Halloween horse riding … The adults want candy too !

Has2Nov13-38PMMarla and I went to the stables yesterday, to shoot the adult edition of the Halloween horse riding games. And it was every bit as fun, and even way more hectic, that the kiddo version. I had, again, the NEX 7 with LA-EA2 and Minolta 70-210/3.5-4.5 attached. By the way, the lens, which I have commented in details in previous posts, as been bought by a fellow photographer and follower of the blog, and will be on its way to South Africa tomorrow ! The AF performance of the combo was totally adequate, and I have way more keepers that I will reasonably be able to edit, I’m afraid !

Has2Nov13-23Actually, the issue with this shoot is the sheer number of pictures to deal with. And I didn’t even shoot any burst ! I think I truly need a more convenient photo browser/editor, and am considering using Apple Aperture, strictly for sorting/organizing purposes.

Has2Nov13-24PMI also went out of my way to try and remove as many unwanted elements from backgrounds as I could. Keep in mind I am NOT a post processing professional, far from it, that I am self taught, and not all that proficient, at Photoshop. So last night I had a LOT of work, 55 edited pictures so far, and still a lot to go !

Has2Nov13-03Here you can see Team 1, from left to right : Emilie on Almighty, a.k.a. “Doudou”, Seb on Okinawa, Marion on Spice, Mathilde on Viva la Vida, and Fanny on Flaunt.

Has2Nov13-02Team 2 (and I don’t know even know all the riders/horses names) : Morgan on Fiona, Céline (I think) and Joy mostly hidden behind Severine (horse’s name unknown), Camille on Vidji, and René on his tall bay, whose name I can’t remember.

Has2Nov13-04And Gwen.. yelling (for a change ;))

Another very big issue when shooting horses and riders, is the traditional littering of arenas ! So many disturbing objects end up in the background, at all times. Jumping bars laid on the ground, empty buckets, bar supports, not to mention other horse/rider couples waiting for their turn to perform. One needs to be a Photoshop champion to come up with unlittered pictures. And I’m not 😦 So most of the clutter free pictures in this post have been unmasterfully doctored by me, which explains a lot of weird looking areas going on in backgrounds, if you pay close attention (I’d rather you don’t, lol).

Has2Nov13-05All the action was not necessarily in the arena, either.

Has2Nov13-06Stuff was going on on all sides…

Has2Nov13-01But of course horses made the most spectacular part. Here Okinawa was protesting about his owner/rider, Seb, handling him a little too roughly (for the horse’s taste) over a part of the course.

Has2Nov13-27PMFanny, who won the much coveted Champagne bottle for best costume

Has2Nov13-22PMEmilie who bravely tried to enter the games on the 3 yr old stallion she usually rides. The noise, balls, poles, and general commotion were just too much for him…

Has2Nov13-21PMAnd sent him into a panic, which Emilie masterfully handled, with much cold blood for a 12 yr old !

Has2Nov13-25PMThere was loads of dismounting (to pick up candy from a sack on the ground) and mounting back, all of it at top speed, and in quantities of mud…

Has2Nov13-26PMHere an example of a shot with original background : what a mess !

Has2Nov13-28Undoctored as well, Emilie switched to a more serene ride : Eclaire !

Has2Nov13-30PMFirst time I saw this little mare out of her stall, and I have to admit she made a strong impression on me. Pretty, swift but looking easy and kind. Marion, her owner, seems super friendly as well, and hinted at a possible “half board” arrangement on her. I’ll inquire a bit further and give it some thought…

Has2Nov13-09Morgan in her skeletton suit, looked great on her trusty Fiona

Has2Nov13-07Marla caught between Lana, the Great Dane, and Lili, the Cane Corso

Has2Nov13-33PMSeverine on a handsome balck horse I hadn’t seen so far

Has2Nov13-08Charlotte and her bitch Lana

Has2Nov13-36PMMathilde and her usual jumping partner, Viva la Vida, in full swing

I can’t stress enough how pleasurable it is for me to shoot horses and riders in action. I’ve been riding since I was a kid and loved horses all my life. They are totally photogenic and the sheer variety of breeds, sizes, colors and assorted apparel makes it really easy to get appealing pictures, especially during fast action. I guess if I could  chose any professional specialty in the photography business, I’d be a horse photographer !

Has2Nov13-12And if you close up a bit on the horses, you can start seing a bunch on interesting expressions, here Okinawa, and below, Eclaire :



Has2Nov13-13Has2Nov13-14Two other undoctored shots, with horses in the background

Has2Nov13-16Camille & Vidji

Has2Nov13-15Who, despite being 4, handled the whole chaotic experience with total zen !

Has2Nov13-18Yup *every*body got to jump 😉

Has2Nov13-17Even the notoriously non jumpers !

Has2Nov13-19Emilie cautiously approaching the ball to pick up…

Has2Nov13-20PM… and Almighty taking off as he got scared of it !

Has2Nov13-29PMPretty Spicy

Has2Nov13-31PMFanny & Flaunt made a great team. During ordinary lessons the mare often tends to be defensive of her rider, but during the games she totally cooperated. It was lovely to witness

Has2Nov13-34PMHas2Nov13-37PMAgain, let me say that the NEX 7 with LE-EA2 had no issue keeping up

Has2Nov13-40PMI’m really starting to get curious about this little mare

Has2Nov13-41PMHaving that many shots gets a bit confusing. After a while your mind goes numb and you can’t figured out what you’ve already posted or not !


Has2Nov13-45PMJoy : no Halloween apparel, but pretty nonetheless





Has2Nov13-52PMMarla enjoyed it immensely as well !

Has2Nov13-53PMCharlotte and Vif ended up joining in…

Has2Nov13-54PMVif is such a beauty queen !

Has2Nov13-55PMFiona barging in !

I’d love to say that I went thru all the pics. Not even true though. Right now my eyes aren’t straight anymore and I can’t think properly. I should probably say away from a computer for at least 24 hours ! (*not* likely to happen, though…). Tomorrow the post MIGHT deliver either of both of the two lenses I’ve been waiting for. Hmmm, I guess that means more horsey pictures very soon !!


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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7 Responses to Halloween horse riding … The adults want candy too !

  1. Lisandra says:

    Lovely fast paced stuff. Your blog has become a mental spa for me.
    What kind of dog is that? Its beautiful!

  2. marla2008 says:

    “Mental spa”…this is just marvelous ! Loveliest compliment you could make. The solid grey is a 1 yr old Cane Corso bitch, the mottled grey is an young unregistered Great Dane (blue merle is not allowed in the breed as it genetically carries a bunch of unwanted flaws). Both girls, and they were having a blast.

  3. I like the blue merle, Chris would be in heaven with those two – his favourite breeds. Superb set, I feel dizzy trying to keep up myself. You do a fantastic job and the 7 still shines, despite being ‘old’ technology now and soon to be overshadowed (hopefully) by the new A7!

  4. I am always impressed by the horse named Fiona. What a beautiful horse!!!

  5. marla2008 says:

    I’m totally with you here, very impressive and beautiful animal. Of course the fact that she is ridden by a very pretty young woman doesn’t hurt one bit 😉

  6. I meant to say this to you for a while (and nothing to do really with this post, or even Fiona’s rider) but I sometimes wish we could get a look at your pictures in full resolution….

  7. marla2008 says:

    Laurent you do have a very valid point (and I’ll go along pretending it has *nothing* to do with being able to check out FIona’s pretty rider full size ;)). Up to about last year I saved all my edited pictures in a dual format : large for potential printing, small for portable device sharing and web display. At some point the sheer quantity of shots I edit per month got a bit overwhelming and since I only actually print about 2 or 3 shots out of 100, I just decided to only save the larger size for exceptionally successful and special shots (like the Halloween portrait of my daughter peaking out of being the tree, for instance). This is the reason behind not being able to check shots full size on this blog. However, if you let me know which shots in particular you’d want to see, I can gladly email them to you.

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