Tag Archives: horses

Nevada….Old Friends, New Friends

Beautiful, Friesian Stallion Xander

I just recently returned home from a fabulous trip to Reno, Nevada. I had planned a trip in October to photograph the beautiful Equine Breeds of Poland but due to other committments beyond my control had to cancel. Then Tamara Gooch posted her new trip “The Horses That Dreams Are Made Of” and it fit into my schedule perfectly so I couldn’t say no. I called an old friend of mine in California who needed a retreat to see if she would like to come with and she excitedly accepted. I knew it would be a wonderful trip when Dene decided to join me as I hadn’t seen her since Photoshop World in Vegas two years ago.

We decided to come in a couple days early to head over to Lake Tahoe to do some hiking and landscape photography. I had seen gorgeous images of Eagle Falls and wanted to be sure we stopped to visit.  However, due to the severe drought that the west has been in AND October being the driest month there was not but a trickle going over the falls. We did get to see bears (my second favorite thing to photograph) and enjoyed ourselves hiking, eating and visiting Virginia City.

Feeding on small insects in downed trees.

Sunset over Lake Tahoe

Be sure to stop in to see Stinky and Bernadeen if you ever go! Like many cities and towns in the state, Virginia City was a mining boomtown; it appeared virtually overnight as a result of the Comstock Lode silver strike of 1859. At its peak, Virginia City had a population of over 15,000 residents and was called the richest city in America. It’s a wonderful old west town and a must see if you are in the area.

Bernadeen and her owner Stinky are a must see!

Then it was time to head back to Reno and meet up with the group and our leader, Tamara Gooch. It was going to be a wonderful 3 days of shooting models, Friesians and Andalusians and I could not wait to get started. Our first shoot was with Ashley Morgan Rhodes, Pablo Gonzales and their gorgeous horses. Ashley was a beautiful model and has such a wonderful connection with her horses….Xander, her Friesian Stallion and Thor, her Andalusian Stallion. The backdrop for our shoot was Washoe Lake with views of the Sierra Nevada, Carson and Virginia Mountain Ranges. The water levels were quite low but it made for gorgeous images with the dunes.

Dark Angel and Xander

Dream shoot at the lake!

The Horses that Dreams are made of!


The next day we headed toward South Lake Tahoe with Ashley and Pablo for a different background with fall color and more mountains. Then we finished the day at a local facility where we were able to get some liberty shots of both horses. Pablo delighted us with his Charro outfit on Thor.

Ashley and that beautiful RED Dress with Xander

What a beautiful connection they have!

Thor is trained to rear on command.

Thor and Pablo show off the Mexican Charro


Our final day was spent at Maddi’s Friesians with lots of babies, beautiful stallions and great hospitality.

Simply Gorgeous!

How awesome to ride these beautiful horses!

Running Free!

So cute, so curious!

It was a fabulous trip to be with my old friend and to meet new ones as well. I love photography not only from the creative aspect but for all the truly, phenomenal people I have met. Our band of sister photographers and fellow horse lovers will forever be connected….Tamara, Leah, Bree, Judy, Debby, Bobbie R., Bobbi M., Dannette, Nancy, Ashley and of course, Dene. Thank you all….you were a joy to spend my time with in Nevada!

Good friends


I’ve had some questions about how I created this image of Ashley and Thor, so stay tuned for my next blog post on how to!

Ashely and Thor with Overlay


Be sure to check out the 2014 Inner Reflections Engagement Calendar, it’s full of stunning images. I’m honored to have two showcased in the month of April. You can purchase the calendar here: http://bookstore.yogananda-srf.org/c27/Inner-Reflections-2015-Engagement-Calendar-p631.html or on Amazon.
I have so much to be grateful for, thank you for following me and I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!!!

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Iceland Equine Tour 2014

On The Tidal Flats

This year was my second trip to Iceland where we stayed at a horse farm in the south to photograph the stunning scenery and it’s famous inhabitants, the Icelandic Horse. Staying on the farm provides both a taste of traditional culture and the chance to experience the Icelandic way of life.

The Icelandic Horse has been pure bred in Iceland for 1000 years, no imports are allowed into the country. The horses endured strong winds, rain, snow, hurricanes, minimal feed, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes to survive. These hardships have created a hardy, intelligent, gaited and friendly horse that we have come to love.

Iceland experiences a rather mild climate for a country on such a northern latitude, yet weather patterns are known to be volatile, conditions changing frequently. During the summer months, Iceland never reaches full darkness, and in northern areas a Midnight Sun can be seen. Iceland’s stunning landscape provides areas of geothermal activity, mountains, waterfalls and glaciers.

In June there is an eruption of blues and purples and the landscape is alive with color. The Lupine plant was introduced to fight soil erosion. It is not native to Iceland but grows very well there, it’s highly toxic to horses but they must know this as they don’t seem to eat it.

We arrive during foaling and breeding season and the yellow flowers carpet the landscape. Of course when in Iceland don’t forget the sheep….these cute little guys were being bottle fed and thought perhaps I was bringing the milk wagon!

The foals are adorable….so curious and friendly! We can look out our window and see babies playing on the hillside. Each morning before breakfast we are in the fields right outside our door to spend time with these wonderful inquisitive little guys.

As if the iconic Icelandic scenery isn’t enough, the farm owners and staff go out of their way to make our stay memorable in every way. The hospitality, accommodations, the food and of course the horses will keep me coming back every year! Thanks to Mummi, Jóhanna and everyone at Skálakot for taking such wonderful care of us, you can visit the website for the farm here at skalakot.com. I almost forgot to mention that they offer horseback riding at the farm as well….the best way to see the landscape!

Our focus was the Icelandic Horse….it was after all an Equine Tour but there is so much more to see and do while in Iceland. The birding is fabulous, I so want to go back when I can dedicate more time to photographing the bird life in Iceland. In June you have almost 24 hours of daylight, the light is stunning so you never want to sleep. In the winter from September to March you will be on Aurora watch.

The weather is as diverse as the landscape…..waterfalls, glaciers, lava fields, lava cliffs, black sand beaches, hot springs and geothermal areas with bubbling mud. The terrain will include rocky lava fields, jeep tracks, single track trails, dust roads, grass fields, soft sand, wet sand, rolling hills, hard lava cliffs as well as some river crossings. Prepare for everything if you go, I promise Iceland will not disappoint you.


Big thanks to Mike Porter, Joan Davis and Heather Swan for joining me this year. If you’d like to see more of their work please visit and flatlandsfoto.com and libertyshots.com. For more info on my 2015 tour to Iceland please send me a message! More images from Iceland are on my website at phyllisburchettphoto.net/iceland.

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