Behind the Scenes with Manuela Stefan at Morne Chouval, St. Lucia.
(Photo Credit: Melanie Schufaisl & her phone :) )
SO yesterday we had Toronto Photographer Manuela Stefan visit the stables to visualise her photo ops for her upcoming Ocean Horse Magic Retreat from the 21st-28th January 2018. Manuela was bang on time and Josh met her at the gate of the beautiful Morne Coubaril Estate that the Morne Chouval stables are located on. She was accompanied by her friend Melanie Schufaisl and new acquaintance Eric Daniel (one of St. Lucia's resisted Jockeys). They got a personal historical tour of the grounds before arriving at the stables where they met the Morne Chouval team battling with mud (Soufriere rains ALL THE TIME!)
After the hugs and "Hi's" we all went down the aisle way to introduce all the horses. Lots of nuzzles were kissed along the way and it was so relaxing falling into conversation with horsey people. Just when all the horses looked as though they'd fall asleep Lily our daughter showed up looking very interested in the camera so we figured it was time to actually take pictures! Wakey Wakey guys.
Lily got in on some of the camera action and learnt some professional tips on scene. Note the choice of footwear and apparel for the day. I was told that the boots were of course a must at the stables, the tights so that her legs wouldn't get scratched if she had to go into the bush for secretive shots and the shorts for all important pockets. Cute.
First up was Red our local "Half Breed" Lucian trail horse and the plan was for him to be a good boy and graze around while Manuela got some shots of him with the coconut trees behind. But....Red had other plans and rolled before we even got a chance to say "good boy!"
Then out came Natural Jr. a.k.a "Fire" who also immediately rolled and ran around but he looked so good doing it that we just went with the flow. Our Stables Supervisor Janica Lamontagne managed to sneak an awesome shot of him which you can check out on our Instagram account here.
Now before any other horses decided to roll and cover their shiny coats in grass stains and mud we decided to take a group photo with a couple of the horses. When you have 16 horses and four staff then you know not everyone is going to make the picture, (we only do trail rides not Liberty horse shows....at least not yet). So our first criteria was that it was not going to be a breeding opportunity for our stallions and mares and secondly to showcase our local St. Lucia equines only (sorry Pepper and Louis). SO who made the cut?
In order from left to right: Red, Liam (hiding), Costo, Ethan, Kent, Natural, Josh, Lucky, Keri (me), Patches, Janica, Atalanta, Miguel and Temperance.
"Can I see some of the horses being themselves" Manuela asked.
"Sure no problem we can put about 6 of them in the pasture." I said.
"I'd also like to get them running towards me." she continued
"..... hmm ok no problem" I replied and then screamed down the aisle way
"JOSH you are on bodyguard duty!"
So we set up ourselves to "corral" the horses into the pasture for an awesome shot of them galloping towards Manuela without actually running her over (wouldn't be good for publicity reasons of course). I found myself by one of the gateways with my boots sinking into 6 inches of mud and for a brief second thought about how irresponsible that was. But I didn't have too much time to think about it as out came 10 horses thundering past and I peeped through the ginger lilies to see Manuela snapping away and thankfully safe. (Good job Josh).
The 10 horses had a blast galloping around in all the mud....wait didn't I say only 6 horses in the pasture? Someone is not good at math here....
Well it quickly turned into a scene from Jouvert or the Mud bath at the Sulpher Springs but it was very entertaining to watch....
"who's on bath duty tomorrow?" I asked with a chuckle
"the ocean" replied Miguel. (lol...good one)
Thankfully Melanie was there to snap some of these photos behind the scenes with her phone as we were all too busy horsing around and trying to not look too sweaty, If not this blog would have just been words and I'd of been kicking myself. Keep posted as I will upload photos on the website, Facebook page and Instagram and trust me they are going to be EPIC! You can also check out Manuela's page Graceful Horses, she does some amazing work and sells on Etsy too.
Happy Riding until next time!