Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Arabian Horse Breeder Photo Shoot - Part 2

Part 1

Fortunately for me, I stopped my rig only long enough to ask where they would like me to put it so that I wasn't in the way. I also asked for instructions about when and where they wanted me to off load my Arabian horses. That probably kept me from getting yelled out by our "creative genius" as he labored over getting just the perfect shots of the Arabian horse and owner he was already photographing.

Rachel and I stood back and watched as Johnny Johnston set up each shot. We did get yelled at for talking so we moved off to parts instructed and I chuckled thinking about how far an Arabian horse can here but it kept the photographer happy and I guess that was the point.

We were supposed to be scheduled with our first horse at 9 am. It was close to that before Johnny had finished with the portrait shots of the first horse. I heard they were going to do loose shots as well but that would be after they did the pictures of the second Arabian horse this trainer had brought to be photographed.

This horse was a stallion and he was definitely feeling his oats. When the trainer took him into the arena to "warm" the horse up it became clear what he needed was more of a "cool down." As I was unloading my horses I heard lots of commotion including some yelling coming from the arena. All the ruckus made Storm's little flare-up look like small potatoes. This trainer sure had her hands full.

I was surprised when time came for the first pictures. They had the horse all decked out in and assortment of neck garlands from the stallion's various championships. The horse was wearing no other tack but a halter and rope. Then the trainer jumped up on this rowdy horse bareback. You sure wouldn't have gotten me to do that but I stood around watching to see if there was doing to be a show.

First off the photographer lined this horse up in the same location he had used with the first horse. Thankfully, the horse was good for those close-ups. Then trainer scolded the stallion with his voice a couple of times but that was it. It looked like this stallion was somewhat of a ham and really liked being the center of attention for the camera.

After Johnny Johnston had taken all of the pictures in this location he thought necessary, they moved the horse out to the field for more shots. From that location they went on to two or three more and it was closing in on 11 o'clock before they finally decided they were finished with this stallion.

Then Johnny Johnston stood around waiting for the trainer to come back out with the first horse to do loose shots in the field. I'[m not sure how long it was before he finally was told the trainer had decided to quit where they were and head home. So suddenly they were ready for me and my first horse with only a moment's notice. I was pretty sure it was going to be a long day.

Because I didn't want to keep Johnny Johnston waiting I decided to do the pictures of Storm first. The horse isn't broke enough to be riding in a strange location for professional pictures anyway so the plan was some close ups, followed by some lose shots on the rail.

Johnny Johnston wanted to know why I wasn't doing any portrait shots with myself and this horse and I told him because they horse was for sale. That seemed to silence him for the time being. I was really hoping we could capture how beautiful this horse's really is for advertising purposes.

The Arabian stallion has always been very photogenic. However, all but his baby pictures have been taken by amateur photographers and while they are nice they just are not the same as professional shots. I knew that someone with the reputation of Johnny Johnston could probably get pictures worthy of this horse. That's what I was hoping for anyway...........

Rachel and I rushed around getting the horse all groomed up and greased up. I had a brief equipment issue when it turned out I had the wrong size show halter. But I had the whole bag with my show halters in the horse trailer so that was easily fixed. We went flying outside for Johnny with probably a world's record set for preparation and then we waited.

I have to say that Storm is not a patient horse.........and you already know that patience isn't my thing either. As bad as I am about patience..........Storm is worse. If the Arabian horse is in hand, he expects to be doing something.............anything. But just standing around is not in his to keep himself occupied he decided to use me for a toy. I can't say as I blame him. I was pretty bored myself.

But for the horse it is really a typical stallion thing.............well, at least it's an Arabian stallion thing. They need stimulation to keep them busy or they find things to keep themselves busy............which, of course, is never a good idea....... for a stallion anyway.

So good ole' Storm decided to be mouthy with me. Not big bad, "I'm going to bite you to hurt you" mouthy. This was more like "Come on, play with me" mouthy. At this rate by the time Johnny Johnston was ready to photograph this horse, the horse wasn't going to be ready for Johnny. He was going to have used all of his energy up figuring out how to torment me. And that's exactly what happened.

By the time that Johnny Johnston finally got his stuff together where he wanted it. Checked his million and one settings or whatever else he was up to, the horse was done. He no longer had an interest in why he was here in this strange place. He'd long since decided it was just another place and there was nothing very interesting in sight.

So poor Rose Corey whose job it was to get the horse's attention got instructed, destructed and probably restructed on what she was doing wrong, when nothing on God's green earth (well, except maybe a mare) would have inspired Storm.

I wanted to push him backwards a couple of times like we were going to do halter since the horse always gets really blowy for halter. But Johnny Johnston thought it was a bad idea and "forbid me" from doing it and just kept on telling Rose to be the "bear" or get the stick horse, use the plastic, etc., etc, while Storm looked the other way.

It seemed like every time I so much as moved a muscle to keep the horse in position or the raise his head, Johnny Johnston yelled at me telling me I was "doing it wrong" or "stop that!" or whatever else he had on his mind.

I was sure glad that I had been warned ahead of time about Johnny Johnston. Getting through this with four horses was going to be tough and we still had loose shots to do.

To be continued.....................

Part 3

I do not have proofs back yet from Johnny Johnston. This pic of Storm at one of my open houses and was taken by my son-in-law.

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  1. Oh, man, do I feel for you! I hate it when some "professional", be it a photographer, vet, trainer (although, I do usually defer to trainers, since that IS what I'm there for, but in some situations, I know my animal better than the trainer), whatever, tries to tell me how to handle my animals. To a degree, yes, they are the pro and I respect that, but ultimately, I am the one that knows what makes my animal tick, what calms them down and what excites them, depending on the desired result. Especially a photographer! His expertise is how to take pics, not handling the animal.

    I hope you got some good shots, despite this inauspicious start!


  2. OH my! Hope the pics turn out, after all that!

  3. Yikes, sounds like quite an experience so far. I too, hope the pictures turned out...and that the sessions with the other horses went better!

  4. I bet you got some really lovely shots. He's a beautiful stallion. I can't wait to see.

  5. Better you than me. I would get pissed. You know your horse better than a stranger. Good grief!

  6. Hi MiKael
    As a photographer myself I would have to say that I would never treat anyone like that even if I was as good and as famous. I would give my instructions in a clear manner and only if the handler was doing something inappropriate would I "forbid" them to do whatever it was!!!! OM Gosh this sounds like it was quite a day,

    I look forward to hearing the rest of your experiences.

    Havent heard from you for a while, let me know if all is well. (((Hugs)))


  7. I've heard you can get a ringtone on your phone of a horse whinnying, both a mare and a get the horse's attention for photos. They use them here in shows, maybe that would've been handy LOL!!!