Horses have always intrigued me, their majestic elegance and quiet curiosity unfailingly evoking a sense of awe. The opportunity to intimately know these resplendent creatures materialized during a photo shoot at Potten Farm Equestrian, turning a newfound fascination into a captivating equine photography adventure.
In the past, I viewed horses as enormous, faithful pets, akin to dogs too large to be housebound. This experience transformed my perspective. They were not just carriers or cart pullers but intelligent, empathetic beings offering therapeutic healing. The term Hippotherapy, derived from the Greek for “treatment with the help of horses,” involves healing patients with disorders like autism, arthritis, strokes, and head injuries. These magnificent beings are not just companions, but helpers and healers of the body and soul.
As an equine photographer, my challenge was to go beyond capturing a beautiful montage of hooves and mane. I yearned to encapsulate the spirit of this majestic creature in my lens.
Harley, my equine subject, left an unforgettable impression. His inherent warmth kindled an immediate bond. Generally, horses are social creatures, often seen grazing quietly in companionable clusters. However, Harley was an exception. His fellow horses had estranged him, forcing him into isolation. This heart-wrenching reality cast a melancholic shadow over this magnificent Irish Hunter, making human companions his only solace.
Harley posed patiently, his rich coat gleaming under the sunlight, his thick mane rustling gently in the breeze. But I didn’t merely want to capture his physical beauty. I strived to chronicle the soft intensity in his eyes, the almost perceptible half-smile whenever my lens turned his way. Harley embodied a paradoxical blend of spirited enthusiasm and profound empathy. One moment he was a playful partner, the next a sagacious confidante. Harley demanded acknowledgement, respect, and love in his solitary existence.
“Animal portraiture, like a mirror, reflects the soul, if we dare to look.“
My time with Harley enriched my understanding of equine photography. I gleaned insights not just about horses but about the necessity to unveil their spirit before capturing them through the lens. Like humans, animals reveal their authentic selves when we establish trust and offer a piece of ourselves in return.
Carol J. Walker’s book, “The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers,” was a tremendous aid in preparing for my equine photography journey. I recommend it to all equine enthusiasts for its insightful revelations about these magnificent beings.