Cowgirl Yogatography goes Wild

We’re super thrilled that we’ll have a special guest teacher on Cowgirl Yogatography this fall! Lara Joy, a Cowgirl Yoga alumna, will share her insights into equine photography on this retreat that allows us to tap into our creative vision though yoga and horses. Enjoy this guest blog from her latest horse photography adventure.

I’ve just come home from a trip to North Carolina that would make most people shudder. I am bruised, blistered, and covered in bug bites. My ankles can best be described as “cankles,” a result of an allergic reaction to the bug bites. I’ve been awkwardly climbing in and out of a skiff, wading through tidal marshes frequented by stingrays, slogging over sand dunes and literally picking ticks out of my ears. I guess you can say that I’m “suffering for my art” because the whole reason I went to the North Carolina coast was to find and photograph wild horses.

Usually I’m a typical suburbanite sipping a Starbucks. My boots are fashionable. My hair is combed. But when someone even casually mentions the words “wild” and “horse,” all of that polish seems to rapidly unravel around me. This last trip I was plagued by North Carolina “no see ums.” Prior to that it was Nevada snowstorms and frozen, wet feet caused by no-longer-waterproof hiking boots. The trip before that, sunburn and Georgia chiggers.

People ask me why I do these wild horse photography trips and, unless they’re horse people, I can’t ever fully explain. The thrill of hiking up to a band of wild horses never dulls. When I start to make pictures of them, I sink into a soft, secret place with my camera. I forget about the bug bites and bruises. I’m no longer tired, hungry or cold. I’m simply present with the horses and my camera, doing my best to capture how it feels to be there with these iconic animals.

Maybe I keep doing it because my wild horse memories tend to develop a rosy glow sooner rather than later. That thing in the water that snagged my foot may or may not have been a stingray. My ankles already seem less swollen. My bug bites really aren’t that itchy. Whatever it is, as soon as I arrive home from one trip, I’m already planning another. Wild horses pull hard on my heart.

If you’d like to learn more about my experiences photographing wild horses, think about heading to Montana this September. I’ll be a special guest teacher at this fall’s Cowgirl Yogatography retreat. We’ll talk about camera gear, shooting techniques and post-processing, of course, but most importantly, we’ll talk about what makes us passionate about horses and how to capture that in our images of them.

We’ll be focused on photographing domestic horses but never fear, the passion and principles are the same as for wild horses, it’s just a whole lot easier to find them!

Lara Joy Brynildssen is an avid equine photographer, writer and educator. She specializes in photographing the many herds of wild horses throughout the US as well as purebred performance horses. In addition to creating and exhibiting her own equine images, LJ writes regularly for, teaches for, speaks at local camera clubs and organizes equine photography workshops. To advocate for our wild horses and build community with other photographers, Lara Joy co-founded Wild Horse Photography Collective (@wildhorsePC on Instagram). On a personal note, LJ is crazy about her two cats, loves her Canon 5D Mark III and never refuses a sip of limoncello.

View her work and read her blog at

Connect with LJ:


Facebook page: