One of my favorite competitions each year is the World Championship Hunter Rider Professional Finals, held as a featured event during the Capital Challenge Horse Show. In this Friday night class, six professional riders face-off in a head-to-head competition where they compete over four courses swapping rides on the same horses. The competitor who totals the highest overall score emerges as “World Champion.”
This year’s class featured an array of beautiful horses, and perhaps the most photogenic was the elegant gray Belgian Warmblood Ostentacious. As an equestrian photographer, I spend countless hours standing ringside taking photos of horses jumping fences. While I enjoy my job immensely, one of the reasons I still find this work so gratifying is when I have the opportunity to photograph a horse such as Ostentacious. Each and every fence he jumps is a gorgeous display of his talent. Although most horses enjoy their jobs as show horses, when you have one that seems to revel in his enjoyment, pulling his knees up to his ears and soaring over the fences with room to spare, it’s a special animal.
Of the 476 photos I shot today, this is one of my favorites. It’s Ostentacious and my friend Liza Boyd showing off their impeccable form before an appreciative crowd. It was a long day (and night) of work today, but when I can download a photo like this at the end of the night it makes up for the lack of sleep. (Well, almost!)