When I was a little girl, I wanted a horse more than anything in the world because I knew there wouldn’t be anything quite like having a horse of my own. When I was a teenager, I got one, and I found out I’d been right. And Erika’s life followed the very same path.
I first met Erika years ago, when she was one of the little girls at my stable learning how to post the trot and adding “Prince” before her favorite gelding’s name at horse shows, because she was pretty convinced he was equine royalty. Now she’s all grown up, graduating from high school, and she has a great big thoroughbred gelding that she takes to eventing competitions. The name she chose for him? Fit for royalty, of course: Duke.
Watching them when we got together for her Ormond Beach senior portraits last month, it was pretty clear it’s the same for nearly every girl who has a horse of her own. There isn’t anything quite like it. What I love about this next picture is that it showcases how the horse-owner/horse relationship can be so very much like a mother/child relationship. Erika adores him, and Duke’s expression and ears seem to subtly say, “Moooom, stop, you’re embarrassing me!”
Erika, you looked amazing!
[Ears up and] standing still while looking straight into the camera — it’s just as much of a miracle with a horse as it is with a toddler! Beautiful, you two!
A new all-time favorite:
Once we’d finished posing Duke, Erika slipped his halter off so he could start relaxing for the night. But once he was free, all he wanted to do was follow her around, and photo bomb her, of course.
Erika, I’m so glad I got to be a part of this gorgeous evening with you and Duke, and congratulations on graduating later this month!