Last year I went over to Rayne Riding Centre, in Braintree, to photograph Arabella. This year I returned to photograph her older sister, Esme.

Esme loved the photographs we captured at her sister’s shoot so decided she’d like something similar with her adorable little traditional pony, Derek. I just love that he’s called Derek, and I also love his super cute face markings! We all know I’m a sucker for a cute coloured cob. 😉

Derek is around ten years-old and was originally one of the riding school ponies at Rayne. However, when Esme sadly lost her last pony, Scooby, to colic, she spotted a gorgeous little coloured that reminded her of him. And she instantly fell in love.

Whenever she visited the yard she would go and give him carrots and groom him, just falling more and more in love with him. As Esme had struggled with health problems herself, she wasn’t riding at the time, so the pair just bonded in the stable.

But eventually, when she was ready, the yard owner offered for Esme to start riding Derek. Esme tells me that she isn’t the most confident of riders, but feels like she can do anything on Derek and that he has really helped improve her confidence.

However, Esme felt that, as much as she loved him, Derek was just too small for her. So, this lead her to a horse called Victor, who she tried to bond with, until one day he bronced with her and she came off. Her confidence was once again knocked.

But gorgeous little Derek was there to help Esme get back in the saddle. So, she put her worries about his size aside and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Derek certainly doesn’t let his size get in his way and keeps up with the bigger horses with no problems.

Esme is off to university in September, so she doesn’t own Derek. She loans him from the riding school and keeps him in the livery block, which is the perfect scenario for them.

“He really is the perfect pony. When Scooby passed away I didn’t think I’d ever find another horse like him, but Derek has shown me that’s not true. He is just such a lovely boy and I’m so grateful to have found him!”

Thank you so much for having me back to photograph you and your sweet little chap, Esme. I love your story and I love how much you adore one another. It was a pleasure to see you again and see you so well and happy with him.

Specialist equine portrait photographer, blogger & vlogger. Essex based, travelling throughout the UK.