Happy Mario

This past weekend, I photographed the grand prix event at the Lake Placid Horse Show. With a $75,000 pot, a lot of money was on the line. (You can see more of my photos of the competition and candids of the audience at the Plaid Horse.) This particular shot of Mario Deslauriers, one of the grand prix competitors, really caught my eye. Watching his competition, with that knowing smile, seems like the confident move of a seasoned pro. Jumper competitions are so fascinating, with competitors of all genders and ages.

Happy Mario

Girl with Pony in the Ring

While the early-morning pony divisions begin, the marine layer swathing the San Francisco Peninsula is still burning. I took this image almost exactly two years ago, and didn’t think much of it, but I viewed it today and found it an interesting study. The casual pose of the rider, one arm back, feet in motion, conveys a kind of confident swagger and nonchalance that matches the gentle stepping of the pony. The impact of her garb, a 1/2-scale version of the careful, quasi-historical hunter uniform, only adds to the effect. In reality, though, competition is never that simple or easy—and I think her face conveys that.

Girl with Pony in the Ring

Bontemps

Today’s photograph comes courtesy of Dr. Piper Klemm.

Alexander Bontemps shows Katie Riddle in the $50,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix at the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) Thermal Desert circuit near Indio, California. Katie Riddle is a 14 year old, 16.1 h gray mare who has competed at the international level for the United States in numerous competitions, including being a member of a winning Nations Cup team in Buenos Aires in 2010.

Bontemps

Rocket Ride

The geometry of a horse and rider launching over a five-foot jump is so filled with muscle and agility and velocity that I find the whole event to be hypnotic. It’s over in a fraction of a second, and this makes me all the more glad that I’m a photographer. Though Piper would tell you that this isn’t quite a perfect jump (it’s a bad idea to put your groin above the saddle’s pommel–that can have painful consequences), I can’t help but respect the athleticism on display.

Rocket Ride