Look at that face.
Go on, take a really good look. That is the look of a very classy, super cool friend right there.
Her name is Caroline. It's a very good name (ahem). It's not necessarily that all the best people are named Caroline, but this particular specimen is a fine example of the name, Caroline. I first met her in the flesh in November 2016, when she asked me to visit her home in London to take some photos of her little boy on his first birthday.
But I met her a long time before that, because she's a solid feature in one of my online parenting groups (these are a must for any new mother, as I've mentioned before). She's always got everyone's back, whilst having the integrity to say what she really thinks. She's in touch with her emotions - and yours. And she's just all round lovely. Everyone should be more like Caroline.
So when she asked me to visit again to take photos of her horse, Nelson, I jumped at the chance. Sure, I prefer to photograph kids and weddings, but Caroline would be there, and I'd get to spend a few hours in all her glorious Caroline-ness. And there'd be beer afterwards.
I said yes with unbridled enthusiasm (sorry).
And so I pootled down the M1. And the M25. And the M11. And some A-roads. And eventually I arrived. We drove out to the place where she keeps her pony, Nelson. I've been around yards before but this place was massive, with all these cool little cottage businesses housed by the stables and riding school. There was an overgrown field, which I knew would be perfect for us to get some natural bare back style shots. I was thinking Brokeback, but later learned that Caroline was being Caroline, and wanted to channel her inner Game of Thrones. I've never watched Game of Thrones (don't shoot), but I think we met somewhere in the middle.
And what I learned in this segment of the session is that Nelson is the perfect ying to Caroline's yan. He's quite mellow, and although something of a gentle dobbin he also possesses a real stubborn streak when it comes to running through nettles (sorry Nelson, I didn't realise!) but the two together are a good duo. They even do the same side eye look.
I can't say I blame him for the shade he was throwing. We had turfed him out of his stable at bed time to take these photos, so we decided to take him for a quick jumping session before giving him lots of treats and putting him back to bed for the night. I found this section of our session far more challenging - a combination of a new camera, disappearing light, and a fast-moving large subject. I think we did quite well though, and I was even rewarded with the chance to have a walk on Nelson myself.