A few weeks back I visited Sophie and her gang of ponies, at their home in the gorgeous village of Tattingstone, in Ipswich.
Sophie has five horses and one pony, so we definitely had our hands full, throughout the shoot, but I just have to say this was the most laid back, well behaved group of horses I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Every single one of them was an absolute angel and a real credit to Sophie and her mum.
We started off with Alfie, the only black horse of the bunch. Alfie is an eleven year old Thoroughbred and has competed at British Eventing up to Novice level. Sophie says that dressage is his strong point, although he absolutely loves his cross country, too.
Next up was Barney (great name!) the bay with the white star and two white socks at the back. Barney is fifteen and is a Czech Warmblood. He has been with Sophie for a little over a year and has been eventing up to Intermediate level. Sophie hopes to do a 1* with him next season.
Then we had the cheeky chappy of the family, Watsit. Watsit is the chunkier bay horse with the black mark on his right foreleg. He is a thirteen year old, from Ireland. Sophie tells me that Watsit is really graceful enough for dressage, so he mainly sticks to showjumping and venter trials. She says that every year he qualifies for the riding club championships and she wants to affiliate him with British Showjumping, over the winter.
Next I met Prophet, the finer bay with no white markings. Prophet is a Welsh cross Thoroughbred and is nineteen. Sophie says that Prophet is the horse that got her into eventing. The pair used to do BE100s and Novice and were selected to be in the British Eventing under 18s team, a few years ago. Prophet has now slowed down slightly, but still compets at 80 and 90.
Then there was Rufus, the bay with the white blaze. Sophie and Rufus, who is twenty now, have done a lot of pony club events together, including camp, hunting and even side saddle. Rufus is now retired and living out his latter years in the field.
And the lastly, the smallest of the gang, was little Snowy. Snowy is a twenty-four year-old Welsh Mountain Pony and was Sophie’s second pony when she was a child. She sold him on around ten years ago and then saw him advertised at the beginning of this year. She decided to buy him back and give him the retirement he deserves, alongside his buddy, Rufus.
Thank you so much to Sophie and her gorgeous boys. They truly made my job so easy and were all fabulous models. I have to say, I think our group shot was something of an achievement and certainly not something I would comfortably attempt with every group of horses I meet!