Equestrian

Jenna's Horse Photography Session at Capricorn Farm

Horse Photography | Equine Portraits | Senior Photos | Capricorn Farm, Golden Colorado | Warmblood Horses | Apollo Fields Wedding Photographers

Aralimbo’s last home, Capricorn Farm in Jefferson County, Colorado, is a peaceful oasis that is permanently painted into my mind. Seated right in front of North Table Mountain in Golden, CO, every sunset sunk behind the Rocky Mountains too quickly, splashing palates of pink, yellow, and blue into the open sky like a landscape portrait by your favorite impressionist painter. The kicker of Capricorn Farm, though, was the owner, Katie, and her daughter, Jenna, who rode and worked that idyllic farm property as naturally as North Table Mountain emerged from the soil of the front range.

Farm life isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but those who dive head first into the hay do so because they love animals more than they love themselves. Katie, like most barn owners we’ve met, evoked a stern, take-no-shit attitude when we first talked shop with her. Then, when we saw her walk through the stable, strutting in her element, shaking the dust from the field from her jacket, we noticed the heart behind the hard work. The way she reached out to touch her equine friends was as gentle as a gardener’s whisper; the way she looked into their eyes as sensitive as a mother’s gaze. It’s only in the rare few that these two seemingly opposite character traits – toughness and tenderness – materialize into the calloused hands of the seasoned farmer.

The last month we were in Colorado, Heather secretly did a photo session with Jenna and her horse, Justice, as a thank you gift for Katie’s loving care of Aralimbo. There’s a certain bond between a horse and the rider, Heather keeps telling me, and it first became evident in those photographs. Jenna was heading off to college and was heartbroken leaving Justice in Colorado, but such is the price you pay when you love something so much. Yet that day at Capricorn, Heather immortalized Jenna and Justice’s bond in photographs that will also reinforce Jenna’s relationship with Katie. It reminded me that distance between loved ones can always change with time, but remembering the moments that shaped our lives never will.

There’s something about the love of animals that makes having weddings at barns or farms more appropriate than banquet halls. Perhaps it’s the unconditional love that’s exchanged between eyes, the reward of hard work, or the many loves that the old wooden walls must’ve seen over time. All I know is that Heather and I are going to find a farm wedding venue that captures whatever it is.

Whether a trend or if farm weddings are here to stay, having the privilege to meet people like Katie and Jenna is why we are in the industry that we are in. Nothing means more to us than providing meaningful pathways for families, couples, or relatives to connect to one another. It just so happens that many of the people in our lives have an overwhelming amount of love for the other creatures we share this earth with. If it’s anything we can learn from them is that although their hands are calloused, it doesn’t prevent them from also being gentle.

Jenna & Justice

Horse Photography: Apollo Fields
Venue: Capricorn Farm

Aralimbo: My Big, Beautiful Beastasaurus

“Aralimbo” Castle Walk | Horse Photography | Warmblood Photos | Apollo Fields | New York Riding | Capricorn Farm, Golden Colorado

Getting to own a horse is a privilege. Getting to own Aralimbo is like winning the lottery, except sometimes the money catches on fire and tries to kill you. He is temperamental… as in, he has both a temper and is mental. He’s also a part time love-bug, zipper-breaker, snuggle-monster, and hair-puller. I love him though, perhaps a little too much considering that he threw me to timbuktu yesterday (marking my first fall off of him, believe it or not) and yet I still can’t wait to get back to the barn to love up on him – and kick his ass.

He goes by many names: Castle Walk, Aralimbo, Limbo, and most accurately, Bimbo. I first met him about ten years ago at Millbrook, when he was coming back from a foot problem and I got the lovely task of rehabbing him. He was in his prime, winning everything on the circuit, so I was stoked to get to ride him. But everyone cautioned me about the fire breathing dragon who had earned himself the nickname, “Crazy Eyes”. He had a reputation for being unpredictable, volatile, and pretty good at saying ‘no’ when he wanted.

“Use draw reins”, Dick Prant warned me the first time I hopped on, “And don’t let his head get too low”. For somebody who had never actually ridden the horse, he his advice was spot on. We made it through our first few rides unaffected, until one afternoon I took him out to the field before an imminent thunderstorm and he tried to murder me. Straight up, he looked like Blucifer, the horse statue at DIA, demonic red eyes and legs flailing in the air. Super – I thought – this is how I’m going to die. Anyway, I spent the next few weeks riding him each day until he was strong enough to get back in the show ring.

Fast forward to about two years ago when Nancy Prant and I got to talking about Limbo coming off of the show circuit and looking for a good forever home. His age and mileage were catching up with him, and he had earned his way into a slower paced lifestyle. Remembering that majestic, wild-eyed beast in the field all those years ago, my hair stood up on my arms. “I’d love to have him”, I told her. She replied with a blunt text message, “He kicks, bites, and bucks. You sure?” The answer was simple, “Yes”.

I’ve always had a soft-spot for the crazies. Especially the pretty ones… Everything else bores me, I suppose. I’ve been told by a few people that Limbo and I “deserve each other”, which I think is a compliment. Probably not though. He challenges me to the core and keeps me on my feet. Every time that I think I know what he is going to do, he usually pulls the extreme opposite. I’ve learned that sometimes I have to play by his rules, which is a hard pill for me to swallow. They are lengthy, but straightforward:

  • Doesn’t like to be ridden during feeding time. Will lose his shit if he hears the feed truck coming if he’s not in his stall.

  • Likes to be turned out in 1 hour and 59 minute increments. After 2 hours, he will begin pacing the gate. After 2 hours and 5 minutes, he’ll kick the fence.

  • Needs spurs to go forward, including the walk.

  • Does not enjoy the great outdoors and absolutely will not trail ride. Or cruise through a well-manicured path. Occasionally, this also includes the walk from the barn to the ring.

  • He will jump anything but if you ride him to a bad distance, he will punish you on the landing side.

  • Does not like to be turned out first. Also does not like to be brought in last.

  • Prefers sunny weather, about 70*F with no wind. Can tolerate light breezes.

  • Demands treats and will tear through your pockets to find them.

  • He does not buck to celebrate, he bucks to get you off of his back. This horse is unafraid and definitely not spooky. He is, however, a mad powerhouse and has no problem reminding you who is bigger.

One thing I love about this sport is how it forces humans to find non-verbal ways of communicating with a flight animal who will always, always be stronger than us. There are days when I have to walk away from Limbo’s meltdowns because it’s just not worth the fight. He is a born-alpha and craves authority, so I spend half of our time reminding him that he is subordinate to me, and the other half of the time cuddling him, feeding him carrots, and playing games with him. It’s a unique relationship, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Enjoy these pics of this big, beautiful beast of mine who literally does not take a bad photo. Also enjoy the fact that it took us 2cc of ace to get him in the field, and he still dragged me out of there rearing and screaming the moment the sun hit the horizon. All par for the course, I suppose.

PC: Kim Klein for Apollo Fields
Venue: Capricorn Farm, Golden Colorado
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Tori & Colin’s Equine Wedding at Riverview Farm

Horse Farm Wedding | Upstate NY Weddings | Backyard Barn Wedding Photographer | Montgomery, New York | Apollo Fields Photography

Tori and Colin had an intimate wedding at their family farm in Montgomery, New York. The Riverview Farm is absolutely beautiful and holds a special place in my heart. I grew up riding horses and spent some time riding at this New York farm years ago and I can’t put into words how wonderful it felt to be back on my old stomping grounds. The farm itself is a 25 acre equine boarding and training facility located a little over an hour north of New York City.

Tori and Colin’s wedding included the perfect mix of rustic and modern details, as well as some intimate ones like photos of Colin’s father. I absolutely love when couples include special details like this to honor their loves ones that, for one reason or another, cannot attend their special day.

Tori and Colin also decided to include horses in their couple's photos, which made this the perfect equine wedding. They are both involved in the hunter jumper world and love horses just as much as I do. I have been riding my entire life and have a horse of my own, so photographing an authentic horse wedding like Tori and Colin’s was a dream come true.

Tori and Colin’s Equine Wedding at River View Farm

Tori & Colin | Farm Wedding on Equestrian Property | Upstate New York Weddings | Horse Wedding Photographer | Montgomery, NY | Apollo Photo

I was so excited when an old friend who I used to ride for reached out to ask about flying me out to their family farm to photograph her son's wedding!  It had been years since I rode at their farm, but I always loved their property.  The farm was always pristinely manicured with flowers, ponds, beautiful old trees, and perfect paths.  Colin owns a landscaping business, so I was sure that they would be rolling out only the best for the wedding!

The barn houses a number of the family's horses as well as a few boarders that are part of Jenny's training business.  She has been a highly successful and competitive hunter rider for years and I know her from the equestrian world and showjumping circuit.  I was surprised when I still recognized a few of the four legged friends on the farm even after all of these years. 

Tori was a stunning bride and I felt more like family than a photographer on the entire day of the wedding.  Many wedding days begin hectic, with people running around last minute tacking on decorations and frantically calling vendors and friends.  This wedding was the complete opposite..  everybody was calm, loving, and nostalgic.  Friends and family were gathered around laughing, spending quality time together, and sharing memories.  I truly felt like everyone was fully present in the moment.  Wedding mornings like theirs remind me of why I love my job. 

Tori and her bridesmaids got ready in the family farmhouse and I couldn't believe how much natural light there was!  It was a photographer's dream:  white walls, soft lighting, tall ceilings.  If only all of my bridal suites were this aesthetically designed!  One of my favorite in-between moments was when I went downstairs to find Tori tucked in a quiet corner painting her own nails. I just loved how modest she was in that moment, not obsessing over having her nails done at a salon or them being perfect.  Instead, we just chatted together as if we were old friends.  I love those moments on wedding days when I just put my camera down for a moment and lay down the foundation for a friendship. 

The ceremony was sweet and heartfelt.  Tori and Colin exchanged their vows, but it was the easy and adoring way that they looked at each other that said more than any words could.  Afterwards, everyone celebrated with live music, champagne, family photos, and dancing.  We even managed to squeeze in a portrait session with a few of the horses, which was one of my favorite parts of the day!  


Tori and Colin's Wedding Vendors

Horse Wedding Photography: Apollo Fields

Wedding Venue: Riverview Farm, New York

 

Heather is a New York and Colorado based wedding photographer, but photographs weddings throughout the United States. If you’re interested in having her photograph your wedding, contact her today!