|Oh ya know... just keeping it real casual watching Andrea jump a young one (that's Bruce Sr. on the right)|
I'll never forget the first day I met Bruce Sr. I was playing with Aubrey at the barn and he pulled up in his car and rolled down the window and with a big smile said, "Hi, you must be Niamh, I'm POP POP". I was internally (*i know who you are*) and attempted to tell him who I was and that I had a horse (*but also forget I just said that*). I had no experience with anyone in the family until I started watching their daughter which I think helped the process of getting to know everyone as a family vs. equestrians. But that didn't leave me a bit star-struck at times. I was surrounded by greatness, and it was hard not to be inspired constantly.
The whole thing felt very surreal.
Like the morning that I was told I should come to the barn that day because Erik Duvander was in town teaching and if I wanted to, I could come watch. Um, yes please...
|Erik getting his exercises ready for the morning rides (*that little baby on the left became my obsession last summer)|
Or getting to spend hours upon hours with the man, the myth, the legend...
|Returns from conditioning gallop to cool out with his grand daughter -- talk about adorable|
He's everything I imagined... intimidating, articulate, funny, kind, a consummate equestrian (through and through), gracious and generous with his time and knowledge. And even though I felt like such a peon around him, we had many fantastic conversations ranging from breeding lines and training young horses, to funny client stories and quirky horse characteristics and all the while he never made me feel like anything less than another person who loved horses.
As part of my job working for them I also took lots of pictures and video for social media purposes, which started small and wound up leading to some pretty cool shoots. This year I'm hoping we'll get to do more of this and I've been stock piling ideas:)
|For Charles Owen, Heritage, and I LOVE MY HORSE.BIZ|
Perri's Leather reached out to me to a lifestyle shoot with both Buck and Andrea and wanted to include Aubrey too. This also happened to coincide with the busiest part of eventing season so nailing a time down with the three of them and a vendor was quite a challenge! The people from Perri's couldn't have been easier to work with and were extremely patient with a hyper 2.5 year old running amok the whole time.
|The one and only Erroll Gobey|
|Aubrey got to pick out her own halter for Prize (it has owls on it!!!)|
|He was such a ham the whole time -- Andrea is undeniably photogenic|
|Walking up the picturesque driveway at Chesterland|
I was dying to have a chance to photograph some of their big time horses, so when they asked if I would be interested in making portraits of all their client owned horses I jumped at the opportunity. Emily was kind enough to come assist me for the day, as it was going to be extremely tough to snag a working student away for the afternoon. I have to laugh about that day though because the working students saw the two of us (both in summer street clothes) and said something along the lines of, "You know these are fit, advanced horses... right?" To be sure, most of them were getting ready for Plantation *** -- but I knew I had the right person helping me out:)
I couldn't post any of these until after Christmas, but I LOVE how they turned out!
|Prim (Escariz Du Rona), Bobby, Sam (Mr. Poppers), Archie Rocks, Carlevo, Sean (Copper Beach), Erroll Gobey, & Archie|
As our time together was coming to a close and they were getting ready to head south we toyed with the idea of doing a little family photo shoot before they left. The timing proved extremely tricky as Buck was running at Fair Hill with multiple horses (and coaching) and they were leaving directly from the event! So I made myself available by attending the event everyday with camera in tow in case we found a hour of time to grab everyone and take some pics. So after show jumping wrapped up, we asked Buck (as he was heading to his press conference) if he wanted to do pics and we were delighted when he enthusiastically said YES! So while they were literally packing up the last of their stuff to head south I whisked them away to a very glamorous spot behind the temporary stabling tents (!!!) -- where we were gifted with the most stunning fall light.
|Could they be more perfect?|
|Sweetest family ever!|
|A perfect way to bookend our summer together!|