Most of the horses I photographed in Portugal were stallions. This was a unique opportunity. Stallions are full of drama and thus, provided some incredibly dramatic photographs. Until now, I had not interacted with stallions much at all, only having been warned of their antics - biting and kicking in particular.
Most shoots were done at farms that were home to some prized Lusitano stallions. One by one each stallion would be turned loose in an arena where he would perform his "moves" as one or two handlers encouraged him to show off. Each horse seemed to have his own signature style. Some would head toss, others would strike, buck, leap, kick out, rear... Each horse showing an incredible display of athleticism and strength. Some were more expressive than others, but no one failed to put on a show. As is usually the case in life, the drama eventually would die down. At this point the horse would look to his handlers, ears pricked forward, lower his head and request to connect with his person.
I didn't expect stallions to exhibit so many of the same endearing traits as the geldings and mares I have known. I am familiar with this request for connection, as well as the deep sigh and soft blinking eye that comes with it. Despite their size and power, they were just as willing to follow the requests of the human sharing their space - to yield to a subtle cue and move when and where they were asked. They seemed just as unaware of their ability to easily take control of a being so much weaker and smaller then they... or perhaps aware, but willing to interact with us instead.