Oh my goodness, I don’t know where to start. What a week!

Actually, that’s a lie. I do know… I have to start with the biggest of thank you’s to the wonderful Rhea Freeman PR, for getting her hustle on when I told her I hadn’t been accredited as press for Olympia. And secondly to the fabulous Natasha Coombes, from In The Stirrups Magazine, for stepping in and helping Rhea appeal on my behalf and then pulling strings with British Dressage. It’d been an absolute pleasure working with both of you, on this!!

I also have to say a huge thank you to the team at Olympia’s Media Centre. They were so welcoming and couldn’t do enough to help. And for a newbie like me, who had no idea where I supposed to be or what I supposed to be doing, that was invaluable. So big thanks to those guys!

Valegro & Charlotte Dujardin: Valegro retires at Olympia 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger

So, as I mentioned, at first my press application was declined, as I sent it in so late.

I’ve always worked for myself. I’ve never worked for another organisation or magazine, other than on a commissioned, private shoot basis. And that’s a choice I’m very comfortable with. So, I’ve never really needed to photograph the big shows, etc.

However, as I’ve mentioned a few times recently, I’m stepping up my social media game and I’m trying to make a concerted effort to provide you with better, more interesting content on my blog and also, incase you haven’t noticed, I’m vlogging now, too. In light of this, I decided that Olympia vlogs and blogs would be interesting for you guys.

But I decided this a little late… And only applied for a press pass around a week and half before the show. (Hey, I’ve never done this before, ok?) And what with Valegro’s Olympia retirement being the talk of the industry, I was too late.

But lovely Rhea and Natasha sorted that out in no time.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger

So, my first time with a press pass at Olympia…

It was amazing, surreal, exhausting, fascinating… On the Tuesday morning I was so nervous. I don’t really know why. I think because I always want to make sure I provide you guys with as much great content as I can, and I put a huge pressure on myself to get everything out of the show that I could.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger

On day one, we had Valegro’s first appearance and a Q&A with Charlotte Dujardin. That was epic! I was so honoured to even just be in the same room as Valegro, let alone be allowed to photograph him at such close proximity.

Honestly, I always make a very conscious effort to practice gratitude with everything that comes my way, but that week, there were times where I thought burst with it! I feel sooo lucky to do this job and so thankful for these opportunities.

I thoroughly enjoyed the dressage and was super pleased to see Carl and Nip Tuck take the win!

And then, on day two, my head almost exploded. Natasha had emailed me earlier in the week to see if I’d be interested in a rider interview for my vlog. If she’d have been in front of me I would have bitten her hand off. But she wasn’t, so I sent her a very enthusiastic fan-girl-esque email back, saying something along the lines of ‘yes please!’

So, on Wednesday, I had the absolute privilege of interviewing Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester…

Can we just take a moment to let that soak in… *pinches self*

 

When I began vlogging exactly six months ago, I did it because I wanted to give my clients an insight into my life, into who I am as a person and as a photographer. I wanted to show other photographers how I do things and I wanted to strengthen my personal brand.

Never – not ever – not in a million years, did I think ‘If I do this maybe I’ll get the opportunity to interview the most incredible riders in our sport!’ No way!! It just wasn’t something that would have ever entered my head. And I can’t believe my short dabble with vlogging has allowed me to be so lucky.

And then, I was back on Monday for the showing. This was a somewhat less eventful day, but as showing is my favourite and is often vastly under-supported, I was proud to be there to show my support for all these beautiful native ponies and the talented teams behind them.

I also managed to catch a little bit of showjumping, Santi Serra, the Kennel Club agility and the Pride of Portugal display.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger

It was honestly a whirlwind of a week. Aswell as travelling to London, watching the show, taking over 2,000 images, uploading a video a day and trying to get my ordinary shoots edited in between, I also travelled all the way down to Devon to see my brother in panto. And then it was Christmas… So there’s not been much time for reflection.

But, right now, writing this, I’m trying to sum everything up in my head.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger

I think one thing I’ve really learnt is that as a small business owner, you can not do EVERYTHING yourself. I’ve been a bit of an island for years now. I do it all by myself… Web design, marketing, emails, bookings, photographing, editing, orders, etc. etc. etc. and sometimes that’s hard.

With my new plans for my social media, blogging and vlogging I decided that perhaps my goals were more than just little ol’ me was capable of. So I made the plunge and enlisted the help of SuperPRWoman, Rhea. And this is the first thing I really asked of her, and just look how it turned out… It just goes to show that team work makes the dream work (sorry, that was too cheesy) and that by surrounding yourself with the right people, you can achieve amazing things!

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger

I think the second thing I learnt is to not put so much pressure on myself. I had bundles of ideas for Olympia-related content, that Rhea and I came up with together and do you know what? Most of it fell by the wayside.

When you’re there, on your own, rushing about trying to capture everything, both on film and on camera, things just don’t always go to plan. I didn’t do any of the gift blogs/vlogs that I’d planned and I didn’t get the showing video I’d wanted, but that didn’t really matter..

I think in the future I need to still come up with ideas and make plans, but also know that when I get there, I have to flexible and ready to go with the flow.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger
Olympia, The London International Horse Show, 2016 I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #olympiahorse #equineblogger

And lastly, this week has confirmed my knowledge that your only limit is yourself. I am a huge advocate for positive thinking, gratitude and manifestation, and I truly believe that we can achieve whatever we put our minds to.

Check out the gallery below for lots more images. Showing photos will be uploaded to my Facebook page.

And don’t forget to go and check out ‘In The Stirrups’ magazine…
Website: www.inthestirrups.com
Facebook: facebook.com/inthestirrupsonline
Instagram: instagram.com/in.the.stirrups

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