After setting up our background and lights we photographed 5 horses in Lucy's in-door riding arena. About a week later Lucy joined us through Zoom to talk about her journey from childhood riding lessons to owning a 120+ acre equestrian farm and riding school in southern New Hampshire.
Rick: We’re talking with Lucy Davies, owner of Yorkfield Stables in Kensington, NH. We photographed 5 horses in your arena and one both inside and outside on August 4th. Please remind of the name of the first horse we did?
Lucy Davies: Was that Charlie? No, it was Miss Tallulah.
Rick: Please describe Miss Tallulah.
Lucy Davies: She is 16/3. She's a little chunky. She is a jumper. She's the queen-bee at the barn. She has the double stall and everybody gives her treats and she only works out in the mornings because it's too hot in the afternoons and she sleeps from nine to two.
Rick: How long have you had her?
Lucy Davies: In January of 2018 she arrived in the US from England. We got her in the beginning of March of that same year.
Rick: She's being shown?
Lucy Davies: Yes. The last horse show she did was in Ohio. She gotten lots of ribbons. She was a good girl.
Rick: Nice. What was the name of the second horse we photographed today?
Lucy Davies: That was Charlie. He is a 16 hand Hunter. He likes to takes the old ladies around the hunt. He is the best horse in the barn. And loves to take care of the old ladies. He jumps everything in stride. He is just great. And so smart. I've had him since he was six months old.
Rick: Oh, wow. How did you come by him at that age?
Lucy Davies: He was from a young farm in Biddeford, Maine. We had their paint jumper which we sold. And then they sent down Charlie. I liked him from the moment he got off the trailer. So I bought him. He has such a cute little blanket.
Rick: Please tell us about the third horse we photographed today? What is his name?
Lucy Davies: That was that Freddie. He was having a hard time inside the arena, so you photographed him outside. Freddie is 17-3 hands. He's a Rimon. His mom was a Grand Prix mare. And his dad was the leading stallion in the US for four or five years in a row. He's just slightly neurotic, he doesn't like the hose if you pull it slightly the wrong way. Doesn't like it if you open the door a little bit too fast. He doesn't like it if you breathe a little too deeply. He does like listening to Bob Marley. And also Celine Dion's Titanic song, The Big Hit. And that song is seven whole minutes! Just so you know. And I have listened to it on replay because he likes it so much. The entire song. Right.
Rick: Maybe, I just got the answer to this, what does your horse do that makes you laugh out loud?
Lucy Davies: Oh, he's hysterical. He does make us laugh a lot. Well, he can open the stall doors. So we have to double snap them because he'll just get out. And then he'll let his friends out. And then they will have a party in the barn.
Rick: What do they do? Watch TV? Take in a game?
Lucy Davies: Well, they like to open the tack room and pull all the things out onto the floor. Yes, all my fault. That's what makes me so mad. And then they opened the hay room and they just eat the hay. And of course they poop all over the place. That makes me a bit wild. For a while he and his friend used to walk down the hill and after eating some grass at the bottom of the paddock they would turn, all at the same time, canter up the hill perfectly in sync, and jump over the fence. Just to go eat grass somewhere else! Oh. He can drive us bonkers. He's quite the character, Freddie is.
Rick: Wow, it's a remarkable story. OK, who was the fourth horse?
Lucy Davies: So that was Champ. Champ is 20, and we first met him when he was eight or nine, he was a big dressage horse at a dressage barn in Maine. But he didn't like doing dressage. So we turned him into a jumper, he was pretty happy with that. Then we actually sold him. But somehow he always comes back to us. The last time, the people said they just didn't want him anymore. And basically said if you don't buy him back we're just going to get rid of him. So I bought him back for a dollar and I told him that he would never leave here again. Now he teaches the older ladies. He barely canters, yet the ladies love it. He'll go over the little jumps, two-foot to two-foot-six. One woman will actually be going to her first show with Champ tomorrow! He is going to pilot her around little Hunter class. I just tell him the course and he'll go in and do it for her.
Rick: I think there is one horse left that we haven't talk about.
Lucy Davies: That's Cedric. Actually, this is kind of sad. Cedric was owned by a lady at another barn who moved here where we turned Cedric out with Tallulah. We took Cedric to a horse show but didn't take Tallulah. When we got back from the horse show she was very mad about being separated from Tallulah and ended up with a broken leg. The owner couldn't afford the surgery, so she gave her to me on the condition that I would get the surgery done and if she didn't come back sound that I would take care of for the rest of her life. But she did come back sound. And now she does walk-trot lessons with three year olds up to beginning adults. She can even jump a little bit and you couldn't tell that she ever had a broken leg.
Rick: That's such a nice story. How many students do you have?
Lucy Davies: About 20 to 25. We're having a busy year. I'm trying to keep it at 14 to 15. I'm over right now.
Rick: A lot of work, but you do have several employees.
Lucy Davies: I have great help. We have a really great guy that does the stall's and turns in and out Tuesday through Sunday. I have two part time girls that are phenomenal and I love them. They are amazing. And then I just hired Alex, who's here. You met, and she's my new assistant, so she's been with me for one month and she's also wonderful. So I could not do this without them. And I have a really good business partner who is equally excellent as well and talks me off the ledge when I'm about to jump off of it.
Rick: That's great. How long have you had this farm?
Lucy Davies: We brought the farm in April of 2018.
Rick: Where were you before that?
Lucy Davies: I have another farm Salisbury, but it wasn't very big and I didn't really know what I was going to do because we were growing. Now I have a business partner, who suggested that we buy this farm. After a lot of cajoling over a number of lunches I finally agreed to do it, only if he could buy Yorkfield Stables, thinking the woman who owned the farm since 1971 would not sell it.
But she sold it. And now we're business partners.
Rick: You have both farms? What's going on there? You have horses there too?
Lucy Davies: No, we have the stalls and paddocks but my husband just mows the grass. Eventually we'll turn that one into a retirement farm.
Rick: How did you first get into horses?
Lucy Davies: When I was little, I begged for lessons. Finally, my dad took me. My mom was allergic to horses. And my dad would take me on the weekends. And then I begged for a lease. And then I begged to go to horse shows. I had to ride my bike to the farm and back home every day. I rode my horse and went to shows and kept doing that until I went off to school to do something completely different.
At university I didn't ride much. After getting married we moved here and I had no friends. So I thought, well, I'll go ride and make friends. Two birds, one stone. The lady who owned the farm asked me if I wanted to work for her? And I was like, sure! And I just started working and one thing led to another and I became her assistant. That was great until she moved to Alabama. So then I just went on my own. Now I have this craziness that I love, ninety seven point seven percent of the time.
Rick: Where did you grow up?
Lucy Davies: Well, I grew up in a little town called Kingsmen, England. Before we moved here we lived in Germany then central London.
Rick: We are so glade you did end up here and so impressed with this wonderful farm you're building. I want to thank you very much for giving me your time today. I will say that we had a wonderful time at your farm and meeting your crew. All of your staff were were wonderful to help out with the sessions. And those five wonderful horses! I’m excited about Freddie’s last images outside with the late afternoon sun behind him.
Lucy Davies: It's a very endearing photograph. And we worked so hard to get it. I'm so happy with that one.
Rick: Yes. He looked stunning. So we're looking forward to having you come down and seeing our gallery and viewing the pictures.
Lucy Davies: Yes. I'm excited. It'll be when we get back from the horse show. But I'm excited.
Rick: Please let us know as soon as you're back. And stay safe and do well at the show.
Lucy Davies: All right. Sounds good. Have a nice night.
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.