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Horse Show Phenomenon... Is it always the Photographer's Fault?

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  • Horse Show Phenomenon... Is it always the Photographer's Fault?

    Just a general thought, it would seem that at horse shows there are a certain percentage of rider/parents who feel the photographer is a consumate threat to their perfect trip. How do most of you feel about this issue? I often chuckle about it with the judges, but truly on ocassion, error can create issues, not intentionally but it does happen. I have just noticed over the years that it is very rare that a top trainer/ rider seems to find it an issue. This is merely a survey of what is and is not acceptable.

  • #2
    Personally I don't have a problem with it, but when you're on that spooky horse and the obnoxious photographer leaps from behind that tree just on the other side of the rail, thus spooking your horse, its kind of a pain

    So long as they aren't crouching in the shadows to pop out at the most inconvenient moment, I'm good


    • #3
      I think some photographers are very much a serious problem in the ring. I was at a local show recently and the respective photographer for that show was running in and around the jump course like some sort of small monkey with a bad foot rash while putting himself in places that he certainly did not belong so that he could get "unique" shots.
      Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


      • #4
        I think it's very easy for a handful of photographers to cause all photographers to have a bad rep. I have never had a problem with a photographer being in the ring, and as I work for one, I have been the person taking pictures in the ring as well. As long as the photographer is careful and aware of what will spook a horse, I've found that it's not an issue. I also know that some horses spook at the flash (or their riders think they will...although by the time the flash goes off, the pair should already be in the air over the jump), which is why some people request no [flash] photography sometimes.

        I might be the lone voice of dissent here - and that's fine - I just feel that people are quick to blame whatever outside circumstances they can for their mistakes in a round. Obviously sometimes a photographer can cause a problem, but for the most part, I would say they are very tactful about how they get their pictures.
        Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


        • #5
          I occasionally work for a horseshow photographer. I have certainly heard some outrageous remarks regarding how the photographer caused XYX and that is why the rider/horse did not place. Now I have only done local hunter shows (but they are pretty competitive and not you typical local show) and we stay outside of the ring, picking a few jumps we can get a good shot of that do not involve that much movement to get. For the bigger jumpers at some bigger shows, someone might go into the ring to get shots, but it is important for us all to have the rider's round first in our minds to make sure we are not in their way at all. I was taught to get the shot, and if the horse was coming in your direction, to stay put until after they pass, and always stay in plain view of them, so no surprises!

          but again you would be surprised at how many people blame the photographer! I agree with the fact that it normally is not the bigger named trainers, but the more backyard farm/wanabe's
          True love is taking their pain away and making it yours
          ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~
          ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~


          • #6
            BS. If they knew the horse was squirrely...or use that old pole on them... they can ask the photographer to stay out of the ring.

            If they did not, it's not the photgraphers fault they cannot train or ride a horse with normal horse show distractions.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


            • #7
              I remember at my 2nd show ever, I was riding a really spooky pony and at the last jump of a line, the photgrapher ran into the ring, crouched maybe 4ft from the jump and turned on her flash! Needless to say the pony freaked out and tried to bolt; it scared me half to death too since all of the sudden she appeared out of nowhere basically underneath the jump! Before I started my class, there was no photographer around so I thought I didn't have to worry, but apparently I did afterall. Most photographers I'm fine with because they usually know to stay out of the way and not be obnoxious.


              • #8
                Have seen a lot more spooks caused by Mom or Dad standing at the rail, popping that flash off just as little Poopsie jumps that last little crossrail out of their first line... but that's on the *very* local level and the kids are not on ponies that show regularly.

                Very rarely have I seen a legitimate fault caused by a professional photographer at an A show. Most know what they are doing and so do the horse & rider in the ring being photographed.

                Personally the horse show photographer tends to be my favorite person on the grounds... I LOVE getting great shots of my horses. Frequently heard quote from my trainer, "What do you mean, which jump is the photographer shooting? Ride them all, for --- sake!" LOL
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                • #9
                  I agree- I love photos! Nothing better than getting a nice shot. I think the problem lies more with the shows that do not hire HORSE savy photographers. As stated before, there are those that will run willy nilly around the jumps trying to get the picture, while a good horse photographer will know where to place himself to get the best and most shots will being out of the way- often out of the ring. Sadly- I think a few bad apples spoil it.
                  see my ribbon quilts at: www.ribbonquilts.com


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Entourage
                    I've never had an issue with it but then again I am very very careful. I do however get blamed for everyone's bad equitation or their horses poor jumping style when they see their pictures (sigh). I have had people come and circle near me while waiting to enter the ring for their dressage tests so that the horses can see the camera. If I see a horse in the ring misbehaving or eyeballing me, I put the camera down. Never ever use the flash either. I did see one "dadtographer" get his lens wiped out because he was leaning over the rail taking pictures during a flat class!
                    I so agree. Greg from FlashPoint taught me a method that works great when taking pictures. You take the picture and as the horse is canering to me, I turn the camera away and face my back to the horse. When the horse passes me I turn around and set up for the next shot.

                    There is one trainer who comes up to me before the class and asks me not to take photos of his horses cause the camera scares them. So when his horses are doing the rounds, I just walk under the tent and wait till they are finished.

                    There is nothing we can do if the horse doesn't have good form over the fences. Sometime it's the rider's fault as they get too close to the standards, chip in or takes a long spot. Some horses jump so well that it makes my job really easy .
                    "Common sense is so rare nowadays, it should be classified as a super power."-Craig Bear Laubscher


                    • #11
                      DD's pony had a thing about flash photos when we got her. She'd jump the jump just great, but after the flash she would buck through the corner. We worked with the local photographer to get her over it. First the photographer was in the ring, but didn't take a photo. During the same time period, we were taking flash photos of pony outside the showring and giving treats to form good associations. It didn't take long before flash photos weren't an issue. Then it was only the clapping and whooping at the end of the round that set her off bucking....


                      • #12
                        My silly TB spooked a little today due to the photographer...but I do NOT blame the photographer. Just my green TB still trying to get the hang of showing. He came off a jump right at the photographer who was outside the ring and my TB went who is that. It was kind of funny to me and my trainer was riding him so at least I wasn't on him!!!

                        I love looking at the photos and can't wait until the pictures are online to see if I want to buy any!!!

                        The photographers I see at show are very good and professional.


                        • #13
                          I personally love show photographers--well really, the pictures that the really good ones take!

                          Photographers standing in the ring near jumps aren't all that different from a trainer standing in the ring next to a jump...granted, a trainer doesn't usually have a big camera held up to their face, but the concept of a person in the ring is the same. While I agree that it's not the best for the photographers to be madly running around the ring, I also think that in the ring (especially at a horse show), the horse and rider should be able to make it around the ring even with minor distractions.

                          I feel like it's tempting to say "if only X hadn't have happened, we would have had the perfect round" although that's not quite justified in my book. Lord only knows how much better we would have placed at one particular show if there wasn't a scary monster (rephrase: scary chesnut horse eating monster) in the corner of a very familiar ring


                          • #14
                            Most show photographers are very good - esp. the guys over at Flashpoint or Brian Ryder here in CO. You do get the occasional one who knows nothing about horses who will just pop up out of nowhere, and that's irritating. My biggest issue is with jump crew guys. uggghhhh I can deal with the photogs because 99% of the time it's just my horse being dumb, but jump crew.. I understand you want to get ready for the next class, but really? Do you have to be dragging small trees and shrubbery around the ring while I'm riding? Do you really have to be raking the ring to perfection in front of the jump that I'm heading towards?!?!?

                            I guess I look at it as your there to show, and part of showing is dealing with distractions, even if those distractions are stupid people... You and your horse just have to deal with it.


                            • #15
                              Horses need to get used to and learn how to ignore random things going on in and around the ring.

                              However, if you have a horse who you know thinks the photog is trying to steal their soul, then you approach Mr./Ms. Photog before going in the ring, and ask them to not take pictures and/or back away from the rail. I've never come across someone who said, "No. I MUST take pictures of you."

                              Now, are their some folks who always find someone to blame for their bad trip? Of course. Was that the question?


                              • #16
                                I think most use it as an excuse.

                                But, what gets me (and maybe it is just me) are at BIG shows, ie indoors, medal finals, etc when the exhibitor asks to not be photographed (that is fine), but then demands that the photographer leave the ring. sorry but why do they get an advantage over the rest.

                                If you don't want a picture fine, but the photographer (whether we like it or not) is part of the course.

                                I don't mind so much at the smaller shows, but at big shows, with big name photographers, there is no reason in my mind to ask them to leave the ring.


                                • #17
                                  Of course it is always the photographer's fault! Well except for when it's my mom's fault. Or the trainer's fault. Or the horse's fault. Or the management's fault.

                                  One thing is for certain: It's definitely not my fault!


                                  • #18
                                    Well...my non-horsey Dad is my horse show photographer and has been for the past 5 years, and he's yet to spook a horse. Honestly, he's kinda of scared of them, so he keeps his distance and just has an AWESOME stalker-esque zoom lens that's roughly the length of my arm :P If we're in an indoor, it's never been anything that couldn't just be photographed outside at a different show, you know? It's not like I'm doing indoor finals or anything LOL! But he's actually a lot better than a lot of the "professional" photographers I've seen at shows.

                                    98% of my horse show pictures were taken by him. Go Dad! You can check 'em out if you want...webshots in my sig line
                                    Originally posted by MistyPony
                                    In all my years of riding, gravity is the one thing that has never failed on me!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      This thread stirs interesting points much of which I have heard before. I think the percentage of actual complaints is insignificant considering the volume of individuals one encounters at shows.

                                      In perhaps 150 + trips a day, often it is several days before the first complaint appears, a rather insignificant number in the big picture. However, for some odd reason the one face in the crowd always leaves an impression, so for those of you delivering or receiving, remember politeness on both parties has its merit.

                                      Just the other day at a show an issue of the color "red" came into play, now my understanding is that horses are for the most part color blind, but if the owner finds a color objectionable to their particular horse this becomes a legitimate complaint? Or are horses color blind to just "some" colors? I also believe we relay our neurosis and the wiser of the trainer/riders seem to carry as little baggage as possible when showing. Horses yes are sensitive animals and do react to levels of emotions.

                                      That one was not directed at me personally. I don't much care for Red myself (except perhaps that it is the main color on my country's flag and it also represents first place in some countries, Canada for one, and I did find it a bit funny to have a color be an issue. I also recall shows where Red was more or less the theme color, the Atlantic Winter Fair for instance with its Rothmans sponsored Grand Prix, a thing of the past now. I think a year or so ago I heard a similar complaint over the color bright yellow, both seemed to be by people who very animate about their point and I often wondered how valid they may have been, with all due respect.

                                      I don't see the need to make reference to company names or personal individuals in this thread so please speak generally, and I will try to as well. I am hoping to help some see where the grey area is in the relationship between horse show photographer and the exhibitor.

                                      I have worked both on and off course. It seems the west coast folks are far more accepting of photographers in the ring and have had little to no complaint. Horses seem to be fine if as noted the photographer is visible and not in any direct line of passage, and does not make sudden decisions or rash movements. The cameras and lenses are perhaps objectionable to the sensitive horses and thus some common sense need apply on an individual basis. I doubt most photographers set out specifically to irritate the exhibitor but ocassionally we are all subject to error and probably need to keep that in mind as a preventative measure, particularly on the more important classes.

                                      I can recall one incident where on course shooting I lost my bearings and found myself in a direct path of a horse at a full gallop, luckily I was able to remove myself in short order without having to make a deliberate lurch and only a small apology was needed as it had no affect on outcome. Others may or may not have been so lucky. That one was definitely my fault, and if one does not take care to prevent these things, one does not find themselves welcomed in the ring. And yes I have seen ring crew who seemed lost in the moment but a word or warning is usually all that is needed to rectify the situation and I like most the environment where each and all keep an eye out for one another.

                                      I think through this we begin to understand more. We all have to learn to get along.
                                      Last edited by Hocus Focus; Apr. 27, 2009, 02:47 AM.


                                      • #20
                                        I once had a horse I was riding take off with me, bucking like a broc out of the chute, when a photographer took a flash picture of us.

                                        The photographer had been taking pictures all day, in the dark-ish indoor ring. My horse was 17 years old and I didn't expect in the slightest he would care. I was cantering in a flat class when it happened.

                                        Afterwards I had my trainer nab the "offending" photographer to take photos of me and my horse in the schooling ring until my horse stopped acting like a tool about the flash.

                                        I was actually happy it happened, because it showed me something that I needed to teach my horse.

                                        Just like being tolerant of clippers, water, standing still for the farrier or to be wormed, and loading into a trailer any issue created by a photographer is something that needs to be addressed with training. I see it as part of the show experience.
                                        friend of bar.ka