Celebrating the Round: AIG $1 Million Grand Prix

BY BLOG EDITOR LAUREN MAULDIN

I’ve taken a lot of pictures at horse shows. While it’s really exciting to nail the shot of a hunter cracking its back over the high option in the International Derby, my favorite images to capture are the ones after a round.

When the horse is coming out of the ring with a forward, swinging walk. His ears are pricked, expression sharp. Grinning, his rider swings her hand to thump his neck with an enthusiastic pat or reaches forward to scratch his favorite itchy spot. It’s a celebration of the sport and the animal, and it’s my favorite part.

Last weekend, I was fortunate to attend the AIG $1 million Grand Prix at HITS Coachella. Settled at my spot near the in-gate, I watched the riders coming out for that little moment of magic and pony appreciation.

Richard Spooner
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Mandy Porter
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Natasha Traurig
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Charlie Jayne
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Samara Heinrichs
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Jenni McAllister
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Chenoa McElvain
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Keri Potter
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Nayel Nassar
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Nayel Nassar
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Nayel Nassar
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Gareth Graves
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Richard Spooner
Photo © Lauren Mauldin
Erynn Ballard
Photo © Lauren Mauldin

These pictures put a smile on my face, and they remind me that there’s one thing I can always do like the Grand Prix riders… pat my horse after a solid effort. May you take some of these techniques from the top riders of our sport, and execute them in your own program… no matter how tall the fences may be!