I’ve always admired horses and their riders and trainers. That’s why equine photography is one of my specialties.
Horses are at once noble and playful, shy and show-off. Each has its own personality. I see them as living beings with feelings, talents, likes and dislikes (kind of like us humans) along with their own unique equine inclinations. When you look a horse in the eye, you see a kind of nobility, a presence that few other animals possess.
My first “formal” shots of horse and rider came at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. Ever since, I’ve been shooting them in a variety of settings, from competitive jumping events to just rollicking in the pasture. Although I love snapping them just being horses, there’s a special attraction to seeing horse and rider in sync, either performing in a show arena or taking care of business on a cattle drive. I sense the excitement of the jumping ring, the serenity of the prairie, or the concentration on the job at hand through the horse’s demeanor.
There is a special bond between horse and rider. They feel each other’s emotions. They share joy, fun, intensity. But as with many animals, you have to be alert and ready to take a shot without any posing. The photo here was taken after a training ride by Camryn and her horse “Dillon”. I literally just turned around and shot this moment, with the light filtering in perfectly from the high windows of the arena. This moment seemed to capture the connection perfectly, and it’s one you either get, or you don’t.