Portraits of Italian horse riders, shot during three-day event competitions in 2012.
For a long time I have been a rider myself, that's why I connected with the story. Nowadays, I still attend competitions as part of the audience, but I am still mesmerised by the elegance and out-of-time looks clashing with the physical strength of the girls - that's why I started to photograph them. A horse - or many horses - is more than just a pet: a horse is part of your life, of your family's life and a partner in crime. Girls and their horses brave huge jumps together, still making it look natural and effortless. In the stables, riders work tirelessly often from 5.30AM covered in mud, sweat and dirt - an environment far removed from the conventional and standardised ideas of what girls should enjoy doing - however they always emerge looking spotless and regal in their competition outfits. When photographing them I am reminded that there is no such thing as a standard idea of a woman and that being able to follow your instincts and dreams is the greatest path to empowerment and happiness - even when happiness is covered in mud.
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