When I was about 9 or 10 my mom took me out to a horse ranch out along McAllen Road before they put up a housing development there. I remember being so excited. My babysitter, DeeDee had horses she’d taken us on rides with, my neighbor had some as well, and my mom used to ride when she was young, so I was amped. Then I got there, got out, saw these ginormous creatures pushing back and forth, the sheer size of them, the power, and so many all in one place. I freaked. I burst into tears and outright terror until my mom loaded me back into the car and took me home.

Since then I haven’t been on a horse, but I’ve shot several portraits with horses. They’re magnificent creatures, but I’m always a bit tentative around them. This guy here, he was the kind of horse I’m not sure about. Something about the day, or me, or the camera (no flash, I never use flash around an animal until I’m sure they’re okay with me), but something had this guy riled up. Miss Mia is far braver than I remember myself being, and because of it we were able to capture great images even in spite of our horse’s orneriness. By my eye, you can’t even tell that he didn’t want to be in them.

horse portraits california