This weekend, I photographed the Hunter Derby at Genesee Historic Village, outside Rochester, New York. Though I’ve been to many English riding events over the years, this was the first I’ve seen in the authentic setting of rolling hills and on-course trees. (They even had a pack of hounds out on course, early on.) Perhaps the most surreal part of the weekend was seeing the period reenactors (in their historically accurate garb) next to the riders (also in heavily historically inspired gear).
Riders are the stars of the show (in this case, the Kentucky Summer Classic), but I love to see the way the natural form of horse and rider fit into the lines and structures, tents and fences, of the grounds. Where do the spectators, trainers, grooms (and photographers) fit into that equation? Are we also a part of the horse show structure?
Though I don’t often show my photography from the people/photojournalism/street mode, I couldn’t resist this image of Mario Deslauriers and clan at the Lake Placid Grand Prix in Lake Placid, New York last summer. The dark greens and stark whites, with the bokeh’ed horse in the background, meld to a vibe that I would call “fresh.”
This frozen moment of energy and will and concentration captures Lillie Keenan in the Grand Prix at the 2013 Fairfield County Hunt Club June Benefit Horse Show. Though it’s the incredible 2-meter jumps that really capture the attention in these events, for my moment, it’s the rocket acceleration leading up to a jump that makes for far more drama.
Waking up early on a cold morning can be tough, but riders never seem to have trouble getting up for a show. (Caffeine seems to help!) I loved the moment of calm and intimacy between horse and rider in this particular image, and the comfort it conveys.
The combination of chestnut horse and bright red Coke can also goes a long way to making the scarlet and brown St. Lawrence color scheme appealing.
Here’s a little (huge panorama) teaser from an upcoming story I’ll have in Horse & Style Magazine, covering the barn and home of Olympic gold medal winner Beezie Madden. I was particularly enamored with this shot of the indoor ring, distorted to a fantastical shape by the panorama process. With all of this wood and wide beams, I can think of nothing more than a Viking longhouse (built at horse-scale, of course.)