My absolute favourite photos to take are of ‘the pat’. The Pat along with The Smile at the end of a competition is just the most joyous thing to see, not only as a photographer but as a fellow equestrian. It’s the moment at the end of your showjumping round, or dressage test where all of the tension and nerves disappear and you realise you’ve done it!
It frustrates me when I stand there, camera poised at the ‘x’ marker at the end of the dressage test and there is no Pat or Smile. We all have ‘those days’ where it doesn’t go quite to plan, but a smile and a pat go a long way in showing good sportsmanship and appreciation of the horse who might have been having a bad day but still tried anyway.
As a competitor I’ve felt that relief/pride/joy to get to the end of the test or round and it comes as second nature to me to thank my horse, my friend, my partner.
So here’s to all those riders out there who have pushed the boundaries of what they thought they could achieve, and who have felt the same relief, joy and pride as I have felt. Keep smiling and patting.
Happy competing everyone!