This session was particularly special for me because I have known this pair for over 15 years, and love them both dearly. It was also one of the hardest sessions I have ever had to do.
I remember Brittany bringing this young, firey paint to our barn over 15 years ago. She was in love with him, but he was A LOT of horse.
We would take turns getting thrown off this young gelding, he was always sure to keep us on our toes.
But despite his tendency to give Brittany the hardest time, she loved him. More than anyone ever should have, she loved him.
And although he was never easy for Brittany, he loved her too. He would eventually do things only for her, and it was clear that she was his person.
They grew together, and although Spirit still had his moments, they became a strong team.
We would go on trail rides together, play games and do crazy things with our horses. Spirit was always considered a little unpredictable, and always needed an experienced rider. He always challenged us in some way or another.
His difficulty turned Brittany into a phenomenal rider. She can stick out most bucks, has a tool for every naughty thing a horse could do on the trail, and above all is confident doing so.
Spirit taught her so many lessons, and also made her into a stronger person. I watched him humble her, then build her back up. She felt loved, strong, and capable. It was a truly amazing thing to see them come together like that.
The military moved me and my family away, but Brittany always kept and took care of Spirit. I watched from afar her tackle high school, boys, and college, and despite anything thrown her direction Spirit was always there for her.
He was her rock, the one thing she could always rely on. And he took care of her.
I watched Spirit mature, and eventually he began to mellow out. Those outbursts and naughty tricks melted away, and I watched Spirit begin to really take care of his girl.
I was able to visit a few times, and it was amazing to see how far the two have come over the years.
I am SO proud of them both!
But as we got older, so did Spirit.
In what seemed a blink of an eye, the young firey paint turned into a wise old man.
Still strong, still beautiful, just older.
As we all do, his body began to change. I felt a dread in my heart.
Spirit had been a part of our lives for what has seemed like forever, and Brittany and I both knew that chapter will soon be over.
We had a couple of close calls, but thankfully Spirit pulled through. Brittany decided that while he was still healthy, she wanted to do one last photoshoot with him.
So we pulled him out of the pasture, cleaned him up as best we could.
We talked about all the adventures we had with him and took our time brushing him.
Brittany got changed, then we led him out into the pasture and began taking pictures.
Brittany loved on him, snuggled him, and gave him lots of kisses.
Sometimes we would cry, it’s hard knowing the end is near.
I sat back and was amazed and proud at how far the pair had come along over the years.
I am so glad that Brittany chose to do this session. She will always have these personal, intimate images to remember him by.
I am so grateful for the amazing horses, like Spirit, that shape our lives, and honest people like Brittany to give them a great retirement and home in return.
The day we say goodbye to this horse will be crushing, but at least we will always have this day to cherish.