From the Editor: Working with icons.
IN THIS JOB, I MEET A LOT OF HORSEWORLD heroes. Even after 15 years in the business, I’m not yet hardened to this privilege of my job. And every once in a while, I get extra giddy about working with an icon.
In this case: Bob Avila. Now, I’ve met Bob and his wife, Dana; but I hadn’t worked with them on a large project, nor been to their place in California. Producing our annual photo shoot with him this summer put me straight on the path to Bucket List-Ville.
‘Geeked-Out Horse Girl’
When I wrote about the upcoming shoot on the On Staff at Horse&Rider blog (June 4, 2015; HorseandRider.com), excited (and envious) comments from friends started rolling in. One said, “Thank you for geeking out! It mirrors your readers’ feelings and harkens back to the innocent days of having a love for performance horses and those who inspired us as kids.”
Wow! My friends’ comments made me feel a duty to share my experience with them and H&R’s readers.
An Insider’s View
I posted many photos from the 14-hour shoot on our Instagram account (HorseandRiderMag, if you don’t already follow us). But those images can’t adequately illustrate what it was like. Here are a few key observations.
They walk the talk. Bob and Dana demonstrate every piece of advice Bob has ever shared in his Winning Insights department. No shortcuts. No excuses.
Function trumps fashion. No chandeliers or exotic pets in Bob’s barn. The barn, arena, round pen, and the rest of the property are immaculately maintained, and every feature serves a legitimate need.
Horse health is the No. 1 priority. Early in the shoot, Bob noticed one of his horses in distress—possibly colicking, maybe just a little “off.” Fortunately, our photographer, Marc Laxineta, is also an equine vet. We stopped everything so Bob and Marc could tend to the horse. Ultimately, the horse was fine, but it highlighted the commitment Bob has to his equines.
Even Bob Avila has a soft spot. Watching Bob groom Eddie, the mini donkey, and “Preacher,” both featured in this month’s Winning Insights (beginning on page 34), showed how much affection he has for his horses. Yes, they do a job, but they’re his partners and he respects them.
Have you met a horse-world hero? Who was it, and what were your impressions? We’d love to read about them and share some stories in the magazine. Send them to the email address below.