ON THE HOOF: WITH DEBORAH SMITH

Equestrian sports photography is big business, says luxe columnist Deborah Smith. Whatever size and scale of event you’re at, there’s invariably a photographer or videographer keen to sell you that magical image you just have to have.
Deborah Smith

For something more enduring, photographer Simon Hogben has extended his own photography portfolio to work on creative, equestrian lifestyle images that capture the relationship between horse and owner.

Simon works full time as a professional photographer – based on Teesside and working across the North East and Yorkshire. With a degree in the History of Art, he studied portraiture and this is reflected in his approach.

In terms of his horse and rider portraits, he focuses on the special connection between horse and owner; creating a portrait that you’d want to hang on the wall – as a large print or a canvas.

As he says, “Digital images on phones and social media are great – but there’s something about a printed image that makes it feel more special and something you’d treasure for years to come.”

We had great fun on our photo shoot. It was a windy afternoon and the horses were on their toes, freshly clipped, and curious as to why they were being asked to walk around without any obvious purpose! Simon is a real animal person and was very comfortable around the horses, which came in handy as we tried to coordinate them, me, the camera and in the wind.

But in less than an hour it was a wrap and the hardest part came a few days later in deciding which of the brilliant images to have printed and framed.

For a very special gift or to treat yourself, Simon can be contacted on his email [email protected]. To see more of his work visit simonhogben.com or find him on Facebook at facebook.com/simonhogbenphotography.

A day at Lemieux National Dressage Championships >>

Horsewear company Lemieux is an enthusiastic supporter of the national championships at Stoneleigh and the event is a real highlight of the dressage year.

With the tail-end of storm Florence bringing blustery high winds and rain, conditions weren’t ideal so I was relieved to have a seat in the covered grandstand.

Riders and horses all coped amazingly. I was there early doors on the Thursday and by 8am was watching the first competitors in the Preliminary Silver championship. This class always features a really wide range of riders with over half being amateurs and lots of under 25s. It’s a great class to watch and I was really taken with Elizabeth Rose and her lovely Dutch hackney, Sallandt’s Station Master, who seemed to soak up the whole atmosphere as he came up the final centre line with a real ‘look at me’ expression.

The rain came and went and the wind got stronger and stronger – it was a really big ask of the horses  to concentrate and try so hard. The class was eventually won by the last rider in, Maeve Morris, and the very smart Headmore Footloose.

Next was the Prix St Georges Gold championship and Emile Faurie was first in with his own Cafe’s Caletta. Fresh back from WEG, Emile rode a lively, engaging test and he ended up third, sandwiched behind Charlotte Dujardin first with the lovely grey Florentina, second with River Rise Nisa and also fourth with Brioso II. Gareth Hughes, who rides so immaculately, was fifth with KK Dominant. Considering the conditions, the horses and riders were all brilliant.


 

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