An Equine Photoshoot with Kerry & Zamba

Non-horsey people often liken having horses to having a big dog. I am a huge dog person, so on one hand I do agree - companionship, love, connection, dedication. But in other ways, I feel like it's completely different. Horses are more of a lifestyle choice - we have to plan our lives, finances, sometimes even our career choices and every other detail around them in order to make it fit. There can be a lot of sacrifices involved when taking part in this sport. Either way you look at it though one thing is for certain - one huge flaw with whatever species you choose to keep is that they don't last long enough.

If you're anything like Kerry and her mare Zamba, you're blessed completely with the honour of calling them your own pretty much throughout their entire lives. That means from their hay day, right through to the very end. They are lucky enough to have you as their person - the one who knows every quirk, every personality nuance to what their favourite thing for breakfast is.

Kerry and I had the pleasure of working together once upon a time. We became friendly and kept in contact long after that chapter of our lives ended. I was completely honoured when she contacted me to say that she wanted some photographs with her close knit family and their beloved mare Zamba whom they'd owned for over 20 years.

Zamba, whilst most definitely having her own mind and thoughts about how things should be done, was one of those mares - an absolute force. A total character, knew what she thought and happily told you about it. She was popular with the boys and taught 3 generations of Kerry's family how to ride. They just don't make them like Zamba anymore - completely like gold dust. And she continued to be that same force right til her final days - she defied odds so many times with bouts of illness over the years, and really gave everybody a run for their money.

After a few health scares, Zamba bounced back and Kerry decided just to go for it and have the photoshoot done. With any animal, but especially older horses we never know what is around the corner so we got straight to it and rounded up the family! We had a fun filled afternoon and the final head count included, 1 horse, 1 dog, 2 children, Kerry and her husband, and Kerry's parents! Zamba couldn't get too far too quickly so we made use of the areas nearest the yard to keep things as comfortable as possible for her... Until she surprised us all and went marching on off up the driveway towing Kerry along!

We had a range of outfits, everybody came dressed looking their best, and Baxter the dog thought running through the long grass was the best fun ever - so he got some of his very own photographs too! The whole shoot just felt like it overflowed with that traditional family warmth and love, and I felt so lucky to be the one to capture it all for them. I knew that these memories would grow more and more precious as the years went by in future, especially for Kerry and her mum as they were a little team being Zamba's main care givers throughout her life.

Sadly, Zamba passed away later in the year. Whilst these things sometimes aren't a big surprise, it doesn't make it any easier. As mentioned earlier, horses are a lifestyle choice. For many of us who've been in it for so long, we don't know any differently and when they go, a part of you goes with them. But one thing is for sure - how lucky we are to have such a relationship with an animal for all those years. Zamba couldn't have had a more doting family. I know they all miss her dearly, but she really couldn't have asked for more from them all.

Here is a selection of photos from the shoot with Zamba, Kerry and her family. I really can't thank them all enough for trusting me with their memories x