Category Archives: equine photography

Maremmani Horses

Last year we made a photo excursion down to the south of Tuscany, to photograph some very special horses. The Maremmani. The group of riders we photographed were passionate Tuscan riders, who kept alive the Butteri style of riding, and the love of the hardy and strong minded Tuscan cowhorse, the Maremmano (and one adorable rare Tolfetano mare).

Below are some of the photos. It was an amazing day, with really wonderful people, and the horses were something out of this world.

If you ever have the chance to ride one of these horses (there are many trekking centers in the south of Tuscany) and try the fantastic traditional tack, you should jump at the chance.

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Christiane Slawik Workshop Autumn 2014

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Last month we had our Autumn Christiane Slawik photo/riding workshop. It was again a really fun week, with a great mix of people from all over the world. The uniting factors being a love of horses and photography.  The weather started out fabulously, but we did have one terror storm midweek, causing us to change the liberty shoot in our top arena to a ‘wild west in Tuscany’ session out in the 25 hectare turnout field, using our semi wild retired horses and breeding stock.

Again we visited the Murgese farm in La Spezia to photograph these magnificent black horses in liberty. It was a highlight of the course, and the horses seemed to remember the drill from last year, and put on a fabulous show. A special feature of this course, is the excursion up to photograph Murgese horses (the only Italian baroque breed, and very rare in northern Italy.. even rarer outside of Italy). Our friends at Gottero ranch have an amazing selection of some of the best Murgese horses in the country, and an amazing location where we can photograph them.

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Marco and Hidlago made a great team in the riding/sunset shoot.

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The morning view from the stables after the storm the night before.

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On our lake shoot we expected a day of rain, instead the weather suprised us all. It was spectacular, sunny and warm – and our bbq in front of the stables was a great success. Here we all are post photo shoot enjoying the Castellare wine while Alessio and Jawad prepare the bbq.

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Liberty shots in the fondo chiuso with Franco and Marco. Our horses had a great time chasing around their buddies in the name of photography.

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Shakir showing off in the dust bowl shoot.

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Sunset shots above the vineyards with Antonio and Hidalgo.

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In the end, great people, great riding, and a whole lot of lovely photos at the end to remember it by.

If your keen to join us next year, we will be holding the course the same week (Septemeber 2015).

Get in touch if you are interested in joing us!

Christiane Slawik Workshop June 2014

Apologies for the long break in posts. I finally have a moment to put up some of the great photographs taken during the June Christiane Slawik workshop.

The whole week was a real experience. Highlights were for me, the visit down to the Val d’Chiana to photograph Maremmani horses, and the lake liberty shoot (with all the participants piled into the back of Francos pickup).

We have the next course in one month (6 September) and we still have three spots left. If you are interested, get in touch and we will book you in!

Below some comments from the last participants:

To say it the italian way: Bravo! Fantastico! Wonderful shootings, unforgetable trails and a wonderful team! Now I know what’s dolce vita! Grazie!! K.H.

i’ve had a wonderful week, with beautiful horses and an amazing scenery. The shoots were informative and Christiane takes time to explain the things you don’t understand. Thank you! R.S

We traveled from New Zealand to experience this workshop.  It was an amazing week filled with beautiful horses, lovely people and the amazing Christiane.  She was full of talent, energy and enthusiasm which inspired us all.   Many thanks, we hope to see Christiane in New Zealand soon!! ES

Diese Reise war eine sehr gute Entscheidung. Die richtige Mischung aus lehrreichem Workshop, Entpannung und vor allem extrem viel Spaß. Christiane Slawik muss man einfach in Aktion erleben. Die Leidenschaft die sie für die Pferde und ihre Arbeit hat überträgt sich sofort auf die Kursteilnehmer. Die Ausritte mit Jessica und die Reining Stunde bei Franco waren einfach super.
Die wunderschöne Landschaft der Toscana und das gute Essen runden das Bild ab.
Vielen Dank dass ich dabei sein konnte! C.B.

Die Tage mit Christiane Slawik und den anderen Workshopteilnehmern waren spannend und sehr lehrreich.  Eine tolle Erfahrung – selten hat man Gelegenheit so viele nette Menschen kennenzulernen und so beeindruckend schöne Pferde zu fotografieren. DANKE!  M.F

Um es auf Italienisch zu sagen: „Bravo!!! Fantastico!!!  Einzigartige Fotoshootings, unvergessliche Ausritte durch die toskanischen Weinberge und ein wundervolles Team. So funktioniert also das „dolce vita“! Grazie!! K.H.

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Opening week

It seems that our winter closure has gone on forever.

Castellare closed last year in November, and we are finally reopening to the public on Friday.

The whole resort is a hub of excitement, with the team of builders hurrying to finish up the restaurant, apartments, and Spa renovations.

The farrier was here this morning to shoe the horses required this month. We have our first riders arriving on Saturday, and we are busy all month with back to back riding programs.

Last week Alessio and Lhoussain spent days working on the estate trails, fixing the washed out bridges, filling in holes in the trail, and clearing fallen trees.

I took Brownie out on Friday to Castelfalfi, and we also found a few hairy spots down in the Carfolo park. Brownie started the ride much like any young horse that hasnt done much all winter..a little insecure and wanting to play.. but after three hours of hard work, he was back to his usual relaxed and calm self.

This year we have the additions of Scout and Boy (yes, they belonged to a married couple.. hence the names). Both horses were exported from a well known Argentinian stud to Italy a few years ago, and are wonderful, surefooted horses for trail riding.

Unfortunately the last few days have not been great weather wise – though Friday is set to clear, and next week should be lovely and sunny for our guests.

Below is a great little article that came out recently in a new equine mag in the Uk. ‘Nagmag’

 

March In the Saddle (1)

Sunny days at Castellare di Tonda

IMAG0282After a fairly wet February, we were treated with spectacular weather this weekend, just in time for Carnevale.

The horses were all out and enjoying the sun too, enjoying respite from what has seemed to be one of the wettest months experienced in years. This year the warm, wet weather has left the countryside green and lush, and the first spring blossoms and daffodils are filling the hills with color.

Below Dali expresses what he thinks about being stuck inside a box the past three days – I didn’t notice his tongue until after the photo was taken 🙂

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Quarter Horse. Trail Extraordinaire

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The Quarter Horse was developed as an all-around work horse and for racing short distances.

This breed is the most popular in the U.S. and has the largest breed registry in the world.  This breed today can be used for pleasure riding, ranch work, racing, and as even dressage and jumping. One of their top uses, however, is trail riding.

Quarter Horses make excellent trail mounts for several reasons.

 

Their calm, easy going temperaments are legendary.

Our beautiful chocolate stallion Footwork, could be trusted with an elderly rider, or a child.

Quarter horses are often selected as a first horse for  novice adults.

These horses are powerfully built, with dense hind quarters that enable them to climb steep inclines with ease, which makes them ideal for the terrain around Castellare di Tonda, which is mountainous and challenging.

These horses have tough hooves and they are resilient enough to withstand the rocky medieval roads and other hard surfaces we come across  out on the trail.

Probably the most endearing quality of the Quarter Horse is its sweet disposition, and in fact in our entire stable of over 50 horses, we don’t have any bad natured horses. A testimony to the owners choice in breeds (Quarter, Paint, Criollo and Fjords).

 

Changable Seasons of Tuscany

Yesterday 5 new clients arrived for a riding holiday here at Castellare. One arrived around 7 hours late due to her flight being diverted to Bologna, and the four who did manage to land spent the day thinking that maybe they had arrived at the wrong destination; wasnt Tuscany meant to be warm and scenic? Were they in Italy, or the moors of Scotland?

Cyclone Penelope hit the Tuscan coast early Saturday morning. The storm that hit Montaione around 4am was one of the most intense I personally have ever witnessed in Italy. Lightning lit up the sky for over an hour, and the noise from the thunder was deafening. The storm was also accompanied by a fierce wind that tossed about rubbish bins, blew down trees, and banged about the wooden window shutters. After an intense hour of storms it settled down to heavy rain, and that rain carried on for most of yesterday.

The forecast looked grim for the early part of the week, but as I write this post the sun is shining, and the sky outside is a vibrant blue. The sad faces of resident tourists last night (who had just arrived from Germany, North Italy and the Uk) have now been replaced by jovial happy expressions. Tuscany is never predictable, and always changeable. If this weather carried on, we will have some faboulous riding this week!

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