It was going to be a busy day for Rudy and me. Portsmouth Living magazine was profiling me as their person of interest for the September 2021 edition. A professional photographer was coming to the barn to take pictures of us. The hope was to capture the essence of our relationship as well as Rudy's connection with children.
I arrived at the barn at 8 a.m. to start preparations. My close friend Allison was due to arrive at 9 and the photographer at 9:30. Our goal was to get five unique photos that looked as if they were taken on different days. The plan was to shoot in various locations around the property, change wardrobes, and capture both riding and ground shots.
Allison brought a seven-year-old girl that had been taking riding lessons with her for almost a year. She assured me the child was cute as a button, natural, and confident around horses.
Rudy seems to love it when children visit. No matter how long the visit, he stays engaged. He stands patiently while they groom him, plays the “stay-come” game, entertains the Jolly Ball, and tries his best to understand the kid's cue to “look away” even though they often lack the confidence to execute it correctly. I have yet to find the limit for how much time he is willing to hang out with his small human visitors.
Recently, my fourteen-year-old niece came for a visit. She insisted that we spend the entire day at the barn despite my suggestion that this was too long for everyone, Rudy included. Nevertheless, we arrived at the barn around 9:30 a.m., and she immediately took off for Rudy’s paddock.
The day was beyond full, and he never disengaged. Around 3:30 p.m. he was grazing with his lead rope draped over his back when he raised his head and started marching toward his paddock. My immediate thought was, “he’s finally had enough!" I told her she better catch up to him. He beat her to the paddock, walked in, pooped, and came right back to greet her.
When we left at 4:30 that afternoon, he stood at the gate watching us as we pulled out of the driveway. This is one of the things that makes Rudy special.
But I digress, back to the photoshoot. Thankfully Allison agreed to help since she made everything about the day easier and better. Not only does she have a lot of horse experience, but she also has a good eye when it comes to everything involving horses. She also knows Rudy and me well.
Rudy never disappoints his visitors, and this event was no exception. As always, he was engaged and charismatic. He posed for the camera in a way that made me sure he understood this whole thing was about him.
Meanwhile, the girl was awesome! She was completely natural, comfortable around horses, and clicked with Rudy right away. I was the one out of my comfort zone. I was self-conscious in front of the camera and far from natural. I struggled to recreate the images the photographer had selected for the shoot even with guidance from Allison.
Rudy did what he always does, gets up close and personal, licked his visitors like a dog, cocked his head, showed everyone how smart he was by looking away on command, and more. On the way home, the girl told Allison “he's more like a human or a kid than like a horse."
When the shoot came to the end it was clear who the stars were, Rudy and the girl. The photographer and her daughter were smitten with Rudy from the get-go and by the end, the photographer struggled to stop taking pictures of them.
Click, click, click as the camera captured the girl sitting cross-legged on the emerald green grass in her light blue sundress adorned white daisies as Rudy peacefully grazed next to her.
Rudy is a special soul with a purpose in this life. I feel blessed he picked me and blessed to share him with others.
Written July 7, 2021