Last month, I had the incredible honor of traveling to Tryon, North Carolina and covering reining at the 2018 World Equestrian Games! Even better, I got to do so alongside one of my dear friends and coworkers, Jessica, which made navigating the massive international event both less terrifying and way more fun. But there was one teeny problem: WEG took place during the exact same week that Hurricane Florence decided to terrorize the coast—eek! So while we mostly spent the week watching the most talented reining athletes in the world, we were also side-eyeing the looming clouds and impending flooding.
Anyhow, back to those amazing horses! I’ve got to say, I’ve never seen horses with so. much. heart. Some challenges with the facility made it a hot and hard place to compete…let alone run your heart out three times! The individual finals night—where some horses were running for the third time that week in the same tough conditions—absolutely took my breath away. The horses ran harder, the crowds cheered louder, and the riders gave their all.
And the international fans were insane! At one point, I thought the Brazilian fans might make the stands fall down from their jumping, stomping and cheering! WEG was about so much more than a horse show. It was about the passion. The emotion. The fans and the families. And, of course, the horse.
Two photographers meant that only one of use posted up at the prime shooting spot (to catch those awesome sliding stops head-on), so I had some freedom to move around a little more, try out different angles and seek out the behind-the-scenes stories. This is the same approach I like to use for portrait sessions; while I like to start with go-to poses that make everyone look good, most of my favorite, heart-stopping images come from trying something new or are taken in those in-between moments where a pose softens and the genuine love for the horse shines most.
Luckily, wasn’t until we were boarding the plane that the warnings on our phone started blaring! Between the horses and the hurricane, the 2018 World Equestrian Games sure was an incredible trip!
Check out my other event recaps, too:
2018 APHA Youth World Show
Note: All photos belong to the Paint Horse Journal and are not for sale via Rachel Florman Creative. If you see an image you LOVE, please contact me at APHA and I'll direct you to the proper channels. Find even more awesome candids of the World Show on the Paint Horse Journal's smug mug!