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Black Background Photos

April 16, 2019 by Charlie

So, my last photograph that I put up on the Eriena Photography Facebook page caught the eye of a few people!

I’ve been doing event photography for 4 years. I mostly shoot showjumping, dressage and jump cross. Having photographed a few showing competitions and I realised that I love being able to catch more candid photos for people. I’ve been a competitor myself for the best part of 20 years, and it’s a good feeling being able to capture for people what I know to be those treasured moments.

Below is one of my favourite sports to photograph. Jump Cross!

Now that I’ve moved to Scotland and feel a bit more settled, I’m going to start rolling out some private photo shoot slots. I’ll typically spend 1-2 hours with you, having discussed at booking what style of photo shoot you’d like. It’s all totally relaxed and by the end of it, I promise, you’ll forget I’m even there! You’ll get a private gallery to view all of the final images and you’ll receive 3 images of your choice, with the option to buy more at any point in the future.
In addition to these photo shoots I’m offering a shorter, (and cheaper) ‘black background’ option. These take up to 30 minutes and you’ll receive 2 prints.

Just to show you a little example, here is Sierra being an amazing model for me with a before and after.

I know I am biased, but isn’t she a stunner?
Please contact me to set up your next photo shoot and I look forward to hearing from you and meeting your beautiful ponies and horses!

Sierra Progress

April 7, 2019 by Charlie

So I thought I’d update you a bit on what’s been happening with Sierra.
We’ve done quite a lot hacking and with view like this, who can blame me! The hacking is all exclusive to the Christmas Tree farm we are on and the hills are fantastic, so we’ve been walking up and down them to build up a bit more strength. She has been schooling really well and I’ve done a bit of polework with her.
Last night she went out overnight in a big field (with lots of grass, at last!) with her new friend and neighbour, Thor.

I think they’re going to be great buddies.
This morning after her big night out, she came into the arena a bit on her toes! She called out once to Thor, but then settled straight down to business. I’d put a couple of cross poles out just to school over as I’m not sure how much jumping she’s done while she was on loan, so I wanted to start out just getting our rhythm back
This horse literally makes my heart sing.

Team Players

April 4, 2019 by Charlie

When I was 14 my parents bought me a pony. He was a beautiful, palomino, Welsh Cob cross. He was 8 years old, and boy could he buck! But so the saying goes ‘if they can buck, then can jump’. Well, he could jump. He just didn’t always want to!
Every night, after school, my mum (who knew nothing about horses), drove me to the yard so I could ride my pony. The indoor school was jam packed with kids like me, just home from school, riding their ponies with their parents at the side line, chatting and having a coffee while we were yelling ‘circling!’ or ‘cantering!’ or ‘change the rein!’. I loved those evenings and the friends that I made there. Many of whom I’m still friends with now.
Once or twice a month we were bundled up into the lorry and driven off to a show. The excitement! Ponies on board, kids in the living of the lorry, trainer driving, music on. And then when we progressed out of ponies and into horses, I would take Storm and the kids I had competed alongside in juniors also had bought horses and took them along. Same vibe! All riding together, competing together.
And note that word. Together. We were a team! I’d never really been part of anything in my whole life before that. Not anything where I felt included and involved and really with the competing I never stood a chance of winning with my pony that threw me off all the time, and my horse who was scared of her own shadow and not quite right in the head! But it didn’t matter, because as a team we were awesome. Imagine being in a group of people who have the same goals and dreams. The same work ethic with their horses. We would commiserate and congratulate each other. We would cheer for each other from the side lines. We would be shoulders to cry on for each other. (But never in public. I was taught to hold it together and be dignified until back at the lorry and then cry all I liked!)

There is nothing quite like being a team player.
So my plea to you if you are a competitor (or even if you just ride with other people!) is this.

1) Be kind to each other – Horse riding is a tough sport, physically and mentally.
2) Be courteous – Manners are free! If you have just finished your round in the arena, stand aside and let the next person in. Wish them good luck! If you are about to go in the arena then tell the person who is coming out well done! ‘Good luck’ and ‘well done’. Simple.
3) Say hello – It’s great to be part of a team and have each other, but it’s hard travelling your horse, warming up and competing if you are alone.
4) Help the show venue organisers – If you’re called to the arena then BE ON TIME! If you pull out, notify them. If you are non-riding and can help in any way (pole picking etc) then do it!
5) Also a ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Thank your trainers, thank your support team (family, friends etc), thank the show organisers, thank the judges.
6) Most importantly THANK YOUR HORSES for they are the most important team member of all! 😀

Where Have I Been…?

March 28, 2019 by Charlie


I’m so sorry I’ve not posted much in the last two weeks but I’ve been crazy busy up in Scotland.

I’ve had my first photography event for Lanark Riding Club, which was a full day of Dressage. A really friendly riding club, and some lovely tests ridden!

The girls in Peterborough have been photographing for Wittering Academy and Rutland Riding Club, so they have been busy, too!

I’ve also been preparing for my mare, Sierra to come home! She arrived on Saturday evening and settled straight in to her isolation box and her haylage and barely even looked up at us!

On Sunday morning she went in her isolation paddock for a couple of hours and had a mooch about. I rode on Sunday afternoon and in the lovely indoor arena, and she kept checking herself out in the mirrors and was good as gold.

She’s since been out all day in her paddock and in all night, without any stress. I am so relieved as she can sometimes be a bit of a box walker if she’s upset, and has been known to jump out of her field!

So that’s just a quick update as to what’s been happening.
I’ll promise not to leave it so long between posts next time!
Why not follow me on Facebook or Instagram in the mean time and let me know what you’d like to hear about from me and the four legged gang 🙂

Throw Back Thursday

March 14, 2019 by Charlie

Happy Throwback Thursday!

This week I’m dedicating it to the best ginger mare in the entire world!

Storm came to me when I was 19 and she was different to say the least. I was used to a small Welsh cob (more about him another time!), and then this beautiful, big Thoroughbred mare showed up in my life. Oh, but she was traumatised. I spent the first few months trying to get her to walk over poles on the ground, instead of panic and madly gallop over them.

It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to sometimes even just canter a circle and I’d be watching all of my friends going out competing and wondered if I’d EVER join them. But join them I did!

We even entered the dressage arena on the odd occasion when she wasn’t running around with her head in the air!

This mare utterly stole my heart and I sadly lost her and a piece of my heart with her to colic after 9 long years together. Gone but never, EVER forgotten.

World Book Day

March 7, 2019 by Charlie

Happy World Book Day!!

What are you favourite books?

I’ll start with mine. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

I was given this book by my Grandma when I was about 7 years old. The version I have is so old and tattered, and spent many years living in my parents’ car so that I could read it whenever we went anywhere! It had beautiful illustrations and is truly treasured even now.

I don’t know where to start with this book. I already had a solid love of horses, and this book taught me so much and in later years I felt a great understanding of Ginger (the mad chestnut mare), having had one of my own!

This book was brought to life in 1992 with a film adaptation which I also loved, despite it missing out a few bits and pieces here and there.

It really sparked not only my interest in riding and caring for horses, but also in reading! I went on from this to read series like the Black Stallion by Walter Farley, Jinny and Shantih by Practicia Leitch and the Silver Brumby horses by Elyne Mitchell. Not to mention about 100 Saddle Club books by Bonnie Bryant! I’m not even sure if half of those books are in print any more (showing my age!), but they’re well worth reading if you ever see them in charity shops or on ebay.

What also adds to my love of this book is that Anna Sewell wrote this while extremely ill and basically on her death bed in her final years and it was never intended to be a children’s book. It was meant to be a guide to horse care and helped raise awareness of cruelty to horses. It goes to show it’s never too late to write a best seller.



Go Wrong With a Smile

March 4, 2019 by Charlie

I’ve not written for a couple of weeks as ‘life’ happened!

I’ve learnt some very valuable lessons in the last month, one of which is to go wrong with a smile.

Let me explain.

Life throws us all sorts of curve balls. It is NEVER plain sailing, and you know what? that is OK. Our job, hard as it may seem, is to enjoy the journey. And if we’re not enjoying it, then we can certainly learn from it.

I feel like I’ve learnt a fair few things this year, even though we’re only 2 months in! But most importantly I’ve learnt than even when things go wrong, and you get news you don’t expect, or life takes turns that you didn’t intend for it to take, you can muddle through all of this with the help of family and friends, and still manage to do it with a smile on your face. In fact, that smile is vital. Positive thinking goes such a long way and is so valuable. Studies have even shown that optimism and positivity even boosts your immune system! The power of the mind is truly amazing.

I’ve also learnt that the majority of things that I worry about are really very small in the grand scheme of things. Taking a step back to really analyse whether or not something is worthy of the effort that it takes to worry is really key. A few things I’ve found myself worrying about lately relate to my house, my mortgage, my horse and my dog. Well. Let me tell you. I gave myself a short, sharp slap in the face fairly recently as, let’s be honest, most people would give their left arms to have a house, or a horse… or a house AND a horse. I am very fortunate that I have worked hard for years and managed to be in a position to have these things. But let’s get real. There are bigger things in the world to be worrying about.

So, my take home from January and February is this. Worry less and smile more. Even when things go wrong. Go wrong with a smile 🙂

Below is an example of how going wrong with a smile can be adapted to everything in life(!)


Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2019 by Charlie

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Firstly, a gift from me to you!

I never really celebrate Valentine’s Day as I’m quite idealistic and like to believe that we should all show each other how much we love each other on a daily basis.

Sometimes, though, life catches up with us and we get wrapped up in the day to day and end up taking our loved ones for granted.  So I actually appreciate a day set aside to remind us to just chill out and get back to putting focus on the special people in our lives.

So my gift to my other half this Valentine’s Day is to be more present in my relationship. (And the fish and chips takeaway we’re treating ourselves to!)

Much love to you all and hope you have a great day. And if you’re spending it alone, go and hug the first cat, dog, horse, hamster, goldfish you see.

What To Do…

January 30, 2019 by Charlie

…. When you don’t want to do anything?

I sometimes get this feeling where I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to talk to anybody. I don’t even really want to get out of bed. Sometimes I even just sit there and cry, and most of the time I don’t even know why. Now, I’m pretty in tune with my body and I know when this is just a ‘female’ time and I’ve fully come to expect that once a month my mood will drop somewhat, and I just have to roll with that, and that’s OK.
But the times when I can’t put two and two together, and it doesn’t make sense for me to feel this way… what do I do to ‘snap out of it’?
FIRSTLY: I am kind to myself. I know this is a blip. I know that I’m strong and that I’ve gone through so much just to be here today that I’m not about to give that all up by shutting down and quitting on my dreams. If I feel like crying, I cry. If I feel like eating chocolate, I eat chocolate. This isn’t a state of mind that is going to last forever, so I am kind to myself and I let it happen.
SECONDLY: I talk it out. (After a few days of eating chocolate and crying, maybe.) And I don’t just rant and moan to the first person that comes along. I’m very careful who I talk things through with. I don’t want to moan about life just to have the other person agree with me. That makes me feel even worse!
Well then what IS the point in pursuing what I love in life if it’s all hopeless in the end anyway!?
No, no, no. I pick very carefully and bend the ear of someone who is going to kick me up the butt and help me figure out what my next step is. I’m lucky I have friends like this who will list different parts of my life, and together we’ll figure out what I’m unhappy about.
THIRDLY: I make a plan. I write this plan down. I put it up on my pinboard/dreamboard. I try and break it up into achievable steps. I put it somewhere that I can see it!

And I take action

The biggest lesson I have learnt about feeling ‘stuck in a rut’ is that the feeling goes away when you take action towards your dreams. It doesn’t matter how small that action is. Just take it. It’s no good wishing life was different. It’s no good dreaming about things. Make a plan, write it down, take a step towards it. Make it happen!