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.