Posts Tagged ‘horse

22
Apr
14

sun, flowers, Lusitanos

The winter rains have given way to the glory of spring. I’ve had the great luxury of photographing beautiful horses in flowers and dappled sun these last two weeks. It is marvelous to be out each evening in the woods and pastures after what seemed like interminable rain!

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Carlos Oliveira on Talisman, PSL.

 

There is something about these cork trees (quercus species) that I love. I keep thinking that someone in a toga will step from behind one. Silly? Perhaps. But this landscape says ‘human history’ to me. And for the last 500 years, the cultivation of the cork oaks has combined with the breeding and selection of the Lusitano to create a land and heritage that is Puro Ribatejo. And yes, I know….togas are much older than 500 years. But so is the cultivation of cork oaks here in the Ribatejo.

And speaking of togas, here is an interesting fact: Julius Caesar made his fortune near here in Alcacer do Sal (by harvesting salt) and with this strength of fortune and his army, became Emperor of Rome.

Enjoy the photos. I’ll be back this weekend with more, after the festival in Alter de Chao.

 

 

05
May
12

Journey to Interagro

Just before my most recent assignment in Kentucky (to photograph the opening of the US Tour of Apassionata!) I was in Brasil to photograph for Dressage Today. Our destination was Interagro, the incomparable Lusitano breeding farm of Dr. Paulo Gonzaga and his daughter Cecilia Gonzaga. Cecilia and her husband, Cristiano, have created a paradise on earth for Lusitano lovers. With nearly 1,000 horses and numerous stables, arenas, and pastures stretching into a seemingly endless vista, it is difficult to take in the care and detail that created such a wonderland.

But care and detail are everywhere if you stop for just a moment to reflect on the view in any direction. From the Interagro symbol on the tops of the stall dividers, the meticulously prepared riding surfaces, and the flowering shrubs planted to enhance the architecture at every turn, to the gleaming tack and polished wheels of the Marathon carts and the shining coats and braided manes of the gorgeous Lusitanos, it is evident that a loving, clear, precise vision guides every activity at Interagro. But make no mistake: this farm is not about show, it is about the working Lusitano! Everyone is busy at their particular task and the tasks are myriad. Interagro breeds driving horses, dressage horses, and working equitation horses. Subsequently, there are indoor and outdoor rings for each discipline as well as miles of roads for driving carts and carriages.

The gracious hospitality we received is the memory that has stayed the strongest. I have the feeling that we stepped into a time and place that exists in an alternate reality. A reality that values refinement and ease in every endeavor. Yes, I am gushing…but I’m sure I’d be forgiven if you could only share this experience. And the best part….you can!  I’ll be announcing a very special workshop that will take place at Interagro this fall. With Cecilia Gonzaga as our host and guide, International Morphology Judge Davi Carrano to inform us about the Lusitano breed standards, and me…your favorite equestrian photographer, to ignite your creativity and expand your vision of equine photography, we will experience the finest the Lusitano world can offer. Details coming very soon in this space. Stay tuned and tell your horsey/photographer friends!

29
Jan
11

Published!

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately.  Bad form. One might think I’ve been enjoying a winter’s rest, but that hasn’t been the case.

I do have some wonderful news to share….news that I’ve been guarding for a while. Meditation For Two is going to be published in the United States by Trafalgar Square’s Horse and Rider Books! I couldn’t be happier about the whole experience.  The people at Trafalgar are marvelous to work with and I have only optimism and hope for continued collaboration.  None of this would have happened were it not for two people: Dominique Barbier and Sam Abell.  Dominique has had an illustrious career as one of our finest living Masters of Classical Dressage and has a number of publishing successes to his name as well.  This smoothed the way for me…..the newbie….to have a book published with such a respected organization.  Thank you, Dominique.  And to Sam Abell I offer thanks for the belief in the work, the encouragement to pursue a dream, and the tools to design and create a humble, meaning filled book.

And before the release in the US, the book will be available in Germany and Switzerland on March 1st.  The title has been changed for the German edition. It will be published as: The True Nature of the Horse, and what it teaches those who love.  It’s a mouthful for sure, but one of cultural nuance.  And herein lies a lesson. The book is in the incredibly capable hands of the team at Wu-Wei Verlag. I had to keep telling myself that when the design was completely changed, when the title was changed, indeed even the shape of the book was changed.  So authors and photographers beware: it is often the case that when your work is handed over your ability to control your product ceases.

Trafalgar Square has chosen to keep the original design, completely.  It will be interesting to see how each volume performs in the marketplace, how each book is promoted, what the differences will be and how the public will perceive it.  I’m looking forward to the journey.

As I have received a great deal of encouragement about my photography, my poetry in the book and my writing on the blog, I am now working on a book that combines the three. I’ll post excerpts from time to time here and invite comment.  I thank you in advance for your participation in the discussion.

29
Oct
09

horses, photography, continued

PiaffeThe practice of expanding my awareness, as encouraged by my interaction with my horses, and developed as my friendship with Dominique strengthened, prepared me to see deeply when I began to photograph in a serious manner.  Had I not spent more than a decade engaged in thought, writing, discussion, and living in a manner that facilitated deeper expression, I believe that I could not have become the photographer I am today. Often people ask me what I photograph.  I don’t know how to answer that really, but have settled on this:  I am an opportunistic photographer.  That is, when I see something that has layers of meaning or that I respond to (emotionally, visually, or otherwise) I investigate it photographically.  Of course I enjoy putting myself in places that I love, marvelous locations like Italy or France, but also the Arboretum, my home town, Dominique and Debra’s barn.  In new or exotic locations my heart is open and I’m visually alive, charged to all that is happening.  In familiar locations I am more relaxed and the images have a way of rising up in a gentle manner.

I have lived with, loved, and cared for horses for a very long time.  The horse is a creature of Grace.  There is an old saying about horses and riders that is roughly “you always get the horse you need”.  Because I like to do things full blast, I have had two horses of distinct personalities.  My mare, Raschida, was my do-everything girl:  fox hunter, trail hack, dressage mount, and teacher for neighborhood children. She insisted that I do everything correctly.  If I did not, it was a battle, and one I would never win.  So she was a marvelous teacher in that way, though not the easiest mount.  She was a gorgeous mare who embodied the Look of Eagles.  My job was to take that power and channel it into relaxation and grounded energy. My stallion, Fol Amour, is a refined, elegant monk with the heart of a lion.  He waits patiently for me and when I arrive (metaphysically and emotionally) we create magic. If I’m not quite there we have a pleasant ride and he sort of just packs me around.  My job is to show up, fully, and allow the sparks to fly. Having the two opposite ends of the spectrum demanded that I put in the “time in the saddle”.  Even when I wasn’t riding, I was thinking of calm, centered, flowing strength. This discipline prepared me to develop my photographic ability while accepting the bumps and setbacks as opportunities to learn.  Today, when I am not photographing, I am thinking about photography.  This enables me to see more deeply and remain creatively inspired. 

In the next post I’m going to pull at the threads of Grace and creative inspiration.




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