A few weeks ago on Instagram I posted a shot of my horse Knight’s modeling debut. In case you were wondering, Knight is not really a model, but my own retired racehorse pal/project/pet.
Not a model, but he IS handsome.
And he has good hair–quite a long forelock and a mane so thick it falls on both sides.
But I digress.
So he did get to be a horse model for a day. Here’s how it started.
A friend posted on Facebook something to this effect, “Hey, I’m looking to do a knight and maiden photo shoot. Does anyone know of a horse I could use?” She offered to pay a modeling fee to the horse.
Two thoughts ran through my brain:
- Knight would be perfect for a knight and maiden photo shoot because of his name being Knight.
- It’s ABOUT TIME the horse earn part of his keep!
I responded that not only did I have a horse, but that he was pretty, named Knight, and he’s worked with professional photographers before. I’m not sure if that last part mattered, but it made him sound experienced–as opposed to cell phone selfies, he’s had large cameras with fancy lenses take his picture. Such as this one.
Knight was selected and a date was set. I didn’t tell Knight because the last time we had a professional photographer out, he had small cuts on his face when I pulled him from his stall the morning of.
Several days before the actual shoot, I met the maiden and other knight and showed them some pretty areas where I thought they might like to pose. They walked hand-in-hand while Knight and I and another horse buddy strode ahead to the place where the trail meets some old trees. The pair seemed happy with the setting and we said goodbye.
The day of the shoot I had a moment of clarity when I grabbed a bag of baby carrots while at Trader Joe’s on my lunch hour. “For the bribes,” I thought.
The animals and humans of my household are very food motivated.
The one concern I had about Knight’s modeling was that he would get bored standing and start to dance around. I thought nothing would make him stand quietly like a constant stream of carrots.
And it was a good thing I bought them.
Knight liked the maiden right away (I mean, she is gorgeous). But something about the knight’s clinking, clanking hand/wrist armor made his head shoot up and eyes get cartoony. I employed a Control Unleashed technique I learned in a dog training class for my reactive Doberman: pre-empt the crazy by distracting with high value treats (this is a very simplified condensed approach to controlling a “spirited” dog, you should read the book for the full scoop, but let’s just say it worked with my horse).
And so Knight was won over by the other knight. In fact, he was pretty sure he had a new BFF. And so the knight continued giving him carrots to the point that Knight’s mouth was frothy and orange, like a left-over smoothie. And that was when I was thrilled I had the foresight to bring a small towel.
The experience of watching Knight as a supporting character for the young lovers’ photo shoot was fun, yet stressful. I kept worrying Knight would get a little kooky just from having to stand in one spot so much. And then at one point I was convinced he was going to pee because he was standing so awkwardly with his legs spread. He didn’t go.
Knight held his emotions together pretty well until just near the end. I took him for a little walk break and let him drink from his favorite water trough.
The highlight of Knight's trail experience is a trough on the trail. He loves to stop and play and submerge his entire muzzle into the water. I enjoy watching him get so much enjoyment from this and think it's funny/cute. Knight's got life figured out: take pleasure in the little things. #thoroughbred #thoroughbredsofinstagram #baygelding #ottbloversofinstagram #cheval #caballo #horses #horsesofinstagram #offtrackthoroughbred #SaddleSeeksHorse
He was in heaven. But then he did kind of a naughty jump/mini-rear to the side at one point as I led him back. I raised my voice and scolded him and jerked the reins hard and made him back up a few steps. I thought, “Oh no, the non-horse people are going to think I’m mean.”
After his “caper” the photographer asked if the knight could lead Knight and get an action shot. In my head I thought, “Oh no! He’s had it,” but outwardly I said, “Sure, but it’s probably best to lead him AWAY from the barn.”
So the knight led Knight with his clinking, armored hand and my horse was fine.
The funniest part which I am not making up was while the knight led Knight.
The horse Knight walked dutifully alongside the human knight until he was even with where I was standing. Knight then turned his head to look at me and I swear his expression was like, “Really? Are you kidding me? I’m so ready for my stall and food.” As they passed me, he turned his face forward and kept on walking.
And that is the tale of when my Knight was a horse model.
Your Turn: Have you ever had a pet be a model? Or what are tips you’ve learned to get the most out of a taking pictures with your animal/s?