Young Ponies at Sunrise/Goat Paddock

Breakfast with ponies is the best way to start the day—but it’s only possible for me when we stay in Kentucky, where they can sometimes come home from the Horse Park in the evening.

Young Ponies at Sunrise

Though the cottage’s paddocks may be the charming/rustic remains of enclosures for goats, that doesn’t lessen the beauty of a sunrise over its tree-lined rim.

Goat Paddock

Kentucky Summer

We’ve finished Kentucky Summer at the Kentucky Horse Park and I thought it was time for a mega-post of my favorite shots from the week.

A lot has to happen around the barn to get the horses and ponies ready to compete… But everyone needs a break from time to time. The ponies seemed interested in Will’s snacks.

Prince of Ponies

Will’s family dog, Slick the corgi, joined us in Kentucky this year.

Slick the Corgi

Rider Lexi Miller was out schooling ponies in the shadow of the Rolex Stadium.

Warm-Up by the Rolex

Maya Thomas likewise had her ponies to school. I really like this pony’s mane, which prefers to stick straight up.

Horseback Thumbs Up

Piper Klemm was jumping Reuben in the schooling ring. Her trainer, Emily Elek, looks on from the background.

Jumping Practice with Reuben

Lexi relaxes around the barn on a step ladder…

Lexi on a Ladder

…Or on a trunk.

Trunk Nap

Piper heads out on Reuben for a class.

Out of the Barn

A father and daughter have coffee-and-phone time in the morning.

Morning Coffee at the Horse Park

This horse’s whiskers were caught perfectly in the morning light.

Whiskers

Piper tightens Reuben’s string girth, a signature of Balmoral.

String Girth

In a parallel to the “dogs look like their owners” trope, I like photographing cases were riders match their clothes to their horses. Unsurprisingly, this seems to happen most with gray horses.

Horse Matches Clothes I

Horse Matches Clothes II

Back at the barn, boots need last-minute polishing before heading to the ring.

Pre-Ride Prep

Will wait to ride. The step ladder gets a lot of use for both climbing onto horses and waiting to do so.

Will

This horse is drying after a bath; the curly mane is a sign that braids have recently been removed.

Drying in the Aisle

Julia Rossow, here watching action in the schooling ring, is an assistant trainer at Balmoral.

Julia

That schooling ring can be an exceptionally chaotic place.

Warm-Up Ring Chaos

Following an under-saddle class, the winner is called forward to receive her ribbon while the rest of the large field watches.

Stepping Out as Winner

A Gucci belt is quite the warm-up accessory.

Tank Top

Piper gets some training advice from Emily Elek.

Training Advice

David Vega is an incredible horseman; Piper was honored that he made it to the ring to watch her show.

Reuben, Piper, and David

Hard work pays off with a wall of ribbons.

Lexi Hangs the Ribbons

Riders of All Ages

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.

The Young Competitor

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.

Horse/Man

Indoor Ring with Hay

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.

Indoor Ring with Hay