An Equine Photoshoot in the Cotswolds with Debbie & Twix

If you're familiar with the Cotswolds, it's easy to appreciate why photographing in this absolutely gorgeous part of the UK for the first time was such an exciting tick off of my creative bucket list! The whole area makes the perfect dog-friendly and horse-friendly staycation for a getaway or long weekend breaks, or if you're lucky enough to live nearby then it brings a very rural lifestyle. I always feel very at home and at peace there so when planning this photoshoot with Debbie, it was incredibly important that I was able to capture some of the things I adore most about this part of the world.

Read on to see more images and to learn about how our photoshoot went!


I shot with Debbie and Twix in the middle of March - this particular month of March has been preceded by the wettest February on record! Thankfully though, we had no weather bother and managed to plan for a dry morning. The results just perfect in every way!

The bright bay boy gracing us with his striking presence was Twix. A seven year old Thoroughbred who came out of racing training as a four year old having never raced. He told me quietly between shooting that he had his sights set on fulfilling a more varied career as a true all-rounder... He ended up with Debbie and couldn't have asked for a better lady to end up with! Lovely Debbie is a qualified animal behaviourist and trainer (you can find links to her business at the bottom of this blog post!). Twix has truly fallen on his hooves and has been lucky enough to experience all disciplines. His easy-going and kind nature completely shone through on the day of our shoot. He had been kept in and pruned within an inch of his life, he really was ready for the show ring and didn't put a single hoof out of place. Twix was polite the entire shoot allowing us to manoeuvre him as we required - something else that really paid dividends in the final set of portraits. Debbie's patient and calm approach was exactly the right one. Not all horses cope as well as Twix did with photoshoots, so I'm always prepared to take extra breaks if required to help them settle but we always get there in the end!


In terms of styling, Debbie did a brilliant job. She opted for a relaxed country feel for her first outfit. Her second outfit was super chic! Houndstooth - complete showstopper. Houndstooth coat with beautiful brass buttons and velvet detailing complete with a houndstooth skirt. She received so many lovely compliments from people on the yard as she emerged from the tackroom - a black fedora and black boots finished the look perfectly, like the cherry on top of a freshly baked cake! Wonderful! The third outfit was a beautiful fur cape over a burgundy jumper. It gave a real cosy, cuddly feel and interestingly, the piece was actually vintage which I loved too, adding personality and even more texture to the gallery.

The location

Debbie and Twix were on a lovely livery yard a short drive outside of Broadway in the Cotswolds. You'll probably know that the Cotswolds is famous for quaint cottages, the yellow stone and the charismatic architecture. So picturesque and postcard perfect! The yard spoilt us for choice because we had lots of traditional Cotswold stone stabling to make use of. My heart danced when I saw it. Lots of beautiful natural textures, walkways and driveways. My heart danced even more. We even had a railway bridge on the land which made for some super fun, more experimental shots. At this point, I think my heart was doing a Foxtrot! I am a total sucker for details, so things like the stable windows and the iron clock above the doorway made my minds eye burst with ideas! I keep my notebook to hand. I take notes on the walk round on the yard to make sure I don't forget a single idea that I've had!

We started on the short driveway - we had spectators from the neighbouring stables. It made us laugh to have several heads popping out of their windows to find out why Twix looked extra handsome that day and why Debbie who, like the rest of us horsey-ladies, would normally be donning her breeches, riding boots and a riding hat with her thermal coffee cup in hand! Both of them now resembled characters who had waltzed literally right out of a Country Life magazine! We then worked our way around the yard into various locations finding some lovely stone steps that worked perfectly for Debbie to sit on whilst having a little chat with Twix!

Next we moved onto the viaduct. Photography is a form of art and the appreciation of art comes down to the individuals personal preference. When Debbie showed me the structure beneath the viaduct, we agreed how the look and feel could lend itself to some quirky shots. I found that shooting beneath the viaduct conveyed a sense of strength and power, yet with so much beauty. This was exactly how I also viewed Debbie and Twix - strength and beauty, and indeed on a wider scale, women and their relationship with their horses. If anybody wants to put these guys in the next issue of Vogue let me know, I think you'll agree they wouldn't look out of place!


The most important thing about setting up the viaduct shots (as with any, but particularly here) was making sure everybody felt safe. Sometimes horses aren't particularly comfortable with going alongside their humans whilst they are so high up. It can be unusual for them. Luckily for us, Twix the saint said 'yeah, sure' and didn't bat an eyelid when we asked him to stand in position. However I made sure to have hold of him whilst Debbie got herself up onto the wall and comfortably seated - and very elegantly too, I will add!

The viewing

We enjoyed the comfort of the Dormy House Hotel for our gallery viewing session. Each photographer has their own way of presenting images, and I choose to do mine in person. We spent a couple of hours chatting and going through each image one by one - we also talked lot about dogs and horses actually! We drank coffee (for Debbie, tea for me) and Debbie chose her favourites. I always find this part fascinating as photography is so subjective. How I view the world will appear differently compared to somebody else's view of the world, so I really love this part of the photoshoot process. It shows me a lot about where our visions differ and where they are similar.

I look forward to getting the physical portraits to Debbie for her to have in her home for years to come of her beautiful best friend!

I had the best time making this shoot happen, thank you so much for having me Debbie and Twix xx

Hello, my name is Holly...

Welcome to my blog

I am an equine photographer based in Essex, England. I've owned and ridden horses always, and I've never known a life without them! I've started this little blog for my many ramblings. I've always liked to write, but previously had no outlet for it - now I do! I write about all things equine photography, horses and dogs so if you like any of those things, you're in the right place! If I can help you with a photoshoot then do let me know!

My Equine Shoots