Trick or treat: equine photographer who ‘talks’ to horses produces amazing Halloween photos

An equine photographer with some “tricks up her sleeve” got into the Halloween spirit with the assistance of some helping hands and hooves.

Amy Lathrope-Reid, owner of Indy Equine Photography, teamed up with rider Sophie Seymour and her 16-year-old Danish warmblood Odin, for the photoshoot on 21 October in Old Sodbury, Bristol, after Amy had a cancellation.

“I didn’t want to waste the day so I thought maybe I could squeeze in a shoot and Sophie said she was up for it,” self-taught photographer Amy told H&H.

“I put a post on Facebook to try and find a dressmaker in the area. Someone tagged Hoof Hearted Embroidery, which is based at a venue I photograph at all the time but I had no idea they did dressmaking, I couldn’t believe it. I had all these ideas but in my head but I didn’t know if I was going to pull it off in a week but they saw my vision and the dress was made in four days.”

Amy roped in the assistance of Sophie’s groom, Caroline Pederick, who painted Odin for the photoshoot.

“When I told Sophie I wanted Odin painted she said Caroline is an artist. She had never painted a horse before,” said Amy.

“I made a crown for Sophie to wear using wooden skewers and spray-painted old Christmas decorations with the help of YouTube tutorials.”

The photoshoot was due to take place on the Saturday (19 October) but disaster struck when it was rained off.

“Monday was the last day I had available and thankfully Sophie and Caroline were free and we had the help of Leah Wren, who assisted me on the day. I couldn’t get a make-up artist so between Sophie and I we did her make-up with the help of online videos,” said Amy.

“It felt very touch and go whether it would all come together in time. It took three hours to paint Odin and everything took so long that we only had an hour of light left to do the actual shoot but it went incredibly. Odin really is the most beautiful horse to photograph with. He reared on command for some of the shots – we had no idea he would do it, it was pure chance and he was happy to help.”

Amy said she has some useful “tricks up her sleeve” when it comes to photographing horses.

“I have an odd ability of making realistic horse noises with my own voice and can do random sounds like car alarms and dolphins. I sometimes have horses whinny back to me – it’s so funny. The noise I can make is quite high-pitched and sounds like a little pony; if there are ever horses nearby in a yard or something I’ll often have ponies whinnying back too,” she said.

“I’ve also found using sheep noises help get their attention or I’ll have an assistant hold a reflector which will make the horse look in the direction I need them to.”

Amy said her Facebook page “exploded” after she posted some of the pictures from the photoshoot.

“The amount of comments we’ve had has been amazing – I can’t believe how many people liked the pictures. This has to be one of my top shoots,” she said.

“I really wanted to pull it off and I’m so grateful to everyone who helped make it come together, I’m ecstatic.”

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Amy launched her own photography workshops this year, for which Sophie models, and has more planned for 2020.

“Sophie is so brilliant to work with. She’s a great rider and does a lot of team-chasing and eventing; she is happy to do things like ride bareback or without a bridle – it’s a great partnership,” said Amy.

“I’ve had some ideas I need to hone in on for an exciting Christmas shoot I’m hoping to do so we’re looking forward to that.”

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