Celebrating small successes – Best Freelance Photograph

The summer is pretty much over, and not only haven’t I shared all my exiting work and travel with you yet, but also one of my biggest accomplishments in my publishing career as a photographer. On June 1st, 2019 I was awarded for the best Freelance Editorial Photograph by the American Horse Publications Equine Media Awards. The winning photograph was of the two Young Living Percherons Mona, Utah walking at sunrise at Live Oak International in Florida. A massive thank you to Alden Corrigan and The Competitive Equestrian for publishing my work and therefore making it eligible to enter the Equine Media Awards, and of course to Catie Staszak Media, Inc. and US Equestrian without whom I wouldn’t have been there photographing in the first place.
In addition I received an Honorable Mention for my photograph of Toxico, the Lusitano stallion, on the cover of Dressage Today. Thank you Lindsay Paulsen for choosing my work for the last Baroque issue of Dressage Today. I couldn’t be happier with the results of this years competition, even though I didn’t get to be there in person this year. It really means so much to me, not only because it took so much work and patience to get those images, but also because it’s the first time taking first place at something period. Thank you again to everyone involved in the process.

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Gentle Temperaments

Even today the Rocky Mountain Horse remains a rather uncommon find in the United States. Not for me though, because in California I had four of the gentle beauties all at once. Two of them you already met in my previous post about Monet and Cruz. Their temperament and appearance is so beautiful, that I wanted you to meet Rion and Thomas as well. The Rocky Mountain horses are not only known for their natural 4 beat gait, but also for their excellent and calm temperament, which made working with them so relaxed and fun, not just for me but also for the owners who could thoroughly enjoy the time with their equine partners.

Another special feature is the chocolate brown coat and flaxen mane, like 7-year old gelding Rion. He was a superstar during our session, so calm, yet beautiful and expressive.

Another one of my guests was the stunning back gelding Thomas and his owner Julia.

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From the Beach to the Woods

In May, I had the pleasure of going to Santa Cruz to photograph a variety of horses. Two of them were the Rocky Mountain Horses Cruz and Monet. Both of them are endurance horses and quite familiar with the beach and the woods, where they spend most of their time training. So the first day we took them to the ocean, between paragliders and crashing waves they felt quite comfortable. The next day we chose a more calm location, a peaceful pasture not far from their barn. The early morning light was in our favor. In tow, Belgian Shepherd ladies, Rosie and Fuji, two stunning models to photograph. Besides the horse photography, owner Karen, had inquired about a photography coaching session, which Fuji and Rosie got to model for.

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TROVE CBD – Commercial Film

Now this was a fun project! Some of you may know the handsome PRE gelding Armas from last May, when I first had him and his owner in front of my camera. Since then Deborah and her son had launched a CBD oil company, Trove, that offers only the finest CBD products for horses, dogs, cats and humans.
I am so happy they trusted me with their promo video, which we filmed in March 2019 in Evergreen, CO. The film is going to launch at the Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival in California, as part of Trove‘s sponsorship.

 

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Catalog shoot with Kerrits Equestrian Apparel in Oregon

When I finally get to merge my desire to photograph fashion and horses. On this day in May of 2018, I meet the creative team of Kerrits and our lovely models at the beautiful setting of the Sherwood Equestrian Center in Oregon to photograph their new 2019 line. We meet at 6:30AM to catch the soft sunlight and shoot for at least 12 hours. It’s incredible to see how much goes into a shoot like this. There is hanging racks filled with outfits, boots, chaps, make-up and hair. Yet, it’s so much fun, because I get to focus on the photography side, while the team worries about the clothing and the details on the horses. One of the compelling facts about Kerrits is that they use real equestrians for their catalog shoots. Real people with real horse experience. It’s helpful for me and the team, because the girls are naturally comfortable around horses and know what they are doing. That allows me to capture candid moments while showing the detail of the apparel. It’s also neat because you get instant feedback from the riders about Kerrits’ clothing, which ones are their favorites and why.

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Bravo! Vail meets Dressage

The Dressage Gala featuring Anita Williams Dressage, local musicians, caterers, sommeliers, and myself, was one of the many items auctioned at the annual Gala benefiting the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. Bravo! Vail enriches people’s life through the power of music by producing performances, fostering music education and by promoting a lifelong appreciation for the arts.

So on September 15th, 2018, music lovers, equine professionals and local vendors gathered in the beautiful setting of Anita Williams Dressage, a charming dressage facility nestled into the mountains of Eagle, Colorado.

Anita Williams is a Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medalist with the United States Dressage Federation and has been competing at National and International levels of dressage for over 30 years, winning many National USDF Horse of the Year Awards, and Regional Championships from 1st level through the FEI levels. Together with her mount Stortebecker, she performed Grand Prix level dressage movements while violinists accompanied their dance. After the demonstration and a surprise performance by two Norwegian Fjord horses, everyone enjoyed a five star dinner in the luxurious equestrian lounge above the stables. Enjoy this small selection of impressions of this neat event.

Music by HookSounds.com

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What We Can Learn From Horses – The Perfect Fit Saddlery

This summer I had the opportunity to work with McKinley Harvey, of The Perfect Fit Saddlery, to produce a series of promotional images for her saddle fitting business. We shot in the beautiful setting of Faith Farms in Castle Rock during a group session day with three additional ladies. McKinley founded The Perfect Fit Saddlery in 2017, when she saw a growing demand for high quality products and fitting services in Colorado. It was then, when the 24-year old Colorado native took out two loans, and a leap of faith, and hasn’t looked back since then.

McKinley’s dressage background, riding since she was eight and competing all her life, coupled with her entrepreneurial education, allowed her to enter the field and start a successful business.  When working with McKinley and her fun quirky but professional personality, there is no doubt that horses are the most important part of her life.

At The Perfect Fit Saddlery, McKinley represents Equipe, handmade saddles from Italy that respect the rider’s comfort and the anatomy of the horse. She describes them as the best in the market for horse and riders. In addition The Perfect Fit offers boot fitting and custom boot services of DeNiroBootCo, a company that has been known for quality, attention to details, innovation and style since 1981.

 

Of course there is a special someone who makes her eyes light up. Part of her shoot was also her soulmate Q, a 6-year old Hanoverian, who she has a deep relationship with and whom she is developing at the moment. Q was imported from Germany after a referral from a friend and McKinley found her soul horse without even meeting him prior. She explains that just like with developing horses, it’s important to be devoted and to not cut corners, if you want to work in the equine industry and be successful. Her advice to any young entrepreneurs is to find a mentor who can take you under their wing to give you insight of what it takes.

 

One of the amazing benefits of her job is that she got to visit the factory in Italy, where Equipe and DeNiro products are handcrafted. Check out her experience on her Facebook page.
If you are interested in Saddle fittings for Selleria Equipe, personal fittings and design consultations for DeNiroBootCo or would like to find out more about The Perfect Fit Saddlery, you can contact McKinley through various channels:

FB: The Perfect Fit Saddlery
IG: @theperfectfitsaddlery
Web: Theperfectfitsaddlery.com

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Art for a Cause

I will be offering 16×24 signed Fine Art Prints for only $150 to help raise money for Stephanie Soule’s medical fund for the entirety of the fundraiser. (https://www.youcaring.com/stephaniesoule-1145356)

For every print you purchase $100 will go towards her fund. The remaining $50 are not a profit to me, and are strictly covering the production and shipping cost.

It is super easy to contribute:

  1. Message or email (info@biancamccartyphotography.com) me your name, address, and your choice of image.
  2. Pay your invoice received via email
  3. Watch the LOVE grow every time we add $100 to Stephanie’s YouCaring Fund
  4. Receive your artwork, knowing that you made a huge difference in someone’s life and that the Good will come back to you.

Stephanie and her family were visiting her childhood home on the Island of Bermuda to take a trip down memory lane. They were traveling on scooters when on March 22nd, Stephanie and her son were struck by a car. (I am getting goosebumps while writing this.) While her son Conner got away with minor injuries, Stephanie was rushed to the hospital with a destroyed knee and fractured joint bones, and the doctors suggested for her to get an immediate medivac off the island. By air ambulance she was taken to Grand Junction and was admitted directly to St Mary’s hospital where she had to undergo X-rays, CT scans, and MRI’s.

Stephanie and her family are facing astronomical medical expenses including but not limited to an emergency air ambulance flight. In addition, Stephanie will be in physical therapy for many months and unable to work.

The good news is, that the doctors are confident they can rebuild her knee, once the swelling is less severe so they can safely operate. After her operation she is looking at an absolute minimum of 6 months recovery to get back on her feet, but a full recovery is questionable at this time.

 

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Live Oak International 2018

 

This past weekend I was lucky enough to spent my time in Ocala, Florida, for the 27th Live Oak International, where I was on assignment for US Equestrian to capture the Combined Driving Championships. In addition to the action packed driving competition, Live Oak Plantation also hosted the $100,000 LONGINES FEI World Cup™ Jumping Qualifier Grand Prix.

This tournament is one of the largest Combined Driving and Show Jumping events in the country and attracts some of the leading drivers, riders, trainers, coaches and owners from Europe and North America in both disciplines.

 

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West Coast Dressage Festival

On February 14th, I drove from Colorado to California, 900 miles, 14 hours, to experience the final FEI-level competition weekend, of the six week long circuit hosted by the Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival in Del Mar.
While I had a chance to watch world class dressage riders and their students compete in this gorgeous location, I thoroughly geeked out on photographing one jaw dropping pirouette after another. While I was on assignment to meet Dawn White-O’Connor, one of Steffen Peters talented assistants who recently earned the reins to his Olympic mount Legolas, I learned that Dawn grew up in Colorado of all places. The 29-year old moved to San Diego 11 years ago, where she started working as a groom in Steffen Peter’s barn. How the torch was passed on to her might be another story in the future.
She kindly invited me to meet the stars up close, Rosie, Mopsi and Legolas. They were all right there. And for me, someone who has never been this close to Olympic athletes and horses, I enjoyed seeing how they live an ordinary life once you step behind the scenes. Horses still get to be horses after all.

Another highlight of the weekend was Britain’s three-time Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin’s masterclass Friday night. Here she talked about the importance of correct transitions, while teaching three riders, one of them Lehua Custer, whose experience you can read about in California Riding Magazine. If I had to sum up Charlotte’s concept of the night: be disciplined and not sloppy. You must ride exercises until you get them right. “There is no getting away from those judges; they are everywhere.

 

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