In Search Of Ponies 31st Jan 2019 / by martin bennie

It was one snowy day 3 years ago in 2016 that i first saw these ponies on the road from Braemar to Glenshee ski resort. As i searched out new locations to photograph, i could see them high in the hills, highlighted against the mountains that were covered in snow. The sky was dark and meanacing and the light was contrasty and foreboding and what i saw that day, was what keeps me interested in photography.

Fast forward 3 years and my 3rd visit to these ponies not long after it snowed in late January. I could see them further away from where their feeding station was, and with my camera and drone, i started treking up towards them, through the deep snow. This is no easy task in deep muddy snow covered fields, over fences and dry stone walls, while trying to stay upright, but up i went slowly, untill i caught sight of the horses just down below me. Of course by this time, they had already seen me and were standing staring. There was a new brown coloured pony, thats I’d never seen before and it looked young and they seemed very defensive of it. As I moved towards them with my camera, the stallion decided that my approach was not warranted and he suddenly started running towards me. It was pretty deep snow in front of me and his run was somewhat slowed, but he stopped not far from me and backed off. This was when the fruit becomes handy and I waited a little and approached them again. They are quiet inquisitive things and soon they all started to come over for a look. Its a little daunting to have these horses run towards you and I was a little nervous up here as they seemed more aggresive than the last time I visited and I put this down to this new young pony. After about 15 mins, they seemed to ignore me for while, then suddenly come running over to me again. The stallion was more of a concern as any time I seemed to go near the foal, he turned and started coming towards me. I spent about 45 mins wondering around taking photos from differant angles, trying to get them silhouetted against the mountains. At one point they drifted over towards me and one stood above me, in a “look at me, take my photo” pose as he stared off towards the opposite mountain. I decided to take my drone out and take some closer photos of them, but they didnt like that one bit. Perhaps they’d heard of my crashing skills and decided it was safer at the other side of the hills, as off they trotted away from me and the drone.

It is such a pleasure to be high in these hills, on a cold snowy calm windless day, with wild animals running around beside you and not another human in sight.