The very wet spring delayed my ability to get out and visit my elder horse participants, but I have finally been able to start making some more photo shoot appointments. I have several more to schedule and I can tell that this is going to be quite an adventure for me. I continue to let this project lead me down a path to where, I do not know. It is already turning out to be one that touches the heart. I am traveling to places I have never been before. Not that they are that far away, but I just haven't had a reason to get off of the highway that would ordinarily take me right past without a glance. Some lovely farms maintained by devoted people and then there are the horses. Each one with a story to discover. What I write here is just a brief excerpt.
Jada (photos above) Recently I photographed "Jada" an amazing 39 yr old half arab gelding. Jada was born April 29, 1971. Think about it. Back during the Viet Nam war. In the days of flower power, free love and anti war protests Jada was growing up. When I arrived he was turned loose out of his paddock to join his two friends in a field below. He took an indirect route through a patch of daisies, stopped and turned to look at us as if to say "here is where I would like my portrait". I walked down below him and took some shots with him standing tall against the clouds, then he made his way down a short section of a steep hill and off to graze with his companions. He moved rather fluidly, was bright and alert and enjoying life. A very engaging horse to have a chat with. Jada has been in the same family all of his life. Bred by his owner's grandmother, Jada was Mary Gordon's FFA project horse and may yet be HER daughter's FFA project. Meeting Jada was a very special time for me.
Charlie. 25 years old. Born April 17, 1985. A bright chestnut quarter horse. A BIG boy. I took one look at him and thought roping horse and indeed he was. But his story is not a cheerful one for most of his life. Charlie was a rescue after years of abuse as a ranch horse in Nebraska. Charlie was beaten into doing man's bidding. That was his life. He is very fearful of men. Half of his tongue is missing, a souvenir of his sad life. He was rescued at age 20 where the long rehabilitation began by slowly establishing the bonds of trust. Today he lives on a peaceful arabian farm and is doted on by his owner Roxanna and her toddler daughter Lane. He looks great, is well cared for and finally loved and appears to enjoy the company of his "girls" when they come to visit him.
Bill Born in Pennsylvania 25 years
ago, also known as Starstruck, Bill is of Danish warmblood breeding. Bill is super sized and mellow in temperament. One of those big cuddly types.
He was content to wander about during his liberty session, walk and trot were his gaits despite encouragement for a canter. Figuring he was well schooled on the lunge, I asked for the canter by name and he dutifully picked it up...for four strides. They were big and in slow motion, very easy to catch with the camera before he went back to his moseying. Bill was trained through FEI dressage and schooling Grand Prix when he was diagnosed with EPM. Now recovered, he is still in work, with a few other manageable health ailments. He is still teaching his person John Craven and is going better than ever. John chalks it up to his better riding and regards Bill as his horse of a lifetime. I thought he was pretty cool too.