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When a picture speaks a thousand words (Part 1)

Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo. © Roger Fitzhardinge

The extended canter.

© Roger Fitzhardinge


Roger Fitzhardinge has been an equestrian photographer for over 30 years. He has been an A level national dressage judge for over 30 years and has judged all levels to Grand Prix in all states of Australia and also overseas. He was a dressage judge educator and was many years convener of the NSW Judges Subcommittee and a past member of the ADC. He has trained and ridden dressage horses from off the track thoroughbreds and warmbloods, to FEI competitive squad members and has competed successfully at Grand Prix.

Roger is a full-time coach and has many successful students competing at all levels, giving clinics every week around Australia (although not at the moment thanks to the corona virus pandemic!). Roger has attended several Olympics and WEG as a photographer and journalist, as well as many international European shows capturing images of so many amazing horses –  and as you will know he is the voice for EQL when it comes to live streaming!

What he is passionate about more than anything is photographing and writing articles about training and schooling horses, and with his physiotherapy background and keen and interested eye for balance and correct muscling, we have decided to get him to start posting photos of dressage moments that create interest and comments.

We asked Roger about what can you learn from looking at a photo…

“I look at thousands of photos almost daily and I love to see the training problems and balance problems that the still photos show so well. When I teach, I often take my camera and shoot during the lesson. I then look at the digital image right away. The camera doesn’t lie… but as a keen instructor I sometimes want to see the good when in fact it’s not really so good. My camera tells me the truth about shape, muscle development and so much about balance and riders balance and position it’s amazing. I love looking at photos and analyzing, and would so love everyone to do the same and discuss what they see as good and not so good. No one is right and wrong.

We all have things we like to see but I would simply love to see people take the chance to look and learn and appreciate what is good and not so good. This will be an interesting exercise and I so look forward to enjoying looking at fabulous photos and analyzing training through the photos with everyone… I love seeing what others see and can’t wait. We will all continue to learn about balance and training and energetic happy horses!”

Image one: The extended canter

“What would be your comment and mark for the quality of this extended canter? What could make the mark better?”

“Of course the first thing everyone wants to know WHO is it! It makes no difference whatsoever and you simply need to look at the photo and go from there. Do not be afraid to comment; there is no right and wrong. It’s all in the eye that we all need to develop and remember, always look at the whole picture. Not minute detail!” 

Head over to Equestrian Life's Facebook page to have your say and keep an eye out for further discussions!






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