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!