I love going to the EKKA - i haven't properly been for a number of years. Two years ago was when i went last, and it was just in the evening, so I missed out on my favourite bits: the animals! No surprises there. I headed along this year as I really wanted to broaden my skills and try my hand at some photos of the equestrian events. Specifically the showjumping Grand Prix. These horses and riders are the best of the best- some even came internationally to compete. I train my dogs in dog agility and often photograph our comps. Given agility is essentially a scaled down version of this event, I knew what I would be in for, perhaps even easier than photographing agility as the dogs are slightly faster moving. The big problem with show photography, dogs or equine, is that it can be hard to make nice images out of a less than ideal ring environment- and a less than ideal time of day to shoot. While waiting for the Grand Prix to start, I came across the farrier and blacksmith competition. This was truly fascinating to watch! These competitors are the best of the best and have come worldwide: including NZ, USA and portugal! Their task was to make two entirely custom horse shoes from scratch to fit the horse they were given. One for the front leg, and one for the rear leg. One was to be made out of aluminium, the other steel. They were judged on speed, but also accuracy in preparing the hoof, and matching it with its new shoe. It was really incredible to watch!
Alright, back to the showjumping. I had a fabulous time watching these incredible athletes (people and equine!) Here are some of my images from the afternoon: