This post is dedicated to a friend and fellow photographer, Lynne Fordham, whose dedication to getting the story through the lens often means stepping in harms way and risking lens and limb while being ambushed by “animals.”
The title of this post, Jasper the Nipper, is a horrible play on words but with good reason. Jasper, the horse depicted in this photo, is notorious for nipping just about anything that he feels like. In petting him, he has nipped at my fingers; In photographing him, he has nipped at my camera. I don’t think there is anything that he has not tried to put in his mouth. He is a rescued horse and has not really learned how to be comfortable among people hence the compulsion to nip. And, his little habit got out of hand when both Lynne and I visited the farm where he was kept.
I can only assume that the animals were cranky the day we visited. Upon entering the barn where the horses are kept, we were targeted by a rooster which insisted on attacking us regardless of where we stepped. Although we kept our distance from the bird, he absolutely refused to leave us alone and followed and attacked us throughout the entire visit. The attacks, unfortunately, seem to have been inflicted more on Lynne than myself as she is the more adventurous of the two of us.
When we finally got to see the horses, Lynne decided to enter the stalls where both Jasper and another horse, Jill, were being kept to get a closer photograph. She incidentally was using a wide angle lens which required her to be closer to get a more flattering capture. While she was taking photos of Jill, Jasper crept up behind her. I was a bit confused by his advance and had not quite figured what he was going to do next. With her back turned to Jasper, she was unaware and perhaps unconcerned, that the horse had crept up behind her, lowered his head and with the affirmation of her scream, nipped at her posterior. I was both startled and amused at the site as Lynne quickly covered her mouth with her hand, surprised and perhaps a little embarrassed at the experience, but underttered.
Even now as I write this post, thoughts still run through my mind – what was he thinking? It was bad enough that we had to suffer the attacks by the farm rooster but now the horse? But then, that is to be expected from Jasper as he has a habit at nipping at everything. Consequently, he has earned my unequivocal respect as a nipper, Jasper the Nipper.