As I was driving by the lovely Summerhouse Equestrian Centre yesterday, I suddenly realised that a good couple of years have flown past since photographing there. Because of other commitments I haven’t been able to visit, which is a shame, I must get there soon.
There is something special about photographing people with their horses, which is why I enjoy having a relaxing day photographing at equestrian centres. As an individual who adores animals, naturally this was one of the first things that I gravitated towards when first picking up a camera.
I’m not a rider, as much as I’d love to be, but I do appreciate what truly magnificent animals horses are. I believe that humans, horses and dogs have a unique bond, unlike the bond of any other creature in the extraordinary history of our planet. An incredible understanding between species developed over centuries. We’ve helped each other hunt and survive, we’ve gone into battle together, we’ve built enormous cities together, we’ve kept order together.
Or perhaps that’s just the idealistic ramblings of a Walter Mitty.
Never the less, whilst I’d always see other photographers surrounding the course, trying to earn their wage, I’d always find the most meaningful photographs to be behind the scenes, leading up to and after the action.
The preparation, the concentration, the tension and then the relief. For me this was much more enjoyable to capture. Plus, concentrating on this enabled me to judge who I thought was going to give the course their everything, then focus my attention towards them.
It was here that I decided that actually, there is so much emotion between the people and their horses at an equestrian centre, the only way to give it the justice that it deserves is to photograph the scenes in black and white.
I appreciate that equestrian centres like to offer a photography service, but to often see such special places being mechanically photographed day after day …Another horse jumping …Another horse jumping …Another horse jumping, which is important, as some riders like or need that (some don’t) …But sadly, the true beauty is at risk of being missed.
If you are thinking of taking up riding, or encouraging a little one to ride, I do highly recommend Summerhouse Equestrian Centre in Hardwicke, Gloucestershire.
Those are my Friday morning thoughts over toast and coffee.