Before she fell in love with him, she fell in love with a horse. And because he loves her, he loves the horse too. So lucky Raz, the pinto Arabian horse, got to be a pivotal part of Jackie and Austin’s horseback riding engagement session in Catalina State Park.
Jackie and Austin are a classic love story if ever there was one. These high school sweethearts have committed their lives to one another even through their time apart while Austin has been pursuing his education and career as a soldier at West Point Military Academy. Their long-distance relationship has only made their time together more precious. Austin didn’t waste a moment when he carefully planned his proposal over a picnic in a Paris, France orchard. (Yes, my friends. A picnic. In a blossoming orchard. In Paris. France. I know, I know, I was blown away too. I don’t have to tell you that I wish I could have photographed that!!)
For their engagement session on the other hand, Jackie and Austin opted for the rustic beauty of the Arizona desert. Specifically, Catalina State Park. Catalina State Park offers a wonderful diversity of views for both campers and day visitors including tall saguaros, scenic mountain views, and a beautiful wash of white sand that hosts a river in the monsoon season.
Catalina State Park is also one of the most equine-friendly parks in the Tucson area with day use horse pens and easy trailer parking as well as a variety horse-friendly trails. Jackie’s horse, Raz, has been her sidekick for over a decade and a source of companionship and comfort for her while Austin is away. Naturally he played a roll in their horseback riding engagement session! He was such a good sport too, never complaining and totally game for a little bareback run at the end of our session. Austin has grown up with horses too and he shares in Jackie’s passion for them. (I suspect this is in no small part simply because they make Jackie happy).
You might recognize Jackie, Austin, and Raz from my intro video on the main page of my website! They were so much fun to work with, they were the perfect candidates for documenting a typical engagement session experience with Folly Photography. (If you haven’t seen it yet just click on the logo at the top of the page to take you there or watch it here on Vimeo!)
When Austin graduates from West Point this spring he and Jackie will have a church wedding in Phoenix with no equine guests, but it’s sure to be a day to remember just the same. I can’t wait to document the “I do’s” for these two special people – beautiful both outside and in!
Catalina State Park has a wonderful selection of trails for a horseback riding engagement session including the 50-year trail, pictured in these photos. The trail is very popular with bicyclists in the area and we saw our fair share. They were a bit of a distraction for the horses, but we used it to our advantage as evidenced in the photo below!
No horseback riding engagement session would be complete without a little bareback riding! Mr. Raz trailered like a gentleman over the wash and obliged us with a little saddle-free modeling. He was really so sweet! But he still has a good bit of hustle for his age! If you haven’t seen it yet, you can see him and Jackie display some bareback horsemanship in my intro video!
Catalina State Park really is such a beautiful destination for anyone visiting the Tucson area! Just look at this desert light! And is Austin good at making his lady laugh or what? That’s a skill that will make a marriage last, no doubt.
Want to see more images from Jackie and Austin’s horseback riding engagement session in Catalina State Park? Watch their full video below! (For best viewing, click HD!)
Oh my word – they are beautiful! I love the details of their love story that you shared. (Paris….really?! *sigh*)
Wow! What a fun engagement session. Love the pictures!
Wow!!! What an amazing session! The desert looks incredible and you got to work with horses soo perfect
What a beautiful engagement session! The Arizona desert, horses and a gorgeous couple…what more can you ask for!
What a romantic engagement session! Beautiful couple and horses!
What a sweet story! Gorgeous images!
Great love story and beautiful couple.
Such a beautiful and unique photoshoot! They are also a gorgeous couple!
This engagement session is so cute. I love the one of them laughing.
These photos look like they came from a magazine!
Good GRIEF this is gorgeous! Beautiful desert light, and a gorgeous couple. I have to know – did you get to ride as well??
Not this time Alexandra! I wish! ????
These are lovely! More people should include horses in their engagement sessions! <3
These photos are all SO stunning. I love their love story and that slideshow bit at the end is amazing!
This light, the scene and those horses! What a dream to photograph!
So beautiful! I love horses and love how you photograph them with the couple
this is such a gorgeous session! great work!
this horseback riding engagement session looks so romantic! you killed it!
I grew up riding horses, this makes me miss it so much!!
The nicest thing is that they are as beautiful inside as they are out. This is just a reflection of their actual lives that are filled with love, duty, honor and commitment to God. You captured it perfectly.