A year onward from the 2017 Kentucky Summer Classic and Pony Finals, I’m looking back at many of the images I captured. Many of these only saw the light of day previously through my Instagram account, so I thought it’d be appropriate to give a complete spectrum of the the KHP experience. Some of these shots are the from the Rolex Stadium’s Grand Prix, others from the humble warm-up ring; all of them show people focused on the equine world.
Every sport has its distinctive style—just has Western riders are known for cowboy boots, chaps, and denim, English riders have their own garb. Though the style is very formal when in the ring, I’m particularly interested by the array of patterns and colors hidden under collars and sleeves that are revealed when in the barn.
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.
Though most sports have an age of peak ability, English riding seems to be wide open to riders of all ages (though the cost of riding horses can remain a separate barrier.) Today, I wanted to look back at some of my portraits from past horse shows. First, a shot of young Hanna Rose Egan at the 2014 Kentucky Summer Classic.
I’ve heard that dogs and their people start to look similar, but I’ve never heard an equivalent edict for horses and their owners. Perhaps that should be reconsidered in light of this portrait from the 2014 Lake Placid show.
The shapes of the hills of California are odd and impossible by the standards of the Northeast. In spite of my time spent there, my brain has still not adjusted to the angles—either in the distance or under my own feet when I’m there. On a charming horse farm that might be at home in the early twentieth century, the sunbaked scene is too real to be real.
Grand Prix jumps are in the range of 2 meters. Horses jump over them. I can’t quite reconcile those two sentences in my brain, even while I’m watching it happen. The action is literally superhuman. I thought it was extra-appropriate that this horse had a saddle pad recognizing the fact.
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?