02.08.11 - WHIRLWIND

Wow, what a crazy 24 hours since being named the winner of the Alltech/IAEJ A+ award winner! So many wonderful notes from colleagues, international requests for the image, and celebrating (virtually) with the winners of the other categories. One request was to see the other images from this set-up.


2010 WEG SJ Reacts - Images by Amy Dragoo


Just a little background, we were not allowed to place any remote cameras in the ring (a practice that has become common place at major competitions) so in a moment of brilliance that I can only believe think I intercepted from someone else's brain cells, it occurred to me to place my remote under the trainer's platform. The last fence of the class, the first round of the Nations Cup, was a big oxer on a long distance from an airy combination (if memory serves.) It proved to be a heart breaker for quite a number of riders/teams all day.

In the morning session I watched group after group on the platform "ride" the course, gyrate and react with each clear jump and error. Some time in the middle of the morning it just hit me, and then I believe I hit my dear friend Sue Stickle in the arm! I had to get permission from out Photo Chief David Porter at lunch for the camera placement, which he had no issue with as it was off the "field of play," below the edge of the platform and hidden in some decorative shrubbery and thus out of the way of the almighty television cameras. My biggest concern was that someone would fall off and damage the equipment/injure themselves.

The howling from me and my fellow photographers as I did my first run through the card of images will be one of my favorite memories of WEG. By the fifth of October, the day this was shot, most of us had been shooting for 1.5 weeks with only a few hours of sleep per night. Tempers were getting short, dark circles were appearing under eyes, and many of us swore we would not be eating a cheeseurger again for a very long time. This evening of editing sent me on the search for some crazy music to set the slide show to, but the laughter, tears and side stitches from our little corner of the tent were the best sound of all.

The fun thing (and many times most frustrating) about the remote is not knowing what you have. So many things can go wrong, and most do all at once. You don't focus well, your exposure is wrong (and shooting into the sky makes that something you have to take into account), your remote doesn't fire because you have forgotten to turn the camera or the remote on, you are on the wrong channel, or the radio signal is blocked by some unforeseen force. You can never make your remote the entree, it always must be the icing on the cake you don't know if you will have room for at the end of the meal. I got lucky on all counts. I will say the reactions the first half of the day were a bit stronger because the riders figured out the striding by the afternoon and the stronger riders went later in the day. But I am my biggest critic, and I always know it could have been a little bit better.

I will admit, I never thought this image had a chance in the contest. There isn't a horse included and the venue/signage doesn't jump out as a dominant portion. But it just screamed to me!



Alltech Recognizes Post-Games Alltech ‘A+’ Award Recipients [Lexington, KY] –Alltech, American Horse Publications (AHP), and the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists (IAEJ) are delighted to announce the recipients of the Alltech ‘A+’ Award, established to honor creativity, passion, and excellence in equine journalism with stories connected to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The post-Games media contest, judging entries published between July 2, 2010 and January 3, 2011, was open to the members of both AHP and IAEJ.

The winners of the post-Games Alltech A+ Award are:

Amy Dragoo, IAEJ – Photo ‘Last Fence Down’ published on www.equisearch.com
Karen Briggs, IAEJ – Article ‘WEG Report Card’ published in L’Annee Hippique
Brian Sosby, AHP – Article ‘Amazing Days’ published in Equestrian Magazine
Coree Reuter, AHP – Photo ‘Kiss’ published in The Chronicle of Horse
Alex Cutadean, AHP – Video ‘Behind the Scenes at the WEG On-Site Veterinary Clinic’ published on www.thehorse.com

“Throughout the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, I’d watch media sprinting from venue to venue, loaded down by the weight of cameras, recorders, and notepads,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech. “Driven by passion for the horse and their craft, they worked tirelessly, from sunrise to sunset and even beyond, to deliver the story of the Alltech FEI Games to eager fans around the world. These awards are but a small token of our great admiration and appreciation.”

“We would like to thank Alltech for its generous support of these awards and its international recognition of the contribution to the sport of the equestrian media,” said Chris Stafford, IAEJ vice-president. “These awards enhance the status of the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists in their universal and comprehensive coverage of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.”

“American Horse Publications has rewarded excellence in equine publishing media for over 35 years. We are thrilled that Alltech partnered with AHP and IAEJ to bring recognition to equine journalists at a premier international event such as the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games,” stated Chris Brune, AHP executive director. “We are very appreciative of the support given by Alltech to showcase the talents of our members as well as to promote equestrian sports to the world.”

Award recipients will be honored at major events this spring. Details will be coordinated with the winners.

Thank you to Alltech, IAEJ, AHP, the World Equestrian Games and most of all Equisearch for the platform for my work and the recognition!!!


One of my winter chores is to get images into my searchable database that have fallen through the cracks or been placed on the "to do" list. Some of those I discovered today when looking for images of the stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park from the World Equestrian Games last fall. During the 17 days of shooting I nearly filled a TB drive with images. I can't imagine how I would not be done editing. :} (In my defense I did come right back to PA and go straight back to the paper.) So in my search for requested images that I knew I had but couldn't find in the database, I discovered I hadn't edited the files from the first two days prior to the games starting. Including stitching the panoramics together. (If I remember correctly I have a few more to do, I just have to keep going through the files. 092410wegpano1b 092410wegpano2b 092410wegpano3b 092710wegpano1b


I spent a few hours Saturday at the BLM's mustang and burro auction in Harrington, Delaware. There has been quite a bit of press lately about the roundups, and while there are at least two sides to every story, my experience with the horses and the BLM were quite positive.

The staff were patient, knowledgeable and kind. The horses were curious, had plenty of hay and separated into small groups based on gender and age. While the prices were low, people need to be approved by the BLM prior to purchase, and then they don't own them until after a year and a secondary approval.

The BLM has foster training homes, and for the horses that won't make it on "the outside" it has a list of private ranches where they live out their lives as they were on the BLM land. Herds are thinned both for the betterment of the species, and because they are not the only animals that graze on the land, and yes, the BLM does have responsibility for cattle and sheep.


AK Dragoo Photography

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