On a beautiful summer’s evening I headed out to meet a very special young man. A very very young man at just 4 days old whose arrival has been eagerly anticipated by a large number of people for a long time.
Everyone loves a foal so for me it’s been a shoot I’ve been looking forward to for a while. The best bit about foal shoots that are booked in advance is that you really have no clue what you are going to shoot until the day they are born!
Based in a beautifully serene part of the Somerset countryside lies a little oasis of tranquility. A home to a number of horses, dogs, chickens and more, all owned by one person, Chad-Tavis Rowson. Chad went after his dream last year, bought land and a run down bunch of buildings and stables and started to plough his heart and soul into turning this land into a home and haven. When the gates opened for me and I drove through, my own little world seemed to just breathe a sigh of relief too.
Chad had been gifted his photo shoot with me by some very loving friends of his. We’d known each other loosely for a few months and I’d kept up with the amazing work Chad has been doing on his yard, with the various horses he owns or produces or with the loyal liveries he has. Everything seems to be geared towards the horse but also everyone having fun at their own pace. All the social media posts that surrounds this yard are happy ones.
So it was great to actually witness this at first hand when I went to meet first time mum Rosie and her adorable leggy son Ralph.
Rosie is a full thoroughbred who Chad has known for many years having evented her as a young horse many moons ago for her owners. Circumstances saw Rosie move on but now at the age of 13 she’s back for good with Chad. I was warned the minute I turned the corner by Florence, Chad’s very good friend and livery, to be careful of the mare… she’s ‘not easy’. They were just giving her a bit of a sponge off, it was hot and sticky, so I think she’s was enjoying it really. I nearly asked for the sponge myself…
Big, near black and with a truly lovely head, Rosie constantly nickered in an incredibly endearing way to her chestnut son as he moved about her outside. Leggy is an understatement, but more incredible was how well the mare was looking given she’d given birth, outside, 4 days earlier! I’ve never seen a mare look so well and regain her shape so quickly.
Little Ralph (isn’t that the best name ever?!) is by the very exciting young stallion Escape Z and is the spitting image of his sire. He merrily trotted at Rosie’s side off to the field and checked out things as we went, he’s certainly bold.
As we walked out to the paddock where they live at night, again I was warned about the mare. She’s loyal to Chad but no-one else was the underlying message. If anyone else is in the field when he’s not, she’s difficult. Noted. Where’s the gate I thought?!
After a few minutes of shooting the 3 of them together Chad turned Rosie loose and we just watched them as mum and son bonding in the field. Moments when Rosie willingly lifted a rear leg to give Ralph better access to milk. Lots of quick but loving nudges from her to him as he bounded about. After a few spins of the field, they both slowed down. I relaxed around the mare and cautiously sat down and for some reason she just seemed to accept the situation and contentedly carried grazing, which shocked by Chad and Florence. Maybe she was just loving being the star of the show with her son, maybe she was too hot to bother, but whatever it was I was comfortable and so was she. I clicked away listening to tales from the yard as Ralph mimicked his mum and attempted to reach the grass through his very long legs before finally succumbing to gravity and slumping down for a snooze.
As the sun finally began to relent and the light faded we left Rosie and Ralph to settle in for the night. It was the most perfect evening I’ve had for a while and I couldn’t take my eyes of this fabulous little chap and his gorgeous mother.
If he has just a percentage of his parents abilities he potentially has a strong competitive future ahead of him. For now though, he’s got a whole lot of play time ahead and he’ll not want for anything…
Have a fabulous week!
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