Earlier this month, I met up with Cordelia, Charleigh, and their horses for an equine photography portrait session. This mother-daughter duo share a passion for horses and invited me to photograph Mr. Big and Chip at Freestyling Farms. Cordelia’s horse, Mr. Big, is a 13-year old Selle Francais, who competes in jumper competitions. Charleigh’s horse, Chip, is a 15 year old Welsh pony. Charleigh competes in walk, trot and crossrails with Chip and will be moving into canter crossrails this winter. And one more furry friend joined us in the session…Pumpkin, the family’s rescue dog from The Kern Project! Horses and dogs…totally my kind of photoshoot!
A little background on Cordelia… she’s the owner of Charleigh’s Cookies! Started in 2012, Charleigh’s Cookies makes USDA Certified Organic horse cookies. (Dog treats coming in 2018!) The horse treats are fresh, organic, with no sugars or preservatives, and the flavors are the natural tastes horses like. I asked Cordelia about launching the cookie company and here’s what she shared:
“Charleigh’s Cookies evolved from my desire as a new mother to teach my daughter, Charleigh, about the power and joy of the horse/human connection – and my desire to provide nutritious, organic food prepared with ingredients from our own garden. When Charleigh was two years old, we started making wholesome, homespun horse treats for our horses. We poured, we scooped, we mixed together – and Charleigh’s Cookies was born. This healthful snack is our way to say thank you to these majestic creatures for allowing us to realize our own inner beauty and greatness.”
What I love about Cordelia is her belief in the horse/human connection, the power and joy of horses to transform humans. This horse/human connection is exactly what I explore through my equine photography so I’m always interested in hearing other people share their experience with horses. Cordelia shared:
“I have relied on horses to get me through the most difficult and transformative events in my life and have found safety and reflection in their unabashed honesty. Their gifts to me have been love, patience and guidance. The bonds I have shared with them have taught me the most valued life lessons: give more than take, trust the process and say “thank you.” These profound and enduring relationships have been built through communication and compassion and have come from much hard work and dedication.”
I couldn’t agree more.
As for Charleigh, she’s busy at work in the kitchen too when she’s not at school. She is actively involved in sales and learning all the important business concepts of being an enterprising entrepreneur. At a young age, Charleigh is learning that it isn’t just about selling cookies… it’s about building lasting relationships and being a resource for the equine community.
Thank you Cordelia and Charleigh for sharing your story with me. To Mr. Big and Chip, thank you for inspiring us all.