For the photographer Rita Fernandes, gravitating towards working with horses was a natural progression of her childhood fascination with them. Dreaming incessantly about connecting with horses, she had the first riding experience at the age of 8, but only starting taking riding lessons 5 years later. Her understanding of horses evolved considerably when she began to train a feisty 3-year-old Lusitano colt. They quickly developed a unique connection and it seemed fated that he would become her equine partner. Of tenacious will and forever a colt at heart, that one horse would stay with her for 16 years. Rita remembers him as an amazing teacher that taught her much in the way of horses and perseverance and who rekindled her love for drawing and photography.. Pragmatism, however, dictated that arts became a hobby and she studied to become an M.Sci in Animal Production, devoted to the Lusitano horse. She bought her first DSRL camera when she worked at a Lusitano Stud in 2008 , but it was only in 2011, after the loss of her horse, that photography took a relevant role in her life. Rita’s main focus became to show the Lusitano under a new light; to contribute to the promotion of the breed through the correct depiction of their morphofunctional characteristics with an artistic approach. With time, the passion for photography and this incredible breed evolved towards professional collaborations with breeders, renowned magazines and international photo-workshops and photography exhibitions. In 2013, the invitation to be part of the the core team of Lusitano World, a project fuelled by the fiery will to promote the Lusitano horse, represented a natural next step towards evolving as a professional photographer and achieving the ultimate goal of promoting the breed worldwide.
«Each frame in my camera represents my incessant quest for the “perfect horse”. This ideal of perfection lies beyond the shape, light and technique depicted in the photo; it lies in the understanding of a horse’s best angles and uniqueness. I read “my horses’ ” eyes and body language, to interpret conformation and personality from posture and reactions in liberty or under saddle. I feel privileged when I get to watch them grow from young foals into equine athletes. The Lusitano’s typical morphological harmony, fierceness and willingness to connect with humans is very dear to my heart; it is my trade – and honor – to translate it into pictures.”