Tips on preparing for your equestrian photoshoot at the beach

It's just you, your horse, the sand beneath you, and the waves crashing onto the beach. You have dreamed of this moment for as long as your can remember. The salty air blowing through your hair as you ride your heart horse up and down the beach. The freedom and peace you feel when you sit on top of your horse and look out into the endless blue sea. This moment is exactly where you are meant to be. After all, this is YOUR perfect world.

BUT WAIT! Before you get to that moment, your perfect world, some planning and preparation must take place. Taking your horse to the beach is something you may need to plan out weeks (or more) ahead of time, especially if your horse has never been to the beach before.

A lot of planning and preparation goes into any photoshoot, especially one that includes horses, and even more so with one that is away from your barn and everything that is familiar. My type A personality likes to control as many things as humanly possible, but we all know there are plenty of things that are beyond our control. Planning your photoshoot with these tips in mind will help you to have a successful photoshoot and positive experience.

Know your horse

Do they travel/haul well? Do they do well alone or do they need another horse friend to accompany them to help settle their nerves? The beach should probably not be your horse's first outing away from the barn. You want your horse to be relaxed as possible for your photoshoot, so knowing what your horse's strengths and weaknesses are will be helpful to have a positive experience.

Princess dreams come true

Have you dreamed of wearing a beautiful, flowy dress while riding your horse on the beach your entire life? Plan to desensitize your horse to a massive amount of fabric blowing around over the top of them and dragging behind them. Depending on your horse, you may want to start this process weeks ahead of your shoot instead of days.

Research beach locations

Does the beach you want to shoot at allow horses? Does it require a permit? Is there parking for your truck and trailer? How far will you need to walk from the parking area to the beach? This may seem like a lot, but these are all things that you will want to find out and discuss with your photographer. Once you park your rig, you probably won't want to walk a super long distance to get to your desired beach area. These are things to consider when determining what beach to shoot at.

Sunrise or sunset

Know where the sun will be in relationship to the water. The sun will set over the water on the west coast and will rise over the water on the east coast. This will also be something to discuss and plan with your photographer.

We cannot control the weather. We cannot control the ocean tide. We cannot always control our horse's behavior. The list of things beyond our control is plenty long, but this short list of things within our control is sure to help relieve some stress before and during your photoshoot.