The first time I saw farriers at work was a day I spent with Kit Houghton being given some equestrian photography tuition after winning a photography competition. Since that time, I've managed to photograph a number of farriers at work and it's something I've enjoyed a great deal. The farrier work has had some commercial success and has been sold as art prints and for commercial work. And soon it will be used on a farrier's web site.
These photos are of farriers George Creighton (now retired) and David Van Den Broek, and the horses I'm showing here are ones that my wife has ridden. As horses need reshoeing every six weeks or so there's lots of occasions when I can be photographing, but getting the opportunity to take the photos means that shoots can be a fair time apart.
I like the subject because it's horses and because it's about skilled work. All stages of the process provide strong compositions and can be spectacular, especially if the light is good.
George Creighton shoeing Tabby
Tabby is an Arab mare and at the time of these photos, she was in her early 20s and one of the fittest horses in that yard (George was in his late 40s). These photos were taken over a number of years and conditions ranged from early morning bright sunshine, to falling snow. All of these images were shot on digital and some have been processed as BW or duotone in photoshop.
David Van Den Broek shoeing Bertie
Bertie is the horse my wife rode after Tabby went into retirement, she has moved from this yard and now is at Windsor Horse Rangers, where my wife teaches riding.
These shots were all taken on film. The light was pretty challenging, it ranged from bright sunshine to dark clouds and driving rain, and a further challenge was provided by one of the cameras. I had Ilford HP5+ in a Canon EOS 1v, which is a real joy to use and there was Fujifilm colour film in an older EOS 1 body that has a film rewind like a screaming banshee. I'd been worried about using that camera with horses, because the last thing you want is to mix red hot metal and a spooked horse.