The background of this image—fleets of golf carts, tons of bedding, parking lots of trucks and horse trailers, plus busy grooms and working students—is a good reminder of the effort that goes into the equestrian experience happening in the foreground.
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.
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.
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.
Will’s family dog, Slick the corgi, joined us in Kentucky this year.
Rider Lexi Miller was out schooling ponies in the shadow of the Rolex Stadium.
Maya Thomas likewise had her ponies to school. I really like this pony’s mane, which prefers to stick straight up.
Piper Klemm was jumping Reuben in the schooling ring. Her trainer, Emily Elek, looks on from the background.
Lexi relaxes around the barn on a step ladder…
…Or on a trunk.
Piper heads out on Reuben for a class.
A father and daughter have coffee-and-phone time in the morning.
This horse’s whiskers were caught perfectly in the morning light.
Piper tightens Reuben’s string girth, a signature of Balmoral.
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.
Back at the barn, boots need last-minute polishing before heading to the ring.
Will wait to ride. The step ladder gets a lot of use for both climbing onto horses and waiting to do so.
This horse is drying after a bath; the curly mane is a sign that braids have recently been removed.
Julia Rossow, here watching action in the schooling ring, is an assistant trainer at Balmoral.
That schooling ring can be an exceptionally chaotic place.
Following an under-saddle class, the winner is called forward to receive her ribbon while the rest of the large field watches.
A Gucci belt is quite the warm-up accessory.
Piper gets some training advice from Emily Elek.
David Vega is an incredible horseman; Piper was honored that he made it to the ring to watch her show.
Hard work pays off with a wall of ribbons.
Today’s subject is trainer Carleton Brooks of Balmoral, here training his newest hunter, Carleton Z (coincidental naming).
Chaps are not common English riders—britches are more common. The back of his chaps, where one might normally put identification information, is instead emblazoned with the phrase, “You Know My Name” in red. Click through to the full-sized version of this image to see for yourself.
This particular weekend was a bit of a miniature family reunion, as Carleton’s brother (far right) was up to visit from Indiana.
Big green fields at the edge of a forest are perhaps not what I normally associate with a college campus, but St. Lawrence University’s barn (technically the Elsa Gunnison Appleton Riding Hall) is indeed on its campus. Though the main halls and dormitories are off in the distance at the right of the image, effectively this entire picture is St. Lawrence’s campus. The perks of being a rural college.
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.
St. Lawrence University’s Derby Day finished out the summer horse show season, and I was on hand to get some shots. The day started dry with a dramatic sky, but quickly turned to rain.
Did you know that a group of vultures (of the turkey variety, in this case) in a tree are called a “committee”? I’ll not over-interpret that.
High-collared jackets are the perfect (badass) gear for when the weather turns stormy but you still need to warm up outside before heading into the ring.