You Want My Horse For What?
They say there are no missed opportunities — just someone else who opens the door when it knocks. For me, opportunity came disguised as a fashion magazine tapping at my barn door.
To begin, I’m a graphic designer for Morgan Publishing in Wellington, Florida. I had been on production at my office for nearly 20 hours a day, 20 days straight, finishing our publication, The Barn Book, on top of a regular ad schedule. Between riding three horses and working at the office, I barely knew what day it was when.
Last December, Vogue magazine called looking for horses to use in its March ‘Power Issue,’ hyping the new Spring fashions. Vogue figured a Friesian fit that image and heard that I might have the horse they were looking for. After test shots with my horse, Matsjo Ut It West, the editors approved him for a power-dressing layout called, “Mighty, mighty.”
Then they told me when it would be shot. Next week.
On top of my huge deadlines, I now had to find a 25th hour in the day for the Vogue crew. So I left work at 3:00 a.m., got home and washed a load so Matsjo (or “Mat” around the barn) would have a few wardrobe changes of his own. Okay, maybe it’s only polo wraps and a cooler, but how many outfits can a horse have?
On the big day, I went down our checklist to make sure that every creature comfort was available for my ‘model,’ including his favorite flavor Gatorade – citrus – since he is, after all, a Florida boy.
Now a professional photographer might coax a smile from a femme fatale, but I knew how to get that elusive equine look of ‘ears up.’ I had all my tools – lunge whip with white cloth strips pinned to the end, a soda can with pebbles in it, my clicker from a recent On-Target ? clinic, a big towel to throw in the air and some tropic palm fronds.
As Barnie and Fred would say, all was well in Bedrock and our van arrived to take us to our first location, a beautifully manicured farm owned by a family from The Netherlands who owned Europe’s largest candy manufacturing company and made Mentos ? breathmints.
Everyone came up to Mat and commented on how gorgeous he was (spit-shined, as he was, within an inch of his life).
Vogue producer Jenny Lande walked up. She had been standing by a huge mobile home, that I’m sure was for the models, amid tons of equipment. Huge screens were being set up in a lush paddock surrounded by lighting fixtures and flash equipment.
Flash equipment? My heart skipped a beat. How would Mat handle this?
Jenny said, “I hand-picked this horse and I can tell he’s the best!” She said the shoot’s story line was on the power of fashion so they wanted strong-looking horses. “I’m not even a horse person, and I just know the photographer is going to think he died and went to heaven with this one!”
Talk about pressure.