2009 was a difficult year for our nation, and for me on a personal level. Though it had it’s high moments, it was also filled with very low points. I lost my mother-in-law after a very hard year for her, filled with medical emergencies and operations, the last of which was Pancreatic Cancer, she lost her battle on December 23rd. She was a brave and stubborn woman who refused to give up. I hope I grow up to be just like her.
I also lost a mentor and friend, Susan Sexton. Susan was the first “horse photographer” I met, as well as a dear friend. She had a long battle with leukemia, and left this world on 11/11 at 11 p.m. I know she is photographing beautiful horses and smiling. She left a hole in many of our hearts, as she was a special lady, brave, adventurous, energetic and kind. So many young photographers have gained so much from her generous sharing of her knowledge. I know I learned a lot from her when I started shooting horse shows, just by studying her photographs in magazines. I learned what moment to capture, what lenses to use from those photographs. I was already a photographer but horses were new subjects for me. She helped me a lot without ever knowing I existed.
I moved to Virginia in the 90’s and to my good fortune so did Susan. I was able to attend a couple of her workshops, and thought I had gone to heaven. She urged us to get out of boxes and comfort zones. With her encouragement, my equine photography skills grew. Years later we reconnected through the Vision 18 Collective, which we were both members of. I was able to enjoy a few more adventures with her, photographing the animals we both loved at workshops and two of the World Cups in Las Vegas. The last of which was in April 2009. I am so grateful we got to spend that time together. It will remain a cherished memory.
As the New Year begins, I welcome it with open arms. It’s time for new beginnings and great new adventures. So come on in 2010, let the party begin!