Last week, Sherrie and I took a little trip to Allshots Farm, in Kelvedon, to visit Helen and her two coloured horses, Ranger and Milly, for a Mud to Makeup shoot.

Ranger is Helen’s main man and is a nine year-old, 15.2hh, Irish Sports Horse, known affectionately as ‘Cow Pony’. Helen has owned Ranger for four years and things have been somewhat less than smooth sailing.

For the first two years of their time together, they competed successfully in unaffiliated level dressage, showjumping and cross country, before venturing into the world of BE. However, it became increasingly apparent that things weren’t as they should be, with Ranger.

In 2015 Ranger suffered from a damaged ligament in his back, which was successfully operated on. However, he was also diagnosed with Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (EPSM or ‘chronic tying up’). This basically mean that he is a constant state of ‘tying up’, at all times. It’s a condition that can only be managed, but not cured.

Sadly, the EPSM put the kibosh on Helen and Ranger’s competitive career and he is now just a happy hacker, in gentle, closely monitored work. Such a shame as I think he is just such a head-turner! He is, however, a real pampered prince and seems perfectly happy with his new pace of life.

Second up was little Milly, Helen’s newest addition. Milly is a four year-old, dun and white, Irish cross and has only been with Helen and family for six months. So she’s a newbie.

Helen never meant to go out and buy something like Milly, but inherited her as a project, from the lady in the stable next to Ranger. And, inevitably, Helen fell in love with her and bought her soon after.

Milly and Helen are currently working on schooling her up, as she is still young and lacking in strength and condition. But once she is mature, Helen has high hopes for her and tells me that, despite her small stature, her attitude is perfect.

I can’t conclude this write up without first mentioning three super supporting stars, on this shoot. Zachy and Titch, Helen’s two adorable dogs, played their parts perfectly and James, Helen’s hubby didn’t give me any hassle when Helen dragged him into the shot. Most mean are very definitely unwilling victims, lol.

I’m going to finish with Helen’s own words about James, because they made my heart melt… “My husband and my hero. He runs marathons, competes in triathlons and is an accomplished guitar player who plays for wedding bands at the weekends. We have been through a tough year 2106 so far, but are in the process of buying our dream house with land and hopefully if all goes through we will be moving our whole gang to the new house at the end of summer.”

Wishing this lovely little family lots of happiness in their next move. And a big thank you for having Sherrie and I, and making us so welcome. We had a really lovely morning! (And the cupcakes were definitely a huge bonus!)

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