Today, I spent a few hours photographing the Open Day at The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. The BTRC is a British Horse Society Approved Retraining and Facility Centre, and is one of the most immaculate yards I have visited.
The BTRC hold an Open Day every year, and I can heartily recommend a visit if you are a horse lover like me. It is truly heart-warming to see what they are doing to retrain beautiful racehorses like these, who have reached the end of their racing careers.
I took the photo opportunity as a great chance to try out a new toy, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. I’m used to shooting at focal lengths of 50mm and above, so opening out to 24mm felt very challenging and unfamiliar to me first time around. However, I do like the results – as in the shot of ‘Fizz’ above.
If you want to find out more about The BTRC and their work, please visit The BTRC website.
Last week I volunteered a day of my time to The British Horse Society to photograph their Northwest Camp at Aintree Racecourse. This is the second time I’ve been one of their official photographers – the last time was in 2016. I got some great pictures second time around, and am already looking forward to next year.
The above images are some of my favourite pictures from this year’s camp. I will update my British Horse Society project gallery with some of these.
For the technically curious, I shot all these with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens at various focal lengths. I think it performed superbly despite the dim lighting conditions in the indoor arenas.
If you like the idea of staying in the jockeys’ accommodation at historic Aintree with your equine friend (they will have to sleep in the stables of course!), then keep your eye on the events section of the society’s website for next year: The British Horse Society.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of staying in one of the lodges at Sun Hill Farm, the home of Ann Duffield Racing, a well-known Yorkshire-based racehorse trainer. The gallops run right past the lodge so visitors have the pleasure of watching the horses train while relaxing in a wonderful outdoor hot tub.
These pictures were taken using the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L USM lens at 200mm, with a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second to blur the movement and create a sense of speed. The rider in the red skull cap cover is ‘Gentleman George’ Duffield, the retired flat racing jockey.
For a horse lover like me, this was a pretty near perfect stay. The only thing that would have made it better was having ridden one of the horses myself – but realistically, handling a two year old racehorse is probably a bit beyond my capabilities!
My pictures got a mention on their blog, and Hayley gave us a wonderful tour of the stables on the last day where I met some of the above horses.
This video has been sat on my phone for quite a while now. It’s about time I transferred it here to YouTube and my blog.
I’m riding Tim, one of the lovely horses at Eccleston Equestrian Centre. My instructor is Richard Greenhalgh.
I had a great afternoon documenting an afternoon’s polo for Cheshire Polo Club last week. This is one of my favourite shots of the day – a portrait of the lovely Caddi after she had just finished a chukka.
While I was a bit concerned about the weather, in the end it turned out to be a great afternoon and I only had my brolly up for fifteen minutes in total. I was very pleased to come away with some interesting pictures for my equestrian portfolio, and the club have a choice of plenty of pictures to use in their annual club programme.
You can see the full documentary story here.
I’ll be returning again before the end of the season.