Jumping at Woodside

I spent Saturday at Horse Park at Woodside on the peninsula, photographing jumper events for The Plaid Horse. Sunburn aside, it was a productive weekend. I happened upon a particular angle near a jump where riders were forced to make a tight turn immediately after landing. That transition sideways meant some dramatic direction changes.

Turning In

Some riders were even looking to the next jump around the bend while they were still in the air.

Thinking About the Jump

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

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

Horses, Trees, and the Bay

I shot another horse show this weekend, which meant a trip to gorgeous Woodside, California. I’d been to nearby Menlo park before, but I was still unprepared by the amount of trees and topography I found. Having a longer lens on to shoot the horses worked really well to compress the series of hills and valleys leading up to the bay. Coming from the East Bay, it was still astonishing to see houses tucked in among the trees. (It almost looks like something from the east coast.)

Horses, Trees, and the Bay