Monday, May 4, 2020

Of Best Laid Plans & Covid-19 Coupons

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
gang aft a-gley." ~Robert Burns

I hope you and yours are all well!

I am extremely fortunate that the biggest impact Covid-19 had on me is that it derailed my plan to take my equestrian event photography to the next level  in 2020! Not a great time to have given up my "other" job!

While we await restart, I'm offering the following deals - available until the end of May:

Pet photo shoots:

Equestrian event photos:

If you can't access these links, please email me so that I can send the info to you!

Meanwhile, I continue to hope that we'll be out in all weathers together, but physically distancing, soon! As of today, my 2020 horse show schedule looks like this:

Jun 12-14    
June Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Jul 4            
Diamond Dressage Series 2 @ High Point EC

Jul 5            
Dressage Dogwood Show 2 @ Southlands RC (update: now cancelled)

Jul 31-Aug 2
Dog Days of Summer Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Aug 6-9       
Summer Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Southlands RC

Aug 15/16   
Senior Summer Classic Dressage @ High Point EC

Sep 19         
Diamond Dressage Series #3 @ High Point EC

Oct 10-12   
Beth Underhill Clinic / LHC Equestrian @ Maple Ridge EC

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to those of you working to keep the horses well and happy under extremely challenging conditions. You, along with our hospital and paramedic teams, police and firefighting services, vets and farriers, delivery drivers and grocery store workers, and many other essential staff, allow the rest of us to self-isolate with some semblance of peace of mind.

Until next time ...

"Be kind. Be calm. Be safe." ~Dr Bonnie Henry

Pet galleries
Horse show galleries

Friday, February 28, 2020

Leap Year Special & 2020 Show Schedule

Belated happy new year! Can you believe that we're already two full months into 2020?!

And 2020 is a leap year so ...

19% OFF all 2019 horse show photos!
Use coupon code Leap2020.

As I sit here watching some late winter/early spring rain pour down through the wind-whipped evergreens, my calendar of horse shows for the 2020 competition season is starting to firm up!

Here's what it looks like so far:

May 9             
Spring Warm Up @ High Point EC

May 30           
Diamond Dressage Series 1 @ High Point EC

Jun 12-14       
June Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Jun 20/21       
Kamloops Dressage Show @ Sun Meadows EC (t.b.c.)

Jul 4               
Diamond Dressage Series 2 @ High Point EC

Jul 5               
Dressage Dogwood Show 2 @ Southlands RC

Jul 31-Aug 2  
Dog Days of Summer Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Aug 6-9         
Summer Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Southlands RC

Aug 15/16     
Senior Summer Classic Dressage @ High Point EC

Sep 19           
Diamond Dressage Series #3 @ High Point EC

Oct 10-12      
Beth Underhill Clinic / LHC Equestrian @ Maple Ridge EC

More dates may yet be added and events are subject to change.

See you out there!


Tanya De Leeuw Photography
Equestrian Event Photos

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

2019 - What A Year!

The days are shorter and much cooler ... it must be time to update my blog!

What a ride it's been since my last visit to this page! Make a cuppa and settle down for a read ... we have lots to catch up on!

sunset view from our deck

The year started with us being very diligent, having planned ahead ... our trip to the UK to visit family in May was planned and booked, both of our leave from work were confirmed, and my summer show dates at MREC were firmed up.

Then, less than a month before our flight to London took off, we learned that our "number" came up at the WHA, and we were offered the opportunity to purchase our own place to live. If you know anything about the housing challenges Whistler (and the whole Sea To Sky Corridor) is suffering, you will know that there was absolutely no way we would risk saying "thanks, we'll pass on this one and wait for the next unit that becomes available"!

What was already a busy spring exploded into chaos ... start packing the Squamish flat, pack for our holiday, work to the last second despite a wicked bout of 'flu, fly to London (still the sickest I've been in years) ... away for 3 weeks ... fly back to BC complete with jetlag (but without the 'flu, thankfully), immediately return to full time work, and continue packing.

canal at Hungerford

As it happened, the first two weekends that we were back in Canada, I was committed to take photos at horse shows!

Incredibly, my better half performed a miracle over the weekends that I was away working! He got the last of our stuff packed and everything moved from Squamish to Whistler (with the help of Gusto Movers - highly recommended!), cleaned the old flat from top to bottom, and started getting the new flat unpacked and organized. A feat for which I am forever grateful! 💖

late bluebells

The trip to England was fantastic! We both say it was the best holiday we've had in years! We went to Southampton, Salisbury, Hungerford, and Redhill (all in the general area south and west of London). We both met members of the other's family that we hadn't met in person before, and we caught up with family that we haven't seen in many a year. Happily, we all got on really well ... and we felt quite bereft leaving them upon our return to Canada! Needless to say, lots of photos were taken in England (including two pet photo shoots - you didn't know that I'm now an International Pet Photographer, did you?! 😋 ) ... sadly, I've still to finish processing the travel photos, and loading them for you to see!

drive-by shooting - between Chippenham and Salisbury

I worked five horse shows this season: three two-day horse trials events, and two three-day hunter-jumper shows. Horse trials are a three-phase competition with each horse/rider team completing dressage, show jumping, and cross country tests. These were the first horse trials shows that I've photographed, and I loved it! The hunter-jumper event is arena jumping, with some classes focusing more on equitation (rider's and horse's turn-out, rider's proficiency) and others on timed/faultless rounds. Work on each show usually takes about a week to complete - the days spent shooting, plus the next 4-6 days processing and posting photos during all my waking pre- and post-work and weekend hours, until the job's done.

cross country action

Camping in my new-to-me van, Sven, was positively luxurious ... so much space compared to the little van I used for the 2018 season. He's a keeper, for sure!

Summer in Whistler has been lovely ... we're reveling being in our own place and ecstatic that it is in such a wonderfully quiet location. Our building is very nice, and the neighbours (apart for the nameless, passive-aggressive Parking Police Person) that we've met so far are awesome! When we're in our flat, it feels like we're in a cabin in the woods, with a view of the forest, a natural pond, and the sunset! All our worldly goods are now unpacked and have been put away. All that remains is picture hanging - a good task for the winter months!

enjoying a splash during cross country

I spent four months commuting between Whistler and Squamish, where I was still working. The 50km drive takes 30-45 minutes each way depending on the traffic. Sometimes significantly longer, though, especially at the end of the week when I was traveling "with" the Friday Freakout weekender rush to the mountains.

The few months I spent doing the commute convinced me that I did not want to do it in the winter - I was too scared! If people drove with such little regard for their own and other people's safety in the summer, I hate to think what the winter would be like when you add the challenges of snow, ice, darkness, poor visibility, people who don't know the road, people inexperienced in winter conditions, and vehicles without proper winter tyres!


Long and short of it, I resigned from my position in Squamish in September. Happily, I was only without income for two weeks! I've found a job in Whistler that I think was tailor-made for me, at a company called Sidecut Tuning. It makes high-end tools and products for tuning skis and snowboards. It's part-to-full time in winter, part time in summer (so lots of time for shows!), doesn't involve dealing with the phone, doesn't involve dealing with payments (or lack thereof), and doesn't involve any face-to-face with customers. I spend my time filling orders, packing and shipping and, when not doing that, I assemble tools and products.

Since moving up to Whistler, I've done one pet photo shoot ... can't show the photos yet, though, because they're a Christmas surprise, so watch this space! Another pet shoot should be happening soon - it was won by a silent auction bidder at the recent Whistler Animals Galore fundraiser!


I have one more thing to do before I wrap up the 2019 horse show season, and that's to run the annual Holiday Special! This is coming up later this month, and gives competitors one last chance to get their show photos at a discounted rate.

Then I'll start planning my 2020 season. With the more flexible work hours, I'm hoping to add more show dates to my calendar!

So ... what did you get up to this summer?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Introducing Sven

The past few weeks have been seriously crazy for me. But full details will have to wait until another time. This post is about an addition to the family:

As some may know, my little blue camper van perished last fall, when the engine developed problems. Unfortunately, too expensive to fix. We didn't feel right trying to sell him on to someone else in that condition, so donated the vehicle to in exchange for a tax-deductible receipt. 

After an exhaustive six-month search, we adopted Sven last weekend. His Swedish-born American owner has just left Whistler bound for Maui (poor guy). No, the man's name wasn't Sven. But the van has been kept clean, maintained and finished inside with incredible care and attention to detail that you'd expect from a Scandinavian. And it smells piney, like the inside of a new sauna!

The vehicle is a 1994 Chev G20, so it was given life the same year we got married, and the year arrived in Canada! Like us, he has low mileage for his years, so should have a few more laps around the sun left.

He's a stealth camper, and for sure still need some work (like actual insulation between the paneling and the body), but is definitely ready for action when my horse show season starts the first weekend of June! Uniquely, he's the only van that we've seen that is a "panel" van on one side, and a "people" van on the other.

Here are some photos (thanks to P for these) to give you an idea:


Panel Van on One Side

People Van on t'Other

Work Van Up Front

Scandinavian Lodge in the Back

The wooden centre part of the bed can be pulled out towards you, and the mattress folds out to full length for maximum stretch-out comfort. I'm pretty sure that I'll be able leave it as it is, though, and be quite comfortable. That'll leave extra moving-around space in the "entrance hall".

There is plenty of privacy with drop-down curtains on the back 3 windows, and covers complete with magnetic corners for the side door windows. I have a black-out privacy screen for the front 3 windows.

Yes, this van is substantially bigger than the last one! I'm driving it around Squamish as my daily driver for the next couple of weeks, getting used to it before I make the road trip to Maple Ridge for my first equestrian event in June.

Until sometime in the summer, here's wishing you all a wonderful spring!

Hope to see you next time!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Round-Up & Previewing 2019!

Happy new year! I hope you had a wonderful festive season, making precious memories with those dearest to you.

I confess, it has been 4 months since my last blog ... and this time I'm not making any well-intentioned but likely-empty promises about posting more frequently in future!

2018 was an amazing year for me and my equestrian event photography. Over the past summer I learned a great deal not only about horse sports photography from both technical and business perspectives, but also about how differently shows are run here in North America! I also enjoyed taking photos at local shows when my work and shooting schedules permitted.

Show Jumping at the SVEA Two Phase in June
I am delighted that I've been invited back to MREC for several events in 2019. I'll be the OP at two three-day hunter-jumper shows, and at three two-day events - very exciting!

Equitation at the MREC Hunter Jumper in August
Hunter-Jumper shows are a combination of equitation, which has the rider and horse being judged on the correctness of their skills both on the flat and over arena jumps; and show jumping. For the most part, classes are individually judged and have little impact on each other.

Show Jumping at MREC Hunter Jumper in August
Eventing is a completely different type of competition: Each horse/rider pair must complete tests in three disciplines: dressage, show jumping and cross country. The winner is the horse/rider with the fewest penalties when combined over all three phases.

Cross Country Equitation at MREC in August
In addition to the five competition weekends, I will be working at two clinics as well. These teaching events will be hosted by LHC Equestrian and will feature world class instructors with proven success in international competition. More details on those to come soon!

Clinic with Beth Underhill at MREC in October
2018 wasn't all about horses, though! In between equestrian events and my full time job, I thoroughly enjoyed shooting the action at the annual Kite Clash held here in Squamish (which, btw, means "mother of the wind") ...

Kite Clash in Squamish in July
... and a couple of pets for fundraisers (Whistler Animals Galore and Second Chance Cheekye Ranch), too!


Freyja & Shasta

Sadly, Buster the friendly blue van, has gone to the great parking lot in the sky ... his ticker gave out and we were unable to resuscitate him. Watch this space for updates.

And now, all that remains is to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead!

Welcome 2019!


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Saturday, September 1, 2018

A Summer Survived!

It is Labour Day weekend here in Canada, and by Tuesday the summer will be considered "over".

Under my belt, I now have a few more local shows, and 3 three-day horse shows!

The multi-day events were a challenge - in a good way! Three long days of shooting each, followed by a week or so of photo processing after each of the events. That means literally every hour that I wasn't working at my full time job, or sleeping, were spent at my computer sorting, processing, and posting photos!

Thank you so much, to all the competitors at SVEA and MREC who purchased prints and products this year - your support is appreciated more than you know! I promise you that, for future shows, I will design a more user-friendly way for you to view your photos! :P

Overall, I am very pleased with the photos I captured ... they made the unbroken hours of shooting, baking in the sun and wind and dust, or shivering under rain gear trying to keep my camera dry, worth it! For some reason, there doesn't seem to be a sunny and cool, or dry and overcast, day available in the weatherman's quiver, for horse show days!

I am grateful to have learned a great deal this year, about both photographing equestrian sports and the business of it all. I wouldn't have my new-found knowledge without the gentle prods (ok, firm shoves!) of my friends at LHC Equestrian, and the guidance from Marion Photography. To say nothing of my discovery at MREC that the format of horse shows in Canada is completely different to anything that I have previously experienced in the UK and South Africa!

Most of all, I thank my ever-patient and tolerant husband, without whose unfailing support I would not have survived the first day of the first show! He continues to cheer me from the sidelines, has converted an old service technician's van into a comfy camper, and keeps my computers tuned to peak performance, while never complaining that he has to share so much of my time with my camera and (gasp!) other people's horses!

My camera equipment performed very well. Ok, there were a few terrifying minutes, like the morning after we had monsoon rain all afternoon the previous day, when I thought I'd have to bin my main camera when it locked up and refused to work! I was able to open it up and air it out, while my trusty (and completely dry) back-up machine picked up the slack for an hour before 1DIV allowed itself to be switched on, and then carried on as if nothing had happened!

Oh well, at least it didn't bounce down a mountainside, this time! Tough gear, these Canons!

For 2018 equestrian events, I still have two of out-of-town clinics to take photos at (which will involve camping in Buster, the van - in October and November - I hope Jack Frost will be kind!), as well as a couple of local shows.

I'm not going to make any promises about when my next blog post will be, because it's evident that I'm useless at actually sticking to any type of publishing schedule!

I hope you've had a great summer ... until next time!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

And She's Off!

Wow, that's what you call jumping in at the deep end! Since my last post I/we have ...

... purchased and started retrofitting a small van for camper use
... photographed a local gymkhana event
... photographed a local jumper warm-up event
... photographed a three-day hunter jumper event 135km away

The SVEA gymkhana was a fun season-opener ... here's one of my fav's from that day:

Click to enlarge!

The following weekend, a very enjoyable couple of hours were spent photographing the SVEA jumper warm-up event:

The three-day hunter-jumper event at MREC was a completely different experience, starting with the drive from Squamish to Maple Ridge (this country bumpkin is not used to major highways and city-style traffic)! Three full days of non-stop photographing from 8am until about 4pm daily, in record-breaking heat, resulted in over 3500 images to sort through when I got home. Needless to say, I slept like a top despite the really chilly mornings! It took a week of working on the photos during every waking hour when I wasn't "at work" or sleeping, but they're now posted. Here's one from the show:

With no idea of what, if any, economic benefit will come of this new venture, to save on accommodation costs (and to have a chance of recouping some expenses if it doesn't work out) we decided to start conservatively with an older Chevy Astrovan that we can refit ourselves as a camper. The idea of an "incognito" sleep option is reinforced by the ladder rack and (working!) orange revolving light on the roof!

After cleaning about 20 years' worth of dust, dirt and grime from this ex-municipal/plumber's workhorse, we discovered that our rarely-used futon fits perfectly - and provides extra storage space underneath! My better half spent hours installing a rooftop solar panel for much-needed camera and laptop battery recharging - it works like a charm! Also included are a water tank for drinking and washing, and a mini-porta-potty for midnight emergencies.

One certainly couldn't ask for a nicer place to park for 3 nights:

Can you spot the one that doesn't quite "belong"?!

What's next? A local gymkhana this weekend, then another 3-day hunter-jumper in Maple Ridge in two weeks!

Cheers for now!