Alyssa graduated from high school this spring and selected a college where she could bring her horse and continue competing. Our session took place in their very nice backyard barn in Hollis, New Hampshire. Alyssa's mother, Donna, joined us for the interview.
Rick: Donna, when did you get started with horses?
Donna: About 40 years ago. I was nine years old.
Rick: Where was that?
Donna: That was actually here in town? Yes, I'm a town girl. I wanted a horse really badly, so my mom got my sister and I a pony to lease for the summer and we did all the work because then she thought it would not be something we'd want to do. And my sister's a full time horse trainer down in North Carolina. And here I am with five. And I've been volunteering for Pony Club and 4-H and I run a small horse riding lesson business.
Rick: And Alyssa?
Alyssa: When I was two years old. So I've been riding for 16 years. I started on a small pony named Nemo. And then from there, I've acquired a few more ponies.
Rick: Alyssa, Could you tell us about your progression to where you are now?
Alyssa: I'm an event rider and I started Pony Club when I was about five or six and I'd continued till now. And I started at the very beginning with falling off almost every lesson. And now I go and jump training level prelim with my horse Johnny.
Alyssa: Johnny is a twenty three year old Hanoverian thoroughbred. He has been there, done that. Ridden with a bunch of different event riders. He lived in Vermont for a while and he's now found his forever home with us. I've had him for about three and a half years and he's one of the best ponies I've ever had. He's a machine cross country and he's a blast ride.
Rick: What has he taught you?
Alyssa: He's taught me to not take him for granted. He's a horse and he has a mind of his own. And we can't just jump everything all the time. But then we also have built a lot of confidence together.
Alyssa: I want to be a nurse in 10 years and hopefully Johnny will still be around then and just hang out and have a few ponies of my own. We're off to Randolph College in Virginia this summer. Johnny is going with me. The plan is to be on the eventing team.
Rick: Donna, what's the biggest thing that horses have taught you?
Donna: Horses. It's definitely a break, especially with the whole Covid situation, to be able to come out into the backyard and get away and relax. You have to leave those stresses behind and you can count on them to be there. Sometimes it's not the way you want it to be. You might be soaking a horse's foot, not necessarily being able to go out and joy ride. You have to be patient. You have to be dedicated, responsible. But all of those things have transferred to Alyssa and really have made her what she is today with school and everything else.
Rick: What does Johnny do that makes you laugh?
Alyssa: Johnny likes to smile when we jump. And he likes to stick his tongue out for pictures. And I find that quite entertaining.
Rick: He hasn't gone to the water and splashed you?
Alyssa: No. But he does like to run away sometimes, quite a few times. He likes to chase golf carts and ponies and anything else. Bikes. He has a very has a big personality. Very entertaining to watch.
Rick: I want to say thank you both for your time. We enjoyed photographing your beautiful horse. I have absolutely no idea who will make it into the calendar. But he is definitely going to be considered for the 2021 calendar.
Sharon and Richard Hydren started the calendar project with two goals:
The primary objective has been to celebrate the relationships between owners and their equine friends in fine art equine portraits.
The second objective has been to explore the equine world in greater depth by visiting with owners and recording their stories.
To start the project we ran ads on Facebook asking for great looking horses, offering to not just take photos of their horses, but to create really fine art equine portraits.
There would be no cost for the portrait session. No obligation to purchase any art. And everyone who stepped forward and allow us to capture images of them and/or their horses would receive a free calendar. We also offered a selection of fine art metal prints at substantial savings.
The Facebook ad brought a flood of registrations. We connected with nearly all of them and produced more amazing images than we had ever hoped to create.
If you should wish to talk with us about the possibility of having us do a portrait of your horse, for the calendar project or just for yourself, please click on the Facebook ad on the home page of this website and fill out our form.