Togs in Tidmarsh

Raspberry and I took a day trip to Tidmarsh last month, where we caught up with fellow equine photographers Rose Lewis, Katie Mortimore and Louise Groom. You can tell it’s going to be a good day when the only delay on the M25 is a mere 15 minutes and still moving at 30mph!

Rose had kindly offered to arrange a client and location for us to all meet at for an afternoon of photographing and exchanging ideas. Unfortunately our original model Ed had an accident and was rushed into the vets – I hope he’s on the mend now Michelle! Luckily Becky and Holly came to the rescue with Breeze and Gypsy, and we caught up with them after a spot of lunch ready for some shoot time.

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It was so interesting seeing how the other ladies worked on shoot, and a fantastic opportunity for me to improve on your photoshoot experience and make my job even better moving forward! I’m very lucky to have found a group of photographers who enjoy sharing knowledge, and helping one another out, which can be very tough when there’s so much competition out there. It’s also great fun when there are other photographers to catch you in action – Goofy decided this was a great time to come over and join in with the advice-giving. Thanks to Katie for this goofy image of me!

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The best thing about the day was learning, and despite there being four photographers in the same location, shooting the same subjects, it’s been great to see the different results. It’s also this difference in final images that prompts me to encourage you all to choose the right photographer for you! My clients choose me for the images I produce, in my style – that’s not to say that you will all want images that look like this, and that’s OK! Life would be pretty boring if everyone liked the same things. If in doubt, pop me a message, have a chat, and we can take it from there.

It was also the perfect excuse to test out my wonderful new bit of kit, and get to grips with my camera mount to allow me to record your photoshoot experiences. You can see the footage below:

 

Sorry ladies – you’re all in front of the camera this time! I even got some snaps of Katie, Rose and Louise making friends with everyone on site too.

The brainstorming hasn’t ended here though, we still keep in touch regularly and support one another, and I’m so pleased to have an amazing group of people I can turn to for help, advice and a good old natter! It’s all about the collaboration, not the competition – we are each our own USP, and I love it!

Raspberry and Dollsberry even posed for their own photograph at the end of the day – before deciding that posing was far too much like hard work!

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Me and Rio strut our stuff

After weeks in the making, spending time preparing Rio for his time in the spotlight, and nowhere near enough time thinking about my own outfits, at the end of last month, we welcomed Gemma to the yard for our very own photoshoot! Three baths, 2 clipping sessions and strategic rugging in the days beforehand, Rio was looking beautiful.

I never have a second thought about telling you all not to worry about your shoot – whether you’re worrying about your outfit, your horse misbehaving, the weather, or just don’t know what to expect. That didn’t stop me from experiencing last minute nerves, even though I knew we would have a fab time!

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Once Rio had got through his initial munching of the plentiful grass around the yard, getting me a bit warm in the process, we managed to get some sensible shots from him. Number one tip learned – have a tissue with you to dab at shiny spots on your face! After we headed out and had some fun in the long grass, we went back into the barn for some quiet time and some cuddles, resulting in my absolute favourite image of the shoot.

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I had flower garlands to hand (watch out for these to pop up in some of my own shoots) and Rio did a great job of posing with the help of the All Ears Selfie app. He was particularly fond of the donkey noise! I’m pretty sure he was almost falling asleep by this point, so we decided it was time to head out and try some ridden shots as he was clearly nice and relaxed.

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The boy did me proud, and stood like a total rock whilst I wobbled around on the straw bales stacked in the jumping arena to get on him. I’m just so graceful! He posed patiently whilst I lounged all over him and gave him lots of cuddles, and even popped in a bit of fun when he stepped up on the straw bales stacked up out on the stubble field!

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All in all, we had a fantastic time on the other side of the camera, and I love the results. Thank you Gemma – I can’t wait to return the favour on the weekend!

Gemma is an equine portrait photographer, and country wedding photographer, covering mainly Suffolk and Bedfordshire. If you’d like to know more about Gemma you can find her at https://www.heelsandhorseshoes.com or on Facebook and Instagram.

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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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Rio’s Recap #6

Finally! I get to tell you about my week. Mum told me I had to wait until my photos (yes – MY photos! Woohoo!) were ready to post on here.

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It started out a normal week, me and mum did some work in the school on Monday after some rain, so it was nice under-hoof. It was going nicely, I had picked up a perfect rhythm and was trotting around singing my happy tune until I realised I was dying to go to the toilet. Do you think I could go? It’s been really uncomfortable recently and a proper struggle at times and this was one of those times. After a few minutes of trying mum said we had to give up and get on, and then she picked up that darn stick again!

Sod rhythm, she obviously wanted more forward. Apparently not though, she wants something in between the two. I mean honestly, I want to eat all the grass and treats in the world and not get tummy ache, but we can’t all have what we want.

We had a nice hack out with Bailey this week too, and did some fun cantering, I got a bit excitable, but kept it mainly controlled as I don’t want mum to stop letting me have a hoon. She can be a bit of a spoil sport sometimes… (sorry mum…)

I thought we were going to go for another ride on Thursday, but just ended up getting another bath. Thanks mum. I’ll show you what I think of that…

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I’m standing up at the barn waiting to be tacked up, and then I spot auntie Sarah and her trailer coming up the track. What’s this all about?

WELL

I GOT TO GO PLAY ON CROSS COUNTRY JUMPS!!!

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It was the best fun EVER!

Mum said I had to take care of auntie Sarah, so I tried my very best to keep hold of her at all times. I think she nearly wobbled off a couple of times, but we held it together all the way around. I might have spooked her a bit at the beginning though. We went trotting up to the first jump, and I’ve never done this before, so I thought I’d better stop and check what it was I was throwing myself over. I had a quick check and it all looked good, so I popped straight on over – I think I took her by surprise! Sorry!

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I must have done good though – all I could see of mum behind her big lens was a huge grin, and I kept getting told I was a good boy and getting lots of pats. My favourite bit was the big step down into the empty waterhole. Freaking awesome. Hop down, hoon up two steps wooooo! I can’t wait to go again.

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Rio’s Recap #3

Hey everyone! I’m loving life this week, I’ve been a gentleman of leisure hanging out in the field. On Tuesday I snuck under the fence into the middle part of my field where all the tasty grass is. Mum turned up soon after though with breakfast, and whilst I was eating she closed the fence up again. That’s OK, I’d had a snack and felt much better.

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On Wednesday Mum and I headed into the school to do some more work on bending and transitions. I was being good and doing what she asked, but kept it to a minimum – the school’s a bit deep at the moment! Mum’s been a bit worried since the saddle pad thing that I’m not feeling comfortable, and she wanted to find out if I am or not. For some reason, to do that she decided to pick up the long schooling stick from the fence.

Well, I’m not used to her carrying anything so I went for it! We’d already done some walk, trot and canter, and now that I’m finding cantering a bit easier I figured that’s what she wanted me to do. Even if I do say so myself, I did an awesome halt to canter – I just got a bit carried away before I realised mum was actually asking for trot. I remembered how to move in a much more forwardy way, or that’s something like what I heard mum saying anyway. Plus I have to admit it was a bit easier to trot when I put a bit more effort in. She told Auntie Millie she’ll be getting the stick out again to find my go button in the school. Whatever that means. I’ll show you my go button!

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Anyway after all the excitement Mum let her legs swing so we could have a chill out and walk around a few times. She’s so confusing though, as soon as she lets her legs hang it feels funny so I stop in case she’s feeling wobbly, but I don’t think she always wants me to stop. Then if we’re trotting and she’s wobbly I don’t always stop straight away and she starts saying “whoooa, and waaalk”. I just can’t win!

The rest of the week was quiet, muggy and filled with flies – so I had the joy of wearing my super attractive (ha!) Shires sweet itch rug. It’s way more comfortable than my fly rug last year, and it even covers my whole neck. My old one got all stretched and always slipped half way down. It was the little person’s birthday this weekend I’m told. Mum said she’ll put some photos here as apparently you might like to see them.

Totally unfair. I turned 8 last month. I didn’t have a party. I didn’t even get a cake or card. They even had carrots! Can you believe it? I mean, I don’t get carrots anyway, but come on!

Mum finally took some photos for me yesterday, although she decided that she wanted to be in them with me, and seems to have taken a sarcastic one when I turned away to ask for a bum scratch… Thanks for that! She said she’ll take some proper ones soon. So here’s us enjoying the evening sunshine. See you next week!

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Rio’s Recap – #1

Rio's Recap

Well finally, mum’s let me loose on her blog. She promised I’d get a say a couple of weeks ago but “just hasn’t gotten around to it”! I mean, can you believe it?

I’m Rio, and mum says I’m the handsomest Welshie cross in the world – I’m pretty sure she says that to try and keep me sweet. I know her games, you know! I’m one of a kind, me. I can’t be played!

So I’ll start with a bit of a recap on me and mum – you can read more about our first few months together on mum’s old blog here. We’ve had ups and downs, and I may have accidentally dropped her a couple of times, but she always forgives me in the end. We started a new adventure at a new home after Christmas last year, and I’m loving my new yard. There’s loads of lovely ladies here, and obviously they all love a bit of me in all of my flashy glory. There’s also some little person that keeps coming down to see me with mum, in a big red wheely contraption. Mum always insists on putting it right in front of me at breakfast when she’s changing my rugs! Mostly there’s a bit of gurgling, but I’m not so impressed when I’m disturbed by whinging…

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Mum said I needed to have my hair clipped off again as it was getting warm, and I was really good letting her clip my body and face. I’d never had my face clipped before. It was a bit buzzy, and my face felt funny afterwards, but I still stood there like a champ. She brought me in a couple of days later and started hacking at my legs, and it pulled! Even with new blades on! Mum apologised and she needed to bath me but couldn’t as it was too cold, and carried on pulling away. I tried my best to stand still but it wasn’t very nice. She even went and got her noisy clippers with the wires, and they still weren’t going anywhere. Over 3 hours I stood there! At least it was worth it though – everyone keeps telling me I look very handsome.

We’ve been out exploring loads since I moved home, it’s been fun! Mum’s also been making me work sometimes in the fenced working place, and for some reason got a bit excited the first time she got us out of it without getting off me. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I mean it’s only a gate. But whatever keeps her happy!

I’m pretty excited as I think I’m going to get to do jumping now. Auntie Sarah came over to take me over some poles and cross poles the other day, and I’m way braver than I used to be. It was awesome. Then she came back on Sunday and we played with some bigger cross poles, and even a straight pole and I jumped over a hay bale. It’s nothing really. Mum says she’ll put a video of it here:

Mum – I really need some photos to use on my blogs please. Everyone else has photos, I want some!

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Location hunting

Hi guys! I just wanted to let you know that if you’re out hacking, or even driving to and from your yard and spot somewhere that’s not “on the doorstep” that you should still mention it to me!

As a horse owner myself, I’m no stranger to walking (back and forth, forgot the hay, better go back again… headcollar is still on the peg in the barn, off I go again… and long lining, whose great idea is that one when you get half way around??) so I really don’t mind walking to get you that perfect shot. If you’re not sure if it will work well for your photos, why not snap  it on your mobile phone and I can soon advise if it will be worth the walk!

Bookings now being taken for Spring/Summer 2017 – limited dates available for April/May

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Be a happy, happy hacker!

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I want to celebrate everyone who doesn’t go out competing and winning the ribbons from week to week. Too often, and myself included, when asked what we do with our horses, we respond with a slightly downbeat “oh, we just hack really”. There’s so much placed upon those of us horsey people who get out there in front of the crowds, and I have a lot of respect for these people, but let’s not underestimate what it takes to be a happy hacker!

Whether you hack alone or in company, it can take a lot of steel to tack up and ride out around the local area. Roads nowadays seem to be getting more and more dangerous with people reporting more accidents, but for some of us there aren’t other options. We saddle up, get ourselves kitted out in the biggest brightest hi viz we can, and we take our horses out for a ride.

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You can’t beat the feeling of being out in the open countryside if you have hacking available to you. The crunch of a gravel path, hooves pounding across the open fields, cantering across rolling hills and overseeing the beautiful views of our country. Perhaps a nice quiet walk through the woods is more your cup of tea, taking in that heady woodland scent and the quiet rustling of the branches as you duck and dive those pesky overgrowing twigs.

Just watch out for the wildlife. You know – the pheasants that like to leave it to the last second to pounce on you out of the closest overgrowth, the deer who might be horse-eating monsters as they bound alongside, pigs snuffling away (clearly threatening!), maybe even a herd of noisy cows, and all of the other little critters you might have the pleasure of encountering.

Yes, there’s much more to hacking than we give ourselves credit for. So next time somebody asks you what you and your horse get up to, be proud when you declare that you are indeed a Happy hacker. Why not share your favourite hacking moment with us?

Bookings now being taken for Spring/Summer 2017

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Quickfire Questions

Quickfire Questions.png#equinebusinessalphabet letter Q – some quickfire questions about myself!

1. What’s your philosophy in life?

You only live once, count your blessings, not your problems. Count your own blessings, not someone else’s. Remember that jealousy is when you count someone else’s blessings instead of your own.

2. What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?

I’d like to be able to function better with less sleep!

3. Are you religious or spiritual?

I’m not religious, but I do think there’s more to this world than meets the eye.

4. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Quite introverted except for certain situations… Road rage anyone?

5. What’s an ideal weekend for you?

Family, horses, food, friends… In any order! Love a meal out.

6. What do you think of best friends of the opposite sex?

Is it any different to same sex best friends?

7. Do you judge a book by its cover?

I always try not to, but I’m only human. Everyone has their story tell – that’s what I’m here to do!

8. Are you confrontational?

Nope. Hate confrontation.

9. What are you most thankful for?

My little girl being healthy, and my husband being beyond patient and letting me have my horse of a lifetime.

10. Do you believe in second chances?

Yes. I got one after my DVT, and it’s made me appreciate life so much more.

11. Do you have any pets?

Yes – 1 horse (Rio – welsh D x) 2 guinea pigs (Coheed & Cambria) 2 cats (Baby & Mary Jane)

12. What’s your favourite colour?

Purple.

13. Dream holiday destination?

I really want to visit Borneo and the Maldives. I’d also love to take Jim to Australia with me, I didn’t manage to climb the Harbour bridge 8 years ago and it would be amazing to be able to do that with him ❤

14. Hot or cold?

Hot.

15. Books or magazines?

Books.

16. Tea or coffee?

Tea. White with 2. The one time I had coffee I had heart palpitations and felt so sick!

17. Marshmellow or flake?

Marshmellow.

18. Night in or night out?

Generally I’m quite happy having a night in snuggling up on the sofa, but the odd night out here and there don’t go amiss!

19. Canon or Nikon?

Nikon!

20. Town or countryside?

Countryside. I love being out in the country, and would love to one day move out to a little village somewhere!

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Life Goals

Letter L – Life Goals #equinebusinessalphabet

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What better day to reflect on what I’d wish for in my life than Christmas Day?! Merry Christmas to one and all, I hope you are all having a wonderful day and eating and drinking plenty!

Recently in one of the facebook groups I am a part of, we have been encouraged to think about our goals for 2017. I struggle with assessing myself and putting the pressure on, but what I’d really love to do is have the time to spend with my little girl as she grows up, whilst photographing you lovely people with your gorgeous horsey pals.

2016 has been a big year of change for me, and in 2017 I’d like to make all of this change a positive. I’d like to balance my family and work life better, especially now that we have this precious young lady to nurture and bring up, and I’d like to be able to balance that with a job that I’m passionate about.

If you’d like to book a shoot for 2017 please see the links below for more information.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas, and I’d love it if you shared some of your Christmas Day tales, gifts, and traditions! Have you been for your Christmas hack yet?

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