Early last week it dawned on me; I had never photographed horse riding, of any description, ever. Granted not a complete disaster as the principles of capturing moving objects are relatively transferable across most sports, however what isn't so easy is the anticipation of the movement or skill in order to release the shutter in that very split second of time. To my rescue came a genius idea of my wonderful friend to have a practice shoot with some local riders... the perfect opportunity to get my eye in.
It was in a casual moment on this Sunday afternoon's practice session I happened to get asked 'so which event are you photographing at next weekend' , my response greeted with a eyes wide open 'oh right, nothing major then' followed with a light laugh. So it turns out the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of the biggest events in the equine calendar.
By far the biggest challenge I usually come across at an organised event is getting permission and access to the prime spots for clear and uninterrupted views. Quite rightly so these areas are often cordoned off for media and press access only. On this occasion I was lucky enough to be going armed with a full access press pass. My mission for the day was however not to document every rider that entered the dressage arena but to capture a feel for the event as a whole. Everything from the bustle of the frenzied shoppers through to the details of the riders preparation for their big moment. Of course there had to be some action shots of the riders on the main stage too. It would have been rude not to.
It was hard not to get distracted in the first five minutes and end up getting stuck to the spot shooting in one location. I forced myself to do a good reccy of the entire site, it was vast, I came close to twenty thousand steps by the end of the day! On glimpsing the very impressive Burghley House itself set off in the distance I knew I had to find a way to incorporate it into some of my images. The rest of the day flashed before me and my lens, with my favourite shots coming from the preparation area to the side of the second arena where the Pony Club jumping was taking place. No detail was left to chance with these young riders of the future, a great place to capture some detail.
What an amazing experience that I won't forget... made even more special by the amazing team at Burghley who looked after me so well. Thank-you!