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.
Some riders were even looking to the next jump around the bend while they were still in the air.
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.
Though Woodside is a particularly lovely place to begin with, my favorite photographs from the show were from the jumper ring. In the same event that produced this shot, there was more than just jumping. The event is timed, and the agility and speed of the horse/rider team is apparent as they hussle around corners on loose footing.
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.
Ah, the mighty queen of all ponies, a.k.a. Posey, a.k.a. Brighton Boast-a-Bit. While I was in Woodside, I had a chance to shoot a portrait of her highness in her stall, relaxing and having brunch (mostly carrots.) I’m finding a real attraction to doing HDR of animals; the tones and textures that are hiding in their fur and hair really jump out.
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.)