There is no need to apologize if Mr. Perfect is being a little less than perfect for the shoot. A shoot can be asking a lot of a horse or dog. Stand here, look here, etc. My priority is to work WITH your animal. If we’re asking him to look to the left and he goes right, no worries we will grab that shot and work our way back to the other pose. If he’s feeling anxious about a certain spot, we circle up and head to a different spot. They all have minds of their own, so I’ve learned to adjust and make a new plan if needed.
This goes a little with #1, but if your horse isn’t behaving…take a deep breath and we can take a break. I want your shoot to be as fun and carefree as possible! Trust me, my own horse child is OVER photoshoots (I made him model one too many times), and sometimes we both just need a minute to take a deep breath and relax. Pro tip: bring a friend that makes you laugh!
You and your horse are stunning. That’s it. Because every single horse/rider relationship is unique. There’s a story between you two, and it needs to be shared. So…I’m gonna probably be freaking out about how flawless and gorgeous you both look, so you might as well believe it. Stand tall, put those shoulders back, and give me your “angry model face” because you are something fierce!
There will probably be a point in the shoot where I say, “love on your pony like no one is around.” I want to capture the sweet, intimate moments you have with your horse…you know like those days when you go to the barn after a rough day and snuggle up to your pony and tell him about it.
If your horse gets anxious being away from the barn, arrange for a friend to be at the shoot to hold one of his barn buddies near the shoot. Heck, the more friends the better! Friends are great for making you laugh and getting those really genuine smiles that look great in portraits. They’re also there to fix any wardrobe malfunctions or misbehaving ponies when you’re standing there in a dress and cute shoes (speaking from experience here!). I will usually have an assistant with me to help get ears up, but I’m not going to complain if a buddy wants to jump in and help bring out your horse’s extra cute expressions.