I loved my experiences with horses!
During the 2000’s I was fortunate to be able to live on a farm that housed horses. They were a great deal of work but also provided a wonderful sense of pleasure. The majority of horses I worked with were standard bred racehorses but there were a couple of retired horses used as companion horses as well.
At first I was primarily an observer as I knew nothing about taking care of horses. I would travel with the training team and driver to observe actual races from the paddock side of the track. It was here I learned how to approach a horse safely, bathing and grooming a horse and just enjoy being around them.
Each horse that came to the farm brought a different set of needs. The first horse that I actually was half owner of had a “knee” issue. After various trips to specialist vets it was determined he needed to be stalled for a number of weeks with twice daily walks. That is right, walks…I got up before work and walked him up and down our driveway and again once I got home from work. His stall also needed lots of work as he lived there 24/7. While being stalled, he learned to break down the wall between him and another horse. The stalls were wooden planks, Foreright would knock down a board and the other horse moved it out of the way (they were a great team!). Eventually concrete block walls replaced the wood.
Then there was Lincoln. Lincoln came to the farm as a weanling. He had a long ride to the farm from his birth home. He actually kicked his way out of the horse trailer at a toll booth! Needless to say, he was skiddish once he arrived. He was placed in his stall after meeting the other horses. He had never been used a bucket as he had just left his mother. The next morning when I went to check on him and take some images, I noticesd his eye lid did not look right…he had caught it in the clip on the water bucket and tore it. He was loaded in the trailer and took him to the vet to have it stitched. Each day antibiotics needed to be applied to eyelid, nurturing was needed, which I gave freely. I was told I babied him too much!
At one point, there were five horses on the farm. They were great subjects for my photography. Onenight I woke up to this thundering noise, looking out the window I saw all of the horses running past the farmhouse with their manes and tails flying. I commented on what a beautiful image they made. The thought faded as I was putting on my coveralls and had to go out in the night to catch them and get them into their stalls as they had obviously broken through the electric fence.
One of the best photography experience I had was at the track…I learned that one of the features of a standard racehorse was the need to have all of their hoofs off the ground as if flying. To capture that moment in my photography was amazing. (Just a reminder, this is still a time of using film so I did not immediately know my results.)
It was during my time at the track that I was introduced to digital cameras. I was not an easy convert…it took quite a while before I was convinced to shift to the new medium.
Thank you for joining me on this journey,
Mary Beth Lovejoy, photographer