Category Archives: Guest Blogger: Christine Dunnington Photography

Christine Dunnington: Using training photo collages to raise money for cancer charity

The idea of involving a creative photographer was to add value to what we do within the Academy, spread the happy training vibes and create some interesting, inspirational projects (more on this soon! :-D). Here’s a first little action Chris is running at the moment…:)

Wiola has kindly invited me to write another guest blog post and what better story than my latest ‘away day photo collage for charity’ option open to all Academy members.

My photo collages have always been something I enjoy creating, and the printed and framed version proved to be my most popular photoshoot session last year. Wiola and I have been posting a number of these digital collages over the past few months on both the Aspire Equestrian and Christine Dunnington Photography social media network and they are being well received, which got me thinking….

By asking for a small donation, I could create these small memento collages; I’m happy, you’re happy and I get to support my chosen charity – The Mouth Cancer Foundation – it’s a win-win situation. Full details can be viewed in the poster below.



When my Mum passed away after major surgery for mouth and neck cancer three years ago, I wanted to support a worthy charity relating to cancer research, so I Googled “mouth cancer charity” and it was only then I learnt of The Mouth Cancer Foundation, registered charity number 1109298.; their aim is to spread awareness offer support and advice to patients, careers and health professionals. Since then I donate regularly and my family, friends and my two Golden Retrievers take part in the annual 10km charity walk which takes place in Hyde Park, London, each Summer/Autumn.


I launched this offer just prior to the recent away training session at East Bysshe Cross Country Course and your support is so much appreciated, I am now in a position to donate £30.00.

Thank you all so much.


“Something new and rather exciting is going on in my world”

New Year – New Adventures! One positive thing that always comes from having no driving licence is that I get to meet some fab people and always think outside the box 😉 This time, I decided to finally do what was on my mind for a while and get a creative soul involved so I can awake some of my so far sleeping projects!

Over to Christine: 

Chris taking photos of me schooling one of my four legged clients 😉 


Something new and rather exciting is going on in my world…by Christine Dunnington Photography

I confess to spending far too much time on Facebook, I don’t consider it a waste of time – okay, sometimes it’s a waste of time – but I belong to some really interesting groups, some relating to the equestrian world and many connected to photography; there’s always something to learn, tips to share, inspiration to gain and for me, horses for sale for me to drool over and only dream about.


It was whilst I was scrolling through the recent news feed on EEN, that I read with much interest a post by Wiola Grabowska at Aspire Equestrian Riding Academy. Wiola was looking for somebody to assist her two days a week. Not having a UK driving licence, she wanted somebody who could drive her from her base near Henley on Thames to Northolt; somebody who could photograph and video record clients during their lessons – something Wiola offers as a useful learning aid for her clients as well as the educational blogs she writes; somebody with the desire to follow Wiola and learn her methods and techniques and naturally, somebody who enjoys horsey chats, coffee and banana cake!


It took me a couple of days to think about it and for the seed to germinate at which point I thought this could be perfect for me, what am I waiting for?! I emailed Wiola with a brief life history, giving her an a account of my limited riding career to date, my passion for photography and how Christine Dunnington Photography was born and my desire to learn more about horses and to be more proficient and confident around them.


Wiola didn’t hang around in getting back to me, we agreed on and arranged a trial day, which went so well, I started the following week, I’m loving it. Wiola is so friendly and easy going and literally from the moment I arrived she was offering her knowledge and advice; during the first client lesson she introduced me to the Pilates ball and core strengthening exercises to try and practice – I’m now the proud owner of my own ball so I can practice and make a fool of myself in the privacy of my own home! Wiola it seems is more than happy to teach me as much as I can absorb and so much more; a fair exchange for my time and help – I must not waste this opportunity.



I will post regularly with updates of my journey with Wiola, her energetic 11 months old Spaniel, Jazz, Leopold The Last who is her cherished and inherited project (and sometimes my teacher) and all the other members of the Aspire Equestrian Academy team, both human and equine.



Hope you’ll follow Christine’s adventures with Aspire Academy and stay tuned for some exciting projects ahead! 🙂

Wiola x

Something slightly different ;) Pre-Introduction to Christine Dunnigton Photography, a new guest blogger and Aspire’s “creative assistant” :)

Logically I’m thinking that for my first guest blog I should be introducing myself. However, as Wiola set me a photographic challenge when she heard that I was going on a short road trip to France, now that I’m here, it’s all I can think about and so I’m going to blog about that first.
“What’s the challenge?” do I hear you cry? To take as many horse related photos whilst on my mini break. That in itself sounds more glamorous than it actually is – my husband invited me to keep him company on his business trip and it was words like ‘just outside of Paris’, ‘nice hotel’, ‘good food’, ‘shopping’ to name but a few that had me immediately thinking how nice it would be. In reality, we’re not that close to Paris but our hotel is tres chic, it looks like a traditional French chateau and is over looking the River Seine, in a little town called Rolleboise, in Normandy.
My first sighting was obviously going to be on UK soil and yes, there were lots of horses in the grassy fields adjoining the M25 and M20 but I decided that was too easy and to wait…..
Having boarded the Eurotunnel train I must admit I felt disappointed not to have found just one creative horsey shot to send to Wiola. Literally as the train trundled forward, I glanced out of the window and ‘viola, une cheveau!’ Whoops, not in France yet, and there it was, a horse in the hill. Challenge accepted!
I soon learnt that mobile phone cameras are not ideal for taking pictures when travelling at 130km per hour on French motorways, I missed two tourist signs with images of horses simply because the shutter speed was so slow and even when I had time in hand, for example when I spotted a life size sculpture of a jumping white horse and jockey on a bridge up ahead the result wasn’t brilliant!
Today has been more successful, I’ve found and photographed one live horse, two statues and whilst wondering through Carrefare supermarche, not one, not two or even three, but four different Playmobil horse sets; something every pony mad little girl must surely have on her Wish List this Christmas.
I love photography challenges such as this, for me they help focus the mind (no pun intended) and make me open my eyes to seek out and appreciate my surroundings, and, it’s fun! Less than 24 hours in to the trip and I’ve even got my non-horsey husband  pointing out and finding photo opportunities too. Whilst channel surfing on French TV last night he came across the most fascinating documentary on Mongolian horse herders, their nomadic lifestyle, and their customs and traditions. Of course we couldn’t understand a word of it but we got the gist and I highly recommend looking up Mongolian horse herders on YouTube, which I’ll be doing when I get home.
I graciously gave up the use of the car the following day, so my quest for horse related matter has been obtained entirely on foot. I set out from our hotel, explored the grounds and then further afield down the surrounding lanes. 6,673 steps later I returned with my stash for the day.
I’d almost given up on finding anything horsey at our hotel, but hubby, who’d suggested a game of chess after dinner on the last night, was naming all the pieces to me and of course the rook piece is a horse!
The return journey home provided me with several more opportunities, including the white horse and jockey sculpture on the motorway bridge – the one I missed on arrival; a framed picture of Ascot on the wall into the ladies toilets at the Eurotunnel Duty Free terminal and the magazines were in WH Smiths.
Such fun and incredibly addictive!
Stay tuned – an actual introduction and more about Christine’s photography coming up soon 🙂