Thoughts from Photographer Louise Reinagel



Editor's note: Photographer Louise E. Reinagel was asked to complete an exclusive photo shoot of Nicanor for Blood-Horse. Here, in her own words, are thoughts about the experience and the personality of Roy and Gretchen Jackson's developing son of Dynaformer. Remember, this picture and others like it are available at

"I’ve gone out on many occasions to photograph horses at Stephens Thoroughbreds. John and Jill are a very enjoyable couple, and from what I can tell it’s a real team effort – even with the employees, it’s more like a family.

"I did a photo shoot out there a couple of months ago and when I walked through the barn, I knew Nicanor was there, they pointed him out to me. He was snoozing in the stall and I watched him while they were getting my horse ready – and I looked again when I left, just observing him because of who he is, to see what I could see of him.

"I wanted to follow him and take pictures, but I respected the privacy of the farm so I never said anything. When Blood-Horse approached me about shooting him, it was very exciting because it was something I’d wanted to do. I couldn’t wait to follow him through a morning.

"They were ready for me when I got to the barn, and they knew it was a special morning because Nicanor was going to be photographed. He hadn’t become a celebrity as far as making him visually available to the public – he was only talked about  by everybody, I don’t think many pictures had been taken of him.

"When I photograph a subject, I normally control the circumstances. But in this case, the shoot was dictated by Nicanor and his routine. It was almost like there was a script – he had a specific rider (Gabrielle DeJesus) and a specific groom (Vicente Gordstieta) - and I just went where I could without interfering with him.

"I asked what his routine was, where to be at certain times, and went out ahead of time to figure out where he would be walking, how to get from his walking trail through the woods to the track before he would get there. It was fun; to access Nicanor is a dream for most.

"He’s getting fit, so he was a little bit on the muscle. They walked him out with the groom and he came out like he was supposed to, but I didn’t want to interfere with him. He was aware of me at all times, but I didn’t intimidate him. He was intent on what he was doing, and once he figured me out he paid me no mind.

"My favorite moment with him was when he came back off the track and John Stephens walked off the track with him because I’d asked him to get in the picture. He was speaking to the horse and the horse was cocking his head, being a little bit of handful for the rider coming off. It was almost like John was telling him to behave and he was talking back, like, “Who, me?” It was a great moment, the three were connected at same time, rider, trainer, horse, all one.

"This horse is a little bit different than your average Joe. He's very intelligent. He has a connection with everybody in the barn that works with him. He has a disposition that makes you want to know him.

"I’m not hyping this up; I’m not intrigued with the personality of a horse very often because rarely do they have an obvious personality. When he came into the barn, he was known as Barbaro’s brother. But I think he is known in the barn now as Nicanor and people are starting to respect him for who he is in his own right. He has his own personality and the people who work with him are very connected to him.

"He seems quite talented, and watching him he looks like a puppy that’s growing into himself. To see the difference from the first time until now, as he’s understanding what he’s supposed to do and able to do, is a treat.

"I have opportunity to photograph a lot of horses, and it’s a fistful, a small percentage, that have a personality like he does. I think maybe that’s what made Barbaro the heartthrob of the racing industry, and I think Nicanor could have the opportunity to do the same thing. He shows the personality, the intelligence, and everybody is going to want to follow him."

"When I was at Stephens, it was my honor to capture him for the public. My attempt was to reveal what the public wanted to see, and from looking at the responses on the blog, I think I accomplished that. Somebody posted early on about the shot where he’d been drinking water, that he looked so much like Barbaro. To me, that was a reward. For me to capture him in a way that the public pictured him was really special."


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