February 20, 2023

Winter Horse & Rider Portraits – Heidi Wenzel and Ananiah & Rudolph | Esperance, NY

Posted in: Horse & Rider Portraits

I know what you’re thinking: outdoor portraits in the dead of winter in New York, are you crazy? Well, the answer may be yes, but you can’t deny that there’s something special about a couple of fuzzy horses.

Heidi reached out because she wanted to have some memories with her two best friends (does that sound familiar?), and to have some portraits that showcase their beauty and some of their talents.

She specifically booked a winter session because she wanted portraits with their wooly winter coats, contrary to the clipped look that many people like. And come on, those fuzzy ears are just adorable.

We actually ended up with a pretty mild winter day, in the 30s and beautifully sunny. We had previously rescheduled a few times because the snow kept melting, so we were due for a good day! We did have a little fiasco when I pulled up to the barn: a couple horses had gotten out and were running loose. So, I did what any horse person would do and jumped in, grabbed a halter, and between the couple of us that were there, got all the horses back in where they belonged. Just another day with horses!

We started off with some black background portraits with each horse and both of them together. Meet Rudolph (left) and Ananiah (right).

Ananiah is 15, and Heidi says she is continuing to enjoy him where he’s at. He was a rescue horse and changed hands 3 times in a very short period of time before she received him. “He was skinny and scared of people, which made him very dangerous.  I was excited for the challenge of training him and gaining his trust while making him healthy again.

“Ananiah’s spunk and bravery are what I love about him. He has a bold personality. He will also do just about anything for a Twizzler.” When I asked her how they found out he loved Twizzlers of all things, she told me that Twizzlers are a common treat for circus horses, which she learned while working with a trainer who worked with circus horses. Who knew?

Heidi met Rudolph on the racetrack when working there with a trainer. “I was immediately drawn to him because of his beautiful color, long legs, and super quiet personality.

“Rudolph is very much the opposite [of Ananiah], a quiet, shy horse, but he is affectionate, and I love that about him. He is also a beautiful mover and I enjoy just watching him out in the field. His favorite treat is peppermints.”

Rudolph is 8, and she says he’s still learning that he no longer needs to move like a racehorse. Right now, he is being trained up in dressage, and maybe some jumping in the future, as she works with one of her best friends, who is a trainer.

Check out some of the beautiful portraits we created with Heidi, Ananiah, and Rudolph! Are you brave enough for a winter portrait session?

  1. Becky Waldenmaier says:

    Stunning, you can feel the bond between Heidi and Anaiana and Rudolf!

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