A lot of planning and coordination is required to pull off the SmartPak catalog! This time, the photo shoot was held at beautiful Whitney Ridge Stables, LLC (WRS) in Higganum, CT. The crew, consisting of SmartPakers Becki, Melissa, Lissa, Maria, Carrie, Kristi, Kristina, and myself met bright and early on a sunny Tuesday morning to begin the busy two-day photo shoot.
We all felt lucky to be there! Not only is the farm itself lovely and picturesque with a variety of beautiful horses to model for us, but only a week before the shoot, we were unsure if it would be able to take place due to the impact of the tornados in OKC. A trailer of horses we intended to use as models had been attending a show in OKC when a powerful tornado touched down. The show was cancelled due to the damage caused by the storm and the horses hit the road for another show. We were first and foremost thankful that all of our equine models, the other horses at the show, and all of the exhibitors were safe, but we also knew the change of plans could mean the cancellation of the photo shoot. Not only were we lucky enough that everyone made it home safely, we were able to experience the generosity and hospitality of working at WRS! We can’t thank them enough for hosting our photo shoot at their facility!
The weather, which was also a concern in Connecticut due to thunderstorms, held out for the shoot as well so we could shoot under blue skies. Shooting winter and fall imagery in the middle of summer is challenging, but our equine and human models were terrific (and we have a talented in-house creative team!). We also have some tricks up our sleeve, like fake snow (a little dry powder and water and *poof!*, we have snow).
Our first day on the shoot was focused on our horse models. Simon, a handsome chestnut gelding with a big white blaze; Armani, a seal brown gelding; Stevie, a dark bay with an expressive face; and Cody, a gorgeous 3-year-old, dapple-gray gelding, all modeled for us flawlessly. They patiently dealt with us as we shifted their feet and made a variety of noises (everything from a cow’s moo to clucking and crumpling candy wrappers) to get them to prick their ears. They skillfully modeled their way through blankets, sheets, halters, fleeces, and much more! The horses looked particularly amazing in the new Rockin’ SP blankets and sheets (coming soon)!
Our second day again began bright and early with some newcomers joining us, including our lovely human models, Erin and Alexa, along with a stylist and a make-up artist. Although not riders themselves, the models were excited to slip into character with the Cruel Girl and Wrangler jeans and tops, new jackets, Justin boots, blingy Nocona belts, spurs, and many more exciting new products! The models also enjoyed interacting and making friends with their horse co-workers, which made for some memorable photos. One of the most exciting parts of the shoot was being able to set up and photo our new competitive trail equipment! It was fabulous seeing the equipment in use.
Overall, we wrapped up another very successful photo shoot with a lot of great laughs, memories, and photos. The team worked together flawlessly, everyone fulfilling their role in helping to make it such a success. We hope everyone enjoys the new photos in our western catalog mailing this September!
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A Bit About Whitney Ridge Stables, LLC:
Owner and trainer Whitney Lagace founded Whitney Ridge LLC in 1999. With years of experience in the equine industry, Whitney has multiple AQHA World Championship titles to her name. The primary focus of WRS is the training and showing of American Quarter Horses. Whitney and her husband Mike operate their farm, built in 2008, out of Higganum, CT. Diane Planken is the Barn Manager. Services available at WRS include boarding, training, sales, and riding lessons for riders of any age and experience level. Check out their website as well as their Facebook page.