Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gill Kapadia, Equestrian Writer & Freelance Photo Journalist

From the United Kingdom, Gill Kapadia is a successful Equestrian Writer as well as a Freelance Photo Journalist, showcasing her beautiful photos in magazines such as Horse and Hound, Macclesfield Express, and Chapter 5 Magazine, to name a few. A member of the British Equestrian Writers Association, Gill has experience in all aspects of print and broadcast media.

Gill writes, “I worked for many years as a BBC TV and Radio news reporter and producer covering all types of stories from hard news to celebrity interviews. I was a member of the award winning team at BBC Northwest Tonight, based in Manchester, where my role included setting up, filming and voicing news reports to be broadcast on TV and Radio news bulletins as well as the main evening programme. I supplied material for the Today Programme and PM on BBC Radio 4 and presented news bulletins at various BBC local radio stations around the country. More recently, I have become a freelance reporter, working as a correspondent for Horse and Hound and Showing World magazines; I write and edit Chapter 5, the company magazine for WJ Group, the largest road marking company in the UK and I source and supply news stories to various media outlets.”

With Gill’s experience in PR, marketing, and connection with various charity fund raising events, she is an expert in her field. As a showing correspondent for Horse and Hound magazine, she covers “some of the biggest and most prestigious horse shows in the country.”

Welcome Gill!

GM: As a photojournalist, what has been your most exciting assignment to date? 
GK: I travelled around India for a year on a series of commissions for travel magazines and it was a truly amazing experience. I worked with a documentary maker who was making a film about the nomadic people of the Himalayas and we trekked for days up into the mountains, taking film footage and photographs and learning about their way of life. The landscapes and the people were truly awe inspiring. The icing on the cake was living on a houseboat on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and I would love to go back one day with my children so they can see for themselves why I fell in love with it!

GM: As a horse-lover, what horse topic do you enjoy writing?
GK: I am lucky to be a showing correspondent for Horse and Hound magazine. I love attending the big shows with their busy atmosphere and ringside attractions and meeting the people and their horses and hearing all the stories behind the successes! Many outsiders think the showing discipline is an equestrian soft option, but it really isn`t! I have been amazed by the lengths some people have had to go to get their highly strung superstars to behave on that all important big occasion. One producer was forced to stand with one of his horses in a tractor shed, with the said machine going full throttle with lights flashing and siren blaring! The pony had had, until this point, a complete noise phobia but went on to stand supreme champion at the British Show Pony Society Championship show; the final was held in a giant marquee with music and spotlights! The pony stood like a rock.

GM: You have a great history with horses. Do you have a horse anecdote to share?
GK: My parents were not horsey in any way but after years of me nagging, they finally gave in and bought me a lovely little welsh pony called Bubbles. I had years of fun going to pony club and local riding club shows, where I met friends who I still have to this day. When our children were born, I wanted them to have ponies too because I think it is a wonderful lifestyle and teaches us the importance of being responsible for the well-being of another creature. It turned out that my children were a lot more talented than me and they all were fortunate to win their classes at the Horse of the Year Show in 2006; watching them come down the centre line at that incredible event was the proudest moment of my life.

GM: What are you currently writing? 
GK: I am toying with the idea of writing my first novel but it may have to wait until the winter when we are less busy with our ponies. I am working for Horse and Hound as a showing correspondent and writing copy on all manner of topics for my various clients.

GM: What are you currently reading? 
GK: The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes. Moving and poignant story about the love between a girl and her horse, and her grandfather who had once been a member of the Cadre Noir. 

GM: In all the world, where have you been? 
GK: I was a bit of a travel junkie and liked nothing better to escape with my rucksack and a one-way plane/train/boat ticket!! I have travelled all over Europe and North Africa as well as Turkey. I spent many happy months in India, Nepal and Ladakh. My husband and I went to Thailand for our honeymoon and spent three weeks trekking and white water rafting. He wasn`t at all sure about the whole back-packing malarkey before we went but was a complete convert by the time we had finished! I would love to visit Tibet and South America, particularly Peru and Machu Picchu.

GM: Have you written about your travels?
GK: I have written and produced broadcast pieces about my travels. My favourite was doing a radio piece for the BBC about the island of Kerkennah, off the coast of Tunisia. We borrowed two beautiful Arab horses and went galloping through the sea. I couldn`t get the sound effects on board the horse as I was worried about getting the equipment wet so after we had finished our ride, I made my husband leap around in the water pretending to be a horse so I could record him! I also managed to record a camel roaring at very close range which sounded brilliant when we played it back in the studio! I think the other guests thought I was bit mad, but that goes with the territory!

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
GK: To me, horsemanship means working to achieve harmony between horse and rider in whatever discipline we choose to follow. I watched Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro at the 2012 London Olympics and I was bowled over by the lightness and sympathy of her riding.

Gina McKnight is an author and freelance writer from USA.

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