Behind the scene stories: horse photography workshop at Villa Abbatis Equestrian Center

We knew exactly what we had to do. We installed the electric fence on top of a hill, where we could see the Fagaras Mountains in the background, covered in white. We walked the horses through the improvised manege to make sure they hear the specific noise of the electric fence. We all gathered in the middle and let them go. Four mares.

Two laps at full speed. Perfect for taking photos. Manes in the air, fresh green grass. I could hear the rattle of our cameras. We were all smiling from ear to ear. That’s why I had organized the equine workshop here, at Villa Abbatis Equestrian Center.

Then it happened. Shoc. I mean the mare whose name is Shoc went directly through the fence, broke it and ran towards the farm. Then she saw she was alone. The other three mares had stopped at the other part of the manege and were looking at her. She came back, went around the fence and showed them where to break the electric wire by themselves. The three listened to their commander. Shoc waited until all of them got out, then drove them over the hills at full speed. Gone with the wind they were. Adventure.

We had all met a day before at Veseud, in Sibiu county. We stayed in a Saxon house from 1883. The restaurant was in the former barn and the rooms in the former stables. Our hosts welcomed us with home-made soup with noodls, stew, home-made bread and pie. Full, we left for Apos, where the equestrian center is located. That’s where we met former dressage national champion Roxana Hadarean, who takes care of the approximately 20 horses.

A few explanations regarding equine psychology and warm-up photos with horses running in the manege. Of course, we were accompanied by the dogs Brutus and Toto, the cat and the goats. In the evening, a much too delicious dinner, which matched perfectly the red wine.

We knew Saturday would be a full day. We made the plan in the morning over a coffee, on the terrace, looking at the stocks walking in front of us. For the beginning, photo shooting with horses at freedom on the hill. We brought Aspen and Rossini, which stood up on two feet, ran and had fun like children. When taking a break, we could even pet them. Fresh grass, horses, white mountains in the background.

Then disaster with the four mares followed, so we came back at the farm to have lunch outside, near the manege. The bread had just been taken out of the oven and was warm. An hour later, the moment long expected. We put the saddles on the horses and off we went for a walk over the hills and through the forests. Part of us on the horses, part in the carriage. Then we switched places. We passed by the tile producers and headed towards the coal producers. Ancient traditions seen from the horse’s saddle.

Useless to say that we ate almost every other three hours. When coming back, worm pies were waiting for us. Then a huge dinner at Veseud, accompanied by a Prosecco brought by Elena, my first student of the course.

Photo by Elena Ucenic

On Sunday morning we were already tired, but Roxana was waiting for us dressed up in her competition costume, with tuxedo and top hat. Jack and Rossini, her horses, were combed and dressed up for the show. And we witnessed a show for sure. We couldn’t stop taking photos.

Now it’s time to select and edit the photos. But the memories remain stocked in their separate box, as they should. Thank you, Roxana, you were special.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Magda Munteanu