How to Prepare a Horse for a Photo Shoot

We’re all after that perfect Instagram shot or at least a sweet collection of professionally done photographs of our four-legged best friends.

If you’re lucky enough to have managed to book a professional photographer to come out and snap some gorgeous shots of you, and your horse; then you might be wondering what you actually need to do to prepare for the shoot! Especially when it comes to your horse – what is expected? How can you get your horse ready?

Well, worry not, because here is a little breakdown on what you need to do to prepare your horse for a professional photo shoot.

Pre-Photo Day Prep

So your shoot is all booked, and the shoot day is fast approaching. What do you need to do to make sure you’re ready?

Clean all of your tack, all of it. You don’t want your photos to look off because of a grubby bridle. Make sure you bring spares too, you might change your mind on what you want your horse to be wearing!

Sort your own outfits out – are you going for formal or smart-casual? Or cosplay? You might want to go for a fantasy or historical shoot, like Matilde Brandt (@matildebrandt) on Instagram, who draws from Viking history to inspire many of her photographs of her and her horses. If you go for a more fantastical theme like this, you may want to find out some historically accurate tack for your horse!

Regardless of what theme you’re going for, make sure both you and your horse are kitted out and have spares. Photo Shoots usually include outfit changes after all!

Morning Makeover

Now, this could be done on the morning of the shoot, or the night before, depending on how much time you have before the photographer arrives. But it’s pony makeover time!

Treat the photoshoot like a horse show – you want your horse to be spotless. If it’s warm enough you’ll need to bathe them – if you’re lucky enough to have one of the hot horse showers and solarium, the time of year won’t be a problem, but if not, a very thorough grooming should suffice in the winter months.

If you have your horse trimmed up normally, make sure it is smartly trimmed up for the shoot. Your horse will then look its best, and not like it is in the middle of growing out an old haircut – like when you decide that you no longer want a full fringe and decide to grow it out, and there’s that awkward phase when it’s fully in your face.

Once your horse is clean and ready – keep them away from dirt. Don’t turn them out, and if it’s the morning of your photoshoot, leave them tied up (if you still have a while until the photographer shows, maybe give your four-legged pal a hay net to keep them occupied), but if it’s the night before, pop a temperature appropriate stable rug on and pop them in the stable for the night.

The rug will help fight off poo stains – though don’t get your hopes up if you own a grey, they somehow always manage to get stains under their rugs! Rugging is also an option if you don’t have access to stables or can’t stable for whatever reason – just pop on a turnout rug to keep your horse at least somewhat clean overnight. It’ll be less to do in the morning!

Burn Those Beans

Now, if you need to partake in this step, you’ll need to do it before the Morning Makeover as your horse will probably get sweaty. Basically, if you have a horse that is typically nervous or ‘full of beans’, photographers typically suggest tiring the horse out before the shoot. This means that they’ll be more cooperative during the session as having a little exercise will burn that excess energy off and take the edge off.

You can do this by riding, or lunging; we suggest lunging so that you don’t get saddle sweat marks!

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