Category Archives: horses

Forgotten places

When I was old enough to explore my hometown of Saint John, NB, alone on my bicycle, I found places that I ever knew existed. Some now are long forgotten places. I found one yesterday morning.

I had a meeting scheduled with the founders of Shining Horizons Therapeutic Riding Association, Stacey Hope and Kent Grass. Not sure how long it would take me to find their place and the home of Shining Horizons, I left early. With time to spare, I followed the Red Head Road down toward Anthony’s Cove. The damp, foggy breeze on my face brought back memories of my teenaged explorations in the area. I stopped by the side of the road and captured a shot of two huge cargo/tanker ships leaving the harbour with a glimpse of West Saint John in the background. On to the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, those ships are bound for far away places.

Saint John Harbour from Red Head Road.

The rocky beach goes for miles in either direction and at low tide is quite wide. The clouds were at times ominous, but it wasn’t until I was leaving that I felt the sting of winter by the bay on my cheeks.

There was a pile of railway ties behind me. I have no idea why they were there, but they offered a slightly sheltered perch for watching the activity on the beach and in the harbour.

Railway ties

Be warned. Before sitting down on a pile like this, watch out for protruding, and rusty nails.

Rusty Nail

Spending time with Stacey and Kent made for a wonderful day. Their enthusiasm for their organization and the benefits it offers to all involved was heartwarming. If you aren’t familiar with equine therapy, take a few minutes to check out their website and/or Facebook page. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time and perhaps you’ll be inspired to get involved somehow. Be a volunteer, spread the word about what they do, help the organization in some other way or make a donation, large or small. Everything helps to ensure the longevity and future of this worthwhile organization that serves mentally or physically challenged people from Sussex to St. Stephen.

Finding ‘forgotten places’ can be a worthwhile adventure. Try it.


Also posted in animals, BLOG, photography Tagged , , |

Fun in the field at the Hampton Riding Centre

My friend Jennifer owns and operates the #HamptonRidingCentre. Each year she offers a series of training clinics for aspiring cross-country riders. At the beginning levels she believes it is important to develop confidence in riding at faster speeds and jumping while riding at speed as well. It’s not as easy as it might sound or look!

For me, as a photographer, it’s fun to capture the action as people learn while having fun out in the field enjoying their horses instead of being confined to a fenced-in riding ring. Enjoy the slideshow!

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I hope you enjoyed your quick overview of these ladies learning about regulating pace and jumping obstacles within the pace. Thanks, Jen, for letting me play too!


Also posted in BLOG, horse training, New Brunswick, photography Tagged , , |

A beautiful day in the neighbourhood….

Yesterday was a perfect day – warm and sunny but not hot and unbearable. What more could you ask for when sitting out in an open field photographing the 2016 area Pony Club Rally.

Ready for the first cross-country rider.

Ready for the first cross-country rider.

The kids had set up their tack rooms, ready for inspection, in their horse trailers. And, while that was going on, the grooms and riders were preparing for the cross country phase of their event.

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Then it was time for the riders to walk the course!


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And, of course, the volunteer jump judges (conscripted friends and family) were heading out to their assigned spots as well.

The first rider on course was testing out the jumps.

Shyanne White

Shyanne White

She was followed by the Pony Club competitors:

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Everyone had a safe ride and good fun – that’s what it’s all about! Congrats to all the riders, grooms, teams, coaches, judges and organizers for a terrific day!

By the way, for anyone wishing to purchase any images, the watermark will be removed prior to printing.



Also posted in BLOG, horse photography, horse photos, horse training, photography Tagged , , , , , , |

Who’s excited? Me, that’s who!

Next month (Sept. 2015) I am so excited that  Photo Moncton International will be happening in (surprise) Moncton, NB. It’s a convention that attracts photographers of all levels from our province, the Atlantic region and beyond. There will be workshops and seminars led by renowned photographers, and the purpose is to encourage, develop and educate us all. I, for one, can’t wait to attend.

For me, there’s an added bonus! Not only will I have a phenomenal educational opportunity (without the exorbitant cost of travel, accommodations etc.) but I’ll get to meet a number of fellow photographers that I’ve only known through Facebook photo groups. Some feel like old friends even though we’ve never actually met (yet).

And for even more excitement, this year I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and take a huge risk. I responded to the event’s “Call for Submissions” and submitted 12 images to the jury for consideration. Much to my surprise and delight, I was one of only six photographers selected to present my work during a month-long exhibit whose opening corresponds with the opening of the convention.


For me, this is a major milestone. I’ve always been nervous about putting my work “out there”, particularly in front of more experienced photographers. The fear of rejection runs deep! But, it may be age, it may be hubris, but this time I did it. I selected twelve images from the over 4500 I came home with after my photo expedition in Brazil. Nine were chosen for this exhibit. Here’s a little sample:

Band on the Beach -7589-c38.jpgColts Playing on the Beach -7280-c72.jpgWhite Arabian mare -7118-c49.jpg

I hope my friends and followers will find the time to visit the exhibit, not only to support my efforts, but also to see the work of the other very talented artists whose work will be displayed. Each is unique.

Keep an eye on the blog and I’ll let you know the details about dates, times and accessability as soon as I know them myself. The printing, matting and framing is being handled by Ivan’s Camera Ltd. in Moncton. I can hardly wait to see the display.

Who’s excited? Me, that’s who!


Also posted in appreciation, BLOG, horse photography, horse photos, horse portraits, New Brunswick, photography Tagged , , |

Another June memorial

Our first show - way back when

Our first show – way back when

Beau (formally known as “Crescendo” was just four years old when he came into my life. He stood 16.3hh and was a Canadian x Hanoverian. We met on an ice covered windswept hilltop outside Quebec city and, despite his owner’s description that he had an ‘ugly head’, it was love at first ride. Barefoot, he carried me carefully around the slippery riding ring, never setting a foot wrong and I knew he was destined to be mine. By the next spring we entered our very first dressage show together, a comical affair at best. But the bond was formed and for the next sixteen years we shared adventures, successes, failures, stories and tears.

He was my constant companion through a tumultuous divorce, a new relationship and so much more. We travelled to live in Nova Scotia, then Alberta and back to New Brunswick together – a solid constant in my life. We bought a small hobby farm so he could live at home with us, and he watched our wedding unfold on the front porch from the corner of his pasture.

Not shy, he expressed his opinion of the miserably cold and SNOWY weather in Calgary - in JULY!

Not shy, he expressed his opinion of the miserably cold and SNOWY weather in Calgary – in JULY!

Beau's pasture in Smiths Creek.

Beau’s pasture in Smiths Creek.

He loved to spend his days roaming around his very own 3-acre pasture overlooking the Kennebecasis River. Even on the coldest days in winter it was his preferred place to be, tail to the wind and snow, watching whatever was going on.

He came alive in winter

He came alive in winter

With his thick, black coat (sun-bleached to a mottled brown in summer) he found the heat oppressive. But, true to his Canadian heritage, he came alive in winter challenging the snow to slow him down.

Circumstances changed and we sold our small farm. Beau went to live at a friend’s stable in Geary where he entertained with his antics, begging for carrots or any other treat that might come his way, and teaching others the skills they’d need to ride him and other horses in the future. He had the best of care and some wonderful friends.

I visited him in early June and remarked that he looked wonderful, healthy and strong for a 20-year-old horse. His eyes were bright, his coat shiny. Such a relief after just losing Hoover, our much loved dog.

Then, not even a week later I got the call that no horse owner ever wants to get. Beau succumbed to a colic-like episode and died the night before, despite everyone’s best efforts. At least his friend Bonnie was with him and I can’t even imagine what it was like for her to lose him because I know she loved him almost as much as I did.

He had a good life with many adventures, travel and friends from the east coast to the west. It’s been a year now and I  still miss him and find it really hard to visit the stable where he lived knowing he’s no longer there.

Goodbye again, my friend. You were well loved.



Beau's beautiful floral tribute sent by a caring friend.

Beau’s beautiful floral tribute sent by a caring friend.

Also posted in BLOG, caring, family, lament Tagged , , |

June is a cruel month for us

Hoover's first day in Smiths Creek, NB, 2008

Hoover’s first day in Smiths Creek, NB, 2008

Looking like a wee black bear cub, Hoover came into our lives in 2008 and left us a few short years later on June 3, 2014, tearing enormous holes in both of our hearts. Not a day goes by that we don’t mention him, think of him, miss his loving soul and goofy antics. Even now, a year later, seeing his wise eyes in the many, many photos I took of him, brings unbidden tears to my eyes and Joel’s as well.

For us, June is a cruel month. This year, not only has the weather been abysmal, but with the first anniversary of Hoover’s passing, we’ve learned that grief truly doesn’t diminish, at least not quickly.

I hope that those who’ve lost spouses, family members, children (the absolute worst), or friends will not see these comments as disrespectful of their losses. Far from it. Grief is grief, regardless of the reason. The stages are the same.

Barely two weeks after Hoover’s death my horse, Beau, died. He was 20 years old – still young-at-heart – and should have had many years ahead of him, but it wasn’t to be.

Beau head


He’d been with me for 16 of his 20 years, traveling from Quebec to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Alberta and back again. He was my rock through a divorce, relocation, new relationship, new marriage and new life. His mane soaked up many tears over the years – tears of regret, sorrow and then joy.

In his retirement years he was helping other riders to learn the skills they’d need to ride all kinds of horses. Unfortunately his second career was cut short.

Just four years earlier, in mid-June, we lost our Rag Doll kitty, Triscuit, to diabetes, a condition we’d never associated with cats. It seems it is quite common. Like Beau, Triscuit had lots of miles under her paws, moving from Hampton to Halifax, Calgary and back to Sussex. I swear she thought she was a dog when traveling – content as long as we were with her.

"Triscuit" 2000-2010

“Triscuit” 2000-2010

So for us, June is a triply cruel month – filled with memories of warm hearts, warm furry bodies, eyes that see into your soul – each having left paw or hoof prints in our hearts.

Now we have one furry companion – Halo. She was 13 years old (we think) last month and we hope she’ll be with us for a long time to come. She has taken on the role of guardian of our hearts, making sure both of us are provided with lots of snuggles, lots of purring and ‘head bonks’ – in exchange for an endless supply of kitty cookies and warm beds.

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Such is life with animals.

RIP our old friends. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten.


Also posted in animals, appreciation, BLOG, caring, cat, death, dog, emotions, family, life changes, losing Tagged , |

He would have been…

1994-2014 Fondly Remembered

Fondly Remembered

Crescendo (a.k.a. “Beau”) would have been 21 years old tomorrow. A ‘mutt’ in the world of horses, his breeding was 1/2 Hanoverian and 1/2 Canadian. He was big (16.3hh, 1400 pounds). He was strong. He was willful. He was a challenge.

He was a horse with a sense of humour.

Beau's opinion of winter in July in Calgary, 2001.

Beau’s opinion of winter in July in Calgary, 2001.

But he was also beautiful, loving and affectionate, and willing to perform for a bite of carrot or apple and a rub on the forehead between his eyes.

Beau was 3 years old when he came into my life and 20 when he died last year. He is missed. But, I hope he is enjoying grazing and romp in a huge grass field on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

Crescendo (Beau)

Crescendo (Beau)

RIP my friend.


Also posted in animals, BLOG

A break is a good thing!

The month of June, in our house, was a dreadful one filled with loss and sorrow – and a huge break in my heart. First our beloved dog, Hoover, passed away and then Beau, the horse I’d had for 17 years, joined him on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. For weeks afterward I felt disoriented and lost, so I decided to take a short road trip to visit some friends and places in Nova Scotia – to take a physical and mental break from the daily reminders of what was gone.

The weather was ideal for a road trip when I set off. I reached the NB / NS border easily and stopped to enjoy the scenery, including the large wind farm taking advantage of the never-ending winds on the Tantramar Marshes.

Windfarm on the Tantramar Marsh

Windfarm on the Tantramar Marsh at the NB/NS border.

The overcast skies made the drive easier on the eyes, that’s for sure.

I arrived at my friend’s home and was delighted with her rustic, unstructured gardens and back yard – an oasis of huge trees, large shrubs and periodic surprises tucked away beside a shed here, a rock there.

Garden Chair

Garden Chair

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The next day I explored “the Valley” where I had begun my university education years ago. A trip to Hall’s Harbour was a refreshing break from the incessant humidity and heat on the Valley floor – a 10º difference in temperature.

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Rocks forming an enormous breakwater between the world famous high tides of the Bay of Fundy and the sheltered harbour.Halls Harbour low tide_web

Low tide with some of the fishing fleet and pleasure craft resting on the ocean floor.Halls Harbour rock_web

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Seagulls startled by the click of my camera shutter. Note to self, muffle that in the future.

Halls Harbour seaweed rocks_webSeaweed coated boulders leading down from the breakwater to the ocean floor at low tide.

I drove up over the steep hill from Hall’s Harbour and started down the other side toward the hot and sultry “Valley”.

Looking down into the Annapolis Valley where the temperature was close to 30ºC and very humid.

Looking down into the Annapolis Valley where the temperature was close to 30ºC and very humid.

Next stop? Historic Grand Pre.

The beach at Grand Pre looking toward Blomidon Mountain at low tide.

The beach at Grand Pre looking toward Blomidon Mountain at low tide.

A wide swath of beach (see the people in the distance?).

A wide swath of beach (see the people in the distance?). Ocean floor, Bay of Fundy, low tide.

Between the Grand Pre historic sight and the beach you drive through this farmland - and hope the dykes hold!

Between the Grand Pre historic sight and the beach you drive through this farmland – and hope the dykes hold!

The next day Tropical Storm Arthur attacked the Maritimes with a vengeance. We lost power at my friend’s house and spent the day watching trees break, branches fly by the windows, and keeping our fingers and toes crossed that nothing would damage her very old house or either of our cars parked in the yard. We were lucky. From the photos the next day and those in the news media, others weren’t.

Wind whipping by the living room window

Wind whipping by the living room window

The next day, since we still had no power but the storm had passed, except for the residual winds, we decided to venture forth and check out  any damage in the yard. Broken branches lay everywhere on the ground and her neighbour’s tree had split, falling onto her privacy hedge along the roadside, taking out several well established and older shrubs, rose bushes, etc.

It took about 36 hours for power to be restored to Hantsport and the area and the cleanup was underway.

I headed home on Monday morning, stopping briefly to visit another friend and share a lunch and reminisce.

This trip did what I intended it to do; it provided a much needed break and a chance to re-set my priorities and perspective on life in general.

Home now, tired from the driving but refreshed from the trip, life goes on.



Also posted in appreciation, BLOG, caring, death, dog, emotions, life changes Tagged , |

Horse Photos from Brazil

Also posted in GALLERY, horse photography, horse photos, horse portraits, photography Tagged , , |

I believe in miracles

Rio - born Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 7:30 a.m. to Twink and Maverick owned by Gina Bouchard and Bruce Bennett.

Rio – born Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 7:30 a.m. to Twink and Maverick owned by Gina Bouchard and Bruce Bennett.

This tiny foal was born on one of the coldest mornings we’ve had so far. He’s a miniature horse, a little stud colt, weighing in at a whopping 23 pounds. Twink is a first-time mom and she handled the whole birth and mothering scene like a seasoned pro!

Rio's bday_web _L2H0975 - Version 2Horses are prey animals so at birth, even wet and cold, it’s essential that a foal stand up and be prepared to run with his mother should a predator arrive on the scene. Rio doesn’t have that to worry about since he was born in a protected environment. Don’t worry about the umbilical cord still attached – it will break eventually or, in this case, the veterinarian came to check on baby and mom and cut the cord for him.

A little wobbly

A little wobbly

Like most foals, Rio was a little wobbly for quite a while. The red hue, by the way, is due to the heat lamp that Gina put in the stall to help the little fellow stay warm. She and the mare worked hard to clean him up and dry him off.

Rio's bday_web _L2H0978 - Version 2Mom is encouraging him to stand and move around, while licking him off and nickering sweetly to him. Watching this miracle unfold brought tears to my eyes.

Gina's hand on Rio's side should give you an idea of how small he really is.

Gina’s hand on Rio’s side should give you an idea of how small he really is.

Normally foals begin to suckle from their mother fairly quickly but little Rio didn’t catch on right away. Since it’s essential that he receive the immunizations included in his mother’s colostrum, Gina’s only alternative was to milk the mare and use a tiny syringe tube to feed him for a while. “Gramma” Gina was busy all night milking Twink and feeding Rio every half hour and without her dedication and support there’s little doubt that the poor wee guy might not have made it through those treacherous first 24 hours.

But, he made it and he finally figured out that Mom was a 24/7 mobile milk bar so all is progressing well. It really was a miracle.

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