Steph got in touch with me after a friend of her’s, Hannah, had a shoot with me earlier in the year.  Turns out though once we got chatting that Steph knows quite a few of my previous lovely clients – such a small world!

A plan was hatched, Steph had a vision for what she wanted ideally and within a few weeks I was heading up to meet Steph and her beloved black ISH type, Sprite.  I was really looking forward to meeting Steph as her personality was shining through all our communication together and it was really clear that this was a lady who really loved this four legged chap I was about to meet…

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Steph is a nurse at the largest equine referral hospital in the South West, based in Langford, North Somerset.  She’s been in the area for a few years now having relocated from South Somerset after her boyfriend moved for career reasons to the Bristol area and before long found herself at this large hub for vet activity.  Part of a big team of staff, she’s recently become a Head Nurse too.  She explains that it’s a place where you really need to be able to think on your feet and she is seriously relishing the new role she’s found herself in there as it’s a great blend of active vet work and behind the scenes admin based  juggling too.  When I asked her how she liked being in this part of Somerset she confessed it wasn’t a prospect she originally looked forward too.  She’s a country girl through and through but she does now admit that having the city just a few miles away does have it’s advantages.  That said she’s never happier when with fields in view…

Sprite came into Steph’s life about 10 years ago as a 3 year old.  As we wandered around the old dairy farm that forms the livery yard she keeps him at she told me that they’ve had some lovely adventures together and tried their hand at most things really during these 10 years or so.  Life has been a bit quieter for them both in recent times following a hock injury for Sprite.   Steph’s knowledge as a Vet nurse has really been handy during his recovery and although he’s still theoretically in recovery you’d be hard pressed to know anything had been wrong.

Steph’s friend Hannah (whose photo shoot with me you can read about here Hannah & Jack) was with us to help with moral support, leg-ups, nose wiping (Sprite’s obviously!) and generally encouraging Sprite that the best place for his ears was forward, something he wasn’t overly keen with at times!  That’s just part of his manner though and whilst pricked ears are a nice sight in a photo I’d rather show a true reflection of each horse’s normal character, for me there’s more meaning to it somehow.  Steph and Hannah happily told me about some of their stories from times together when they had horses at the same yard.  Listening to the pair of them bounces stories back and forth was such good fun.  I was particularly amused at the time that Hannah was riding one of Steph’s other horses she had at one point, a young 4 year old pony, when she quite simply forgot what she was riding.  A horse fly landed on the pony’s rump, Hannah nonchalantly whacked it like she would if it was her own chap Jack, and then suddenly found herself being launched at high speed down the road and trying to sit a bronching session.  Needless to say she didn’t fully sit it and has the scars today to prove it!! They both, thankfully were ok though and Steph and Hannah giggled a lot about re-living that episode.

I’m always delighted when a client wants to wear a pretty dress to their shoot.  We all have so many pictures of ourselves and our horses in our everyday horsey clothes, so when the chance to wear something a little different comes forward, such as at a session like this, I always encourage it – so long as the client is comfortable.

What I wasn’t expecting was when Steph said that some of her favourite spots around the farm are actually in the adjoining golf course which the liveries have access through.   Golf courses and horses don’t sound like the best combination to me, but I was assured that Sprite couldn’t care less about flying white balls!!  So off we went to investigate the area a bit more. To be honest she wasn’t wrong.  Some really gorgeous little spots were used and the 3 of us had such a fun time.  I’m not sure the golfers quite understood what on earth was going on but I’m fairly sure 3 girls and a horse were the talk at the 19th hole that afternoon!

I never tire of watching owners with their horses.  The simple light touches between the two of them that are either full of comfort and love, or tinged with electricity and potential drama.  All the time those little moments drive home how strong the bond between them is and how no-one else could replicate the relationship either.  Steph and Sprite had so many moments where they ‘spoke’ to each other with just tiny movements.  At 15.2 Sprite isn’t huge, but next to the slight figure of Steph he looks like he could bowl her over without a second thought.  Despite his fidgets and keen approach to life at times he seemed to always know where Steph was and where his feet could or couldn’t go.

Back in the yard afterwards the giggles returned as other yard friends of theirs arrived to help with a final collection of black background images.  Sometimes these things aren’t that simple and you need extra hands.   The net result is that horsey girls know how to help each other out at times, don’t they….

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Until next time…

Rachel xx


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