Goodbye to a Horse
There are absolutely no words to describe the feeling one gets when it’s time to say goodbye to your horse. It is not one I ever want to experience again and I do not wish that experience on anyone. Unfortunately, saying goodbye to our beloved horses is part of this equestrian life. Whether they are moving on to a new home, or they are leaving us for the sunny green pastures in heaven, most equestrians will go through this heart-wrenching experience. With Zorro, sadly it was the latter. The whole reason I became an equine photographer is to create portraits of people with their horses that they can cherish long after our soft muzzled friends leave us, so when I was asked if I could squeeze in an equestrian portrait session while I was home in Virginia for Christmas, I didn’t hesitate to say yes!
Sydney and Zorro have been best buds for four years. They had just gone to a show and did very well just weeks before they trailered him to NC State to have him scoped for ulcers. What they found was much worse, Zorro had cancerous masses throughout his body. There was no cure and they could only treat him with pain meds. It was just a matter of time until they would have to make the decision to put him down. They brought him back home to Chesapeake and asked if I could fit them in for pictures. Thankfully I was home visiting for the holidays and the one day I had free worked out perfectly for them!
As I headed out to the barn on the day of Sydney & Zorro’s session, I thought to myself…what is worse? Knowing that your horse will have to be put down and having time to say goodbye, or having something happen that you don’t see coming at all, like when my horse passed away, with no warning and no time to process what is happening. Either way, they both suck. I couldn’t even imagine how Sydney must have been feeling. When I pulled up to the barn they had Zorro in the cross ties, getting up cleaned up for pictures. It was super cold and windy so we chatted in the barn with the heater blowing about what they wanted for their session.
Of course, we had to get some black background portraits of Zorro, which was a great place to start so the barn could offer a little more warmth than being outside. After just a few minutes of shooting, I couldn’t feel my fingers! Once the black background portraits were done, it was time to brave the cold and head outside. Sydney and Zorro were such great troopers dealing with the cold and Zorro was so patient and willing to please even though we all knew he wasn’t feeling well. I am so honored to be able to create portraits of this sweet pair and my heart breaks knowing everything they are going through. Here are some of my favorites from their portrait session.
Sydney & Jennifer, thank you so much for allowing me to capture these portraits of you both with Zorro. I know you will cherish them forever! My heart is breaking for everything you have gone through in the past month! Zorro will live on in your hearts and memories forever. <3
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