The horse in her tenth home & one hell of a story.
In mid November and just before the leaves were losing their vibrancy.
I had organised for Meg, her horse Ella and a friend of my mums, Doc. To come along in making a behind the scenes photoshoot promotional video. Something I’d dreamed of doing for so long.
Anything that involves more than me and a person I’m photographing takes some organising and then I had to think about shots and how I wanted it all to look. I got a shot list together and talked it through with Doc, our videographer when we got to our local woodland. I’d already shown Doc some inspiration I had and how I wanted ours to look. Us creatives are visual learners so this is much better than a list alone. That being said, I do bloody love a list, it keeps me calm and in order, I love being organised!
I asked Meg to also give you all a bit of insight into hers and her lovely horse, Ella’s history. It’ll add context and I have to say it’s too good of a story to not share. Unfortunately it is a bit of a sad one, sorry about that..
Meg has given me some bullet points for me to work with ..
“ Ella is a registered part bred welsh D X Irish, she is now 12 yrs old and I have owned her for 6 years now.
A little bit about us, well where do I start!
I first purchased Ella as a 6 yr old, I was her 10th owner in that time! She came to me by pure fate. Unfortunately I lost my coloured mare, Dolly, at age of 10 to colic. I decided for my next horse I wanted to be on a livery yard and went to look round Tedsmore and right there was Ella.
At first she was untrusting, lots of simple tasks like clipping and trailering/loading was very hard work and tested our patience. I stuck with her through it, all she wanted was one to one, someone to trust and love. She’s been a mare of understanding and patience, She’s taught me alot over the years, riding and life in general.
We’ve done Affiliated British Eventing, British Show Jumping and a bit of British Dressage too. Fun Rides to Arena Eventing, it’s safe to say we’ve done it all!
It’s been really hard work at times but, I was determined to show off her potential.
An unfortunate turn.
Last year she was diagnosed with navicular and arthritis, both in the same year. I’m truly gutted as she really is my horse of a lifetime. We’re trying our best to keep her comfortable but made the decision to partially retire her this year. We can still do a little jumping as she enjoys it so much and some dressage.
I’ve made the really hard decision to retire from eventing and jumping competitions. I owe it to her to have a more comfortable life. She’s given me a lot In 6 years and this is a way of saying thank you.
This photoshoot with Martha came at the right time and is my way of treasuring these memories, and capturing the bond I have with Ella.
It’s almost symbolising the “this isn’t the end of our journey, but the path to a new destination” photoshoot.
What Martha creates and captures is exactly what it is, there is nothing hidden with Martha’s shoots they feel so natural and real, then when you see the photos the moment is captured in time. Stunning. I thoroughly enjoy every shoot I’ve had with Martha, this one in particular had rather the twist, we had a drone filming us!
Ella thought it was a massive fly so kept shaking her head as If it was in her ears, so funny! Haha.
When it first flew up I was expecting a reaction, and wide eyed dragon snorting Ella was the reaction we got. She eventually settled but it made for some cracking “I’m 18hh” photos, looking super majestic. Another thing I love about Martha’s shoots is they’re also so authentic, so forgiving and Martha always knows when the time is right to end the shoot. As an Equestrian herself she can feel when the horse has had enough, the horses always dictate the shoot.
My take on being an average Equestrian…
I love to compete… winning is always amazing! but if there is one thing I’ve learnt from this mare its never to go chasing ribbons, if you have achieved something you’ve been training for and you win, then the winning is just the bonus! Grasp the moments of success through how you’ve improved from last time. The one jump you knock down but left up today, that one frustrating dressage step that you’ve finally achieved, maybe its better behaviour or conquering a fence that frightens you to death, that to me is winning! And that is how I achieved so much with Ella. Believe me I’ve eaten my fair share of soil and arena surface and seen my share of last place way too often in the beginning. However, I’ve never focused on the winning, I’ve always focused on bettering us from the last attempt. Trying to reason with a Rhino X Welsh Cob mare is challenging enough! It takes time… everything good takes time! Patience, reasoning, listening is the magic in a relationship with your horse, which makes it into a partnership. We may not be able to compete to the heights or standards we used but hearing her neigh and whicker to me every morning means more to me than anything. She has got me through some very tough times the past 6 years. Without her I honestly don’t know where I would be. Probably still in the black hole I got stuck in! Horses have a funny way of putting you on the right path, without you even knowing it.
If you have a horse who’s special to you… get as many photos as possible, because when they go cantering in the sky this is all you’ll have left. Martha captures that bond, that partnership, that love for your 4 legged, swishy tail best friend. Whenever I look back at these memories, I just sit and smile.
We had the best day, I said to Meg in the morning that I didn’t want to take long or keep Doc. We were out shooting, walking and talking for over 3 and a half hours without really realising. Ella only got a bit bored in the last twenty minutes. We had the best time creating.
Watch our BTS video on the portrait section on the website!
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Martha is an acclaimed equine photographer based in Shropshire specialising in Equine Portrait Photography.