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.