Category Archives: horse horses equine
This is Chris and he lives in Alderney. He caught my attention the other evening whilst I was on a mission to find some cows…who had disappeared by the time I reached their field, thanks to the distractions I found in my path. Chris is a sweet natured ex racehorse, who loves to gallop and race around his field, and admire the world going by from his cliffside retreat.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with Chris. I might print him, I might save him. We’ll see. I think he needs to be big, perhaps a big canvas, with a big rustic frame? Any suggestions welcome.
Today I have discovered an old haiku I wrote about Bobby the Irish Draft. I thought I should publish it! This might have set a trend…you may see more horsey haikus coming your way…Tamsin (Pickeral) and I thought we should make a collection of these together, inspired by the wonderful images of horses from around the world.
“Eyes like black ink-wells gazing at me;
Gentle whinny, I fall in love.”
Images I shot at the Ajman Stud here in the UAE, whilst being followed by a TV crew, were snapped up for use in the latest edition of Concierge magazine, which I have yet to see in hard copy. The digital version looks great though and the triumphant moment was last night at the finale of the Arabian Horse Show here in Dubai, when Spartacus (featured in the magazine) triumphantly pranced around the arena looking more beautiful than I remember. I feel honoured to be included in the magazine and to be able to spend time with these truly remarkable horses.
Within two days of arriving here in Dubai, where I have now been for a month nearly, I was running around the dunes at the most private and prestigious of horse farms in the emirate of Ajman, under an hour’s drive from Dubai, through Sharjah and beyond into the wilderness.
Not only did I get to meet some of the most prized and beautiful ‘beauty’ Arabians, but I also got to dune bash across a private reserve with several Oryx and Gazelle. In hot pursuit of me were two cameramen and their director, Haidar, who was very sensitive and kind in the post-action interview. It felt good talking about my work and explaining my methodology and giving a little insight into the making of the book.
This set the tone of my trip, and since this piece was documented, there have been two other TV interviews and two magazine interviews along with a photographic workshop, led by me, and a modest but striking photographic exhibition of a small collection of images from the book – more information on those to come and links to my 15 minutes of fame…
August 2010 – April 2011 was a wild global adventure, and here I have tried to provide a visual summary representing diversity, challenges, highs and lows. It’s a patchy presentation for there is much missed, but I hope it leaves you wanting to see more.
AUGUST 2010; France – UK
Dolores, with Favori the Lipizzaner, Haras du Pin, Normandy, France
Playing with a collection of young Trotteur Francais, Normandy, France whilst my father (aka interpreter/chauffeur/travel companion) chatted to our hosts, expanding his French vocabulary to include words such as “stallion” and “gelding”.
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2010; Spain – Portugal – Spain – France
Alter do Chao, Portugal – I escape with Coronel, Alter Real stallion. Worth many, many Euros, I am not quite brave enough to ask to hop on. I haven’t quite cracked the Portugeuse sense of humour so settle for heading off on safari with the lads there in search of the elusive Sorraia breed.
Having a week on the road in Spain and Portugal visiting beautiful farms with beautiful horses. At the beginning of my global trek, things were looking up as I traversed the countries with an old friend. Thelma and Louise style.
Yeguada de Tomas Osborne, Spain; you should have seen how nervous the trainer was when I asked to mount his invaluable stallion! But how could I not? It’s totally tantalising meeting such beautiful creatures and not getting a go. Part of the job description, I believe.
Photographing in the Camargue. I reach the wilderness and flat of the Southern coast of France, after a long train journey across Spain. I meet the young man who is here to assist me, Steve. Who, incidentally, I am now marrying this September. There is something magical about this region, and finding the horses at dawn in the mist was just an added bonus to this leg of the trip.
The white horses of the Camargue at dawn. The mosquitoes were hell but the mist was magical and the weather could not have been more perfect for shooting. Sun, early morning mist, cobwebs covered with dew.
SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER 2010; USA (Washington – Maryland – Virginia – North Carolina – Kentucky – Tennessee – Florida – New Mexico)
The Banker Horse, North Carolina. Early days on my USA trip take me from Washington DC – North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland. The Island of Chincoteague & Assateague and down to Kittyhawk. The weather is pleasant, I have a hire car, I’m on the road alone, and loving every minute of the adventure.
The World Equestrian Games, Kentucky – I was groupy to a bunch of Icelandic friends, whose daily demonstrations at the Games provided me the perfect opporunity to hang out with horses and friends, and focus on finding other breeds at the illustrious Games.
This day was memorable. I left the WEG and headed off into the hills of Kentucky. Admittedly I was a little nervous heading into the unknown, to an unknown place that only me and my TomTom knew about, but I arrived and was welcomed and spent an afternoon in the glorious sunshine playing with the wonderful Curlies.
New Mexico – reconnecting with equine photographer Tony Stromberg on the jaw-droppingly beautiful San Cristobal ranch in New Mexico, was a few days of pleasure, laughter and adventure. The weather was dark and and stormy but we got some good footage. Bumbling along in 4WD’s across vast Cowboy and Indian country was just adding to my over-stimulated adventures. But it was all moving too fast!
At the racetrack, Miami. The Americans were so welcoming to me, and even popped me inside the hummer which acts as the moving start-gate. Adrenaline pumped and I felt so very lucky to be up close and personal like that.
NOVEMBER – DECEMBER 2010; Dubai – India
Photographing early morning training in Dubai. Getting up at 4am is tough, but when the day promises sunshine and glorious blue skies with diverse backdrops such as the towering skyscrapers, there were no complaints.
India’s Punjab region where we spent magical time photographing and riding the Marwari horse amongst orange groves, drinking copious amounts of hot, sweet chai and being very well looked after! India was a challenge in some ways, but the slower pace of the country was advantageous in that it made me breathe, made me slow down. I thank it for that.
View from my room in Assam, Northern India – across the river and paddy fields beyond to the hills of Nagaland, the foothills of the Himalayas. More tea, galloping through the river and early morning photoshoots made this a serious contender for my favourite location throughout the entire trip.
JANUARY 2011; Australia – China – Mongolia
Yet again I recruit a willing assistant – I found my brother lurking in Sydney at the same time of my trip, and so recruited him on an Arabian shoot. He marvelled at the stallions. Impressive, that they were.
This is Australia, and it will not stop raining. This was another one of those magical moments when I plug an address into the TomTom and see where we end up. Long, long drives and bumpy tracks, slight nerves that we are going the wrong way, but faith in the GPS. We arrive high in the hills somewhere in between Sydney and Melbourne. We took shelter as the rains persisted but eventually realised we just had to go for it. McGuire the beautiful Irish Sports Horse performed well under pressure, and we got some incredible shots. This image I actually love, even though my entire lens was drenched, as was I.
Me and my young entourage! A day photographing the Australian Stock horses doing everything from liberty to polocrosse and stock work. We were lucky with the rain, which held off, but it was pretty dismal and grey sadly. But, it’s January and warm, so no complaints from me.
On the trail…. high in Kosciusko National Park we track the wild brumby. We had slept in the car at the foot of the trail of Dead Horse Gap, and ventured up at the crack of dawn. We were lucky and found a small herd of grazing brumbies that allowed us a good while photographing and creeping closer before they took flight.
Welcome to China! 2 days in Shanghai and a sleeper train to Beijing saw us connect with the other half of Team SubZero as we nicknamed ourselves. Tamsin, the author of the book, and her partner Chris, Robin and I were ready to go ‘sub zero’.
Travelling from Beijing – Ulaanbaatar on the Trans-Mongolian Express. A massive highlight. 33 hours of down time, warmth, recuperation, stunning landscapes and time to reflect on what has been and what is to come.
Team SubZero in Hustai National Park, Mongolia. My kit was incredible at -35 degrees, although I nearly lost a few fingers and toes. You get out of the vehicles and see the horses and begin creeping cautiously in their direction. They’re not stupid and they know you’re there, although they are not predated and therefore not overly fearful. They are, by their very nature, flighty, so we could not get that close, but we got close enough. But you become so focused on being still and getting closer that you forget about the cold, until suddenly you realise there is no feeling in your toes and everyone else is already back in the vehicle.
Traditional Eagle Hunter in Olgii – far Western Mongolian province bordering Kazakhstan, with a nearly 90% Kazakh population. This gentleman demonstrated his work, invited us into his home, and communicated using facial expressions and smiles, and intermittently through our interpreter.
White Moon – New Year, celebrated in a traditional Mongolian way, high in the remote Altai mountains, with nothing for miles and miles. This gracious Mongolian family invited us in, to share the festivities on this special day. They were ‘neighbours’ (up the slope, around the mountain and yonder) to the Eagle Hunter, who invited us to join him whilst he visited his friends and be warm, drink vodka, eat homemade delicacies.
Travelling in style. Old school Russian jeep, complete with carpeted seats and broken heating system, was our preferred (only) option for transport out to remote regions in the hills. Bumbling along at dawn, we got to witness, much to the amazement of our non-English speaking driver and guide, 7 white wolves running in the distance. This vision, on White Moon, is a very lucky thing indeed. We are all feeling positive, even after a short breakdown on the journey into the wilderness.
Kazakhstan was an adventure. Flying into Almaty from Olgii (ie getting OUT of Mongolia), was a challenge. Incomplete tickets had been given to us which SCAT airlines did not like. Lack of Russian language skills meant we relied on our taxi driver to help get us out. The mayhem of the airport at Olgii and the severely overweight baggage led to us virtually paying our way out. Not one of our finest moments but we were four, and that was safe(r). Out we got and we had a warm welcome in Kazakhstan. It was milder than Mongolia, but still cold and icy, and we were taken out to various farms and locations and introduced to a variety of different horses and breeds. And to kumis, a local delicacy – fermented mare’s milk. Fizzy putrid milk. Ewww.
MARCH – APRIL 2011; THE FINAL PUSH (UK – France – Italy – Austria – Germany – Holland – Norway – Finland – Russia)
The only subjects that actually chased US! Shetlands. So cute, but not to be judged by their size. This was Wales, and this was WET. More wet. I seem to attract the rain and mud.
The rare and incredible Boulonnais were a treasure to find. Back on the road with my father and Tamsin, we crossed the channel on the chunnel and found ourselves amongst a farmer and his lovely humble family. My father, with his fluency and ever-increasing French equine vocabulary, enjoyed learning about the history of this breed and about it’s role within the farmer’s life. They shared port and cheese with us over an ancient old farmhouse table and we all shared smiles and mutual affection for these gracious beasts.
The Dolomites – back in the mountains felt good but my weariness was beginning to show and I got lumbered with a cold.Full on snottiness did not stop me…and I even got the chance to ride into the hills on a beautiful Haflinger.
View from our hotel room in Moscow; we awoke each morning to the distinctive sound of clip clopping around the track. Confidence was what that noise gave me, that we were nearly complete on the global mission, and that the final hurdle – the largest one it would seem – is all but passed.
An Akhal Teke gets playful in the snow on a farm 100kms from Moscow. This is currently my iPhone screensaver! I love it. Dancing in the snow with a spring in his step, spring on its way.
The Hackney horse – this is Ted, and he was divine. Everyone fell for Ted. This was my penultimate shoot. And just when I think I’ve done enough, seen enough, photographed enough, I meet something as incredible as Ted and I’m inspired, all over again.
I am exhausted just running back through all of this. More will come, over time…
These incredible mares have won 2nd Place in Digital Media in the Ex Arte Equinus 5 Equine Art competition. They will be showcased in the next issue of Art Horse Magazine and on the Art Horse Magazine website in the New Year. The magazine and book should be printed and released for sale mid March.
“This is a piece that whispers, not shouts; but it’s message is engrossing.. There is balance, energy, and movement, but not chaos or turbulence. The scene lives in the moment; they have flickered into view only for a second, they they’ll be gone again. These fleet steeds might be many, or they could be the same horse in different phases of movement. Everything the artist has done here is on purpose, and is done with incredible ease–from the composition of the figures (weighted to one side of the image) to the bright, almost blinding negative space. This is a mirage, as if the viewer has inadvertently looked into the sun.” Lyne Raff (Juror)
It feels good to be loved.