Fashion Friday – Tail End Jewellery

Welcome to the new series – Fashion Friday. Here I will be sharing fab options and outfit inspiration for your shoot and beyond. If you have a product, item or must-have that you think could be featured, please pop me a message at laurafiddamanphotography@virginmedia.com and I would love to find out more.

So, our first feature is Tail End Jewellery. This wonderful business has grown from strength to strength since Alison started up over 17 years ago. Her aim was simple, she wanted to help horse owners keep a little piece of their horse close to them, whether they were sadly no longer with them, or not. Much like the photographs that sit unseen on our phones, people often would take a lock of hair from their horses, which would sit, dusty in the bottom of a sock drawer, forgotten. Now you can have it transformed into a beautiful piece of jewellery – a tangible memento of your equine friend.

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Over the years the jewellery range at Tail End Jewellery has grown substantially. Customers have played a huge role in this, with bespoke requests and designs as well as new trends paving the way forward. Today you have the option of over 40 different designs to choose from! Whether you would like a bracelet, necklace or stockpin to accent your outfit, there is something for everyone, and almost all come with the choice of sterling silver, rose gold or 9ct gold (I personally have always loved rose gold!)

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If you’re not in the market for a bespoke horse hair piece, you can always browse the wonderful range of equestrian themed jewellery, and treat yourself before your shoot! Why not have a look for yourself and see if anything catches your eye?

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I asked Alison which her favourite piece is; “my favourite piece (and our customers) is the Inlaid Forever Heart Necklace, simple yet striking, the hair is braided and inlaid into either a silver or rose gold vermeil heart worn on a chain necklace. I also love our new robust and stylish Double Wrap Bracelet that features leather and horsehair entwined.”

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My favourite thing about Tail End Jewellery is their “The Tale Behind” page on their website, where customers can share their memories of their horses. You can take a look here.

So, there you have it – some fabulous options to add a little extra to your outfit. Find out more about Tail End Jewellery at the links below:

www.tailendjewellery.co.uk

Twitter: @tailendjewellery

Instagram: @tailendjewellery

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TailEndJewellery

Thanks for reading, and look out for the next instalment in 2 weeks time! If you have any questions, or would like to see something specifically do drop me a message.

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Supporting your event photographer

We all love to see our horses out there strutting their stuff, and looking fabulous doing it. If you’re out competing, you like to know that there’s a photographer on the ringside capturing your best dressage test to date, that massive oxer your horse made to look like a warm up fence, or the leap of faith on the cross country course that sent you double clear. At least, if I was out competing that’s what I’d want.

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Event photographers really appreciate your support. It’s a long and often testing day with changing weather (I’m getting sunburnt.. oh wait, grab the waterproofs I’m now getting soaked..!) but because you are all committed to the cause and gallantly get on with your competition, we are equally committed to capturing your achievements on camera.

Yes, it’s a long day, with early starts, and sometimes an hour or more of driving before the first class. We can often be found wolfing down half a warm sandwich between tests or classes, and dashing off to the loo in a whirlwind of running times and camera lenses. Sometimes you might even catch us having a two minute sit down in the camping chair before the next rider comes along, and we’re up ready to shoot again.

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Personally though, I love the buzz of photographing equestrian events. Everyone is in good spirits, doing what they love to do, although it doesn’t always go to plan, and there’s so much to learn. It’s inspiring to see you all out there and striving to do better, be better, and just kicking some butt! One day I may even be ballsy enough to try and join you. Until then, I’ll be there behind the camera lens capturing those moments that I hope you want to remember.

It’s not just what you see at the events that goes into these images though. A day’s shooting can produce anything from 500 – 1500+ images, which all have to be checked, straightened and tweaked to produce what you see in the galleries. It’s a labour of love, but unfortunately that doesn’t pay the bills! When you purchase a print, it’s not just money that goes into your photographer’s pocket – once the print, postage and any handling fees are covered, what’s left comes to us.

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Every photographer will value their time differently, but again I say event photographers really appreciate your support. No matter what your photographer is charging, they will have priced their time and work as fairly as they believe possible to make these long days and editing worthwhile. So if you see an image you like, please don’t screenshot it and share it – watermarks may tell others who took the image, but that doesn’t generate us revenue. Please support your photographer and purchase it, so that we can continue to cover your events in the future!

Thank you so much to everyone who makes doing this so enjoyable, and to all of those we will be photographing at events to come!

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Sharon & Archie, Battisford

Last month I visited a friend at her new yard in Battisford, with her horse Archie.

Previously a flat racer, this chestnut thoroughbred has bags of character, and has certainly set Sharon some challenges over the years. Like many of us, Sharon has experienced some confidence lows, particularly after a nasty fall, and some rather excitable antics on Archie’s part since. They have done a wonderful job of building their relationship from the ground back up again, and it was fantastic to see their bond is stronger than ever.

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Archie is a very loving horse, often whinnying hello as Sharon arrives on the yard, and more often than not he’s very happy to stand for cuddles and scratches. He soon realised what we were up to on the photoshoot, and the ears popped forward, which made my job much easier!

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Having walked down the road to get some shots on a local farm track, we had a heart stopping moment after Archie reared up and caught his lead rope with his leg. In what seemed like ultra slow motion off he went towards home, and very luckily made it in one piece. I hope he’s OK now Sharon and has gotten over his little moment!

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We kept within the yard boundary for the last few images, and caught a little of the sunset which was beautiful to see. Thank you so much for letting me come and catch up with you and your handsome boy Sharon, I hope you love your images!

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Rio’s Recap #8

Hi everyone I’m back! I’ve not had much to share since mum’s been out and about a lot the last few weeks, so I’ve been making the most of munching the grass I have left in my paddock… Unfortunately since the last time I spoke to you I’ve been forced to stay in my own field as there’s a third line of electric between me and my buddy Elf. I’m working on a new way through and will keep you updated…

I think the small person has sat on me as many times as mum has the last few weeks, usually when I’m eating my breakfast in the field – I can’t complain too much though, as she does give me cuddles and pats whilst she’s up there. It’s been so hot, I’ve not even had my fly rug on and I’ve still been sweating. I keep hearing clippers being mentioned but I’ve still not seen them appear yet!

Mum actually got on me without a saddle a few days after my last post. We just walked around in the school, and she wobbled around for a few strides of trot down the long side. I was super kind and kept it steady, although she did ride me at Bailey (I think she worried I wouldn’t stop, can you believe?!) That was fun anyway.

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This week I’ve been working on my grass belly some more, but it seems my time is in demand again! My feet got a bit smelly (somehow even though we’ve had no rain) so mum has been spraying my frogs with smelly yellow stuff and they’re much better again now. Oh, and on Tuesday I had to have my teeth done, and he only went and gave me a stab with some happy juice. I had no choice after that but to stand nicely – it was all I could do to stay on my own four feet!

Auntie Sarah has visited a couple of times this week, and I’ve worked hard! We’ve been practising transitions, forward, standing still (eurgh!), keeping a contact and CANTERING!

I would just like to say that I am quite enjoying myself at the moment, and when mum’s got on at the end of the session I’ve been absolutely super. She’s been giving me huge hugs and cuddles, but we’ve just been sticking to walking and a little bit of trot. She’s not been feeling very well recently so I’m doing my best to look after her and be good. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store – catch up soon!

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Rio’s Recap #7

Hi guys, hope you all had a good start to the week – I had a surprise hack this morning, hurrah! Photos from that next week though, or I’ll get all my days muddled up.

So last week started as a good rest, and apart from the rain on Monday it was quite nice mooching around the field. I definitely earned a break after my hard work at Boundary Farm, and was grateful when I was all snuggled up Monday night in my 100g rug to make sure I stayed warm. Tuesday I got to strut my stuff in my bright blue 50g Swish Equestrian rug (one of my favourites).

It was all a bit too much like hard work doing all of this relaxing, so on Wednesday morning I wasn’t quick enough to get up before mum spotted me having a laze around. She seemed pretty surprised – but then I don’t usually lay around all over the place when I know breakfast is due, or at all really when she’s up here! Of course she had to snap a photo from afar before I leapt up like a ninja. That’s my BFF Elf in the front there, and I’m snuggled in behind the fence.

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I thought we were meant to be riding that evening, but mum had a long day and a headache, so I just came into the barn for dinner and a brush down. I really didn’t fancy it either so thanks mum!

I had my toes trimmed on Thursday. The farrier said I’m looking good at the moment. Why thanks very much Mr Farrier, but I always look good! Bit cheeky, although mum seemed to agree so I don’t know what that’s all about.

It’s been a while since I got to play with Elf, and there was a spot he just could reach over the fence when we were grooming together, so I decided to pop through the fencing and fix that issue. No problem – I didn’t even knock the fence down! Got my scratch, and chilled out for a couple of hours with my buddy before I had to go back into my own field. I made it super easy for mum and came down to the gate as she had the little person with her.

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Saturday morning (EARLY!) I finally got to go out for a hack again, and we went round the village with Bailey. We had a good fast canter – mum got up off my back so I did my best to be very brave but luckily nothing jumped out at me so I didn’t have to catch her at all! I couldn’t quite work out my feet when we cantered through the gap in the hedge so I had to trot to get going on the right leg again, but it was all good! I thought about jumping a muddy patch but mum steered me around it at the last minute (spoil sport!)

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I was in the bad books yesterday… Auntie Anna had to text mum to tell her I was in Elf’s paddock again – only this time I definitely misjudged it and might have taken out four posts when I made a break for it. By the time mum and the little person arrived they were out hacking so I was mooching around feeling proud of myself on my own. Mum walked up to my field with my breakfast – what?? I’m in here mum! Eurgh. I had to follow her up the field to where she was busy tutting and inspecting the “damage” I’d done, and step over the fallen fencing just to get my breakfast. I mean honestly, would it have been so hard to have let me have it next door? Well by the time I’d eaten brekkie, she’d propped some posts up and I was back in my own field. Ho hum. Later on Mr Cliff came and banged the posts back in and fixed it all properly so I guess I’d better leave it a few days before I try it again…

I did at least make it up to mum last night as she took me out straight from the field on my long lines! It was awesome going out for a stroll without her sat on me. I had a lovely old time of it, even when she asked me to steady up on the way home because she kept tripping over holes in the long grass (keep up mum… seriously…) I obliged anyway and it seemed to do the trick as she was giving me kisses and cuddles again with my dinner in the barn. Soo easy to get around her!

Well that was my week – what have all you other horses and ponies been up to?

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Vicky & Sophie, Harwich

Last month I visited Vicky and her adorable coblet Sophie. We had been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast as it was a bit hit and miss, but Thursday came around and it was looking as though we might just be in with some good luck for Friday morning when we had booked – I must have remembered to place my order with the skies! It was drizzling on the journey there, but soon cleared up leaving us with some overcast bright skies to shoot under, followed swiftly after my departure by rain showers. You just can’t ask for more than that. Vicky – I still think it’s your dad being there that did it!

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Sophie is a 12 year old gypsy cob, and Vicky has had the pleasure of being her partner in crime for 4 years. Together they enjoy roaming the countryside and popping the odd jump in the school, and Sophie does love to share her excitement via a bit of a buck or a spin! Vicky has always wanted to jump, and says one of her favourite moments was their first time jumping out in the school.

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Vicky tells me that Sophie has been driven in the past – something I’d love to see! She’s a real stamp of a cob, and although I don’t “do” favourites, I definitely had a soft spot for her as soon as I turned up. She wasn’t too sure about me and my camera to begin with, and Vicky had warned me that she wouldn’t co-operate with her ears forward. We needn’t have worried, as she seemed to know exactly what I was there for – at one point I could swear she was doing her best Kate Moss impression and working through her angles! We barely needed the squeaky carrot (more on that in another post!)

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We even managed to force persuade dad Ian to get in front of the lens for a few photos with Sophie as she’s very much a daddy’s girl! She was so sweet and came straight in for cuddles – PS dad, where were those carrots you had in your pocket again??

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Thank you so much to you both for having me, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you all, and I look forward to seeing you again soon!

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Nicky, Coda & Darcy

Nicky joined us in the bluebells for our recent photoshoot with Wendy & Idris. She brought along her not so little coblet Coda, and little Darcy.

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Coda came home to Nicky when he was just 9 months old, and wasn’t expected to grow quite as much as he has (I think there’s a theme here ladies!) He was last measured at 15.1hh and at 6 years old, he might still go up a little. They spend lots of time together doing groundwork, and Coda is becoming a fantastic Parelli horse. We even got some shots of him without his headcollar on in the bluebells. He did decide to go off for a wander (cue momentary heart-stoppage) but he soon came cantering down the track to rejoin us – stopping just a foot in front of me and my lens! What a good boy.

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I’m sure it won’t be long before this pair are out hacking without worrying a jot, he’s a little dude, always appearing to have his own little plan going on. He was trying his hardest to put his best ears forward once he got the idea. Nicky recalled her first time sitting on him when he was old enough, and says it was amazing. It must be a wonderful feeling when you’ve had them from so young! He does have an interesting approach to trot poles though – either balancing on them with his front hooves, or putting in a stop half way over.

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I have to put in a little mention for Darcy, because she was a little sweetheart following us around the woods and waiting patiently for her mum’s attention and some photos of her own! Nicky I hope you love your images, it’s been a pleasure editing them.

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Wendy & Idris – Belstead

You may recognise Wendy as my cover star with her rather handsome cob, Chico. This year we caught up to capture some bluebell magic with her latest addition to the herd; Idris (affectionately known as Idris the Tall) has just turned 3.

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He is an Andalusian x WB x TB, and has now been with Wendy for 18 months. Wendy is teaching him groundwork at the moment which has proven to be rather amusing at times. His favourite trick? Laying down!

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Idris is just about as cool as a cucumber, and just loves to get his face into everything. This includes the feed room, where he has been found a number of times rifling around! Happy to pose, and even behaving in the woods without his headcollar, this quirky young man was a pleasure to work with! He adored being the centre of attention that’s for sure.

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I can’t wait to come back next year to see how he’s progressing and perhaps get some photos of the boys together!

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Rio’s Recap #2

Hiya guys! I’ve had a busy week this week, can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Bailey and I took the girls out for a hack on Monday, mum said we were out for 2 hours 40 minutes, and we went 10+ miles! Usually when we ride out only one of the girls joins us but Auntie Sarah came and rode Chip so they could come out together for a change. I think they enjoyed it! Polly super enjoyed our canters. Mum even let me hop over a log (she just about stayed on – she’ll get there eventually!)

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After my busy weekend I had a couple of days to rest – I was a bit achey after popping around those poles last week, so mum let me have a bit of chill time. On Wednesday she made me do some thinking in the school. She was trying to get me to stand by this new wooden mounting block, but if I’m honest, I wasn’t a fan of it – and I’ve NO idea what on earth she was doing. Basically she asked me forward and I ended up trying to jump the mounting block. I like my jumping. So I thought that’s what she wanted. Turns out, not so much… She said something about speaking to Auntie Wendy for help when she sees her! Anyway once that nonsense was done she let me stretch my legs a bit. I was feeling good, so I set off into canter. Mum looked a bit surprised but let me go and I went round and round until she gave me the signal to come in. I even managed to trot, and then walk around both ways and was very sensible. You’re welcome!

Mum abandoned me on Friday, she went off up to Lahndan, or something like that anyway. I wasn’t bothered. Auntie Millie brought me my dinner and tucked me into my rug. I had a bit of a moment when something caught my eye, but I did my best to look brave so I didn’t embarrass myself too much…

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On Saturday mum turned up with a new saddle pad. It looked posh and was fluffy on the inside. As it turns out, just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. Hope you’re listening mum [yes Rio… saddle pad has now been sold…] I did try to tell her it wasn’t comfy – I think I made it pretty obvious! First I walked off when she tried to put on my bridle, then when she was on and we had walked quite far enough down the road, I turned around very calmly and tried to walk back home. She wouldn’t let me, because she said she didn’t want me to get into a bad habit. I was coping OK, trying to be a good boy, and we had a canter up the hill. Mum got up off my back and it wasn’t so bad, so I did a good canter. In hindsight I should have thrown in a buck, as mum said she would have turned around if I had! We carried on through the countryside, and mum soon decided that she didn’t much like the saddle pad either (hurrah!) as she felt wobbly. Yeah, thanks for the wobbling around by the way… She finally got the message and got off to walk me the last mile home. It was such a relief when she got off and loosened my tummy strap. Thanks mum. I felt a bit better by the time we got back home, and was able to walk out properly again instead of crossing my front hooves a bit.

I got to have my old saddle pad back on Sunday. I was a bit nervous as I thought I was going to get pinchy back again, but it was alright. Mum took me into the jump field today. I was very chilled out, even when we went past a bit of hose that was hissing. Not sure what mum was doing – she managed to lose a stirrup in trot somehow, but either way I caught her and stopped quickly so she could sort herself out. It was hard work, and I felt a bit sluggish, but we did some trotting over poles on the ground. I only leapt a couple and not by a lot. I got made to do them again when I hopped over them as mum said I should be looking what’s there, not remembering what I did the other day with Auntie Sarah. The cantering was difficult. Mum’s leg keeps creeping up my side, she said she’s going to get us some lessons to try and help. If you know any good teachers please let her know! I did manage to canter a few times though, and we cantered over one pole, but I misjudged it and jumped it a little bit. Mum dropped one of the reins, but stayed straight so she picked me straight back up. It was a bit eventful, but we know what we’re working on now! Mum’s posting a video here:

Whilst I think about it – mum’s video channel is here, pop over and subscribe to keep up with our antics! There’s some old videos of some of our hacks and old attempts at schooling before mum had a baby – oh, and my first (and only!) ever dressage test! So much fun…

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Meet Elliot

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So, you’ve read about Sarah’s jumping lesson with Sarah Williamson at Back to Balance. Well jumping wasn’t the only thing I travelled out to capture that day.

There’s an adorable thoroughbred foal on the farm, and his name is Elliot. He was 6 weeks old when these photos were taken, and is out with his mum Hallelujah (known as Lulu on the yard). Lulu is by Avonbridge out of the Gallileo mare My Golly. She raced under James Fanshaw and won several races for Hayley Turner. Unfortunately she didn’t take so well to other jockeys and retired to stud soon after Hayley’s retirement.

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This gorgeous leggy bundle is Lulu’s first foal – and she won’t take any nonsense from him! She clearly dotes on him but is happpy to do so at a distance unless someone gets a bit too close. Sarah tells me she has been known to act as though she’s never been touched by a human hand but is easily won over by any offer of food!

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The day we took the photos was the first day Elliot had properly experienced flies – and I don’t think he was too impressed. We feel you, boy!

I could have spent all day watching him in the field. If you have a new addition to your herd, do drop me a message to arrange a photoshoot before they’re all grown up!

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There are a whole host of other animals on the farm – and I couldn’t leave without a couple of shots of the piglets! The farm have a sounder of Large Blacks, a rare Suffolk breed, so it was wonderful to see this scrumptious litter of babies! I just love their little piglet tails!

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