Don’t you just love a couple with a love story and Eric and Anna’s story is certainly one of those. Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting them and photographing them.
I had already been treated to what a delight of a location Eric lived at when I met Vicki and Grace not that long ago. Their story can be found over on the blog. My second trip back to the yard was just as glorious. The heat wave had finally broken and it was a little overcast. This isn’t a problem as it means we can use any location we like! Whereas when it’s sunny you get a bit more limited by glare and shadows. The blue flowers had lost their pop as we were a couple of weeks down the line but we had the river to make up for it!
Anna and Eric: Too smart for us
Anna told me a little about Eric, a 17-year-old bay gelding, who is such a character. I say that about a lot of my models but as I was chatting to Anna he hooked his head over my shoulder and pulled me in for a cuddle. How could I say no lol. Anna explained that he is the most affectionate horse and just loves people. He was positively gleaming and I do love it when my models are polished to perfection.
We had a run through of what Anna was hoping from the shoot, the key words were relaxed and natural with a black background one please. Perfect! So, we popped a bridle on Eric and closed the barn doors behind him. He stood like a statue for us and he was a bit too clever for our all ears app. Finally, the squeaker got him looking and I was confident we’d nailed it.
Anna and Eric: Paddling
Then we headed down to the river. Anna explained that Eric had been recently retired. He’d been diagnosed with arthritis and they only found this out when he started refusing show jumps. He’d competed all the way up to Foxhunter and even finished 6thin the main ring at Hickstead. Sadly, his show jumping career was cut short and he is enjoying a slower pace of life.
It was a touch and go summer for Eric. The hard ground had made him really sore and he’d lost his zest for life. Anna and her farrier had a good chat and they fitted him with some pads, suspecting the ground was making him miserable. Touch wood it’s been 2 weeks since then and he was very much full of the joys of spring during the shoot.
The river has been a source of relief for Eric and he loves nothing more than simply standing in the stream snorkelling for weeds. Both Anna and I ended up with very wet feet and Anna even hopped on bareback for some pictures. Laughing and giggling the whole time this is why I love these sessions. It’s the perfect excuse to spend a few hours just laughing and smiling with your horse. Anna had got totally into by this point and was even spotting a shot on the way back and striking a pose!
Anna and Eric: Jeans and Heels will always win
Back at the yard we did a quick outfit change, something I highly recommend. Always bring your ‘go to’ outfit. You may think you want to dress up and try something different but always bring your happy outfit too. For Anna this was jeans, heels and a gorgeous cream blouse. Perfection. We then made the most of the spectacular driveways and the rolling hills to capture some images that Anna can treasure forever. Another jaunt into the flowers, well to the side with some clever camera angles, followed by a final pose and we were done. The hours just fly by and once Eric had started saying he was bored we called it a day.
I think it’s so important to remember this, it’s meant to be fun. Anna was beaming on her way back and she said it was the perfect start to her 2 weeks holiday and just what she needed. I loved all the moments she spent with Eric, the little words she kept whispering into his ears and the fact she clearly worships him.
He can be very cheeky and its clear he’s a smart cookie. Anna did say since he now only hacks he has a lot more brain power to get up to mischief. Even figuring out how to open the gate to his field-such a monkey. He is her heart horse and so special to her. It was an honour to be asked to capture their special bond and I hope Eric continues to enjoy his slower paced life.