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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Shadow & Poppy

I had the absolute pleasure of shooting at a yard just around the corner from me, and my subject was dear little Shadow. His arrival was very much a surprise, as Ali had only checked with her vet days before that Poppy wasn’t expecting!

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Like many of us horsey folk will know, it can sometimes be a race against the clock before work to get everyone fed, checked, rugged and the rest. This was one of those days for Ali. When Poppy failed to swing her head over the door to say good morning, Ali opened up the stable to investigate; she was greeted by Poppy revealing a tiny little bundle nestled in the back of the box.

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Ali tells me the first 48 hours were touch and go as Shadow was struggling to latch on to feed. He was bottle fed every 2 hours until at 3am the relieving sight of a soggy bottom lip meant that he’d finally worked it out!

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Shadow was born on April 10th and was a mere 2 weeks old in these images. He’s the tiniest little foal I’ve ever seen, but already has bundles of character! Both mum and baby were so well mannered, and an absolute credit to Ali, they’re obviously very happy! Mum came over to check me and my camera out and once she was happy I wasn’t a threat, she left me to it. Ali hasn’t had Poppy for too long, so Shadow was a real BOGOF, and even her old owner was shocked to hear about the new arrival. Ali works as a carer, and uses her time at the yard to wind down and relax. She loves nothing more than a quiet hack out around the countryside, and who can blame her? It’s glorious, isn’t it?

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I got sucked into baby foaly cuddles, and loved every minute. Shadow is going to be a confident little thing I’m sure! He loved playing with his post in the middle of the field, and we managed to capture some of his speed bursts around the paddock too. I hope I can pop back and see his progress again soon, he’s an absolute poppet. It was all very exciting for him, and I left him having a quiet snooze in the sunshine!

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Sarah & Odey – Horringer

Do you jump your horse?

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I don’t… Yet. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes down to it.

Recently I went to photograph Sarah’s first time back in the jumping saddle. She had her lesson with Sarah of Back to Balance (this won’t get confusing at all!) on a lovely grey connie called Corrib Buoy – also known as Odey.

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Odey is a full connemara, by Owens Blossom, of Abbeyleix Owen – he’s been with Sarah (B2B) for 3 years now, and in that time he’s earned his keep! He’s taught beginners to ride, is a super hack, and is in his element now out eventing and team chasing. He’s on his way to Hickstead in September to compete in the Sunshine Tour Arena Eventing Trials!

Sarah (B2B) tells me that Odey is unique in his approach to each rider, so we were all interested to see how he would take to Sarah!

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Hoping for an easy start back into jumping, Sarah and Odey set off to warm up, before coming round ober the first jump of the day. With a bit of a question from Odey, she kicked on and they quickly found their stride! It wasn’t long before she was jumping a grid, an oxer, and a water tray before finishing off with a neat little course.

I think it’s safe to say she’s caught the bug again and will be out jumping more very soon!

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Stratford Hills – Clear Round XC

Yesterday I took a short trip down the road to Stratford Hills Cross Country course for their clear round XC day!

The weather was perfect, save for a bit of a chill from the wind at times, and everybody was in good spirits enjoying themselves. We overheard a few funny conversations between rider and horse over the course of the day, and there were plenty of you going round the course positively beaming. Rightly so!

A mixture of jumps. Freedom to mix and match; all a recipe for success, and that’s what the day was all about.

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Thank you to Lauren for inviting me down for the day, it was a pleasure and turned out to be a lovely sociable event. I look forward to seeing more on the calendar.

If you’re interested in hiring the cross country course to have a play yourself, head over to Stratford Hills’ Facebook Page and give them a call or drop them a message. The scenery is beautiful and the rolling hills won’t fail to give you a challenge along the way!

Well done to everyone who rode yesterday – you were all fab! Images are now published, and you can view them here

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If I could choose a photo of the day, it would be this lady and her wonderful honest pony! They jumped the brush from standing, and then managed to make it away from the other side of the jump at speed.

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BSPS Area 16 Spring Show

Telephones. I can’t tell you any good reason for it, but I’m not their biggest fan! So when I returned a call for help from Lauren earlier in the week it was with a little trepidation.

As a portrait photographer, I capture moments between horse and owner, and although I’ve dabbled in showing photos for friends, it’s all a bit different for me. So I was free this Saturday, and decided a change of pace would be a great idea – BSPS Area 16 here I come!

I’m so glad I said yes to doing this. Despite the sunburn (yep – bright red!) and a mega long day of shooting, it was a fab experience. I can’t stop myself from grinning when I’m surrounded by horses and ponies, so everyone must have thought the cheshire cat was on the loose!

Speaking to judges, hearing their feedback, and gaining an insight of what goes into choosing a winner – it was all super interesting, and made the running up and down between 5 rings worthwhile.

I will apologise now to anybody who we did not get photographs of on the day. Sam Duncan kindly stepped in as my second shooter on the day so that we could capture as much as possible, but some classes were missed. If you are interested in having some photos with your horse, please do contact me to discuss a photoshoot! The bluebells and blossoms are out, so it’s the perfect time of year for it. 

I adored watching the lead rein and first ridden classes; I was pleasantly surprised how lovely the judges were. Every communication was intended as a positive, and the judges encouraged them throughout every class. It’s really made me want to take Eliza out when she’s old enough. Sam – I will be keeping in touch about that pony in a couple of years!

The reserve supreme champion Zeraphina was the sweetest little girl, on lead-rein, and I was so glad when they called her in! We got a super image of her and Thistledown Lorenzo next to the Supreme Champion Lord John who was, let’s say, a tad bigger than her dear little pony. I was made up for her after all of the effort of the day (and it was a long day – they were up at 4am in order to get to the show!)

It’s certainly been a learning curve, and the editing took a little longer than expected (you lovely lot take some great shots!) but I have had a blast. Thank you BSPS Area 16 for having me; once again an extra special thank you to Sam Duncan for your support on the day.

All images are published at www.laurafiddamanphoto.com/events – if you find any images that are in the wrong ring, please let me know so that I can correct them! If you wish to purchase any images, 50p for every digital or print sold will be donated to Sam’s choice of charity, Greyhound Gap as a thank you for her assistance.

I will leave you with our Supreme Champion and Reserve! How blinking cute?!

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