Am Vicky Mansfield BPE1* CPABG LNPS an award-winning equestrian photographer based in Dukinfield Cheshire.
I started off my photography journey capturing portraits and weddings horses had not even occurred to me to photograph unless I was passing a field and they were there at the time.
I had never studied photography at college or anything like that I am fully self-taught as when I left school my grades where shall I say was ok only failed one and it was French which wasn’t a problem as my English was more important to me to get right.
I left school and went straight into working and ended up within the security industry most of it was spend working a CCTV control room working alongside GM Police as well as other enforcement agencies and I spent many years working shifts and also dropping in photography work in between where I could which was great I was doing what I loved and life was fabulous.
18th September 2012 was a day I will never forget when I was in work and 2 police officers I knew was killed which effected slot of people who wasn’t even within the circle of enforcement and it changed me I ended up with PTSD several months after it in to early 2013 I just kept it all to myself which I know now wasn’t a good thing to do.
January 2014 was hit with another blow my dad was told he had months to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer which was very hard to deal with. As a family we looked after him till his final breath in November. Further to this we also had 3 other members of the family also pass away within a short period of time afterwards so yes it was a very tough time and my photography was left for a while it had completely lost of mojo and drive.
Then my friends Judith Hall, Rebecca Kellett & Lucy Barber Hunt who are horse riders asked me to attend a local show at Oldham & District Riding Cub with them they said “come along take some pics horse riders love photographs” so I went and did that I snapped away at all the riders with my camera and then popped the images online and guess what they loved them, I was getting comments after comments a lot asking for me to do more show coverage and also 1 to 1 commissions.
That was it my photography mind was starting to buzz again, and the old portrait and wedding photographer was now changing direction who knew it I was getting hooked.
About less than a year down the line I got to know High Peak Riding Club who asked me to cover a couple of their dressage events as their other photographer wasn’t available so I attended they just loved how I worked and that I didn’t get in anyone way and captured fabulous images then they booked me for more and more events.
I was still finding that I was filling memory cards for fun to making sure I captured the horse in the right position at the right time basically I was still finding my feet in the equine world.
I found that the more I went to clients and shows the more I was starting to listen more to what the instructors were teaching and started to use this information in to how I captured movement in the horses and I could see my work and how many shots I was taking getting less and less and more in the correct position at the right time I tell riders that I don’t watch what they are doing with their faces when they ask many have their tongues out, other mouth open catching them passing flies I have seen many funny facing pulling when I come to editing images afterwards can be comical.
I became High Peak Riding Club’s official photographer and am so glad they took me under their wings why because I have become a strong and happier person again working with and being around the riders and their horses has helped a lot with mental health.
I thought I’d never do this but I am also learning to ride as well it has only took Emma Dowling about 4 or so years to get me to do it after many event coverages with Emma telling me “ We will get riding that horse one day” this was every school horse that came in the arena of course .. HAHA Till one day I caved in and messaged and said right let’s do it, but we are to keep it between us as I don’t want to look a wally in front of anyone.
I turned up at Hargate Hill Equestrian Centre waited for Emma to come and get me when I heard the clonking of horse shoots I thinking be an advantage size horse I’ll be fine till I walked around the corner to the lovely Paddy and the words “oh my god how the heck am I going to get on him from the ground” and come other choice of word but I got and had a lesson and loved it ever since.
Thanks to my lovely friends for having trust in me to ride their horses they knew who they are am smashing goals bit by bit and hoping to do more because having friends who have been there through good days and bad have been helped me massively would have never thought I’d ride a horse on the beach and into the sea Cheshire Cat smile came to mind on Stewie belonging to Lyndsey Brumby and also having a lesson on Thor a beautiful Suffolk Punch belonging to Louise Brown at Somerfield Park.
I have also worked with many other riding clubs over the years Glossop District Pony Club, Side Saddle Association Area 18 and Hargate Hill Equestrian Centres where I am their resident photographer, I cover their events and to be honest am never way from the place am kind of part of the furniture... haha and most recently I have been working with Unity Brook Stables.
Recently I approached a fab friend Gloria Bevan who I have been watching ride for a long time now with her horse Vinnie AKA Da Vinci III and could see how much they were achieving together weather they would be interested in being sponsored by me and of course was not declined. I’ve seen their good days and I’ve seen their bad days but when they go out there and smash it weather it is a club Dressage test to British Show jumping event am glad to be that person their capturing them moments for them and I think am becoming part groom while we are out I do have my uses you know it’s not all about hiding behind that camera you have to get your hand dirty and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My equestrian work has gained me various awards like British Photographic Exhibition Crown 1* award, Licentiate with National Photographic Society and CPAGB with the Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union and also become a judge for them working with various photographic clubs.
For anyone who hasn’t seen my work yet there is a lot to look at I have private commission work, lots of event coverage galleries and also most recently specially with lockdown I have been doing digital art works as well. The website site has open galleries to view to see for yourself why my clients return for more photographs.