My Favorite Photos of the Year

I had a pretty crazy year of travel for The Chronicle and I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos I’ve taken.

I mostly covered eventing, including Red Hills, Bromont, the Carolina International, Great Meadow, Jersey Fresh, Plantation Field, The Fork, Fair Hill and the AECs, as well as CDI***** dressage in Florida, the USEA Convention, two Jimmy Wofford clinics and the Pan Am Games.

I wrote about my favorite memory for COTH as well.

“This year I headed to my first ever championship as a member of the media when I covered the Pan American Games in Toronto with my co-worker Lisa Slade.

I was a little nervous, having heard tales of chaos and stress at multi-discipline championships from other more seasoned staffers. But I’d also heard them rave about how amazing it was to see Valegro dance to music or feel the tension so thick in the air you could cut it with a knife as the final horse cleared the final show jump in eventing.

In the end, the experience was much more the latter. Sure, Lisa and I had to sneak in PB&Js every day for lunch because the few food vendors were overwhelmed and yes, there were some stressful days worrying about getting our coverage up even though we were wet/hot/cold/hungry/tired, but to me it was worth it to experience the U.S. team on the podium multiple times, and to be able to witness equestrian sport on a global scale.

I wish I’d had time to talk to every rider from another country and learn their story, but reporting on the medal contenders was first priority, leaving little time for much else. I did get to talk to a few South American riders across all three disciplines over those two weeks though, and learning the stories of what they go through to be able to compete at the Pan Ams, which for many is the pinnacle of their career, and how excited they were to bring attention to equestrian sport in their countries was really amazing. They took their jobs as ambassadors of the sport very seriously and with a great amount of pride.

There really were so many memorable moments, it’s hard to choose! McLain Ward riding the spicy Rothchild to his first individual championship medal, Brazil’s Ruy Fonseca so close to an individual gold before dropping the final rail in the eventing to give Marilyn Little the gold, the impressive Brazilians across all disciplines, Steffen Peters’ elation aboard Legolas in the dressage…Some say the Pan Ams aren’t as prestigious as other championships, but to me and the many riders who were privileged to be there, those medals and experiences mean so much.”

Without further ado, here are my favorite photos in no particular order.1DSC_0038

Brazilian dressage rider Leandro Aparecido Da Silva’s daugther gave Di Caprio a pat after his test at the Pan Ams. I’m not the strongest candid photographer (I’m working on it!), but this one was pretty sweet.

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Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM at Jersey Fresh. “Reggie” and Buck’s partnerships is one of my favorites. I just love how Reggie is jumping picture perfect over this massive table and how Buck is in the perfect balance. This is something to emulate!

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Kim Herslow and Rosmarin at the Pan Ams. Dressage riders are the most emotional riders as I came to find out at the Pan Ams. Kim took a moment after her test to give Rosmarin a hug, even among the loud cheering in the stadium.

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I turned around quickly and captured this shot of a rider during dressage day at Fair Hill. It’s my favorite event to go to, especially when the weather and fall foliage cooperates like it did this year!

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A lot has been said about Marilyn Little this year, but this photo captures the side of her I see when I interview her at competitions. RF Demeter is a special partner for her, and it showed after they won the Bromont CCI***.

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Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border standing off at Fair Hill. I love a photo of a good jumping horse, and “Crossy” sure looks scopey here! Kim is soft-spoken, but I love interviewing her because she’s so real. She’ll humbly admit how difficult it was to learn to ride this horse and it’s wonderful that they’re now on the same page (and getting results!).

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McLain Ward and Rothchild at the Pan Ams. This photo (in its’ original form here) was a little back lit, but our design team worked their magic, and it became my second ever cover shot! It’s also one of the rare shots of “Bongo” with her ears forward. McLain’s partnership with this fiery little horse is one of my favorites in show jumping.

 

A few days at the Devon Horse Show

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I headed up to Devon, Pa. last Tuesday to cover a few days at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair after a last minute emergency with one of COTH’s staff members.

I’d been to Dressage at Devon about 10 years ago, but I haven’t been to a hunter/jumper show in quite a while, so I was a little apprehensive. I’m not a fan of the culture and stigma that goes along with that world, but I appreciate a good equine athlete.166026_10100996232813407_871845025_n

DSC_2987Luckily I got to cover the fun stuff- the professional hunters and the grand prix. I used to go to Upperville every year to watch the grand prix, so I was comfortable with that. Wednesday started out with all of the professional hunter divisions. Kelley Farmer and Scott Stewart did most of the winning on several different horses and I think I got some decent photos. Hunter people are pretty picky about their photos apparently!

I had most of Wednesday afternoon free to work on my story and get some interviews done. I also got to watch some really neat traditional classes like five gaiters, driving and Hackneys. Devon is 117 years old this year and I love the history that goes with the Dixon Oval.

DSC_3578Thursday night was the Grand Prix of Devon and McLain Ward won it for a record eighth DSC_3483time. I wasn’t too pleased with my photos, but I think I got the hang of it by the end of the night. It’s tough shooting under the lights, but I’m sort of used to low light conditions from shooting so many concerts.

I feel like I wasn’t totally prepared to ask good questions at the press conference because I’m not as familiar with the who’s who of hunters and jumpers, so I had to make some phone calls on Monday, but the story came together nicely for the magazine I think.

All of my Devon coverage can be found at our Devon hubpage.

I’m off to a family thing this weekend in upstate New York. The weather looks to be nice, so I’m excited to not sweat!