My Photo Shoot, My Horse, Our Story

As an equine photographer I meet a lot of horse owners and their beloved equines and they all have a story. Some longer, some shorter, some more dramatic than others, but all include love for the horse, passion for the sport and true horsemanship, wanting to excel in the field and to provide the best care for our four legged friend!

Broker and I are no different. We had a rough start, to say the least!

Back in 2007, Broker finally arrived at my barn in Las Vegas from Iowa after a long two day ride in a trailer. As soon as he was unloaded I noticed open wounds, scraps and blood on his hind legs with his leg wraps hanging half off. The driver said he was kicking a lot during the ride. Finding out later, that this transportation company put a stallion, a mare and him together in one trailer! Go figure…

 

 

The next few months turned into a night mare. This sweet horse I fell in love with, because of his gentle spirit and friendly demeanor, was nothing like it. A total change in behavior and I just couldn’t figure out what made him so angry. Broker and his first owner Laural showed regularly at Iowa State Fairs and other show grounds, so he was definitely used to going to new places and getting adjusted easily.
Days and weeks went by, and his legs healed up just fine but he still had a little limb and dragged his hind, but otherwise I thought he was just fine, physically. Didn’t really think much of it. Every time I wanted to ride him, he either did not move or threw his entire body up against a fence or railing to get me off! He was stubborn, pushy and dominant. He did it even to my trainer, who then told me he is too dangerous to ride and that he needed to be retrained to get him even sold again! OMG,  what the heck did I do? I just bought him, I don’t want to sell him! I was so sad and in tears, not knowing what to do next with him.

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I realized his limb on his hind leg more and more and decided to get it checked out. Well, it wasn’t that easy. For those who ever dealt with a lameness issue know, it could be from anything and come from anywhere. So after several weeks of tests and exams, we finally found that a pelvic fracture was causing his pain and behavioral issues. WOW, now I felt really terrible that I even tried to ride him!  No wonder he was pissed at me trying to get on him with a broken bone! Now, at the sudden everything just made total sense. His transport to Vegas was obviously everything but smooth and he must have gotten hurt really bad on the way to Vegas.

So, long story short…I gave Broker what he needed, at least 3 months of pasture time to heal!

After his recovery, we started all over again and it seemed like I had the old horse back that I first met! I continued to focus on natural horsemanship which totally helped me to understand his dominant behavior and knowing what to do, when and how to act around him without being intimidated! And for a while I went so “Parelli-crazy” that I went to the Colorado campus, and we finished Level 1 & 2. And back then, “YouTube” was like the newest thing to do, so making home videos with us was a no brainer! Here is a link to one of them…back from 2009. WOW…don’t you love looking at old and cheesy videos? I am so glad I have them 🙂

 

 

Fast forward to today…I finally had my own photo shoot with him! I could not wait to put that pretty bridle on him that I purposely bought for that occasion! I have been planning this since I was planning the Wedding (looong time ago) and wanted to make it part of it. I just had to convince Ashleigh, our wedding photographer to do it, which was as easy as pie.

Broker had a few ups and downs this summer, including two serious colic’s. I got absolutely terrified at the thought that I might lose him. But it also made me realize that every moment we have together, might be the last; and that moments can become memories in just seconds! I am so thankful I did the photo shoot, having these amazing images to hang on my wall to dwell over!

There is only one Broker and I absolutely love this boy!

It was definitely a great experience to go through the time line as an equine photographer, knowing what to do when and how to stay organized to ensure a successful shoot. It was a great eye opener and helped me to understand my clients so much better in so many ways. Although I have a “Prep List” for my clients, I will put a more detailed “How to get ready” check list together which will help future clients tremendously!

 

 

Behind every photo shoot, there are many helpers that partake in the success of the photo shoot. Without them, nothing would go the way they go – smooth! Kimberly and John Sweatt welcomed me like family, opened up their stunning horse property for our shoot and gave me the best back drops I could have wished for! John even mowed the entire pasture hours before and made it look like a PGA golf course.
Lisa Singer was my hands-on person, assisting me with Broker and was a champion behind the camera getting Broker’s attention. And so did Kim with her adorable little horsey toy! My husband was the carrier of things, including me (literally) and even got me up on Broker in my tight wedding dress. See photo below 🙂 And my long time hair dresser Danielle Layman didn’t mind having me over at her house on a Sunday afternoon to do my hair.

Broker Anett Dave on him (1 of 1)

And of course, our awesome photographer Ashleigh, who was up for the challenge to take these amazing images of us!  She definitely blew me away with her detailed eye and beautiful shots, keeping in mind she does not know horses. She did such a wonderful job, I could not have done it any better!

I hope that one day, I can convince Ashleigh to get on Broker, so she can feel what we all feel when we are on top of our beautiful creatures…

to feel the horse with our soul!

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A very rare AND special mare…for sure

Stacie told me some interesting facts about her two horses Poet and Zeus over the phone and then in person when I met her. But I must admit, I didn’t know half of her story until days after the photo shoot. It is an inspirational story about overcoming severe challenges and obstacles…to say the least.

Stacies owns this beautiful 10 year old Arabian Bay Mare “Poetic Kharma” aka Poet, who is covered in blue ribbons, won four Championship titles including Region 4 – Horse of the Year for USEF in 2012! Absolutely impressive! I barely could keep up with taking notes as Stacey is telling me about her successful showing career. Then finding out that Poet is also one of the very rare mares that has gone through the Oldenburg NA Inspection and as a purebred Arabian was fully accepted into the Oldenburg Main Mare Book, missing Premium mare by mere points. Now I was speechless!

With Ben, her husband and Annelise, her trainer in tow we moved to a perfect outdoor spot to take the first photos.  Poet is no “Newbie” when it comes to posing in front of the camera and totally cooperated with whatever we asked her to do.

Then we also included Ben, who by the way carries almost as many titles as Poet after his name, DVM, Ph.D., MPH…just to name a few.

Now it was time for Zeus, her young Warmblood. She quickly changed into her dressage outfit and we continued taking photos. She bred him herself and she has high hopes for him to become the next Dressage Star. She LOVES his big movement and playfulness!

By now, the sun almost set and I wanted to get a few nice sunset shots. So we moved Zeus into a paddock area where he could show off his moves!

Then right before the sun went down, I took this photo…

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A few days later, when I finished editing the shoot, I knew I had some really nice photos of Poet! I decided to contact the editor of the Arabian Horse Magazine to see if they might have some interest in Poet’s photos as she was not just any horse! After I heard back that they definitely would like to run a story on her, Stacie then emailed more information to them and copied me. It was definitely heart breaking and emotional to read…

Poet was in a terrible accident after her “Horse of the Year” title and broke a lumbar vertebra joint on her left side of her back. The next two years Stacie and Ben spent endless hours of giving her the best care, getting the right diagnostics and tests done including a bone scan and ultrasound. Stacie, at the same time, developed a very painful chronic disorder and had a tough time dealing with it where she lived, up North in Washington.

After moving to Nevada and hopes that she might be able to ride Poet again, she got even more bad news. Poet developed insulin resistance and foundered! AND to top it off, she also developed an intestinal impaction that became so badly infected that she ended up in Intensive Care for 5 days where she almost lost her!
Stacie then continued: ” I remember going into her stall where she was hooked up to I.V’s and hugging her and telling her I won’t give up on her if she won’t give up on me.

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Now, as I am looking at her photographs and knowing the extreme struggle they both went through until this day, I know how much this one of a kind Mare Poet means to her! I am glad she has beautiful images of Poet to cherish forever.

There is one more thing about Poet: While she is not completely back of being her old self, she is an Equine Therapy Horse in conjunction with The Center for Hope in Reno for patients with severe eating disorders. She gives them confidence by helping people overcome their fear of horses and sharing her kind soul.

A VERY RARE AND SPECIAL MARE…FOR SURE!