Just kidding. I have none! As someone that takes quite a few pictures with horses for my equestrian lifestyle blog, you would think that I really did have some pointers. I don’t. Today I attempted to take a picture for the cover page of my 2nd annual Horse Glam + Friends Holiday Gift Guide. I envisioned Chloe (with a Santa hat) and Hamster (with reindeer antlers) under the hanging mistletoe. Their clipped muzzles would be touching and their ears would be forward, with intrigued, if not loving, expressions. I was already planning what I would say when Dover Saddlery called me asking for a copy of the photograph to use for their own catalog.
The reality was that Hamster was afraid of the antlers, Chloe was completely aloof and refused to look at the camera and when he was actually standing still, Hamster was trying to eat the mistletoe. Like everything else that has to do with horses, they are completely unpredictable!
Luckily I did have the cute props (said Santa hat and antlers) and I did have two shiny and pretty horses. I also had a holiday party worthy outfit on, for the few shots that I jumped in there with them. I chose a green velvet jumpsuit that I wore last New Year’s Eve and some black stilettos. I also had an extra set of hands on deck to throw sand in the air, jiggle car keys and wipe slobbery mouths (residue from consumed peppermints and mistletoe). So, I guess in retrospect, I do have some tips after all.
An extra set of hands is always appreciated. For no other reason than they can help get those pesky ears forward and the neck arched prettily. I am not a fan of pictures where the head is straight up like a giraffe. Making sure your horse is presentable also helps with the final outcome. A clean, shiny coat and clean tack finishes the look. Take time to think about what you are going to wear too. Sure your horse is going to be the star of the show, but you too should take the opportunity to have a nice photo done of you and your horse. Take advantage of having a photographer on hand, even if it is your best friend. Since it is a holiday themed photo, I think it’s a great excuse to dress up and wear something you wouldn’t normally wear around your horse. Put on more makeup than normal (pro tip: in the pictures it will not look like you have as much makeup on as you do) and take your hair out of the messy top knot. I don’t typically like props but they make sense for a holiday theme. Plus, if things aren’t going well you can always opt for something goofy and/or cute with the props. Last but not least, take a lot of pictures, smile and have fun. My photographer and I are always surprised by what pictures we like the best from the 100 we take a session. They usually are the ones that are not planned and snapped on a whim. And per the advice I was given during my holiday photoshoot, “Smile. It’s a Christmas photo for crying out loud!”
Andrea Wise graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2007, where afterwards she spent 7 years as a commercial real-estate attorney. In 2012, she launched the equestrian company, Pony Glam, which makes and sells the only colored hoof dressing for horses. She is also the voice behind the new equestrian lifestyle blog, Horse Glam. Andrea lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Zach, two young children, cat and horse, Chloe.