As a part of our current blog series, we asked our Sponsored Rider Natasha to share the story of her amazing bond with her Paralympic horse Cabral ( JP), and to choose her all-time favorite images of her with JP from our photoshoots.
Let’s just say I was tearing up when this email came through! Read on…..
“JP was such a gentle horse with a heart of gold. Although he was a showman and loved being the centre of attention at a competition he was actually a real introvert and had a small ‘inner circle’ of people that he truly, deeply loved. He was always kind, to everybody he met but only a select few would see the real loving, cuddly side to him. He was a sensitive soul who was a bit of a scaredy cat but wholeheartedly trusted me and let me comfort him and hold his hand when he needed me to.
He LOVED having a photoshoot and being filmed – this really played to his showman attitude and he was the perfect poser – we never struggled getting the ’smiling’ shots!!! He was always willing to do the cuddly shots and was the perfect gentleman and was so well behaved. I love that I now have such an amazing collection of pictures (and album) to look back on now that he’s no longer with us – so many special memories we will treasure forever.
JP came into our lives in August 2009 after Ludo, my top horse, went lame. I knew he was special from day 1 and within a year we had built such a strong and successful partnership. Everything seemed to happen very quickly. in 2010 we were selected as reserves for the world equestrian games, in 2011 we had our first call up to a team and won 2 gold medals at our first European championships. In 2012 we were incredibly fortunate to be selected for the London Paralympics and JP made all my dreams come true by winning double Gold and getting 2 Paralympic records! We went on to win another 3 golds at the European Championships in 2013, a Gold and Silver at the World Games in 2014 and then 3 Golds at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.
He was my horse of a lifetime and did make all my dreams come true and more! He was my best friend and soul mate and we knew everything about each other. He was the most special horse in the world, not easy with his sensitivity in the arena but that made me feel even closer to him, I truly believe that we were meant for each other and that he wouldn’t have danced like he did for me, with anybody else.
Why I LOVE these 3 shots:
No1 – I love this shot the most because its such natural, casual, candid shot. I think it really reflects our bond and the love between the two of us, looking into each others eyes, that close connection.
No2 – Obviously a more dressed up shot but again I love that both of our eyes are shut at the same time like we are both so relaxed and connected with each other, enjoying a ‘moment’.
No3 – I love that this shows the success we had together but also shows the other side of his personality – he was a show off at heart and he loved being the centre of attention yet he was always so gentle with it. I love the way I am looking up at him lovingly and gently laughing at him
Thank you for writing this for us Natasha – amazing memories of wonderful shoots with you, team Baker and the awesome JP!
To see more of our images from our shoots with Natasha and JP, head to our blog here. You can also read more about Natasha and her career on her website here.
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