Tami + Express My Checks

I had the privilege of capturing Tami and her beautiful horse, Express My Checks (Cisco). Cisco is half Arabian/half Quarter Horse, so he is registered through the AHA. He has US National Top Ten Honors and has been Regional Champion in Reining, Ranch Riding, Western Trail, English Trail, Western Pleasure....and he just started competing on cows this year! That is quite a list because he is quite the horse! But, to Tami, Cisco is special far beyond the winnings he has earned. He holds such a special place in her heart.

After delivering their photos to her, Tami shared the image below on her Facebook and Instagram account. What she wrote with that image was so beautiful and intimate and brought tears to my eyes. With her permission, I am sharing her story. The bond between a horse and a person runs clear to the soul.

Tami wrote:

Horses speak to your soul without saying a word...
Not many people know the story of how Cisco came to be mine...but seeing this moment that Lauren Pace captured, it seems fitting to share. 
I am a “planner” (to a fault at times) - Well...in life everything doesn’t go as “planned." I finally met my amazing husband Jeffrey Douglas late in life and I was so excited for what 2019 would bring as we would become husband and wife. I had never really “planned” on kids, but as this reality of marriage got closer, that maternal urge inside me came alive.
After months of trying and no success off to the fertility clinic we went. I was ready to let science help and wanted to start the IVF process. After test after test after test...we sat down at the clinic and we were told the words no one wants to hear - that I would more than likely never conceive, and my best option was a donor. I had no eggs left. I was devastated. They literally wouldn’t even take my money to try because there really wasn’t a chance. I went into a deep depression at home but kept my composure at face. My husband was a saint for dealing with my emotional roller coaster. 
Shortly after, I lost my sweet Jersey girl after 16 years of her being my “child." Enter depression to a whole new level. I constantly cried. Just because. All. The. Time. 
I wanted to start riding again. I needed to start riding again. My sweet Wall Street couldn’t be ridden and I was itching to get back at it. 
[I called] a horsewoman I grew up with and have always admired, Jessica Tozer Bein, [and said] that I wanted to get back into showing and next thing you know I’m on a plane to Arizona to try 4 horses. Cisco was the last one I rode that day and I smiled for the first time in a long time. That night I went back to my hotel and actually slept - no tears, just sleep. I went back to the the barn the next day and rode them all again. My connection with Cisco was apparent and I think he needed me as much as I needed him.
So our story began...I took the money I was going to spend on IVF and entered the Scottsdale Arabian Show, where I officially purchased Cisco. 
My heart is happy....I have my “kids” and love being their mommy.

I read this the day that Tami posted it and so much became clear to me. I could SEE the bond that Tami and Cisco had the day of our photo shoot - I didn't know the whole story then, but I knew. I am so grateful to Tami for sharing such a personal story. Her story reaffirmed to me WHY I started Lauren Ann Pace Photography; to capture that special bond and create something tangible that will last for years to come.

See more from our sun-filled shoot below.