When it comes to equines (and their riders), I’ve generally found that attitude is inversely proportional to size.
Our time at Kentucky Horse Park events, and by extension at this charming cottage, has come to an end. We’re New York bound!
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.
Horses don’t seem to mind the snow. Wintery Vermont afternoons, with the appropriate amount of horse treats, are just their style.
Deep in winter and summer, New England becomes monochromatic (white and green, respectively). Late fall is different; “stick season” has a broad, desaturated array of hues that stretch across the landscape.
Warm weather and buzzing insects on a June afternoon are perhaps a distant memory come February; they feel as alien now as this pony and rider walking down the street of Genessee Country Village did. There’s an almost-juxtaposition there.
When the weather outside is frightful (pardon the cliché), an indoor ring is good for two very important duties: (1) keeping the hay dry to feed the horses and (2) riding. This photograph has symmetry highlighted by the very bright windows; when a very bright light source shines through a lens (and it’s particularly noticeable with this prime lens), it creates an image of itself on the inverse side of the center of the image. In this particular case, that inverted image appears over the pony, indicating that the pony is across the inversion point from the window.
Homes designed to weather the fierce winters of northern New England and the North Country have a particular structure: Something vaguely Scandinavian and reminiscent of a Viking longhouse. When the sun sets and the clouds gather for our (current) proper winter, I’m glad for the equivalence.
Happy Holidays from Decaseconds! Piper’s wearing her Christmas plaid and looking fresh.
And a final shot of me riding Flapjack, a pretty awesome pony. (Though I’m out of focus, I think the center of attention is just where it needs to be: firmly centered on Flapjack.)
To keep the Grayson Highlands bald a herd of “wild” ponies is allowed to roam to keep the vegetation in check. The ponies are feral, but they’re not really shy around humans.
This particular pony was pretty popular!
A scene from this summer’s Pony Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park: This serious young rider is ready to, well, ride. Look at that focused expression.
Pony Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky make for excellent people-watching. Designer Charles Ancona’s preferred mode of transportation is his color-coordinated Ducati Monster.
At the Kentucky Horse Park, the Kentucky Summer Classic has wound down and Pony Finals are about to begin. This particular arrangements of trainers, riders, and well-wishers was arrayed at the the warm-up ring, and the gradient of shadows beneath the tree branches brought to mind some modern take on a Renaissance painting: linear, repeating patterns and strong, horizontal lines.
For my 500th Decaseconds post, I’m bringing you some photos from the Pony Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park outside Lexington. The weather was fully as humid and sunny as the southern Midwest is fabled to be at the end of July, and these three images capture the different aspects of the place. This first image, of the model, captures the form and uniform (so to speak) that rigidly controls the event.
This image, on the other hand, shows one of the folks working behind the scene. Given his surf-ready hair, blue wayfarers, and general air of authority, I call this image “Bro-thority.”
Finally, I love this shot for the looks on the riders’ faces as they exit the ring—done, for just a moment, and proud or defeated or ambivalent but, at the very least, relieved.
When I travel from the wintery expanse of the North Country to Florida, nothing feels real. Am I in some humid almost-heaven of trees and life and ponies? The massive sun halo doesn’t hurt the effect—that’s for sure.