I'm often commissioned to photograph horses, and of course whilst I cherish spending time with as many dogs and cats as I possibly can, time spent with horses is a whole different experience for me.
There's something 'all-knowing' about being with a horse I find. There's strength and vulnerability in equal amounts and I feel, when they look at me, they're looking right into my soul. I often get really emotional on horse photo-sessions, and I have to consciously remind myself that I'm there to actually take pictures and not just look at them!
I find them incredible animals. I often think of how they've worked alongside us and with us throughout history. The pain they've endured and the strength they've given us during war time and beyond. For me the horse stands equally with the dog as Man's Best Friend.
There is no greater feeling than when any animal puts their trust in you and you can work as one with them. When I photographed Muffin, the foal below, I made very sure to stand right back and had my zoomiest lens with me. But the more I sat and watched, the more his Mum, and eventually he, allowed me into their world.
Muffin played up for the camera so much that eventually his Mum stomped her hoof and called him back to her - I don't think she was impressed with the amount of time he was giving me! I was of course overwhelmed and very grateful to both of them for giving me an amazing morning.
The gentle old souls really tug at my heart. Those who have done their work and are retired to enjoy the rest of their lives munching hay and rolling in the dust. I feel they all converse with me - I never ever push for a picture, even if I'm asked to by the owner - all the images come naturally and on the horse's terms (that's the same with all animals I photograph) this way you capture natural expressions of relaxed horses - of course, there are some that really don't want their picture taken at all!
But they still give you a cheeky glance!
My absolute favourite breed is the Friesian. One of my dreams on my Bucket List was to photograph them and I had planned for my 40th birthday to travel to Cumbria to photograph at the Friesian Experience. I was so disappointed when it didn't work out (proper sulked and everything!) Then I found out there were three Friesians just 5 minutes drive from me! Nearly a year later, just before my 41st birthday, I was able to cross out one of my dreams on my Bucket List - I'd done it!
I don't think I've ever been more in awe of an animal as I was in their presence (yes I cried!)
I mean, look!
Yes, there's something incredibly moving about spending time with horses - even when they're being goofy!