Stable photo shoot captures horses’ bold transformation

Written by by Priscilla Coleman In 1997, photographer Darlene McCrea had a lot of fun with this Irish stable by the side of the road. The simple structure looked like a giant fishtail and…

Stable photo shoot captures horses' bold transformation

Written by by Priscilla Coleman

In 1997, photographer Darlene McCrea had a lot of fun with this Irish stable by the side of the road.

The simple structure looked like a giant fishtail and was built by horse trainer Kenny Taylor as a way of getting the horses into a state of nonchalance. Only McCrea wanted to see if the camera would snap, and the resulting shot shows the precarious lift of the hooves next to the see-through wooden post.

The sign post consists of a metal beam bound with construction tape, in support of the wall of the stable. The stable’s roof is made of heavy iron sheeting, which is supported on wooden beams rising from the foundations and rails.

Tyler Bridges at CNN

The sharp-edged stretch of green road in Co. Kerry, Ireland, on which the stable sits, regularly witnesses severe weather conditions. It isn’t surprising then that McCrea was one of many who would often encounter the signpost that leads to the stable every morning. It looked just like a potential obstacle to many drivers as they traveled along the rutted road.

Growing up in the town of Ballybane, which is also known as Bally-lauren, McCrea grew up in awe of the horses and nearby farming community. A devoted horse enthusiast, she frequented the stables that lined the road in her spare time to ride with the local folk.

“I would just love to know the history of that signpost and how Kenny made that out of construction tape so we could get a proper photograph,” McCrea told CNN Travel.

“But more than all that, for me as a photographer, that piece of the village was a stand-out shot as a kinetic moment. I think of it as a bumble bee — it just hangs in the air.”

The modern spin on the rig

Caring for huge horses and building their stable is a huge undertaking for trainers and is often a stressful process. This distinction of caring for animals as more than just tools is what makes inking out plans to become a stable owner so important.

But it’s this thoughtful relationship McCrea and other stable owners maintain with the animals that makes their jobs so rewarding.

For McCrea, things started to shift for the stable once she’d begun to own her own barn, built on what was once a copse of apple trees, to keep her horses at her home.

“I used to think of the stable as a bachelor pad, but then I realized that we were a family of horses,” McCrea explained. “We have children. We put food in the pantry to make sure they could have their dinners. There’s so much to do around here. But my family is the stable — we take care of them and they are our babies.”

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