Bolesworth with Joe Stockdale
A few weeks ago I bundled me and my camera off in my car to Bolesworth just a short journey away to photograph Joe Stockdale. It was set to be super hot and oh it was!
I was quite apprehensive as although I’ve been doing shoots as normal and feeling fine about them. I’ve not been to shops, out for food or generally in big crowds. I’m actually even worried to go and get fuel where it’s not pay at pump. I know it’s silly.
This was heightened by the fact there was a crash and some seriously backed up traffic and I got told to turn around by two cars, how
ever I went with my gut and carried on. Turns out it must have been further down and I was in! Bolesworth very understandably, were super cautious with their covid rules. Joe’s friend and PR queen came and picked me up at the gate and then gave me the tour. All nerves washed away and I was already in my element.
I sat with Joe’s groom and we chatted whilst waiting for Joe to get on. The class had been pushed back a few hours by the time I arrived. Bolesworth is so immaculate! It also meant I had time to play with Charlotte’s big puppy, Otis. He’s so well trained. I seriously want a vizsla now. I took way too many photos of him throughout the day but you can see why right?!
It was time for Joe’s first ride and it was Angel up first and her first big show. She took it in her stride even if she was quite wary. I got some lovely pics of her, she’s such a pretty mare and one Joe is super excited about.
Love this one.
We had another big break which was nice. to try and cool down, the internal temporary stables are so much cooler than being stood outside, good for us and even better for the horses. We sat in the sun international arena on the high chairs of the champagne bar, all wishing we had a glass in hand we chatted for a while and then watched Joe walk the course for the 1.40 where he had two rides.
Next up was my favourite, Cash. We had headed back to the stables for a bit and then as Charlotte legged Joe up I made my way to the international arena to find the best spot to photograph while he warmed up. I had already seen so many people I knew and it was so nice to catch up and say fleeting hellos. When I work at events where I’m the official I can definitely miss the social side of things.
I sat on the grass bank between the VIP marquee and wooden seating, in the shade. Joe and Cash entered and I jumped up, apologised to those I may be blocking for a few seconds it was funny as two ladies had sat in front of me and apologised profusely, it’s so British of us! I was really pleased with the photos especially managing to get the triple in. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t get much as the arena is so huge.
I ran [I know, me run?] and got some of Joe leaving the arena, Charlotte Joe’s amazing head groom always gives the horses a treat at the end of each round which is sweet.
Another short gap and Joe’s mum and family and friends had arrived and just missed Cash. We chatted and sat the other side of the arena, I had probably my third bottle of water that day. After a while I was cautious about being in position for Joe and Tom umming and arring about which side to shoot from, do I shoot into the sun and get a different backdrop or go back where I was for Cash and know what I’m doing. Joe’s mum and clan wanted the castle, which I tried. I also half missed this lovely canter turn shot that Joe said he liked the flat ones so I made sure to get that with Tom.
Something a bit different.
Another amazing round, they said Tom never leaves much above the poles but always leaves them up, Mr consistent. I got some of them exiting with the viewing bridge in which is so Bolesworth.
A bit of a break and chilling in the yard and getting more images of the horses being washed off, I forgot to mention that earlier but If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see I had a little obsession with the wash box. The light, the foliage and the horses posing just how I wanted them to, it’s like they knew. Also It somehow felt cooler over there being near water.
Love a tail swish.
I headed back up to everyone who were still sat on the bench castle side, it was just beautiful over looking the arena. Feeling truly lucky to be sat with amazing people with even more amazing stories. We bumbled over to the castle arena as Joe’s last ride, Jack would be competing in there shortly.
I got to sit with Floss’ mum a very very close friend of the Stockdales and she told me more about Tim and Joe’s amazing result at HOYS, where it all changed for them all. It made me all goosebumpy as Tina Wallace (life on the left rein) would say! It really did though.
Gear change and it was time for Jack. I photographed Jack jumping a few weeks before at Joe’s yard for Charles Owen so I knew how incredibly talented he was. Jack was armed with his new super hero mask as sometimes he can get a bit overwhelmed with it all. So I guess he feels invincible with it on. I think I could do with one sometimes…
He warmed up nicely and I got some above photos.
He then went on to do an amazing clear and over one of the last I took my favourite show jumping photo yet!
To top it off I was super pleased with these photos of Charlotte, Joe and Jack. Dusky light and full hearts. The perfect end to a perfect day.
I drove home with the aircon on full and felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
One more of Otis for good luck.
Thanks for reading,
Martha x x x
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Martha is an acclaimed equine photographer based in Shropshire specialising in Equine Portrait Photography.