I Took the Winter Off From Photography
I know! Not even a "real business" for a year and I already took a sabbatical. It's okay, we're all thinking it. How in the world do you expect to run a business if you aren't working 25 hours a day every day of your life?
It turns out, it works a little better for me when I don't. I am very prone to burnout (just ask my watercolors that have sat in a drawer for a year) and very prone to people-pleasing. I had considered trying to power through the winter with all kinds of fun ideas for mini sessions, artistic shots, some snow day fun... but every time I thought about it, the timing just wasn't quite right. I got sick right after Thanksgiving when I had really been hoping to do some Christmas themed stuff. December ended up being busy anyway, and by January I was really feeling the Big SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and just didn't really want to do anything. I won't get into it too much, but sometimes leaving the house (or even just my car) can be really, really hard. Especially in the winter, when the air hurts my face.
Fortunately, I had a few other Indoor activities to keep me busy. Awhile ago, my friend Samantha of Bay Acres Morgan Farm reached out to me about the launch of their new program. She had applied and been awarded the Bay Acres Morgan Farm prefix, purchased the stallion of her dreams, "Play the Odds" (Vegas), and was ready to get her new business online! As a morgan horse owner and lover, this was an absolute dream project. Samantha and Saige have been hard at work seeking out sporty morgan horse breeding that could excel in the show ring at dressage, working western, and other similar "sport horse" events. I'll try not to sound too biased, but the versatility and "sportiness" is one of my favorite things about the morgan breed. When I brought home Gilligan (my Forever Morgans rescue pony), he was a 6 year old blank slate. His pedigree is full of fancy saddleseat show horses (a tribute to Debbie Donahoo's wonderful breeding program), and while I briefly considered trying to learn to ride saddleseat, we all know that my heart is in doing All The Things, especially in the "sport horse" category. Eventually we found ourselves showing at ARHA recognized shows and scoring well in cattle and reining classes, which is how we managed to make some more morgan horse connections including Samantha. Samantha is one of the most genuine, kind, and supportive proponents of the morgan horse that you will ever meet. She and I had so many conversations about the breed and how these horses will try their hearts out, no matter what direction you point them. Her focus is more dressage based, so when I started taking dressage lessons on Gilligan, we had even more to talk about! Her passion for improving each individual horse through excellent care and a correct, dressage-based foundation has led her so naturally into starting a breeding program focused on correct, classic morgan horses that will excel as both show and pleasure horses.
First, a Logo
With these values in mind, creating a logo was our first step in identifying the Bay Acres brand. We hopped on a video call and started brainstorming. How could you portray everything that is unique to their program? We toyed with the idea of showcasing morgan dressage horses, button braids, and fancy trots. See below for some sketchy sketch ideas that never made it out the gate- all very "morgan," but not quite personal enough! We wanted to highlight this new program, not a generic concept. We tried a few things, but I just didn't feel like we were honoring Samantha and Saige's vision quite yet.
Eventually, inspiration struck when I stumbled across a photo of Vegas that just screamed "draw me." Something about it just screamed their name.
I mean LOOK at him.
Every time Samantha describes Vegas, you can hear how much this handsome gentleman means to her. I'll let her tell her own stories about him (stay tuned for her blog updates!), but it has been clear that his personality is just as big as his movement. Looking at this picture made me realize that he is the heart and soul of this new program, and his legacy will live on thanks to Samantha and Saige.
Behold... a Horse!
Wait... That's Not Their Logo, Though!
Correct! If you've ever created an art project based around an idea, you might know that you rarely get it right the first time. This was a step that led us somewhere, though. Incorporating Vegas into their identity made Samantha and Saige realize just how much this stallion mattered to them. So much, in fact, that we had to show off his handsome face!
Okay, for Real This Time.
The photo to the right served as our ultimate inspiration. This handsome stud has stamped morgan history already, so why not own that? We decided to pay tribute to his kind features, tippy morgan ears, and proud, stretchy neck. You can read more about him here, or follow the new Bay Acres Morgan Farm social media channels where he will be making regular appearances.
A Logo for Bay Acres Morgan Farm
The final logo ended up being a little quirky, a little "young" and fresh, and very personal. Paying homage to not only Vegas but their beautiful Montana ranch meant so much to Samantha and Saige. We chose colors that would reflect Vegas's gorgeous flaxen chestnut coat as well as the serene Montana scenery. Finally, we were ready to go!
After finalizing the logo, the website came together like a dream. The cover features some beautiful photos of Vegas captured by Shayna of MT Chic Photography, so it felt like the site was designing itself. We integrated pages about the Bay Acres broodmares, geldings, and even a blog where Samantha can continue sharing her deep knowledge and enthusiasm for morgan horse breeding, training, and history. We have plans to continue developing it once Shayna can get some "summer coat" photos of the herd, but for now, Samantha and Saige have a website that reflects exactly who they are and what they plan to achieve. Go check them out!