A husbands perfect surprise birthday gift to his wife.
When Maggie’s husband contacted me earlier this summer to purchase his wife a surprise birthday equine portrait shoot he told me I’d photographed his wife and her beloved grey mare out hunting a few seasons ago back in Buckinghamshire. I was thrilled to now return and take some less traditional images of them together.
On the day of our portrait shoot I was welcomed at Rosehill Farm by Maggie with huge smile and ushered into the cozy farmhouse kitchen to meet Clive, the gift giver. We chatted about the morning ahead and I met their 12 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue pup. He’s a very happy chap, but had sadly lost a leg at a young age as the result of an accident. This accident ultimately led him to being rescued and being with with Maggie and Clive.
After being introduced to Kate, Maggie’s right hand woman who was going to help us on the shoot, I met the apple of Maggie’s eye, Babs. At 26 years of age, 15.2 flea bitten grey Babs has pretty much seen most things in life and has the most enormous character. She’s pretty regal in her approach to life and I’m told she only does what’s seriously necessary unless they are out hunting! She’s not keen on summer hacking, she definitely doesn’t want to jump at home, travels badly and she’s really not bothered about looking pretty either!
This is her way until hounds are in sight and then her whole demeanour changes. A typical hunt horse, she becomes the ultimate hunting Pro and loves every second of being out doing all thats asked of her. A prime example of horses for courses, wouldn’t you say? They’ve been together now for 17 years and came together through the recommendation of a good friend.
It also makes Babs quite the benchmark…
Along came Red
Which leads us nicely to handsome 11 year old Red. Another at 15.2 he’s a lovely red roan gelding with an interesting breeding story being out of a Cob X mare and by a Saddlebred stallion. He’s not been with Maggie for long and is taking a bit of time to settle as they work each other out but she was keen to include him in the shoot. Red is far more happy to hack and jump at home than Babs. So with these two in her stable there’s the best of both worlds going on for Maggie, even if at times Red’s a bit keen or bolshy. However Red has improved dramatically under the care of Maggie and Kate and so I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s as well behaved in life as stable star Babs.
Rosehill Farm is lovely. There’s a chiming and charming clock tower in the main yard, cats who stare down from the rafters and fab little orchard too. They also have a stunning boarding kennels facility within their 40 acres. The whole farm is perfect to hack around for Maggie and a great place to send your beloved canine best friend off for a break! Maggie’s enthusiasm for the farm is infectious, it didn’t matter if we were talking about her horses, her dogs or the rare breed sheep that were due to be delivered soon, there’s a real care for the place and everything within it. I felt myself wanting to join in! Maggie and Clive haven’t always lived her though, nor was it inherited like many farms. The story goes that Maggie was first came to the farm many many years ago to collect a horse – back then it was run as a Welsh Pony Stud. She looked at me with a huge sparkle in her eye and said she never in a million years thought one day she’d end up owning the place.
I had such a great time with Maggie and Kate on this shoot. We swapped horses back and forth, dealt with the wind (where did that come from Met Office?!) and soaked up the lovely autumn sunshine around the idylic orchards and paddocks. I love it when my clients really throw themselves into their shoots and Maggie certainly did that by readily sitting on props without being asked and generally putting her whole character into the moment.
I’d like to thank everyone for their time and energy with this portrait shoot. Clive for being the ideal husband and secretly purchasing the shoot. The 2 perfectly turned out hunters from Kate who turned her hand to toy squeaking too. Lastly, to Maggie, who has so much pure enjoyment in her life with her horses particularly Babs.
If you are looking for Kennels in the Buckingham/Bicester/Aylesbury area then I’d recommend you check out Rosehill Kennels too!
Have a fabulous week ahead!
If you’d like your own personal equine portrait shoot, then please do contact me here to chat about your options more…