"The Event at Rebecca Farm"
I recently had the opportunity to fill-in for the professional photographer for Deerlake Designs. The Event was no less than a world class equestrian triathlon. This Event featured some of the world's best horse and rider combinations.
The Events began with the "Young and Future Horse Events Series". Many of these were future Olympians hopefuls. Photographing these horse and riders looked top notch to me. I have owned a horse ranch years ago and have seen many Events but these novice riders were a notch above and were a pleasure to photograph. These Events develop the pool of horse talent to keep these competitions alive.
There were five days of Events to view; including Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping. Dressage shows a horse's ability to perform in a parade and also shows how well the horse and rider communicate. Cross Country seems the most difficult Event to me. It tests the endurance and bravery of the horses who have to complete a grueling course of solid obstacles to jump or avoid. The Cross Country Events ended with an Event dinner with live music in the Pavilion. Show Jumping was the most exciting day for me. Show Jumping shows off the horse's athleticism. What surprises me mostly about Show Jumping is the fact that the horses are not allowed to view or practice the jumps before the competition. They have to have "blind" faith in their riders and just jump as instructed. Only the rider has seen the course beforehand. The rider must know what his horse is capable of.
I was especially impressed with one of the features. It was a keyhole which was placed in the water. The horses had to jump through the 6' by 6' round opening and land into the water on the other side. They did not know what the landing would be on the other side. They just had to trust their riders. Needless to say, some of the horses balked; they just didn't have that "blind" faith.
An unforgettable experience happened during the Show Jumping Event. Novice as I am with photographing horse shows, I was concentrating on my timing, it seemed I was always a second or two late on capturing that exact moment of action I was looking for. I set the camera to repeat and was ready to get one good shot of the next spectacular horse and rider. At first it looked like a perfect jump, but to my amazement the horse decided otherwise. That last second abrupt stop nearly lost the rider. She hung onto the horse's neck with one leg partially over the saddle. The horse was in such a contorted shape. It looked like both horse and rider would hit the ground. To my surprise, both horse and rider up righted themselves. What a display of agility! They received a loud hand of applause from the crowd for their recovery. And I got it all on camera! Did I mention it was raining; I was trying to keep the rain drops from the camera lens and see through my glasses. Be sure to check this one out in the still pictures along with the great video taken by the real photographer.
Besides the opportunity of viewing this world class competition up close and the camaraderie of both the advanced and the promising young competitors, photographing these Events at Rebecca Farm was an exciting and fun filled experience.
Written by Carole Riegle