horse & rider
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There are friends, and then there are friends. You know, the friends you call midday in the middle of the work week and they talk you off the ledge and then drop everything that they’re doing to come be with you and help you. The ones that are there for you and help you through the most difficult times, but they’re also the ones with whom you share a laugh and your secrets. The ones you trust, that you know will be honest with you even if it’s not what you want to hear. I’m so incredibly fortunate because I have a few friends that fit this description. One of them is Dawn, the mom of Lovin’ the Blues “Blue”. So as a gift to her, I photographed her beautiful gelding Blue at Planeta Stables in Ringoes, NJ.
Dawn and I met in 2012ish, at my first barn in NJ. Dawn just showed up and rides one of the most difficult horses at the barn in a lesson with our then trainer. I remember standing there watching her and one of the younger girls at the barn standing next to me saying, “That looks like the kind of woman I want to have a conversation with”. Because we admire her riding ability, but she is also super nice and so friendly!
And of course we become friends, then a part of the same barn family, and then riding buddies, and then really good friends. When we both moved on to different barns in 2015, we continue to keep in touch. We meet up relatively regularly, having lunch together, visiting each others horses, going on shopping trips at the local tack stores, etc.
Fast forward to late fall 2018, when my horse, Ollie, colicked. Badly. On the worst possible day – there was a huge off-property event that day. The entire rest of the barn had gone (I’d stayed back with Ollie since the night before he’d been weird, and I had a sixth sense telling me something wasn’t quite right). They were over 2 hours away! Ollie was acting strangely (and we later realized he was colicking, but his symptoms in the beginning were bizarre), and I called Dawn for some advice and help. She dropped everything and drove out to my barn in the middle of the day. She walked with me for what seemed like hours, just making sure Ollie stayed moving.
Dawn helped me pick an entire paddock, in the hot midday sun. That way when Ollie was turned out at night, we’d be able to check the paddock the next day for any new manure. She stayed with me and made sure we were okay, until the vet could arrive and help me.
Thanks to the help of some other incredible friends, Ollie and I made it to the clinic for treatment. Thankfully, his impaction colic resolved with supportive care. Now Ollie is notoriously horrible at loading – so when Dawn offered to drive us back to our barn, I was really hoping that he’d throw us a bone and load easily into her trailer. Let’s just say that wasn’t the case. Dawn and the vet and I spent probably close to an hour trying to load him. But she was there, helping me and supporting me, making sure we got home safely.
I’ll spare you the details of Ollie’s adventure from that point forward, as it’s long and involved. Let’s just say we ended up at the New Bolton Center at U Penn vet school. We were so lucky to get treatment there. Bone scans, surgery, recovery – the whole shebang. But that’s a story for another time. I’ll sum it up for now saying that New Bolton is amazing, and the faculty and staff are incredible. Ollie received the most wonderful care and treatment there. He’s now healthy, happy, and back in a program and the most fit he’s been since I’ve owned him! And guess what? Dawn was there through it all. Talking to me on the phone during my 3 hour round trip commute every day to be with Ollie, talking me off the ledge before his surgery, etc. Just being an amazing friend.
We did portraits of Dawn and Blue way back in 2015 or 2016, but I wanted to really thank her for everything she’s done for me, and for being there. I offered to do some black background portraits of her gorgeous OTTB Blue as a thank you gift. Um, Blue was hands down the easiest horse I’ve ever worked with for black background portraits. He LITERALLY stood there in the doorway of the barn aisle at Planeta Stables, motionless. He gave me every angle I needed! And it doesn’t hurt that he’s drop dead gorgeous, so, yeah. Thank you Dawn for being my friend, and for being there for me. Oh also for having a gorgeous horse that easily stands square and completely still! lol
So enjoy some highlights from our session! Lovin’ the Blues – “Blue” in all his glory at the beautiful Planeta Stables in Ringoes, NJ.
Thank you as always Dawn, for everything, and thanks to Blue for being the perfect model and Planeta Stables for having me!