Herald JournalHerald Journal, July 18, 2005

Famous photographer zooms in on local horse

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

Paul and Laura Robideau spent the early morning hours July 11 primping and preparing for photographer Mark Barrett’s visit.

However, when he pulled up, the Robideaus greeted him in jeans and work clothes, while their horses were the ones glowing in the morning light.

Barrett had come all the way from his home in Florida to take pictures of the Robideau’s stallion, British Sterling, to be featured in his 2007 Gypsy Vanner calendar.

The shoot took place on the Robideau’s Lake Ridge Gypsy farm, in between Winsted and New Germany, and lasted about three hours.

“The pictures he takes are unbelievable,” Laura Robideau said. “He has quite an eye.”

Barrett produces stock and still photography, video and film, calendars, and software, among other things.

Barrett also has more than 300 magazine credits worldwide, and works extensively with horses and animals.

Working with animals sometimes requires creativity, as the Robideaus found out.

“There was one shot that he took of all the mares and babies,” Robideau said. “He had his wife run out of the woods pretending to be a bear, and they all turned and looked. It was quite a shot.”

While it helps to have cooperative animals, good trainers are a necessity for Barrett.

“The people handling the horse are just as important as the horse. They need to be able to control it,” Barrett said.

Robideau found out through the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society that Barrett was doing a calendar.

A couple other horse owners in Minnesota were also interested in having Barrett photograph their animals. The Robideaus decided to work together with the other owners to pay for Barrett’s airfare and expenses.

At least one of the pictures taken during the shoot will be used in the 2007 Gypsy Vanner calendar, which will be sold in Barnes and Nobles bookstores.

The rights to other pictures that Barrett took will be available for purchase, or a one-time-use permit, to the Robideaus to use in one of their brochures or to keep.

Paul also took this opportunity to have one of his favorite Arabian horses photographed.

“[Barrett] used to be a big Arabian horse photographer for years, everyone like his photos,” Robideau said.

The Robideaus bought British Sterling, who is a Gypsy Vanner stallion, and their three mares from England.

Gypsy Vanner horses were created by the gypsies for the purpose of being a strong and beautiful horse, which could pull their carts.

In general, Gypsy Vanner horses look like a smaller version of a draft horse.

“We got Sterling at a good price because we also bought a bunch of mares,” Robideau said.

On average, people spend about $10,000 to $20,000 for these horses, which usually have to be brought over from England.

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