One chance only: rider and photographer nail recreation of 1930s steam train picture

  • After years of planning and multiple cancellations, Jack Boskett, Katie Smith and Shandy had one chance to get it right.

    Photographer Jack finally managed to recreate the 1938 picture, of a horse galloping alongside a steam engine, in the Cotswolds last Sunday (26 September).

    “I was really nervous; I knew I only had one opportunity to get it right,” he told H&H. “When I pressed the shutter, I almost saw the photo being taken, and thought ‘Yep, that’s the one’.”

    Jack came up with the idea of recreating the photograph when he first saw it, three years ago.

    “I thought ‘do you know what? I know someone with a horse’,” he said. “About 10 miles away, there’s a preserved railway, so I worked it all out with the driver, and the farmer who owns the field. All sorts went into the planning but the number of times it was delayed, by Covid and the closure of the railway, cancellations and illnesses, was unreal.”

    Jack said the locomotive, the Southern Railway Bulleid Pacific, No 35006 Peninsular and Oriental Lines SN.Co, otherwise known as Princess Louise, worked out of Waterloo from the 1930s to the 1960s, after which it was sent for scrap. It was then restored, over 30 years, and is now back in service on the heritage Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

    “It was a very moving experience as a photographer,” Jack said. “Once you’ve got it, and you know you’ve got it; I can’t explain. There was relief, but also excitement, as I knew the end goal had been achieved.

    “Shandy did really well to keep up; the idea was to have her in the middle of the engine and Katie judged it perfectly, and Shandy was oblivious to the train. We couldn’t have planned it any better.”

    Katie told H&H she has owned the 19-year-old part-bred thoroughbred mare, who may also have Exmoor ancestry, for 11 years, and done “a bit of everything”.

    “What she loves most is cross-country and galloping in fields, even if there’s a train!” she said.

    “I was only supposed to have her on loan for the summer, until I got a bigger horse, but I fell in love with her, she’s my best friend.”

    When Jack first suggested the idea, Katie was keen, but wondered how Shandy would react to the train, as although she is not fazed by tractors, “the next minute she might be terrified by an umbrella”.

    “I said ‘Let’s give it a go, we’ll give it our best shot’,” she said.

    “We were in the field and couldn’t see the train till the last minute; I had to wait until it got near and all you could hear was it coming, louder and louder.

    “It came into view and I said ‘Let’s go’, and she completely ignored the train and went for a nice canter across the field.”

    Katie also felt the pressure of that one chance to get the perfect shot.

    “Jack was absolutely incredible and had thought through every detail, but we did only have that one chance,” she said. “I’m astonished we got it right — and the scary fire-breathing dragon didn’t affect my pony.

    “I’m honoured to have been part of it; how many times do you get that opportunity? It was amazing — and I’ve told everyone already the picture is going to be their Christmas present this year!”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...