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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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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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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Mum’s the word

Mothers Day is fast approaching (March 26th if you didn’t know!) If you’re just not sure what to get for your mum this year, consider getting her a photoshoot! You can always join her and her horse for some photos on the day, and what better way to show her how much you love her?

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We are all guilty of perhaps not showing our appreciation for our mum’s over the course of the year, and suddenly we can realise it’s almost been a year since we did anything special for her. This way, you can surprise her with a wonderful and personal gift, and then she gets to enjoy it on another day – why not make it a mum/daughter shoot, or even better, a mum/daughter day? Throw in a nice lunch, a makeover in the morning before the shoot, or a nice massage to round it off and make a day of it!

You can either book a shoot in, or I offer gift vouchers, which come boxed and gift wrapped, for just £5.00. These can be sent with a booking letter to yourself to give, or if you prefer I can post them direct to the recipient.

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So let’s celebrate our mum this year, and say thank you for getting us into this horsey world, supporting us through our own ups and downs, highs, lows and everything in between. Even if you’re not a horsey person yourself, let your mum celebrate her sanctuary that is the yard, with her horse, where she gets that 5 minutes to herself and away from all of the craziness we give her, whatever age we are! I know now that as a mum myself, it doesn’t matter how old my little girl grows, I will never ever stop loving her, worrying about her, and looking after her, wherever she or we may be.

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Quote “ILOVEMUM” when booking, to receive £20 off a 2 hour photoshoot. Vouchers available, and valid for 12 months. 

Bookings now being taken for Spring/Summer 2017

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Hedge hoppers

Let me set the scene. 

It’s a brisk but bright Sunday morning. You’re looking out over your beautiful rolling hills, complete with well kept hedgerows, having a cuppa after you’ve turned out your horses for the day. The breeze is chilly as the first horseboxes arrive, and you can start to feel a buzz of excitement and trepidation building. Horses are unloaded, more boxes arrive, and the hum is taking hold. People bustle around tacking this horse up, putting those boots on, getting numbers. Off to the warm-up to get everyone in sync, and then to pull each other round the course, words of encouragement and “keep up!” ring loud and clear (and a few “I don’t know where I’m going!!” “LEFT! GO LEEEFFTT!”).

Yes, spirits run high. As high as the fences. This isn’t just any event – this is team chasing. 

You’d be forgiven for thinking that these riders were here to pop the cross country fences scattered throughout the fields at Semer, should you have arrived on the off-chance of catching some fun horse riding. What these riders come out for is something much more than that – the hunt without hunting, the challenge of being against the clock, against the other teams, of making it around the course as heart-stoppingly fast as possible, over dense hedgerows lining fields, that snake up and down across the rolling countryside. I can only imagine the adrenaline rush at the end when you’ve made it round with your team members alongside you! For jumping is something I love to watch, but will likely never do to any dizzy heights.

This is an event I first discovered last year, and waddled around in my 5 months pregnant state, and when it came up again this year there was no debate on whether I would be coming back! The aim of the game is to get your team (minimum 3 people, ideally 4!) around the course in the fastest time. If you’ve never experienced team chasing before, I strongly urge you to get out and watch it when they’re competing in your area. I promise you won’t regret it.

I was most excited that I undertook my first two live facebook broadcasts whilst we were at Semer. Whilst I apologise that they weren’t groundbreaking or hugely exciting, this was a big step for me – there will be more videos to come in the future! Keep an eye on my facebook page, you never know when I might pop up next.

Of course I couldn’t attend without my camera to capture some of the action, so here are a few of my favourites from the day. You can see more on my Facebook Page, link below.

If you like these images, you can find more on my social media pages and website:

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Waiting list available for snow photoshoots – subscribe below! Don’t forget, if you also subscribe to my mailing list on my website you could win a FREE 2 hour photoshoot!

Submit now to avoid disappointment, and hopefully I will be in touch!

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Stubble Trouble – Sarah & Millie

A couple of weekends ago we finally got to make this shoot happen. It had been on the cards for a while, but what with a whole lot of life getting in the way, and then Millie chipping a bone in her ankle (amazingly non-horse riding related!) it just hadn’t quite come to fruition.

It was a last minute decision on the day to go out whilst we still could, before all of the golden grounds are ploughed for the winter. This was how it started on location:

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It wasn’t quite what we were hoping for, but the girls sat it out in the trailer at the parking point whilst I watched on closer to our shooting location, waiting for the patch of blue sky to come to us! About 15 minutes later, I got a Whatsapp of Franks tacked up and gazing across the fields and the shoot was on.

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Sarah and Franks have been together for a long time, and you wouldn’t imagine that he’s the same horse that she was told wouldn’t be able to do much 10 years ago. Sarah has put in a lot of time and lessons to learn how to teach him to move correctly, and it has truly paid off. After a recent dressage holiday, Sarah came home inspired and raring to go. Franks has been returning to his fancy dressage moves, and is currently very proud of his developing Spanish Walk! He’s also very good at sniffing out pocket treats and loves a good pocket snuffle, but you just can’t say no!

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Millie has had Bailey for a couple of years now, and has already done a lot of work with him. As a 5 year old he had done some showjumping, and was used to being ridden out on his own. He’s had to learn to share his space and trust Millie and other horses out with him. He has a cheeky attitude, is a natural born poser, and even managed to smile for the camera whilst cantering across the stubble field. Now there’s a talent! We were also very lucky to get this shoot in before Bailey injured his foot, as he has since been in on box rest, and only been back out for a few days. Thankfully he’s on the mend, and hopefully Millie will be back in the saddle very soon.

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Bookings being taken for Winter 2016 – contact me for more information, or to book your shoot today.

Waiting list also now available for snow photoshoots.

Submit now to avoid disappointment, and I will be in touch!

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Posing with your pony

Don’t point that camera at me!

Sound familiar? I know it can be daunting getting in front of a camera lens, but this is your shoot, and we all want you to get the best out of it.

My main bit of advice to you is to relax. I like to think I’m quite personable and easy to get on with, so just treat it a bit like any other day at the yard/beach/forest and relax. If you’re relaxed your horse will be more at ease. There is no time limit to your shoot so there’s no need to stress about your horse being tricky, we will take the time it takes. Rest assured you will come away from your shoot with some beautiful images.

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Whilst I don’t expect your equine friend to be polished and preened to HOYS standard, I would recommend that you spend a bit of time preparing them for their moment in the spotlight. There are things that I can tidy up in post processing, but I don’t want to spend hours cleaning your horses stable stains up – I get to do that in real life with my own horse!

Talk to me. I absolutely love hearing about your pride and joy, your highs and lows, their niggles and habits and how you came to be a pair. Not only do all of us horsey people love to talk about our neddies, it will also help put you at ease. Win win! This also helps me when I come to write up my blog about your shoot.

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Posing really is the last of your worries. The wonderful thing about your equine photoshoot is that you have your horse with you. The usual question in portrait photography is what to do with your hands and arms. With your shoot you’ll have no such problem as you will likely be holding your lead rope or reins. Even at liberty we would stick to keeping it natural, whether this be holding your horses head to go in for a smooch or leaning in for that cuddle.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss further and book your photoshoot. I will always contact you once your booking request is received to discuss location, participants and any special requirements you may have.


Laura Fiddaman Equine Photographer

In the beginning…

I wanted to let you in on me a little. Why should you commit such a special experience to an absolute stranger? How did I start this anyway? Am I really an actual person behind my laptop?

It’s all thanks to my friend Sarah and my sister that I have set out on this adventure. I’ve always had an interest in photography, and love taking photos (obviously, this goes without saying!) My little sister’s Nikon DSLR was regularly “borrowed” to mess around with different images and ideas, before I took the plunge and bought my own. My journey with capturing horses on camera began with some fun trips out with Sarah and our boys, having them play supermodel in the bluebells. This didn’t involve people and ponies, just the boys striking poses in the dapples and looking darn handsome. I’ve had to rope the people in and convince them that it’s really not a big deal, and if their horse can do it then so can they 🙂 I think they bought it!

Since then I’ve been having fun photographing various lessons, clinics & friends with their horses to try and establish my own style. I am the first to admit that I love a good crop – I like close ups, details, and trying to show the emotion between horse and human. Fear not, there will be shots that show your whole horse too!

After the arrival of our little girl in May this year, my husband Jim and I had a few wonderful days of being new parents before complications arose and I suffered severe blood clotting through my left leg which put the brakes on our lives for a few weeks, stopped Laura Fiddaman Photography getting out there, and ultimately wiped out my summer calendar. Fast forward to October, and I’m back in the saddle, and well on the way to getting back to normal. I can honestly say it was a pretty scary time, but it’s really made me appreciate so much more in life. It’s also made me even more determined to get out there and do what I love to do.

Being around horses is my time to relax. Having a Welsh D cross cob myself, I’ve learned a lot about patience and calmness. I’d like to think that this would reflect in photographs of us together if I were to get someone to do a photoshoot starring us. I’m a sucker for horse talk, and I love to hear people gushing about their horse and this wonderful thing that they’ve done together, the milestone that they’ve made it to, or that exciting thing they’re going to do next weekend. A new term I’ve started using for this is “yarding” – why? Because it sounds better than “chatting and getting nothing practical done”! What do you think of when you think about you and your horse? Do you see a ball of excitability, a quiet trusting cuddle, a flat-out hoon across that awesome stubble field, or maybe you see years of work and love, and blood, sweat and tears? Leave me a comment below.

When I’m not around horses, you can now find me singing nursery rhymes to my baby girl Eliza, watching Masterchef Australia, or eating too much chocolate whilst drinking too much coca cola (the full fat stuff – gasp!). Generally, you might even find me doing all three of these things at once!

So this is me in a nutshell! I look forward to getting to know you and your horses, and hope to hear from you soon.


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Grooming must-haves!

I felt compelled to write this blog after I discovered Hands On Gloves, and found them to be ah-mazing! So I thought why not have a look through my kit and see what other goodies are available on the market now to help us keep our neddies looking beautiful.

#1 – Obviously – Hands On Gloves

These were priceless to me when I was pregnant (how many times did I drop a brush and have to bend down to pick it up before I got these??) They have a velcro strap to fasten, much like riding gloves, and the nobbles on the palms and fingers lift dirt quickly and easily. You can find out more at http://handsongloves.com/  – they can be bought at Horse Health for £18.95

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#2 – Backpack Groom n Vac

Are you kidding me? You can now vacuum your horse clean – this sounds much quicker and easier than scrubbing away for hours after your horse comes in caked in dust and dirt. I’m not how sure this would fare in the wetter months, but what a novelty! Learn more and buy at Backpack Groomer – £199.00

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#3 – SleekEZ

Much like the HandsOn Gloves, the SleekEZ blade is a simple concept designed to speed up ridding your horse’s coat of that pesky dirt and dust, and comes highly recommended for shedding your horses hair. The reviews have been fabulous, and you can even use it on your dog or cat so why not learn more at SleekEZ.com or purchase online at Wright Equine – from £19.95 RRP

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#4 – Silverfeet Hoof Balm

A natural hoof balm with silver ions to help keep your horses feet looking and feeling great. Please note that this alone is not a guarantee of healthy feet, but supports a healthy feeding and care routine. The tubs of balm go a long way, and come in four different colours! For more information, visit Silverfeet.com or visit your local stockist (your farrier may even be able to supply this to you!) from £10.50 RRP

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#5 – Masterclip Showmate Cordless Trimmer

These little clippers are great for tidying up fetlocks, legs, hogged manes and faces. I recently chopped my Welsh cob’s feathers off with scissors and took off the last inch or so with this little beauty. The battery life is fantastic, they’re very quiet which is great for nervous horses, and I think they prove great value for their £54.99 RRP. Replacement blades can be purchased from £18.99. They also come in a choice of three colours! Find out more at Masterclip.co.uk

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#6 – NAF Silky Mane & Tail D-Tangler

I wouldn’t be without this in my grooming kit. Even if you’re in a rush and won’t be brushing it through, this works wonders with my cob’s thick tail. It has a pleasant smell, and leaves your horse shiny and tangle free with minimal effort – RRP £11.60/750ml spray bottle

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Happy purchasing and grooming! If you have a gadget or grooming tool that you just can’t live without, please share in the comments below so that we can all enjoy the goodies.

Now that your horse is ready to be beautiful, shiny and clean, contact me to discuss and book your photoshoot today!


Laura Fiddaman Equine Photographer