Up until 2015 my experiences around horses hadn't exactly been great. Fortunately, with a little persuasion I got back in the saddle and finally got close enough to horses to appreciate just how beautiful they are. Here's a little potted history to amuse you plus a few recent portraits.
Above | Event rider Michael Owens horse 'Bradeley Law'
Early equine interactions started when I was bitten by a horse as a child while trying to feed him. At the time I wrote this off to experience, but i didn't go near a horse again until I was nineteen.
My first experience riding a horse was during a trip to Egypt. What should have been a poetic trek around the Giza pyramids at sunset turned into ten minutes of sheer hell as the seemingly sedate horse decided to gallop towards the horizon with me clinging on for dear life. Perhaps the fact that I didn't fall off pointed to some level of natural horsemanship, but still I didn’t go near a horse for at least another decade.
Above | 'Emmsie' owned and loved by Emma Holland
Eventually my sister persuaded to sit one of my nieces' Connemara ponies. As I suspected he instinctively knew I was primarily a dog lover and dismissed my efforts to make him move forward. In fact his long and rather dismissive stare persuaded me to give up on horses for life and to lavish my attentions exclusively on much smaller mammals.
Fast forward to 2015. Fortunately and entirely due to some late-in-life horse riding lessons with Big Vinyl Art's Jon Lowe, I find myself loving all things equine. I have the accolade of managing to canter my trusty steed on our first lesson, I’ve yet to fall off and I have also completed my first 'stable' of horse portraits.
Above | Trusty Steed 'Finn' ridden by our very own Jon Lowe
I’m now a huge fan of Eventing, with several trips to Badminton, Bramham, Burghley and Blenheim under my belt. This year i’m paying back my riding lessons by volunteering my photographic talents to help out Jon, who is press officer for our wonderful local event at Kelsall Hill, plus I’m helping with his media involvement at Bolesworth International.
This autumn I’m even setting up shop at Kelsall Hill 2, showcasing my Horse and Dog portraits. How times change ;-)