Earlier this year, Rio and I had our turn in front of the lens (you can read about that here) – and in return I visited Gemma and Nixon out at Saxmundham to photograph them together. It was an ideal collaboration between us as photographers, because I’d never stopped to have photos taken with Rio, and found it to be an incredibly rewarding exercise. Sadly last week I received a message from Gemma to say that Nixon had passed away, and I was so relieved that we had arranged this shoot.

It was clear to me even in the limited time we spent at the yard taking these photos, that Nixon was an old soul with a lot of wisdom to impart. A slight cheeky glint in the eye, that told you he could bugger right off if he really wanted to, but he’d humour you and hang about anyway. He showed Rio up from the start, and posed like a pro (less arm pulling, more heart-string pulling) flashing those lovely ears forward trying to figure out what on earth I was up to.

He had a great sense of humour, and had me chuckling at the photos whilst editing as I found another one where he was sticking his tongue out. It may or may not have been in rebellion to him having a garland to match Gemma’s flowers! Despite us not being sure how he’d be taking him for a walk off the yard, he was an absolute superstar, and we even got to spend some time playing in the ford round the corner. When I’d arrived Gemma had shown me her war wounds, as she had tried to get on bareback the week beforehand to see if we would be able to get any shots on the day – Nixon wasn’t quite up for that, and poor Gemma had ended up on the floor via the corner of the mounting block!

I also captured one of my favourite images of 2017 with this pair, and you can just feel the quiet understanding they shared.

Sending you all of my love and healing wishes Gemma, Nixon couldn’t have asked for any more.