Nathan Haynes of NRH photography talks us through how to take great pictures of our horses first time around.
Have you ever looked at photos in horse magazines and wondered, “Just how do they make them look so good?”, and also, “Why don’t mine look like that?” Well, if so, then the following tips may help.
However, before we start, it’s worth noting that the photos in magazines are, on the whole, taken by professionals with experience in shooting horses, using professional equipment, possibly with artificial lighting, a helper or two and then the images have undergone a level of post-production (aka ‘airbrushing/photoshopping’) to be suitable for the printers. That said, certain general principles apply for many of the better images that are published and these can to a degree, be replicated - even by just using your phone camera and a little forethought…
Think about what you want the final image to look like - it’s better to work towards something defined, rather than have a haphazard approach. Preparation makes a huge difference to the finished article (as with anything). Think of it like cake making - the first time you attempt it, you know what you want it to look like; you gather the ingredients and follow the recipe step by step to get the desired result. When you’ve some baking experience, it’s possible to achieve a decent result without a recipe!
Welcome to part 2 of 'Custom Saddle Making', you may also like to read 'Custom Saddle Making Part 1'. I described the approach I take with all my clients; first discussing their riding style and requirements, then measuring the profile of the horse’s back, making the tree, selecting the hides to be used and making the patterns, before placing the various parts of the hide on the tree, and lining the skirts with sheepskin.
This month, I’m going to describe the final stages of making a custom saddle, from fitting the seat through to decorating the saddle. The seat leather is the most expensive part of the hide and of the saddle, and I use just one piece of leather. It has to hold its shape throughout the life of the saddle, whilst the back of the saddle needs to be malleable, so it can be shaped into the cantle dish.
Everyone loves a foal. Let’s face it, they’re incredibly cute and even the most hardened person would struggle not to get a little weak at the knees, seeing one gallivanting around. But it’s two-fold, a bit like puppies; they’re cute, but they grow into bigger animals. In the same breath, it’s as ‘easy’ to breed a horse as it is a puppy or a kitten, or so many people seem to believe. However, what are the true costs, when everything is done correctly and with the animals’ best interests at heart?
Barrel racing is fast and furious with speed, agility, twists and sharp turns as you move through the cloverleaf. Due to the nature of barrel racing, the horse faces many challenges. Five key areas in which a horse can be strengthened and prepared for barrel racing to help give a successful race are:
Stamina. The horse must be fit to sprint away from the start line, and sprint to complete the arc from barrel to barrel
Balance. Essential for when they edge around the barrel to achieve the perfect arc beat the clock
Flexible. The horse must be able to bend in both directions fluidly and quickly
Strenght. The horse must have the muscle to take the weight shift through the body when going from speed to almost an instant stop
Mental. The horse must be physically and mentally prepared.