Jenny + Allie Document a Loving Relationship Between Human and Horse for Stetson

Jul 12, 2019
Photographer Spotlight

Boston area-based photographers Jenny McClary and Allie Leepson are no strangers to rescuing and caring for an animal who has endured a rough past. Their dog Bryce came to them “very thin and underweight,” but has since gained that weight back. Jenny and Allie are currently helping Bryce work through her severe anxiety but say that she is “improving almost daily.”

The same can be said about Bianca Shannon and her horse Kit, whom she rescued two years ago. Bianca was born and raised in Italy and has been riding horses since the age of nine. She now calls Santa Fe, New Mexico home and has helped nurse Kit back to full health after his previous owner left him with “absolutely no muscle on his body.”

Bianca has made the last two years the best of Kit's life

Bianca also works with Horses for Heroes, a non-profit program which teaches horsemanship and skill-set restructuring to post-9/11 veterans to reintegrate them back into their communities.  

[Bianca’s] very humble about her work with the organization, but we think it’s incredibly generous and provides access to very peaceful lifestyles post-service.

Still, Bianca spends most of her time with Kit. Jenny and Allie got a chance to document their bond for the iconic Western wear company Stetson on a chilly evening this past spring.

Bianca and Kit have a special relationship that’s so clear to see the moment you meet them. There’s a warmth and understanding between them both. We’d always heard of people developing intense connections with horses, but honestly had never really witnessed it in person. 

The inseparable Bianca and Kit

Kit definitely matches the personality Bianca described him as having. He was really playful with her and curious about everything going on around him. We didn’t grow up on farms or ranches, so all of our experiences with horses are relatively new. It was amazing to us how human he felt.

Kit’s “humanness” was apparent to Jenny and Allie right away, especially in the way he interacted with Bianca.

They were both affectionate with each other. Kit greeted Bianca right away. He spotted her from a distance and got incredibly excited. We even caught him giving her a hug!

This is how horses hug humans

You could see how happy he made Bianca, too. She is thrilled just to be caring for him. I think there has to be love there to be willing to dedicate so much time and energy towards the care of any animal.

Even something as simple as an afternoon ride requires hours of preparation, which Jenny and Allie got to witness firsthand.

Bianca preps Kit for an afternoon jaunt

Bianca saddle Kit up

[Bianca] brushes him, saddles him up, mixes his food for him, gives him treats, and cleans his horseshoes. There are different locations for each step of this process.

Bianca feeds Kit

I wonder how they got the name horseshoes

[Caring for Kit] takes a ton of hard work and patience — something of which Bianca clearly has no shortage.

As Jenny and Allie alluded to, this lifestyle is somewhat foreign to them. Both were born and raised in the Northeast but share a “fascination with the West and Western American culture.”

Honestly, we have no idea where it comes from. I grew up in New England and Allie grew up in D.C. It doesn’t make a lot of sense given our backgrounds, but it’s just such a beautiful way of life to witness.

Shoot-ception

The pair’s relative inexperience in this setting may have led to Jenny dealing with this…

Cactus attack

I got a cactus stuck in my leg halfway through the shoot and had to hobble off to the car to rip it out. 

Cactus-based setbacks aside, the trip proved to be a rousing success, one of the team’s “favorite shoots to date.” And despite Kit’s rough past, he maintained an affectionate disposition around Jenny and Allie.

He seemed to become comfortable around us. He was affectionate to us as well, though certainly not the same as he was with Bianca.

Time to explore

Credits:

Client: Stetson

Check out more of Jenny and Allie at jenny-allie.com!

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