by Laura Crum
We’ve all had them. (Or at least most of us who read this blog, anyway.) Those moments when magic is palpable—and a horse is part of the picture. My novels were inspired, to some degree, by my desire to portray the magic I found in horses.
Lately I’ve become more and more interested in photographic images, and (sadly for a writer) less interested in wordy descriptions. I am not a good photographer in any technical sense, but I like the feeling that I can sometimes capture in photos. I enjoy looking at my favorite photos—the ones that bring a special moment back to me. Anyway, I take a lot of photos. My husband was looking through them the other day, and he said, “All these photos are of HORSES.” Uhmm, yeah, guilty. (They’re not all of horses, but lots of them are.)
Yep, photo after photo of horses in my files—many of them taken from my horse’s back. Perhaps I could find an image that truly captured the essence of riding? So I went through my photos again, looking for my favorite shots--pictures that illustrated the feeling of delight that I have in riding a horse. Pretty soon I had a whole list of these photos. It was impossible for me to narrow it down to one or two. And this gave me an idea for a post.
So here are some photos of horseback riding. They are almost all of trail riding, in one form or another. After selecting them, I realized that the beauty of the country we ride through is an integral part of the magic of riding—for me. I will comment on what I like in each photo. Will you guys vote on which ones speak to you? There is no prize. Just the fun of discussing the magic of being on a horse, and what images convey this magic to the observer.
A lot of these are ear photos, and all of these photos were taken by me from Sunny’s back. There are several of my son on his horse, Henry, also (mostly) taken by me from Sunny’s back (which is why a few are a little bit blurry). The ones that show me and Sunny were almost all taken by my husband. All of the photos were taken in the last four years with a little point-and-shoot that fits in my pocket (or my husband’s pocket) when we ride or hike. I haven’t included any of my older photos (taken with a fancier camera—that won’t fit in a pocket), or any that were taken by my friends who are “real” photographers. This is strictly an amateur’s snapshot collection of trail horse photos. But it makes me smile, and brings back those happy moments. Let me know what you think.
I love the above photo. To me, it says it all. About riding, about the beauty of the place where I live. Ears forward, looking out at the edge of the continent, above an empty beach by the lovely Monterey Bay.
I used this photo for my Xmas card one year. Taken by my husband as he hiked with us in November on our local trails. I am on the palomino (Sunny) and my son is on the sorrel (Henry). The ridge in the background is the one I see from my porch.
Something in the drama here speaks to me, maybe the light or the body language—we were looking at sea lions surfing, and that comes back to me every time I see this photo.
This is my favorite photo of the view from the Lookout (about a mile from my front gate, via our local trails). Looking north toward Pleasure Point and Santa Cruz. Taken on a bright January day.
Riding down the local trail we call “the pretty trail” (going home from the Lookout). Taken by my husband on midsummer’s day. Really captures the lush beauty of these woods in summertime and the peaceful quality of riding two steady horses.
This is blurry (shot from Sunny’s back) but I still love it. For me it captures my son and Henry and this lovely ride through the redwoods.
A boy and his horse—loping along in the spring sunshine. Pure joy.
About to go wading. When I look at this I can almost smell the ocean.
Riding down to the sea through the sand dunes. The red vest makes a good focal point.
Riding to Parker Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I love the reflections. This photo takes me right back to being in the mountains.
Crossing Aptos Creek—I love the reflections here, too, and the drops hitting the water.
This shot was taken by our friend, Bill, as we rode away from his place in the Glass Mountains. “Tiny horsemen in a big landscape,” says it all.
This is my husband’s favorite “ear photo.” He thinks it is one of the few truly interesting riding photos I’ve taken.
This shot seems almost iconic to me.
This has an epic Biblical quality.
This one just speaks to me of so many happy rides with my son on Sunny and Henry.
A boy and his horse alone on a big empty beach. No footprints but our own.
Ok—this is not a great photo. But it makes me smile.
I’ve got LOTS more I could post, but I guess this is enough for now. Interesting how so many of them feature water. Anyway, if you have a favorite, tell me.
They're all great pictures, Laura - it would be hard to pick a favorite!
Numbers 3 and 14 are my favorites...love the isolation of an empty beach. I can imagine how peaceful it would be to ride there!
"Pretty Trail" and "Parker Lake" are wonderful, but I still agree with your husband. Surreal.
Mindy--Yeah, that was my problem, too!
Patti--I do seem to have chosen more beach photos than anything else. The two you picked have especially pretty light, I think.
Bill--Yep, Andy is particularly fond of that shot for its surreal quality. I like the other two you mentioned a lot--they both take me right back to very happy moments.
I ADORE ear photos, and Sunny has particularly cute, fuzzy little pony ears. Plus, somehow ear photos always have a sense of action - you're going somewhere, and the horse is looking forward to it. You never know what's ahead, but your horse is ready!
I love all the pictures with water- the clouds, the way the light and the scenery reflect - just lovely! I can't pick a favorite, sorry!
jenj--I know, I couldn't either. But I did notice that most of my choices had water in them.
I vote for the red jacket
Kerrin--I love that one, too--for the red in the midst of all the blue. Looking through the photos, its so clear that they are all about blue and green.
Great photos, but I think Sunny and his ears should get photographic credits. :)
Alison--Well, I do say in the post that all the ear photos were taken from Sunny's back...does that count?
These are all great. You have a whole heap of photos that you will look back on in years to come and treasure - especially the ones of your son and Henry.
I couldn't possibly pick a favourite! And your own favourites will be the ones that always make you smile no matter what
The top one of you approaching the beach is a great one. Since I ride in the woods and mountains, the beach ones seem magical to me.
Susan--The top one is probably my overall pick, too. I like the balance and the colors and the photo makes a strong, easy-to-read statement. I can see why the beach would seem magical if you lived far from it, and it does make neat photos. My favorite riding is through the nearby hills, though (like the pretty trail photo).
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