Longtime heart horses are often irreplaceable. Their partnerships teach, sometimes frustrate, and help horse and rider grow. They are filled with huge wins and heartbreaking losses, and so many golden “worth it” moments.
Whether they are able to live with you throughout their entire career or whether time and circumstance means your partnership only lasts for a season, there are the special horses that stay with your heart always. The horses that are the reason we put so much time, money, and effort into our sport and practices. Into training, into caring for 1200lb animals, into tack and board and feed, into keeping them and ourselves strong and fit, into learning new skills or bettering those we have.
Tori trusted me to capture her bond with two of these special kind of horses during this session. Zara, her filly from the 2021 Cal Poly Performance Horse Sale & Quarter Horse Enterprise, presented the tough reality of starting and bonding with a horse and then sending them through an auction. Sending them on to a new home and career as a young horse, after being started under saddle and learning to soften and listen for months with one student rider.
Atlas, on the other hand, has been Tori’s personal horse for quite a few years. They have competed, been at multiple homes and facilities, and learned to trust each other in so so many different situations. In the life of a busy and expensive college student, Atlas may be headed to a new job and family soon as well. But, in the consideration of his sale, Tori’s love for this horse and pride in him is abundantly clear. He will most definitely be an animal that is placed in a perfect home where he is well-loved, and will forever continue to be loved by this girl.
Whether a horse you are training, a horse you own, have owned, or simply have loved, may those special horses leave with us with ways we can treat other horses. May we love them so greatly while they are in our lives, remember them fondly, and allow them to thrive and grow if our partnerships aren’t the best fit for our or their situations. May we share this love and the things we have learned with others. Photographing and seeing these partnerships are why I love what I do. A small tangible way to remember these bonds. To capture these connections and have the memories to look back on, no matter what comes our way.