The Foal Project
To Benefit Equine Assisted Therapeutic Riding Centers
Message from Lisa Miller…
I became interested in documenting foal births in 2010 after a friend of mine mentioned she had two pregnant Thoroughbreds. I thought it would be fun to document a foal birth through photography, and even though the idea of hanging out in a cold barn in the middle of winter didn’t thrill me, the idea of being present during these births did.
I knew very little about horses and even less about birthing a horse, but for some reason I was really excited about documenting this. So when the time came for the first birth I was there and I did exactly what I’d set out to do, photograph the birth of a foal from the moment the water breaks until the foal starts to nurse. It was an amazing site to behold! Even more amazing was that the next day, as I sorted through the hundreds of images, I found two or three incredible shots of the moment when the mare and the foal first connected. It was electric how the images jumped off the screen and hit me like a lightning bolt between the eyes! I knew I had to do something with these images…but what?
A few weeks later it was time for the second mare to give birth. Once again I managed to be there to document the event. The highlight of that evening: when I had to put my camera down and give a pull on a very large baby that had trouble getting out. I can’t tell you how it felt to facilitate the birth of that foal in the photo above. Her name is I’m A Bird, and she’s a beauty! Once again, the next day I was sorting through hundreds of images and sure enough, two or three images jumped out at me. They were of the same thing: that amazing moment when the mare and the foal first connect. Wow. I was stunned! These photos were breathtaking! And so The Foal Project was born. I didn’t know for whom, or for what, I just had a name and knew The Foal Project was going to help someone! I also knew I wanted to do a gallery show and maybe a book, but one question remained: Who would benefit?
As the summer progressed and my photography studio’s wedding season moved into full swing, The Foal Project lingered in the back of my mind. Foaling season for Thoroughbreds was over, but I could not stop thinking about documenting more births. I knew if I could just get the work done, the purpose for it would follow.
I met some great people over the summer who put me in touch with other great people and I started to line up locations to photograph births during the 2011 foaling season. When I asked these same people who could benefit from the money I could raise by completing this project, I learned about Therapeutic Riding Centers.
Therapeutic Riding Centers help children with autism and other challenges, as well as veterans with issues like post- traumatic stress disorder, through horse-related activities and therapies. I’ve always been an advocate for children, but I also wanted to do something in honor of my parents, both of whom are veterans (USAF). Doing something to support Therapeutic Riding Centers seemed to be the perfect fit!
So that’s how The Foal Project was born, and this is where I stand.
It’s now mid-March 2011 and the foaling season is underway. I’ve photographed several births so far, and I hope to make it to as many as possible over the next few months.
From there, I will choose one or two images from each birth showing that beautiful, energized connection between the mare and foal. I’m hoping to have a gallery show ready by mid-summer and it’s my intention to display and sell these images to raise money for Equine Assisted Therapeutic Riding Centers. Prints will be available for purchase at the shows as well as on-line, and a photo documentary of the images in a book form will also be created. I can see this show being used for other special events, and I really hope it will grow from there!
• know of an Equine Assisted Therapeutic Riding Center that would benefit from this project,
• would be interested in having me photograph any foal births,
• know of a person or business that would like to help sponsor The Foal Project, or
• simply would like more information,
please send me by email at: studiodiluce @ gmail . com (remove spaces)
Donations for The Foal Project are welcome! Any help toward paying for gas, tolls, image printing and other related expenses will be greatly appreciated!
UPDATE: First showing of the Foal Project will be held at the ROOT FARM, rootfarm.org, a local Equine Assisted Therapeutic Riding Center in Vernon, N.Y. at their open house on May 7th. More dates to follow!
Please check out Lisa’s website at Lisa Miller, Photographer studiodiluce.com