Paula (Sanders) Shipman is not only a respected photographer and writer but she's also doing her bit to promote the sport of harness racing in her hometown of Richmond County in Virginia.
“I love harness racing and I enjoy promoting the sport both locally and nation-wide. I see it as my duty to educate people out there about the wonderful standardbred breed,”Shipman told Harnesslink.
The 41-year-old hasn’t always been hooked on harness racing. In fact she was raised amongst quarter horses but Shipman’s love affair of the standardbred started when her Mum – the late Mary Maree Sanders went and worked for Herbert Scott.
“He was a hard working trainer who bred, broke, trained and raced his own team. That’s when I became hooked on standardbreds. They are such beautiful animals – I’m absolutely in love with them,” Shipman said.
“I have a real love affair with them. My Mum (Mary Maree Sanders), who was taken by cancer in 2008, was also an avid horsewoman. I think her love for standardbreds and horses in general, trickled on down to me,” she added.
Shipman, who owns the Seven Diamonds Photography business, has two retired standardbreds at her home, and rates them her best friends after her sons Evan (14) and Ryan(12).
Stirseventimes (aka Nutty) is a 9-year-old Stir Fry gelding who win nine races and went 1:52.3, while Nancy’s Diamond (aka Momma) is a10-year-old mare who raced twice for no placings.
“I absolutely love those two horses. They play a huge part in my life. I’ve had ‘Momma’ for two years and Nutty since 2008, but have taken care of him since he was two. In fact I think I rate those two horses ahead of a lot of people I know – that’s how much I love them - especially Mutty,” Shipman said.
Shipman writes regular harness racing blogs on her Facebook page (Paula Shipman) and also writes for the Chesapeake Style Magazine - http://www.chesapeakestyle.com.
She has also written two stories for Hoof Beats magazine, and also had photographs published in that American-wide magazine.
“All I want to do is promote harness racing. We are always second choice behind thoroughbred racing and I want to introduce and educate people about our wonderful sport.
“This article will also help my cause. The people in harness racing are so nice. I’ll never forget meeting George Teague for the first time. What a gracious and friendly man he is. More people need to know about horseman like him. I’m really on a mission,” Shipman said.
Shipman lives about 90 minutes from Colonial Downs and about two hours from Rosecroft Raceway.
“I use your website everyday so I can keep up with harness racing throughout the world. It is so informative and interesting. I really enjoy it,” Shipman said.
Ironically for a woman so talented behind the camera, Shipman was not so forthright when asked to supply a photo of herself.
“Really? Idon’t have many. I’d rather be on the other side of the lens,” she joked.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
(1) Chesapeake Virginia:
(2) The art of quality photography – something Paula Shipman is only too well aware of: