The Most Important Thing To Do With Your Horse Before A Photoshoot

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Allison Price



This is the best thing you can do for your horse, your photographer, and yourself before you get your horse ready to go for your photo session. After a long, relaxing ride, think about how your horse will behave. They are calm, quiet, and ready to eat. This type of horse is what we want to see at our session. Relaxed horses allow us to capture poses that make you and your horse look their best, rather than the poses our horse allows us. The photos you capture will be affected by how your horse behaves during the session.

I’m sure there are two responses in your head right now.

1. My horse, a 20-year-old ranch horse, is the most bombproofed horse I know! He has been exposed to everything with a small infant on his back. He will be fine.

It is possible, and I applaud incredible ranch horses. Dreamy, a 26-year old hunter pony, has won numerous national championships. I have taken 7- and 8-year old girls through the ranks, and taught many children how to cross their first fence. Dreamy was our first big styled shoot because he is an old man who sleeps half the time and lives on 5 acres of pasture.

Here is the trainer/photographer. He had to ride Dreamy bareback 45 minutes of the two hour shoot in order to release his energy that was not seen for 10 years. He was a screaming mess throughout the shoot, and even tried to run away from his mom several times. It’s impossible to predict what horse will show up at a shoot day. Make sure you have the right angle for a horse vs. this!

2. Now I am terrified to even do a photo shoot with him! Because he is always crazy, even after I ride him, my horse will be a total train wreck!

Don’t worry, I’ll still get them! You hired a professional equine photographer because they specialize in Equine Photography. As an equine photographer, 90% of our job is to read the signs that horses are giving us. You might need to move to a different location, bring a friend, or trick your horse into moving in the right direction. My job is to anticipate these situations so that we can make the right decisions and get the images we want.

I believe that setting yourself up for success is the best thing you can do.

  • You might want to take your horse several times to different locations. Make sure they are comfortable on the ground and under saddle to get used to the surroundings.
  • Practice, practice, practice. You must have galloped in bareback at least 50 times before you can take photos.
  • You should ride them hard the night before and the morning of the shoot. Then, lunge them ….. Before you get them ready, ride them hard. Make sure they are tired and ready to go for a nap. You’ll find that they will want to cuddle more than ever!
  • Consider inviting a friend or relative who is familiar with your horse along! Because this is my first time meeting your horse, they might be better equipped to identify your horse’s needs than I am. They can be a stern hand to help your horse stay in place or they might run to grab your horse’s best friend!
  • This shouldn’t be a reason to be afraid! Sometimes, we just have to accept the inevitable and be able to take it as it comes. You will still love the final result, I swear!
Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!