Monday, October 14, 2013

Equine Photography

Taking pictures of horses is really tricky thing to do well. The photographer has to be a horse person to understand what he or she is looking for and to capture the equine at just the right moment, but they also have to be a consummate artist. There's a difference between a picture of a horse and THAT picture of your horse. You know the one. It captures your horse's look, his personality, his spirit, and shows him to the world in the same way that you see them.

For Cuna and I, it's always been this picture. It captures our partnership and the balance we brought each other. It captures his enthusiasm for his job and the joy he taught me to have. It showcases his big brown eyes and tiny little nose with the darling white snip. I love everything about this photo.

It could only have been taken by someone who knew us both. Ellie is a long-time friend of mine. She walked with me through all the struggles of the past couple of years. She was a Cuna partisan from day one. She really captured our journey together, from the early pony-nosing days to confidently jumping big fences to laying down some kick-ass dressage.

She went with me when we hauled Cuna to the vet this spring. She's been by my side while I've dealt with having to retire the red horse that taught me to love this crazy sport we do. He's the sort of horse that makes everyone around him love him more, and through the whole journey, I think Ellie has come to love him almost as much as I do. 

How cute are they??
Since she's been crucial to our whole journey together, it was only right that we do a shoot with the two of them. I'm holding out hope that maybe next summer she can ride him. For now, here's the one and only Cuna Matata with Ellie, his personal photographer and second biggest fan.

His winter coat is coming in. He's like a snuggly teddy bear right now, although he was a bit miffed that we screwed up his daily routine. Nevertheless, he is as adorable as always.

My time with Cuna feels way too short. There was so much more that he and I were supposed to do together before he retired. I can't change the demands his body is making, but I am grateful every single day for the incredible photos Ellie took to document our journey together.

She's given up so much time and energy and invested her talent into our partnership. She's really captured the heart of how I see Cuna and who he is to me. The shots she took are not just "horse pictures". They're a piece of artwork that encapsulates an ongoing and complex relationship in a single frame.

No Cuna shoot is complete without one of these


  1. You are so right, as someone who's shot a lot of horse shows and sales photos. I know people that would look over that first picture because every minute detail down to the color of the fence isn't perfect, but that's not what it should be about. You guys are clearly having a ball there! I think Connor's breeder was surprised when I said I wanted to buy the pro photo from last weekend of me laughing on the end of the line while the baby colt bucked circles around me in the show ring, but you know what? That's a fun keepsake I want to remember myself, whether or not all his feet were on the ground in an in-hand class.

    I love your Cuna writings, they are so passionate!

  2. Pshhh. You know you only keep me around for the trotting pictures. Lol

  3. This is so true -- it's funny the photos that end up becoming our favorites... at the time (at least for me) they just seemed like another picture. But now, they are oh so precious memories that stir up all the feelings I had.

  4. Those are such adorable pictures! He's such a cutie!

  5. I love the last one, classic Cuna!

  6. Beautiful pictures! I envy those of you who have access to photographers of any kind!

  7. Lovely lovely shots, and what a nice gesture for someone so talented and supportive <3

  8. So true. I am so appreciative whenever my husband comes out to take pictures.


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