I think I met Kate back in the spring of 2017 not long after I moved into Somerset, however I didn’t really get to know her until the following Autumn and our friendship has blossomed since. We’d joked about portrait sessions for a very long time for one of her horses but something was always holding Kate back from booking it. However when Boris entered her life earlier this summer I think we all knew now was finally the time for Kate… So off I trotted one Tuesday afternoon to the edge of the Somerset Levels to a place where the iconic Burrow Hill looms over the landscape.
♥︎ ♘ ♥︎
So why was now the right time? Well Kate has been looking for another horse she can event and generally have a lot of fun on for quite a while. Curran, her grey 15hh Connemara gelding, has had some joint issues in recent years and although not old at just 13 he was put on 2nd horse string a while back to keep him healthy and potentially sounder for longer. They’ve been together for around 5 years and during that time have done a real range of activities, including adult camps and a fair bit of hunting. It was out photographing my local hunt one day that I first met Kate and I regularly saw them pinging over the hunt rails. Today though he’s back in work once more Kate felt he wasn’t quite the right horse for her to go on to event.
After a couple of false starts with horses that didn’t work out for Kate along came Boris…
Great name, right?
Boris is fast turning into the love of Kate’s life. A simply stunning 10 year old coloured gelding (yes, yes, we all know I’m a total sucker for a coloured sport horse), he’s by the Thoroughbred stallion Deltic, a grandson of Northern Dancer, so there’a nice bit of blood on that side. He’s really settled into life on Kate and Graham’s family farm and looks like he’s been there for an age but the reality is that it’s only been a couple of months. Boris came from an eventing life and has been stabled at the illustrious Fox-Pitt yard in Dorset with his rider where he has mostly been running at Novice level around good tracks like Nunney, Bicton and Aldon in the last couple of seasons. A few nice Intermediate runs in his record show he’s capable of much more, even at his 15.3 size. As such Boris brings with him some solid understanding of the eventing game and ready for Kate to have some fun on and enjoy. Watching the pair of them together in their school I’m really looking forward to seeing them out and about in the coming months.
Kate always makes me laugh and on the evening of our shoot she was no exception. The slightest thing has her laughing and it becomes infectious. It’s a wonder at times that we get anything done really. She did however totally catch me out as she was more prepared for this than I think for anything else I’ve ever known her do. She was on time (never Kate’s forte, which I’m sure she’ll agree with!) and she wasn’t panicking at all, in fact she looked completely serene but as absolutely gorgeous as ever. Husband Graham brought little Darcy, their Border Terrier, along for some portrait pictures too and with Alice at my side ready with squeakers, towels, head collars and spare hands we got going.
It was an immensely fun portrait session, the wind that had picked up and blown away all the blue sky and fluffy blue clouds we should have had didn’t upset the horses, it just blew manes and tails both equine, canine and human. Then the light suddenly dropped when we reached the stubble fields that Graham had been banned from ploughing (!). At first I felt sorry that our shoot might be curtailed but then the light changed again and the sky was filled with some amazing moody clouds and eerie light. We didn’t have long though as I could see this was going to drop quickly, but boy was it an amazing 10 minutes or so whilst it lasted.
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Huge thanks to Kate for booking me, for Graham for NOT ploughing up the all important final location and to Curran and Boris for being just brilliant together. Rarely a face pulled between the two of them, quite a feat considering Curran is now sharing his mummy with Boris and most boys wouldn’t stand for that…
Have a fabulous week ahead.
If you’d like a personal equine portrait shoot with me, maybe you have your own Unicorn you think I should meet, then please see here for more details.