Two weeks back I went to meet the lovely Julia and her gorgeous girl, Abby, at Nacton Shores, just a short hack from their yard.

This was such a gorgeous shoot. Not only did we have access to the cutest little beach, with it’s beautiful trees and shoreline, but a friend of Julia’s lives in the most stunning place and allowed us to use the grounds, for the second half of our shoot.

Abby is Julia’s twenty-two year-old Thoroughbred cross Irish Draught. And these two are a real solid partnership, having been together since Abby was just four.

Julia bought Abby from Ireland and broke her in herself. Since then they have done a bit of everything. They’ve competed in all riding club activities, qualifying for numerous national championships, aswell as eventing and show jumping to a high level.

In 2014 Julia and Abby were selected to represent Great Britain in the World Club Show Jumping Championship, in the trip of a lifetime, over in the south of France.

Later on in the same year, however, Abby underwent major colic surgery and her recovery was touch and go. Thinking she might lose her, Julia decided that she needed some special images to capture their unbreakable, eighteen-year bond.

Julia says, “She has become part of the family and even my non horsey husband is fond of the old girl! She has truly been a horse of a lifetime and one I will never replace.”

Thankfully, since her surgery, Abby has bounced back and is in great shape. She is now competing in unaffiliated showjumping and one day events, and even went to the RC National Horse Trials Championships this summer. She’s certainly still got it!

“Every time I go out to a show everyone says ‘have you still got your grey mare?’ She is well known on the circuit, especially for her cheeky attitude, which keeps me on my toes, but she owes me nothing.

Everyday I ride her now is a blessing and I have been privileged to have ridden such a amazing horse. My only wish would be for her to be a youngster again and I regret that I never bred from her.”

I absolutely loved meeting you guys, Julia. There’s something truly special about a partnership that has been together for so long and been through so much together. You two clearly know each other inside out and adore one another. I hope I’ve done your special relationship justice in these images.

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