jumping and one stop XC at a 'hole in the ground'. But he completed the day. Since then, I've done the odd dressage test without incident, but put him in company again and he again got above himself, even having been to the same venue less than a week earlier, turning on a sixpence at speed just because the show jump judge asked the jockey what her name was.

None of his antics are malicious, but when you're as nervous as I am, particularly when both of us hit the deck last summer (of which I remember nothing), a small out of character blip becomes an insurmountable worry, even if it happens when I'm not riding him.

So this week, as part of my 2019 goal planning, I gave myself a good old fashioned talking about 'manning up', not being a wimp over nothing and sorting my head space out. I booked a lesson with my regular instructor Ingrid and off I set, taking my apprentice photographer (AKA hubby with my camera set up to point and shoot) with to capture the chaos!

It was brilliant fun. We both worked hard and even though H's sense of humour popped up occasionally, it was only to ensure I was with him - tennis balls again and a noise from next door - not to challenge what I was asking him to do. He jumped well (when he wasn't being lazy over the early little poles) and even when I got it wrong (too many times to count), he jumped regardless. I even asked, much to Ingrid and hubby's surprise to have the jumps made a little less little! This is only the beginning of our revised journey. I just need to man up more and keep wearing the brave pants.

H with Ingrid


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) H horses photography riding lesson show jumping Sun, 06 Jan 2019 16:43:39 GMT
Five things I'm proud of Earlier in the month Rhea Freeman said she was going to run a short Instagram challenge about five things to feel proud about in the run up to New Year, using the hashtag #5thingsimproudof.

Always reticent about shouting about my successes, I thought I should challenge myself to give my Instagram followers a little more about me. Again, I rarely put selfies up as I hate photographs of me, so another reason to talk about some of my 2018 proud moments. I thought writing a blog about what they would be might be a challenge in itself, but it has been remarkably easy and as a member of Rhea's Small & Supercharged Mastermind group, our challenge for December was to blog. With both those thoughts top of my agenda, here's a bit of both - five things I'm proud of and a December blog post, rolled into one.

While most of the proud moments in my life are business related, the first one on the list is a very personal achievement.

  1. Getting back on board - I've written about this a bit and for a small group of friends I saw in early September, I rambled on for quite a while. I now put that down to a significant bout of concussion! My lovely boy H and I hit the deck, but all accounts spectacularly, while schooling at home. I remember nothing, but psychologically it sent me spiralling into a massive crisis of confidence - I'm not a particularly brave rider anyway. Four weeks later, we went for a 10 minute walk, so slow, but worth the effort. In the last 12 weeks, we have gone from walking to trotting and now back to full fitness, but I didn't ride unaccompanied for nearly six weeks.  Finally, we are back pretty much where we left off, but the proudest moment of that was going for a hack with a friend so we could jump. And jump we did, nothing huge but H is keen when it comes to XC fences, so I knew I had to up for it, to make sure we didn't make a mess of it. I did a bit, but he just took me and the buzz was great. Our road to recovery complete.
  2. Client testimonials - I'm rubbish at asking my clients (PR or photography) for testimonials, so to get two in a week that I didn't even ask for was a super proud moment. Both were Christmas presents and both equine photography related, but totally different set ups. The first was a black background shoot, done in secrecy back in October; the second a portrait shoot from husband to wife which she had to know about early given it needed to include her.
  3. Old fashioned media relations - with my PR hat on, I was recommended to a client by a friend as she was at full capacity. Always flattered to fill some seriously big shoes, I was quite nervous to take this on. Deliver broadcast coverage for WW1 centenary event taking place in April 2018. I knew nothing about the project itself, so had to learn quickly as the launch day was just two weeks away. It was an amazing few weeks and what a great project - 14-18 NOW Poppies Tour: Wave at Fort Nelson in Portsmouth. This was the final leg of the Poppies Tour (which originated at the Tower of London) and the only time they would be in the South. I met and got to know an amazing team of people including some incredible volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure visitors got the best of a unique piece of history and the BBC broadcast, not once but twice.
  4. Weddings - I only do two or three weddings a year and to date, each one has come via a friend, or friend of a friend; until now. I have be asked to photograph a couple I know nothing about. The pressure has just increased 100-fold, but I'm so looking forward to meeting them early in 2019.
  5. Growing my PR business - I know this sounds a little cliched, but in reality two years ago I was all set to give it up as I didn't get a buzz from it any more and thought my traditional PR skills were outdated. After giving myself a stern talking to I have grown my retained client portfolio and taken on several quite chunky projects, all of which came through recommendation. So 2019 will see me rejoining the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and (hopefully) a new PR website.

I'm genuinely proud of each and every one of these, some of which I really didn't think would have ever been achievable 12 months ago.

If you're reading this, give some thought to your proud moments for 2018 and come and join the fun.



]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) 2018 Horses Instagram Media moments PR Proud Fri, 28 Dec 2018 17:38:23 GMT
Part III - Collaborating with Louise Mauferon Vernet - H & FascialEdge A few weeks ago, animal manual therapist Louise Mauferon Vernet came to treat H specifically to work with her new FascialEdge tool to assist her with her traditional osteopathic treatments.

I've known Louise for a year so now. We met originally while she was treating two lovely geldings just before Christmas last year and I went along to photograph her at work.

What I learnt then, and is still so evident is that there's never a one size fits all with Louise's treatments, She's treated H twice this year, but neither session was the same; in part because he was a little different in the way he presented on both occasions. When she treated him in the summer, he felt fine and on the surface he was. I knew though, that because I ride lopsidedly, he would inevitably be compromised as a result and true enough, he was just a little 'off' on his left side. He thoroughly enjoyed his treatment, free standing while, once again, I took photographs of Louise at work.

This treatment was very different. H and I had hit the deck, apparently quite spectacularly, at the end of August. At the time, my family made sure I was checked out, so a trip to A&E and CT scans etc later sure enough revealed a broken rib and as it soon became apparent concussion too. So a period of recovery was ordered. Retrospectively, I feel very guilty about poor H as I have no idea how he landed or how heavy a fall he had, but fall he did. True to form, he carried on in his own little world, not putting a foot wrong and being ridden three to four days a week. However, when next shod, my blacksmith noted that he was brushing behind more than he ever has so queried if I'd had him checked out? Guilty as charged. Looking back, he had been almost too well behaved, but no sign of lameness or restricted movement, so we ticked along.

Louise's timing to come and treat him was perfect. It was a very different session that the previous one, with a focus on his left side as this is often the side that he is generically stiff on and it's also the side on which he fell. He was a good boy, interested in Louise's new tool (he had to check whether it might have been edible) and by and large stood pretty well to be treated and photographed. There were definitely some areas where he 'reacted' and others where he just enjoyed Louise's gentle manipulation. Her holistic approach to treatment is lovely to watch as the whole body is assessed rather than one part, just because that part may appear to be the cause of the issue. It rarely is as simple as that. At the time I asked Louise how she felt H's treatment had gone, and why she wanted to add the FascialEdge to her treatment options. These are her answers:

"I think for me, what was really interesting was to see the difference in his behaviour between the first time I saw him, when I was using my usual techniques, and the second time with the tool. Obviously taking in consideration both the change in the weather and the fact that he had had a fall this time, it was still interesting to see that he was a lot more curious and reactive with the tool than he had been with my usual method of work. It was a very useful session for me as a practitioner because it really made me think about how to use the tool, how much pressure to apply, when to move on and so on. And for someone that’s used to using only my hands, it was a good way to remind myself of another type of feedback from a 'patient'!

"About why I chose to learn the FascialEdge tool: the idea came from a tutor that I have a lot respect for. Initially, I’ve always been taught not to use anything else but my hands. My university and teachers there were clear about that, and so I grew as a practitioner with this idea planted in my head. And then I met another tutor, whose work I really respect, both for her attitude with the horses and the evident positive reactions she gets, but also for being an open minded and humble person. She uses the tool in her everyday practice, and after seeing her talk about it regularly, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give a go! And I’m very happy I did. The feedback from clients has been very positive, it’s helped me to be a lot more efficient, and with the help of my case studies I am now confident as to when the horse will benefit from me using it."

Post treatment, H had a weekend off, mooching about in his field very relaxed. He was slow pick up afterwards, still a bit 'not quite there', so I gradually reintroduced his trot and canter work over a couple of weeks as even though fit, there was nothing he had to be prepared for in a hurry. It has paid dividend as three weeks on, he's much livelier and full of beans. We even popped a few cross country jumps out on exercise to see how he felt about jumping and what shape he made. There was no doubted he wanted to jump and by jump eight and nine he was really thinking about his own preparation as much as I was thinking about mine, so a win win for us both - given it was the first time I'd jumped him since August.

Louise is scheduled to treat him again in the new year and as ever, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to her and the FascialEdge and how he feels after a second treatment. In the meantime, we'll have a little fun over Christmas and I'll let you know how he is in the New Year.

Louise & H


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) collaboration FascialEdge Horses photography Fri, 21 Dec 2018 14:43:51 GMT
Harley and Le'a A few weeks ago, I set out with a camera to capture some fun and special relationships between equines and their owners.  It was a fascinating few days with some lovely four legged friends.

One of the first I met was Harlequin, although he's known as Harley by everyone!

Harley has been owned by Le'a for almost all his little life as she bought him as an unhandled yearling and he's now eight. He's a super special Cob x TB skewbald who is very much Le'a's pride and joy, a real head turner and super smart. He was a pleasure to back an bring on and is now fast becoming a very successful little show horse. Having seen him performing in the ring, he so knows just how to attract a judge's attention when it matters.

Showing is first and foremost Le'a's passion, but Harley can turn his hooves to a bit of dressage and show jumping if required.  He has been in the ribbons many times already, giving Le'a plenty of proud moments to cherish.

He may not know it, but he'll be part of Le'a's life for as long as he's around and she's excited to see where their partnership goes into the future.  Equally he so knows that he's a very special boy and thoroughly enjoys being pampered, both by Le'a and his yard pals. Le'a knows that she spoils him rotten, but wouldn't have it any other way, even if a little bribery is required on occasion!

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) black background dressage horses photography showing Wed, 28 Nov 2018 17:16:49 GMT
Birthdays, boots and a whole lot in between What a day last Sunday was - so much to pack in, I'm not sure where to start.

Let's go with the beginning of the day - a 7.15am ferry from Southampton to Cowes. Just as well there was no traffic on the road as I thought the ferry left at 7.30, so snuck on almost as the doors were closing! There were several elements to my day on the Island, but essentially I came to capture the magic of KnightsBrand's 2nd birthday and photograph some of the beautiful Bareback boots for the new website under construction by Black Nova Designs. However, to add to this already busy day, Lake Farm was hosting the first of its Winter Show Jumping Series, so I took the opportunity to test my ISO settings on indoor school jumping. 

The forecast hadn't looked overly promising, but luckily the wind didn't really materialise so a gentle ferry crossing meant I landed on time and was able to photograph some of the lovely countryside on my way to Lake Farm Equitation Centre, still arriving in good time to see quite a queue forming outside Rosie's shop as eager visitors were hoping to be one of the first 50 through the door to collect their goody bag. On the dot of 10.00am, the young, and not so young, descended on Rosie with party poppers and balloons to wish her and her ever popular shop "Happy Birthday" and the enthusiasm continued throughout the day, particularly when the lucky dip box was discovered. So keen were her visitors, that many had two or three 'dips' ensuring that the box had to be replenished several times!

Once the initial birthday fun had died down, the next excitement was the latest addition to the farm, Jessie Vanassche's eight week old Jack Russell puppy, Dolly. An instant hit with everyone, Dolly certainly knew how to pose for the camera and was delighted to be their friend. However, she was soon so sleepy and ended up enjoying a well earned rest in mum's arms. 

Returning to Knightsbrand itself - such a story of hard work and success.  A little over two years ago, Rosie was at a charity sale and a 'knight in shining armour' attracted her attention. At the time she wasn't sure way she made the impulse purchase, but within six months KnightsBrand was established and her knight is her shop doorstep, very much part of her journey.

In addition to her equestrian products, Rosie also stocks a small selection of beautiful hand made feather brooches, wreathes and baubles all created by Porge Russell. Porge is about to appear on Horse & Country TV's All Starts having initially auditioned with 250 others, she was selected to take part with seven others, so look out for her from 25 November.

Going back to my original remit, KnightsBrand stocks some amazing Bareback riding and casual boots and Rosie was keen to get 'real' images of them in use. What better opportunity than to combine a birthday shoot with riders wearing the Bareback boots. Both equine and human models behaved very well for us and seeing the boots in action was great as well as being super smart. 

To end the day we spent a bit of time with Rosie's sponsored rider Sarah Holmes, who with her parents Sue and Richard own and run the hugely successful Lake Farm, which incidentally is where KnightBrand's shop is! Sarah's top horse, Will, also joined in our discussions and never one to miss the opportunity of a photograph, was great fun to have. Sarah is qualified BHSAI and runs the yard with a team of dedicated supporters. She has ridden all her life and now regularly events at 3* level as well as riding for other owners and bringing on a number of young horses. Will, or officially Lowhill Clover, is now 16 and Sarah has owned him since she bought him has an unbroken three year old at the Irish Sales in 2005. 

I had an amazing day, so many lovely people to chat to, watch jump and help celebrate a milestone birthday with. I was also lucky to catch a slightly earlier ferry back to the mainland!




]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) birthday equestrian horses KnightsBrand show jumping Wed, 07 Nov 2018 18:25:40 GMT
Learning while doing what I love A few weeks ago I set myself a challenge to try something new, which was outside of my comfort zone, but a technique I wanted to learn much more about while doing something I love. I asked for a few horse owners to give me an hour of their time for me to photograph their equine friends with a view to editing them with a black background.

Amazing how a free offer gets more responses that one can cope with, but black backgrounds are a bit like Marmite - some people love the effect, others just don't. Once I'd got a geographic plan in place, I went about contacting those who wanted to be involved to get horses booked in, and overall my challenge worked really well. I was lucky enough to have the offer of models of almost every colour, many breeds and a whole selection of sizes. That was just the beginning of the process.

What I learned was huge. It wasn't so much the taking of the photographs, but more how and where to place each horse, depending on the environment I was working in and to some degree, the time of day and weather.  Given the majority of horses were inside, I didn't think the weather would play as big a part as it did; all part of the learning curve.

I met some fabulous people, some I knew others I didn't, and their equally fabulous ponies and horses. Many had a great sense of humour, some positively so, but not all - again another learning curve as not all horses like or tolerate a camera at such close proximity.  Many of them compete, but in this environment, horses rarely see or notice a camera, but when it's at such close proximity, it's a very different matter - patience and calmness really come into their own in these circumstances.

The biggest benefit came in the the variety of colour - one palamino, one piebald, two black, four skewbald, six grey and seven bay (and not one of these the same colour bay) - which gave me the opportunity to test multiple camera settings.  Equally fun was the size of my models. The smallest, The Longhouse Vanilla was a cheeky 11.2hh Welsh Section A who has been ridden by his little jockey for just over two years. He oused charm from the offset and boy didn't he know he was gorgeous. At the opposite end of scale was dark bay Irish Draught/TB Mr Bourbon, or Aiden to his friends, who was bought by his owner Ellen as a yearling eight years ago.  He was meant to make 15.2hh. He was all of 16.2hh, but luckily a very gentle giant.

I could write a book on the remaining 19 models, they were all unique in their own way, some just beginning on their journey of a lifetime and others who had been there, seen it and done it and enjoying semi retirement at the grand ages of 24 and 26 years old. One thing that was a constant with all of them, was the relationship between human and horse.  It was lovely to watch and one of the reasons why I have included some behind the scenes images on each gallery.  So much of a photo shoot, however short or long, is built around the relationship between a horse and owner.  For this particular project, owners weren't included, so it can be difficult to know how they maintained their horse's attention and in several cases how they kept them from disappearing in a puff of smoke as there were open doors a plenty!

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in my model call this time. I have learnt masses in the process, reduced 2,000+ images to a manageable 700 and hope that each of them has some fun images to enjoy.

To see more of my learning, go to


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) black backgrounds dressage horses ponies portraits show jumping Wed, 31 Oct 2018 22:25:12 GMT
When 7 equine friends are better than 1 What a photoshoot this was! Having been let down, I was asked if I could do a birthday photoshoot with newly turned teen Ebony. In the couple of days from request to the shoot, I managed to crash off my own horse, but didn't want to let Ebony down again.  My lovely horse friendly daughter became both my driver and photographer's assistant on the day, and it was great to have an extra pair of hands - you'll see why.

Ebony loves a challenge, having had a particularly feisty mare as one of her first ponies over four years ago, wow did the not so young Spirit teach Ebony sticking power which has stood her in good stead, as roll forward to 2018 and this young lady as ridden ex-racehorses, top eventers and even the gentle giant, 19hh Porkie. Keen to include all those that she is currently riding in the shoot, we had some fun.  However, without a shadow of a doubt top marks go to the race horses, who took everything in their strides.  Spirit meanwhile didn't want to miss her moment in front of the camera, nor did she!

An initial roll-call here is probably a good thing; by the left Monty (racing name Mount Hollow), Murphy (racing name Dome Patrol), Cinbad, Spirit, Jeff, Sqwidge (racing name Snow Ridge) and Monty. Ebony has ridden them all!

From a nervous young jockey, Ebony has been taught by Gill White who has nurtured her talent right from the start and her confidence has grown enormously along the way. Ebony loves her jumping, but just as happy schooling and is also a regular jockey with the South Downs Bloodhounds. Even after a horrible fall just after our shoot, she was keen not to miss the next week.

No sooner had we put all the ponies - large and small - to bed with their tea, than we turned out attention to hounds. Once again, there were a few. Ebony's lovely Labs Cookie (yellow) and Gillie (black), were joined by Gill's little menagerie. Recent additions Whippet Moo and Dachshund Hippo as well as well known tear aways Terrier cross Reg and a little bit of everything Brian.  This fab pack of hounds were perhaps marginally better behaved than the horse herd, but don't fooled, some have quite a reputation.

Ebony puts her heart and soul into caring for all the horses in the yard regardless of size and they respond to her brilliantly - she's so living the best teenager's dream


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) birthday dogs eventing horses pupil riding Fri, 14 Sep 2018 15:55:59 GMT
Farewell but not goodbye to a very special friend Saying goodbye is never easy; but when you know that the moment to say farewell to a very special part of your life is right, it's harder still.

The beautiful Ballynoe Hallo (or Poppy to everyone who knows her) has been part of Lucy's world for the last six years.  Having had a series of lovely but sometimes cheeky ponies for many years, buying Poppy was a big decision to take the step up to riding a horse.  She was just five years old and had been bred to event, and didn't she know it. At 15.2hh, Poppy is a very striking coloured mare who just wanted to be loved - and loved she has been.

Within a year, Poppy and Lucy were competing in between GCSE exams and Lucy's mother borrowing her to do the odd dressage competition and there was plenty of successes. Then disaster struck as Poppy was out at grass.  Possibly sky larking but more probably playing with another friend she injured her knee and spent several months confined to box rest.

For many horses this would have a been more than a small challenge, but Poppy being Poppy, she just enjoyed Lucy's regular visits and while Lucy off loaded anything from school frustrations to all the good news she could share, Poppy took it all in and so a lasting relationship was formed. Once back in work, Poppy's desire to please grew, although not without a sense of humour, keeping everyone on their toes.

I was asked to capture the relationship between horse and owner. It wasn't difficult to see the unwritten bond between them and where many a horse might have run riot in several hundred acres of parkland, these acres have been home for Poppy, so she was (ignore being set upon by flies) remarkably chilled.  Bearing in mind that this was the day before Poppy was to leave for pastures new, but not unknown, emotions were running quite high, but irrespective, she was such a star, always ready with ears forward, particularly if a blade of the ever present grass might have been offered as a bribe.

I could have gone on taking photographs for many more hours!

While this particular chapter has ended, the relationship continues from a distance. Poppy is currently being ridden and competed by Annie Hunter Blair of AW Equestrian up in Hereford and what a partnership they have become.  Annie taught Lucy for many years, but when she started competed Poppy, the realisation of what this little mare is capable of had to be seen to be believe. On her first unaffiliated BD outing, she only went and won both Novice classes. On their next dressage outing, the won again with 86% in the Novice and 72% in Poppy's first ever elementary test - all within a month of arriving at Annie's yard. An easy decision taken to start competing in Affiliated tests and the pair just upped their game to win their Elementary test and come second in the Novice.  Next stop, Area Festival Qualifier - and yes, they did it again, 2nd in a long arena Elementary! There's much more to come from this special little mare and we can all enjoy watching her.

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) ballynoe hallo dressage goodbye poppy Tue, 04 Sep 2018 18:16:11 GMT
Part II - Collaboration with Louise Mauferon Vernet Six months ago I met equine manual therapist Louise Mauferon Vernet to collaborate with her while she treated and I photographed two very special boys for a client she has been working with for some time. Last week we met again for another collaboration; this time she was treating my horse 'H' (this was the only letter on his passport which had him listed as just a number), while I photographed her at work. His reactions were amazing, he so enjoyed it.

French born Louise is on the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners, putting her right at the top of the profession. She studied equine, cranial and visceral osteopathy for five years in Brighton before setting out as a freelance therapist treating both horses and dogs.

When Louise and I met originally she was treating geldings Ben and Bo.  What struck me then was their trust in her to help keep them comfortable and while Bo had his own agenda for much of the session, he became more and more relaxed as Louise work on him. And all the while, he was in a massive field of grass with several other horses, so had he wanted to 'stop' his session, there wasn't much we could have done! 

What was different about this session was that Louise was treating my horse. I've owned him for a little over two years and we've formed quite a close relationship in that time. He was a completely blank canvas when I bought him newly arrived from Ireland, as a five year old. He really didn't know left from right, circle or square, let alone how to jump, his attitude to life in general is so far removed from my previous horse that I bought him on the spot and I haven't regretted it! Yes, he can be belligerent at times, refuses to trot if being led and very occasionally pulls rude faces, he loves people (especially those who might feed him) adores his little companion and is probably the most reliable horse on the road I know, so long as nothing moves in the hedgerows.

However, I know I ride lopsidedly, am very right side dominant and have become more and more nervous over the last 12 months, all if which make his life under saddle harder. So to compensate, I try to ensure that H doesn't suffer the inevitable consequences of my wonky riding, permanent hanging on to his mouth and making him do endless circles in a school of concrete - and asked Louise to come and treat him so I could document her in action.

I couldn't say there's much wrong with H just looking at him, but under the surface, I felt there were a few niggly things that he needed help with. Standing under the trees to try to keep out of the ferocious sun, Louise started her assessment and immediately picked up a few areas that she could focus on. I could tell quite quickly that H was, for the most part really enjoying what she was doing.  The tight muscles across his lumber spine began to relax and you could see the blood flow under the skin - quite extraordinary viewing. As she moved from the tip of his nose to the bottom of his tail, each process made him relax a little more and he spent many moments 'asleep' only opening his eyes because I was taking photos, otherwise I expect he might have slept for the duration!

I hugely enjoyed watching Louise work the first time I saw her, but seeing her treat H, whose expressions and character I can read a whole lot better, made this a completely different experience. She spent a full 90 mins gently releasing tight muscles, straightening up misalignments and generally making him feel more comfortable in himself. After she left, he spent a very quiet afternoon, rather zoned out, and then had the weekend off. His first outing three days later was a gentle amble through the fields, concentrating on low head carriage and hind leg engagement. Next I put him to work, with a 20 minute schooling session.  Nothing particularly strenuous, but he certainly felt better and more balanced, happier to self carry than be forced into an outline that before he'd found challenging. 

It's so important to look after our four legged friends and while H doesn't have many pampering sessions, the one he has, he really benefits from. The time Louise spent with him was so worth it and hopefully my wonky riding won't impact too quickly!


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) collaboration equine Horses manual therapist RAMP treatment Tue, 24 Jul 2018 16:34:42 GMT
A day in the New Forest with friends and a camera What a week it’s been and now it’s nearly over with another busy weekend ahead. This week though started in a different way to my usual timetable. No client meetings in the diary (a deliberate decision, even if a little cheeky), I set off for the New Forest to go in search of this year’s stallions and inevitably a new crop of foals.

I wasn’t disappointed.

A group of 15 stallions are released on to the Forest at the beginning of May for a couple of months.  Each has a specific location and while we didn’t come across many, it was such a lovely day in great company.

I’d arranged to meet fellow equine, but unrelated, photographers Kate Owen (Pony & Pup Photography) and Claire Owen (Equipassion by Attic Photographic) at Balmer Lawn to find the handsome grey stallion Woodfidley Top Gun. Luckily he stood out among his hareem of predominantly bay and chestnut mares, many of which had very young foals at foot.  We could have been at this one spot all day, such was the choice of delicious new borns, some super bold and happy to have us invade their space, others less so – but they were all amazingly photogenic regardless of whether they were on their feet or snoozing.

From Balmer Lawn we wended our way to Hill Top, but were disappointed not to find a stallion there. However, we did come across the cheekiest foal of the day.  Initially he was stood quietly with mum, but so bold. He was happy to come up close and say hello. Not satisfied with showing us his paces, he was off to chat up the other mares in the group.  As the only foal in the vicinity, he could have belonged to any mare there as he clearly had a rapport with most of them.  Eventually, he returned to mum and with a flick of his little tail, we wandered off again!

Out next stopping point was East Boldre and rather than stallions and foals, we were treated to Donkey mares and foals. Unlike the native ponies, these little four legged friends were just that. So tame, even the youngsters were happy to come up close and enjoy a stroke, ear scratch and a whole lot of human love. One was even waiting in the bus stop, enjoying the shade on a warm day.

Our final destination was a pit stop on Beaulieu High Street for a little sustenance. It’s such a beautiful part of the world that we opted to go for a little wander around and came across another small group of mares, a couple of which had foals with them. Our concern was that they were so close to the road, but the traffic was very understanding. More importantly, one little chap decided Claire was his new best friend, and ended the day sucking her thumb!

What a day. I had a fabulous time, finishing off with a long overdue visit to Beaulieu Abbey as that is where my grandmother is buried and I’d not visited for 20 years.

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) beaulieu donkeys foals mares stallions Thu, 07 Jun 2018 20:30:57 GMT
Lapstone Barn - a beautiful new Cotswold wedding venue Next month, an exclusive new venue will host its first wedding, not just first in 2018, but first in its history. Husband and wife team Henry and Katie Bonas, who between them have a wealth of experience in wedding and event organisation, have set up the beautiful Lapstone Barn in Chipping Campden, as a destination venue for couples looking to have everything in one place on their big day.

Surrounded by farmland, Lapstone Barn was originally built in the 18th Century and was part of a working farm until the 1980s. It was later converted into furniture workshops and the original haybarn was extended to include the current layout. Henry and Katie acquired it at the end of 2017 and have transformed the space into an elegant and practical wedding venue, with over 20 weddings booked for 2018 already.

Built in Cotswold stone, Lapstone Barn will provide any couple with an idyllic setting for their wedding as the Barn becomes home from home with its additional Hayloft rooms and enough space inside and out to host 200 guests. Moreover, if couples choose, they can get married on site as the Barn as it has a licence to undertake wedding ceremonies.

I visited Lapstone Barn with my camera at the end of April to document a DIY wedding flower workshop, run by local florist and wedding flower guru Millie Richardson Flowers. One of Millie’s students was Laptsone’s General Manager Agi Duhig, who herself is getting married later in the year.

As Agi showed me around, the layout and decoration of each room has been so carefully thought out. Downstairs is light and airy, benefitting from vaulted double height ceiling space and a wonderful double door entrance to the ceremony room. The reception area has been glazed down one full side which opens on to a gravelled courtyard – perfect for summer weddings – with some great backdrops for individual or group photograph opportunities. There is also a fully stocked bar, slightly set apart from the main room, so for those that don’t need it, it doesn’t look out of place and for those that do, it’s an elegant extra space.

Upstairs there are two rooms that make up the Hayloft, perfect for taking time out and changing, with dressing table and a shower in one room, table and chairs in the other. There’s enough room up here that should guests need to they could put small children to bed, knowing that they will be safe while their parents continue to party!

Lapstone Barn really is a venue of venues with couples travelling from all over the UK booking it to host their wedding. It has everything and can not only host weddings, but parties of any sort.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) bride cotswolds groom venue weddings Mon, 14 May 2018 17:02:36 GMT
The secrets behind wedding bouquets, table decorations, button holes and flower crowns This week I spent a day in the company of the super talented florist Millie Richardson as she explained some of the techniques she uses when working on a wedding. From start to finish, she made every step, every explanation so simple and easy to understand, that by the end even I thought (with my two left hands), I might be able to make some of beautiful creations she taught her workshop attendees!

Nestled away in the beautiful Cotswolds, our venue for the day was Lapstone Barn, a new and exclusive wedding venue for 2018 (more this amazing location in another blog). Arriving for coffee and a super friendly welcome, Millie’s five guests were soon set to work creating bouquets for brides or bridesmaids – handy for the two who have their own weddings this summer.

Millie initially gave a demonstration on how to ‘build’ a bouquet, creating a sample using predominantly English grown flowers that she sources from The flower Garden at Stokesay Court in Shropshire. She also had a few blooms from specialist Dutch growers to ensure that each bouquet contained the best flowers available. She also only works with seasonal flowers, adding lots of lovely smelling foliage such as Jasmine and Spirea and natural greenery from hedgerows including Beech and Birch.

Millie’s floristry is a very relaxed, loose style and although every stem used had its rightful place in the bouquet, nothing is forced. The end result is so natural to look at and yet the intricate work that goes into the ‘building process’ is more complicated!

Millie says: “I start with a focal flower and working anti-clockwise build the bouquet around it, rather than getting too hung up on a particular shape or design. As it grows, so it is easier to see the shape forming – particularly if you can work in front of a mirror; that really helps. A couple of other key points to bear in mind throughout the design and build are to work with odd numbers of flowers, try to establish and retain a spiral shape and before you finish make sure you have a front and a back.”

Once finished the bouquet is tied with natural soft wire to keep the stems secure and retain the shape, then finally beautiful satin, grosgrain, or velvet ribbon is tied around to cover the wire. Simple – takes about 30 minutes; although her tutees took a little longer to perfect their own. Interestingly, even though all the flowers at each table were the same, every bouquet was slightly different once created, showing the diversity flowers can give regardless of how they are worked.

A quick break for a scrummy lunch and the famous five were back to work – this time table decorations. With the increasing move away from floristry foam to secure flowers, Millie provided a small centre piece filled with chicken wire which she feels provides more rigidity for the flowers, but more importantly allows the flowers to drink, so once in situ (which could be as early as one or two days before the wedding), they don’t go over. As with the bouquet tuition, Millie gave a few pointers to the team from the simple “don’t add flowers dead centre” to the more obscure “think Dutch Masters in terms of shape and height”. Overall though the guidelines were totally logical, from not overcrowding, keeping to the odd number rule and work asymmetrically. The results were amazing and again, while working with the same basics, the finished table centres were all different in colour, size and shape.

Finally, Millie gave an intricate example of button hole, corsage and flower crown making from wiring and taping individual rose buds to creating perfect shapes, tying and adding ribbons. As with the other elements of the day, this appeared remarkably simple, but in reality, it’s one job that most florists will outsource first due to the fiddly nature of the job!

I know I for one would never make a florist, but Millie’s business is going from strength to strength with 2018, being her busiest year to date. She has always had a love of flowers and following her wedding in 2015, set about changing her career from a full-time marketeer of beautiful watches to being her own boss as a florist.

She trained with Judith Blacklock in London and initially combined a few weddings with her day job, before moving to Gloucestershire and setting up Millie Richardson Flowers. This year will see her provide flowers for weddings and events up and down the country as well as freelancing for other florists for some really exciting events.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) bouquet flowers weddings workshop Sun, 29 Apr 2018 19:49:40 GMT
Sunny – a very special guide dog After two years of waiting, Sunny a four year old yellow lab, was introduced to her new owner Harvey in 2017 as his guide dog. She’d had a difficult few months having originally been placed with another partially sighted lady, it became evident that she wasn’t well enough to look after Sunny, so the dog was taken back to live with her original trainer.

When she was then matched with Harvey, Sunny arrived unharnessed and took to Harvey very quickly. Much of this was down to the fact that Harvey has bred Labradors for many years, so his affinity with the breed is very strong. The support from Guide Dogs for the Blind is vital in these early days, making sure that dog and handler create a good bond. Six months on this bond is clear to see.

Any potential guide dog is bred very carefully. Even before they are fully weaned the breeder starts their acclimatisation to the job they will do later in life and they are then placed with a puppy walker for a year or so. This time is in part fun, but there is some particular teaching that is incorporated too. Next they go to be trained to become a fully fledged guide dog (not every dog makes the grade). And such special training it is. Looking at Sunny, she is as any young Lab should be – cheery, welcoming, bouncy and if there’s a little food about she’s your very best find. However, the minute Harvey appears with her lead and harness, she changes. All the jumping stops and she stands stock still while her harness is attached and set, and her lead attached. One reason this is so important is Harvey has just 20% vision in only one eye, so if Sunny was to move, it would be far more of a challenge to get ready to go out. As it is, getting ready to go, takes no time, but the steadiness is now very evident.

As Harvey opens the door of his Wiltshire home, Sunny will always be between him and the door, thus ensuing he doesn’t walk into it or her lead/harness hooked up. Step outside and she’s told to stay as Harvey collects his stick.  She doesn’t sit, but stands exactly where he left her with her harness down and the lead on her back. Once Harvey is ready, a one word command ‘forward’ and she’s off – at his pace – until they get to the road. She’s very aware if there’s a car coming and will the coast clear, she sets off. Had a car been coming she would have waited; likewise, if they are walking along a road, a path or pavement and a vehicle or bicycle comes towards them, Sunny will stop. She won’t move sideways as this would unbalance Harvey. Once the car/cycle has gone, she will move on. There are two types of walk – lead and harness. Walking on the lead allows her sniff about and if necessary stop to wee etc. Walking on the harness is when she is working and unless desperate for a wee, she won’t step away from Harvey’s side. When I met them, Sunny was principally just on the lead, with the exception of crossing the road.

Other amazing things, Sunny and many other guide dogs like her do, seem inbuilt as they appear totally intuitive, but show how intelligent these dogs are. Going downstairs, Sunny will travel at Harvey’s pace and after three steps, stop sideways in front of him, look back, check he’s balanced and ready to do the next three all the way to the bottom. When at home relaxing, she has half an eye on Harvey, even when asleep as she will regularly lie at his feet with her head resting on his foot, so if he gets up, she knows and will follow him about the house, just in case he might need her for something.

Sunny has some other special tricks up her sleeve; they are for the next edition about her London life.

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) guide dog sunny yellow labrador Fri, 26 Jan 2018 11:54:14 GMT
Behind the scenes with equine manual therapist Louise Mauferon Vernet As part of a great collaboration idea, I met equine manual therapist Louise Mauferon Vernet on site at her client Jan to capture her ‘on film’ treating Jan’s two very special boys Ben and Bo.

French born Louise is on the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners, putting her right at the top of the profession. She studied equine, cranial and visceral osteopathy for five years in Brighton before setting out as a freelance therapist treating both horses and dogs.

Based in East Sussex, Louise treats her equine clients across much of the south east, often spending 90 minutes with each to ensure maximum benefit from each treatment. I met her at a yard in Surrey where Jan keeps Ben and Bo. They live out all year round with a small herd, and to attract their attention, Jan uses a whistle. Ben was in sight when we arrived and happy to follow Jan across the field for a nibble. Bo was ‘hiding’ while Louise treated Ben but soon reappeared when he heard Jan’s ‘call’. The benefit of this is that she doesn’t get mobbed by a dozen other horses!

Louise started her session on Ben, a nine year old 15hh Welsh Section D. He’d had a bad start in life, rescued initially at about five, gelded and backed.  He went on to be quite successful at dressage and rosettes were a plenty. However, as a result of nasty kick to his chest, he retired from competing and Jan now has him on loan. He’s not been ridden for a couple of years, in part because he’s been uncomfortable, particularly in his left hind, Louise thinks as a result of being gelded badly and Jan has worked hard to gain his trust as well as build his confidence.

Ben can be quite gobby still – Jan describes him as nine going on two – so will walk off when he thinks he’s stood long enough, but a little persuasion brings him back to us and Louise continues. Much of this session is very gentle manipulation, with Louise laying her hands on Ben to check all his muscles, palpating as required and watching for any restricted movement.  All the while she talks to Jan explaining what she doing as she does it. It’s so clear from Ben’s face that he really enjoys his sessions and is now physically well which is very rewarding to see.

Next up, Bo or Mr Bojangles, a very different horse altogether.  Jan has owned Beau since he was five, purchasing him for her daughter to compete on. However, it soon became evident that Bo was very troubled and began to behave quite unpredictably. After some veterinary intervention, it transpired he was suffering from a back injury that was causing him discomfort and stress. With much patience Jan and her daughter have nurtured this little horse for almost 17 years and although he is now ‘an expensive ornament’, he does respond to her kindness.

Bo has always been very reticent when it comes to physical intervention so Louise has to take her time when working with him as unlike Ben, she can’t tell him to let her treat him, she has to ask. While most of the time, he relaxes into the moment, he does occasionally just say no, move away and Louise has to wait. So it’s full credit to Louise that he does allow her to treat him at all. To prove a point during our session, Bo moved out of reach, opting instead to work out an itchy wither under a tree branch. He took some persuading to join us again! However, once he allowed Louise to continue, he really relaxed for several minutes, a real bonus and one that she decided not to exploit for more time than she felt necessary, ending on a good note. It’s a relief to Jan that he is now far more accepting of Louise and her methodology, so she knows that he can continue to be comfortable as he grows older.

A huge thank you to both Jan and Louise for allowing me to follow their afternoon session.

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) equine manual therapist louise mauferon vernet register of animal musculoskeletal practioners Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:15:00 GMT
“I bought the photo, so it’s mine – right?” No … Just because you bought a physical copy of an image does not mean that you can use it as you might want because, in legal terms, you are not the owner of the image copyright. And just to be clear, copyright of any artwork remains with its original creator for 70 years after the creator’s death; almost a generation.

While this post doesn’t go into minute legal detail, I hope the points outlined below will help when it comes to knowing what you can and cannot do with the images you purchase whether they are digital or physical. The legal aspect is complicated and changed quite significantly when the current Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) came into force on 1 August 1989. This piece is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the minefield that is image copyright.

Leaving aside digitally created graphics, copyright, in most circumstances, belongs to the originator – whether a photograph or artwork – and while copyright can be transferred, sold or have permitted use under licence, it’s important to understand the basics. 

You purchase a print at an equestrian event and want to share it with friends via social media when you get home – that’s a no, no. The picture’s copyright belongs to the photographer who took it, not you the purchaser, so making a copy (by taking a snap on your mobile for instance) and putting up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp or Snap Chat is an infringement of copyright. However, for a small additional fee, you can almost always purchase a digital image of the same photograph, which you can, in most circumstances use on your own social media feeds. And many photographers, if you ask them, may well be happy for you to share the print (given you’ve purchased it) and just request that you credit them for taking it.

Another no, no is browsing a photographer’s website, finding pictures you like, taking a screenshot and sharing them on your social media pages - with or without a watermark.  The same applies for saving images a photographer has added to their social media pages, copying them and posting them on your own feed. While in some small way it’s flattering that you like them, the time and effort put in by a photographer in taking the pictures in the first place (and at an event there’s rarely payment for taking pictures even if a photographer is on site from 8.00am-6.00pm), editing and uploading them, makes it a soul-destroying task to effectively see their images stolen – call it shoplifting if you like.

What is quite acceptable is to share images of yourself and others that you see on the photographer’s Facebook or other social media platforms.  You can also tag others along the way. For a photographer taking pictures at a public event, it’s unlikely they will know who was there, so if you see yourself or your friends in posted images, sharing them is helpful to both sides and avoids the issue of copyright infringement.

Want to go under the radar and hope you aren’t noticed? Loads of people do, on the basis that social media moves so fast, the photographer won’t spot it if you save an image and repost it somewhere else.  Nowadays, photographers are very quick to spot their images and know only too well if they’ve been ‘illegally’ posted. This can be the watermark positioning, having a watermark visible at all or knowing the watermark has been cropped out to try and get around being spotted. The whole purpose of blasting a watermark across images is so it’s obvious they haven’t been purchased. Bought digital images won’t have a watermark on them (albeit they are not copyright free)

Using bought digital images for advertising is happening more a lot too, but when you buy an image it will be for personal use only.  If you then want to use that image to sell your horse, the polite thing to do is contact the photographer and ask permission – they don’t bite and would rarely say ‘no’ if as it’s a one-off ad. 

If, however, you want to use purchased images to advertise your business, then you need to have permission to use those images under licence. And for this you need to pay. How much you’ll to pay will depend on the use you have in mind for them, but make contacting the photographer a priority and not an after thought once you’ve posted them. You may think ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’. After all the photographer may not spot it. But if they don’t someone who knows them will. 

You may be politely asked to remove the ad. Equally, you may receive an invoice for the image’s commercial use (which will be higher than if you’d asked originally). And if you don’t pay, the photographer is well within their right to go to the small claims court to recover the money. The result is bad for everyone, not least for you who will have a court judgement made against you, but also the photographer who will have had to spend many hours to get very little recompense.

The upshot of all these points is hopefully to educate, not alienate! I’d like to think that us merry band of photographers are here to help and build respect among those that like what we do. 

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions –

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) copyright digital legal issues photography print Thu, 30 Nov 2017 19:00:00 GMT
Maddie and Rooney Qualify for Winter Regionals It's been a busy week for sponsored rider Maddie O'Carroll and the gorgeous Rooney.

Not only did Maddie turn 21 on the 1st November, she also qualified for the Winter Regional finals taking place at the end of February 2018 with her beautiful test to music.  In a big class, the pair were third, less than 2% behind second place - so huge congratulations.

What is so lovely to watch is how this partnership puts movements to music, seemingly effortlessly matching the pace with the chosen musical composition. Within the remit of compulsory movements, the test can be choreographed to show Rooney off at his best.  Once again they worked in absolute harmony finishing in a beautiful square halt as the last note played.

And qualifying isn't just one score at one competition. To get to the Winter Regionals the pair have to have achieved two scores higher than 66%, so achieving 68.85% was more than good enough on top their previous 68% in another tough competition at Hartpury in August - and that came after scoring a brilliant 73% in their dressage to music the previous day!

Credit too to Rooney, who at 19 shows little sign of slowing down.  He's also had a busy few days, travelling down from Cirencester to home in Farnham to prepare for this week's competition and then back again immediately afterwards. But he's a seasoned traveller and very chilled. So long as he's rewarded with lots of sugar lumps, a Polo or two, haylage and lots of love and attention from all his human handlers, he takes travelling in his stride and is now settled back at his university home for a few more weeks before the end of term.



]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) british dressage dressage to music wellington riding winter regional qualifier Wed, 08 Nov 2017 18:20:22 GMT
Storm Brian, product testing and a winter qualifer A week ago Storm Brian certainly made his presence felt across the South coast. The warnings leading up to Saturday were pretty accurate and yellow weather alerts meant anyone planning a day out needed to take appropriate care.  I was one of those committed to work that day, photographing the Hampshire Rural Riding Club's Area 17 Dressage Qualifier at Crofton Equestrian Centre in Fareham.

Making sure I was prepared for both wind and rain, I dug out my Op Tech rain sleeve for one camera and recently purchased a Mudder 2-stage rain cover to ensure that both cameras had adequate protection from whatever Storm Brian would throw at them during the day. He didn't disappoint! While the early morning was quite deceiving, by 9.00am, the rain clouds were looking ominous and the wind was certainly in evidence.

I set one camera up with the Op Tech easily enough, but my Canon 5D mrkiii needed the bigger protective sleeve and it wasn't easy.  Covering the lens was simple enough, but ensuring the body was fully protected needed a lot more work.  The cover itself is robust and it is waterproof, but there's an assumption that no camera strap is in place as there's no strap holes although there is a good zip on the base should you wish to use a tripod or mono pod. That meant dismantling my camera strap, taking it out of the arm holes and reattaching it.  The result wasn't great and I spent much of the day undoing and doing up the base zip so I could get access to the LCD screen. I so liked the idea of having a robust waterproof cover that could protect my prized camera and 70-200 lens, but I was disappointed and even frustrated given the battle against the elements. On the other hand, while I'd had reservations about the Op Tech sleeve, it kept my camera and lens dry and while I wasn't using it, the camera was still safe with no rain penetration.

Having fought with the Mudder-2, I still had to ensure that I was both dry and not too cold (I daren't say warm as that takes a lot). Layers and layers I took and for the most part it worked, particularly my lightweight Musto and QUBA coats which kept the wind and rain out. But in all honestly, preparing both yourself and your equipment to work in whatever the British weather delivers is so important. Ensuring not only your camera, but batteries and CF/SD cards are all safe from the elements, makes for an added level of complication that you ignore at your peril. 

As it happened, while the wind was everything the forecast predicted, the rain was less intense which was a bonus!  However, the wind played havoc with the timing as about 30% of competitors didn't feel they wanted to risk travelling their equine partners for a six minute dressage test.  Those that did come, did brilliantly well, particularly when their horses encountered dressage boards floating across the arena mid test.  More than once well-pegged boards were picked up by the 45mph gusts and scattered where the wind left them.  Amazingly the horses didn't panic, they just suspended their test while judges, writers, stewards and friends realigned and pinned the boards back in place and continued their test where they left off. In all of this the junior competitors had the benefit of performing in the indoor arena, a bonus at any level!

Credit has to be given to the few riders and their horses who jumped on an early ferry from the Isle of Wight to compete.  None seemed to be affected by a blustery journey over and completed their tests in some of most testing weather of the day.

For me, I was lucky to be able to retreat to the indoor arena when the rain was horizontal, but with three arenas to cover and a difficult timetable to follow, I braved the wind, rain and at times some very harsh sunlight for six hours.  Looking now at some of the images, it's difficult to visualise just how wet, blustery and bright the day really was, but I was grateful, more than once, that I had a solid fence to use as a brace to take photos!


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) area qualifier dressage hampshire photography musto quba storm brian Sat, 28 Oct 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Why I got a professional to ride H at his first horse trials Having owned my horse, H, for nearly two years and brought him on slowly from a clumsy, unbalanced five year old to something resembling respectable performer, now came the time to up the ask and take him to his first horse trials. While I've show jumped and hunted him as well as spent many hours in a school, I wanted his first experience of doing all three disciplines in one day to be a positive one. Based on this forethought, I knew that I wasn't the right person to ride him. In part because my nerves get the better of me watching, let alone riding, but also while I've ridden all my life, it's many decades since I've been eventing.

Who should ride was a much easier decision! Event rider Katy Dziedzic has ridden H before and both she and her mother Ingrid, who run Klass Equestrian instructing and competing across the South, have taught both us so I asked Katy if she would take H round Tweseldown's unaffiliated pre-intro course. Preparation went according to plan. More fitness work, a couple of days' hunting, physio and quite a lot of pampering. A pre-event schooling session for Katy and H also went well, so we were all set. But it's amazing how doubts creep in. I began to think H wasn't fit enough.  He seemed quieter than normal, almost too well behaved, but I didn't want change anything so close to an event.

I needn't have worried! He breezed through Storm Brian, not fazed by the wind and rain, nor did he over react to having a bath and his mane bunched ready for plaiting 48 hours ahead of time. Such a cool dude, who possibly thought he was off for a day following hounds. 

We got to Tweseldown in good time, tacked up, studs in (another first) and Katy set off to warm up for her dressage test. As she did so, the local blood hounds spoke up and H was convinced a day of speed and jumping with his horsey mates were on the cards, so when Katy asked him to focus on a dressage test warm-up, he set about being his most belligerent. He just couldn't see why he should bring his head back from the sky (no martingale didn't help), but he did momentarily and then completely lost it, leaping upwards, losing his balance and sinking to the floor. Katy totally anticipated his reaction and got out of the way, escaping with a muddy leg, but without injury as H set off - solo - to find his friends. Caught in the lorry park, Katy remounted (without her spurs this time) and continued her warm-up. That incident alone is why I chose not to ride, I wouldn't have anticipated his over-reaction and would undoubtedly have come out of it hurt and unable to continue. As it was, H had to be vet checked as did Katy. Both were passed fit and went into their test on time. For a first test, it was good. Fair comments from the judge (he was against Katy's hand whenever he felt he could get away with it), made her life quite hard for 40 penalties.  Typically once dressage was done, he completely calmed down, thinking possibly his job was done!

Not so, just boots and a breastplate added for the show jumping phase. He seemed back to his laid back self, strolling down to the warm up arena. Once there, he was keen to get on with the job, but quite distracted by the other horses busy around him. Again, Katy sat quiet, warmed up and went into the arena. While he was only jumping 80cms, he was very green in his approach. He hasn't done much jumping on grass and while neither the jumps or filler worried him, his concentration was definitely lacking by fence four as he just didn't pick his front feet up, but that was his only faults as he kicked the top pole out. He did though need quite a lot of help to get round the remaining fences, even getting two strides in a one stride double!

Again, he was convinced that having show jumped, his day was over and he needed lunch! A cheeky nibble of grass and he set off for the XC warm up, where once more, he came alive taking Katy into the practice fences as if he were drag hunting, excited to be with other horses all doing the same thing. Katy was almost concerned that she wouldn't be able to hold him or that he wouldn't listen to her. At the start H was keen to get going, no napping or hesitating which was a great sign as he was leaving his friends behind. He set off full of energy, jumping the first two obstacles. It was then it dawned on him that he was 'all alone' and his focus started to waiver slightly, but he didn't hesitate, going straight into the water (which was causing other some difficulty), but when he got to the open ditch, he was convinced a monster would get him. A stern talking to and he went on the second time of asking.

The rest of course went without incident, returning with 20 jumping and 15 time penalties and although H was very tired by the time he got home - physically and mentally - he still had his ears pricked and seemed pleased with himself. 

H didn't disgrace himself (totally), but watching Katy ride, confirmed that my decision to get a professional event rider to take my very inexperienced (and as it turned out unpredictable) young horse to his first horse trials was absolutely right. 

The pressure is for me to pick up the competing mantle, so my brave pants will have to come out of the cupboard, but in the meanwhile a few more lessons needed!


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) eventing horse trials irish sport horse katy dziedzic klass equestrian tweseldown Mon, 23 Oct 2017 19:39:39 GMT
Maddie and Rooney share a bit of down time After a busy summer competing and teaching, Maddie and Rooney had a little down time this week before they return to university. 

We were more than lucky with the weather and Rooney was on very good form. Interestingly, as the morning progressed, it was clear he really just wanted her to ride him rather than be alongside him on the ground.  And on the basis that he'd been bathed, bandaged and plaited, I can see his point - usually this amount of pampering means only one thing - a trip out to a dressage party. No such thing, he stayed at home for a walk about his fields. 

His character really shone through and the relationship the two have is lovely to watch. Rooney usually loves a treat (in fact sugar lumps are by far his most favourite), but playing to the camera for one didn't cut it at all. Even photographer props had little impact on his demeanour, he just looked at them a little sideways on and moved on, literally.  If Maddie hadn't followed, he would have carried on walking anyway.

However, once Maddie decided that getting on board might get a better reaction, Rooney was almost relieved. He's become such a part of her life and while the back-up crew (Mum Nikki, Dad Ronan, sister Olivia and instructor Annie) all have vital roles to play in Rooney's day to day life, it is Maddie he looks to when it matters. 

This summer, as well as teaching the Hampshire Hunt Pony Club, Maddie and Rooney competed at the Pony Club Area Qualifiers, South East Regionals, Pony Club Championships and the Midway Champs. Rosettes a plenty, but there was some tough competition out there, which Maddie took in her stride, such a mature attitude even on the occasion things didn't always go according to plan. We all know that Rooney's reaction to performing on grass can be mixed and our 'relaxed' session this week proved exactly that. Put him on a surface and he seems to grow an inch or two, but at nearly 20, he's allowed a quirk or two.

A second year at Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester is around the corner along with a placement in Ireland in 2018. Looking forward to more excitement to come from these two.

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) connemara dressage sponsored rider tuition Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:26:58 GMT
Ingrid and Paddy with Katy and Kalli The weather gods were shining on Wednesday afternoon when I went to photograph Ingrid and Katy and their beautiful horses Paddy and Kalli. One could be mistaken for thinking they were twins, but the characters are so totally different. Both horses performed brilliantly for the camera and the relationship they have with Ingrid and Katy is lovely to see. Paddy is a true gentleman and while Kalli doesn’t interact with her human counterparts, she most certainly knows who is mum.

Based in Tilford, Ingrid and Katy Dziedzic run Klass Equestrian teaching private clients, riding and pony clubs as well as competing themselves. They both offer freelance instruction in all disciplines in the Surrey and Hampshire area. Ingrid is a BHS AI and has over 35 years’ experience of teaching. Katy is also a BHS AI and has her BHS Stage 4 in Riding & Horse Care. Katy has been qualified for over 10 years and specialises in schooling and competing. She also competes up to 2* Eventing, Advanced Medium dressage and Foxhunter show jumping.

Katie’s horse Kalli (A Splash of Class) was born at home nine years ago. She’s very much Katy’s horse of a life time taking her to her first 2* competition. Occasionally described as a little evil, she is nonetheless one super talented little horse. Ingrid’s horse, affectionally known by all who him as Paddy (Me Bee Brown), has been there, seen it and done it, although Ingrid has only been competing him this year. There’s no mistaking his occasional sense of humour, but Paddy has worked hard this summer qualifying for the Riding Club Eventing Championships where he and Ingrid finished 10th overall. 

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) dressage eventing klass equestrian show jumping tuition Thu, 07 Sep 2017 21:10:39 GMT
Ebony Horse Club comes to Hampshire Once again this year, I was lucky enough to be part of Allegra's Ambition Ebony Horse Club Day on 24th July. And what an amazing day it was.

Following the success of last year, Allegra's Ambition and the Hampshire Hunt Pony Club co-hosted a day of tuition and fun for almost thirty children and young adults who travelled from South London to Herriard Park just outside Basingstoke.  Some came last year so knew a little of what to expect, but for others, it was their first visit and for a few, the first time they had ever been out of London. Imagine then turning up to rolling countryside and having the place entirely to themselves for the day.

The other element that makes a day like this so special is the ponies that are lent by the pony club members and friends.  There was a pony or horse for every rider who came, ranging from the typical small kick along to the Thoroughbred event horse. Imagine the thoughts going through both rider and horse. Can I really do this? Credit to all, the horses were amazing. Bear in mind, some were dragged from a field and others had been competing up and down the country just 24 hours before they were expected to be the perfect schoolmaster with a jockey who had never sat on them; and usually lucky to ride just once a week, such is the demand for places at Ebony Horse Club. The bond generated in such a short time was extraordinary.  So much so, that had there been room on the coach, a couple of horses may have found themselves accompanying their new jockeys back to London.

Bringing an event like this together takes a huge amount of effort from lots of people, all of who give up their time. Allegra's mother Lucy is central to this as it was her idea to bring Ebony to Herriard as part of Allegra's Ambition (more on this in a bit), but without the HH ponies it wouldn't be what it is. Add to that, the five instructors (Julian, Ellie, Ingrid, Eliza and Cordelia) gave up their time to teach, Newlyns Farm donated food for the delicious BBQ and many parents and committee members provided the ever popular cakes.  A shout out too to the support crew, those that covered the ground on foot leading their or someone else's pony to give one or two of the more nervous riders the confidence to go a bit faster or jump a little higher than they thought they were capable of. And to the fun had during the lunchtime break when two Shetland ponies in carts came and gave mini driving lessons. As if the riders hadn't done enough in their morning session a full on game of football was a great bonding tool before an afternoon of more riding.

Allegra was an active member of the HH for six years (riding was just one of several sports she excelled at) and it's her friends and their friends who volunteered their ponies and their time to help. And they did it brilliantly again this year in memory of an incredibly talented child whose life was cut so short just 16 days after her 16th birthday. 

Allegra's Ambition, established by her family and friends in Allegra's memory, aims to help other, often disadvantaged young people, to enhance their lives through participation in sport and outdoor activities. 

It also encourages young people to help build the charity - setting personal fundraising challenges and volunteering at Allegra's Ambition sponsored events.   Allegra was always proactive and she had great ideas. If it was fun, if it was a challenge, if it was inclusive, if the goal was worthwhile – then Allegra wanted to do it. 

Ebony Horse Club encapsulates this. The charity was founded 21 years ago with children travelling to riding schools in and around London but in 2011, they achieved the dream of building their own community riding centre right in the heart of Brixton. The centre, home to nine horses, is hidden between high rise flats and the railway line, in one of the most disadvantaged inner city neighbourhoods in the country.  The young rarely have positive contact with animals, especially horses but Ebony Horse Club provides the opportunity to think and gain new experiences outside the box of negative stereotypes - and to benefit from the powerful, life-changing influence that contact with horses can bring. 

Ebony offers much more than riding lessons, it also mentors children who experience significant challenges at school and at home - challenges that can profoundly affect their ability to achieve later in life.

To learn more about these incredible charities, follow these links:


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) allegra's ambition charity ebony horse club hampshire hunt pony club pony club Fri, 28 Jul 2017 17:23:53 GMT
The Road to Cheshire for Maddie and Rooney On 1st July I signed my first sponsored rider - 20 year old university student Maddie O'Carroll and her 19 year old Connemara X roan pony The Silver Brumby (AKA Rooney) - and what an extraordinary few days it has been.

The last week has been full on. After a good practice training session with her trainer Annie Hunter Blair at the end of last month, Maddie and Rooney were set to compete. The thing is Rooney does very little work on grass - in fact he has only competed on grass on a handful of occasions since Maddie first took on the ride at the end of 2015 - those being the Area 13 qualifying competition and National Championships in July and August.  This will be her third year heading to Cholmondeley Castle to compete at the Pony Club Championships in August.

Once again, as the times were posted on the organiser's website, Maddie and Rooney were selected to be first on.  That meant a 5.30am start to get her boy plaited and prepared, travel to the venue - the beautiful Hackwood Park in Basingstoke - warm and be ready to go at 8.30. With family support from mum Nikki and sister Olivia, the day went as well as the team could have expected. A brilliant win, scoring 73.06% in stiff competition. The second placed combination were almost 1% behind and were second to ride, so it was a long wait until all the tests were marked, checked and posted, but it became clear that Maddie had qualified to go to Cheshire.

For me, the early start was so worth it. For Maddie, it just meant that as she had finished early she was available to swap her riding hat for her teaching tog, picking up the mantel of warming up her co-competitors who were taking part in the same competition.  And there was success here too, with the intermediate and novice teams also qualifying for the Championships. 

There are now six weeks to go before the pair travel to Cheshire to repeat their success.  As part of their preparation, Maddie and Rooney will train most days and fit in at least one more British Dressage competition, this time the British Dressage Summer Regionals at Bery Farm, to push themselves as far as they can without over working. In addition to competing Maddie will spend much of the rest of her summer teaching.

Maddie is a great ambassador for Anna Rainbow Photography and I wish her every success with her summer plans before she returns to her Equine Business studies at Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.


]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) area qualifier dressage national championships pony club Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:27:01 GMT
Renaye and Vigoro In spite of a rather damp start to the day on Friday, the rain held off and more importantly Vigoro was sound.

Vigoro is a 17hh Dutch Warmblood dressage horse that Renaye has owned and nurtured for the last five years. He struggles with injuries - a small scratch can render him hopelessly lame - and worst still, his nerves often get the better of him on a regular basis.

He has the potential to compete at Advanced or Prix St. George (PSG), but while he's calm at home, the stress of plaiting, travel and warming up can up his stress levels to such a point that competing is too much for him, begging the question 'what happened before Renaye found him?'

To overcome his fear of the unknown, and to keep him at his best Renaye has been training with Jill Stone, not so much a dressage 'teacher' than a biomechanics specialist who works, with both horse and rider to ensure they are working in harmony. For Vigoro, this has made an enormous difference to his performance. They are hoping that with a bit of patience, Vigoro will prove his ability can transfer from home to the competition arena.

]]> (Anna Rainbow Photography) dressage Mon, 03 Apr 2017 17:12:42 GMT