In June, I travelled to Kentucky again to teach an equine photography workshop for the Equine Photographer’s Network, with an emphasis on portraiture. I taught there last fall, and we brainstormed after the first workshop about how great it would be to do a workshop that included a “giving back” element to it. So we made plans to do a portrait session at Central Kentucky Riding For Hope, a therapeutic riding program. Their mission is to “enrich the community by improving the quality of life and the health of children and adults with special physical, cognitive, emotional and social needs through therapeutic activities with the horse.”
CKRFH is located right at the Kentucky Horse Park, the site of the 2010 World Equestrian Games. The scenery was beautiful, but it was these kids and horses that made the biggest impact on me.
This workshop was a heart-changing experience for me, mainly because of the work we did for Central Kentucky Riding for Hope. Photographing these courageous children, and the horses that so tenderly carry and care for them was so inspiring. I had my own uneasiness about what it would be like to photograph children with special needs, but all that went out the window when they stood there with those horses, so joyful and proud of themselves.
The honor and respect we were able to give these special ones by taking the time to photograph them was felt by both the children, their parents, and I believe, all of us as photographers. There were storms all around us that night. I’m not even kidding – to the north and south, but we enjoyed beautiful light and dramatic skies.
It was fun to see the horses respond to different kids. This horse just lit up when this young woman was near him!
Oh, that smile! 😀
I could see and feel some of the joy these kids felt when they were riding. Kudos to the generous and caring volunteers to work to ensure a safe ride.