Chance lighting, an unexpected angle, and perfect timing are all characteristics of some of the most stunning photography-characteristics that when also applied to equine imagery can be nothing short of captivating. When you view the work of Justina Reinhart, you’re met with all of the above but there’s something more that manifests in her photographs than just technical mastery. Reverence and a passion to honor the beauty of our beloved four-legged partners is inherent in every portrait and snapshot.
Her inspiration for the creating the breath-taking work that we see today-Breyer Horses. “I remember being so fascinated by the realistic model scenes depicted in the photographs of the catalog. When I received my first camera, I spent many evenings in my backyard creating my own scenes and stop motion videos,” Justina says. “In grade school and high school I loved drawing, film, and drama. I was always most excited when assignments could be completed in a creative form. I started playing around with equine portraiture when I received my first DSLR in the tenth grade. I loved it, but I thought of it as more of a hobby than a career path.”
But what most often happens when a creative bug bites, it’s hard to let that pursuit go. “I studied history at the University of Guelph before realizing that art school was where my calling lay. I applied to Sheridan College for a Bachelor of Photography and began that program last September. Transferring to Sheridan was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
With her transfer to Sheridan College, Justina now calls Oakville, Ontario her home during her time at school where she not only develops her skill behind the camera lens but also in the stirrups training with Heather MacInnis. With Heather’s help, Justina has had a great experience in training her young derby prospect, Bliss.
“Bliss came to me after a very stressful time in my life, providing a fresh start. She’s been such a gift in my life, and working with her has taught me a lot about myself too. She’s got a great mind and a very gentle disposition,” Justina shares. “I often forget that I’m working with a green horse. She works through things quickly and it doesn’t carry over into the remainder of the ride. She likes to be challenged and presented with new things. Overall it’s been a very smooth process bringing her along.”
As is known all too well in our sport, the process however, isn’t always smooth and when you hit roadblocks in training as well as showing, it’s important to identify what will make the most significant change for you.
“I think success depends on the standards you set for yourself. For me, I experienced a huge 180 in my riding and I changed my mindset from “riding to win” to “riding to the best of my abilities”. I know those two sound kind of interchangeable but they’re not. When I was focusing on winning I felt a huge mental block in my riding, causing me to get so caught up in everything that I would usually tank one jump on course every trip. When I started slowing my ride down mentally, I was actually riding – not worrying about missing a distance and blowing the class. I worked through this with the help of a mental skills coach and I’m not exaggerating when I say I rode like a different person. This mindset changed my riding both at home, and in competitions.”
Understanding what goes on not just behind the shot of man and horse but as a rider yourself- it’s no wonder Justina’s images give you a sense that they are taken by a true horsemen. One of her favorite locations to shoot is a horse show that she”s only recently attended but nonetheless has taken over the top spot-Spruce Meadows. “The classic look of the barns and the beautiful paved walkways create such an elegant atmosphere,” Justina tells us.
Every photographer has their own individual style and aesthetic, and no doubt Justina’s talent will likely inspire other young photographers to take their interests or hobby to the next level. If you’re reading this spotlight and have doubts about your potential as an equine photographer, Justina offers some advice:
“Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the creative industry, be open to critique, willing to work hard, and willing to learn. I’ve learned so much from talking and working for other photographers. The industry has so many aspects to it and the majority of them you won’t find online or in a textbook.”
This documentary-styled equine portraiture artist has talent that we have to share and that you have to see, so dive in and become captivated with the work and Instagram account of Justina Reinhart:
Name: Justina Reinhart
Hometown: Kitchener, ON
Current location: Oakville, ON
Discipline and level of riding (like CSI level): Hunters & Equitation, Ontario A Circuit
Approach to ‘gramming’: I like to keep my instagram pretty true to myself as an artist. While I use Instagram to showcase a large amount of my equine work, I also use it to share portraiture and still life, as well as some personal shots. I try to focus on keeping the light interesting across my photographs and that theme tends to tie everything together.
IG Live or Snapchat? I’m still on the Snapchat wagon!
Favorite riding clothes brands: Asmar Equestrian, Equiline, Le Fash
Favorite streetwear brands: Wilfred, Babaton, Rag & Bone
Words of advice for a good IG account: I like to curate my posts before actually posting so I can see what they look like together in the feed. The layout and position of images is important as well as the images themselves.
Last month I received a question on my blog asking about any equine products I had my eye on and I answered that I was thinking about custom brushes from @saucypiaffe. My sneaky sister looked through my answers in search of a Christmas gift idea and ordered these beautiful brushes for me. I was so surprised to open these on Christmas morning! Bliss is going to be the one extra shiny pony. ✨
FOR SALE: 17.5″ CWD 2Gs. Top of the line saddle from #cwdsellier. Full buffalo, medium tree, SE2, 2L flaps. This saddle is in great shape and has been well looked after. Includes CWD nylon lined stirrup leathers and cover. Asking $5200, price is negotiable. Trials available with deposit. Located in Kitchener/Oakville, Ontario. Will be at WEC for Country Heir Wilmington (03/29-04/02). Willing to ship at buyer’s expense.