Wellington’s Dragoon and some equine superstars.
An update on the progress of our next release: ‘To The Douro’ by David J Blackmore will be the first instalment in the ‘Wellington’s Dragoon’ series.
David J Blackmore on the redoubtable Johnny
Last week we found ourselves in Eastrington, East Yorkshire, the home of Atkinson Action Horses. We were there for a photo shoot with David Blackmore, the author of our next scheduled release, ‘To The Douro’, the first instalment in the ‘Wellington’s Dragoon’ series, a historical adventure covering of the exploits of Michael Roberts, an officer in the 16th Light Dragoons during the Peninsular war, (that’s the Napoleonic period, for those of you who are not historians).
David preparing for the photo shoot
On arrival, we found David had just finished dressing into his dragoon's uniform. After much searching, he had managed to find a tarleton helmet (though he informed us that the braid was the wrong colour for the exact period). This was not a big issue, one would have thought, but as David is a historian, with several published Military History volumes under his belt, he felt the need to point it out to us so that the colour could be adjusted in the photographs in post-production, so that the illustration on the cover would be historically accurate.
This level of accuracy, along with David’s knowledge and understanding of the period is one of the things that makes the book stand out from many historical adventures about the period. Whilst working on edits and formatting of the book, I felt immersed in the world in which it is set, and thoroughly enjoyed the exciting tale.
David worked for many years as Registrar at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds. He has several non-fiction books out in print on the subject of Military History. He also spent many years as part of the Re-enactment scene, bringing an expertise to the field, that is widely respected to this day.
His mount, for the photo shoot was Johnny, a fine horse on whom David spends many hours ‘becoming a better rider than he was yesterday’, as he says modestly. The bond between horse and rider is apparent, indeed Johnny became the inspiration for the horse used by the main protagonist in the books.
Once David’s uniform and Johnny’s tack was prepared, we made our way out into the field to begin the photo shoot proper. We spent a little time getting Johnny used to our presence, which didn’t take long. The animals at Atkinson Action Horses are used to the rigours of filming, indeed, many of them are genuine equine superstars, having appeared in productions such as Peaky Blinders, All Creatures Great and Small, Poldark, The Witcher, The Lost King and countless other productions and events.
Ben Atkinson, of Atkinson Action Horses
Whilst there, we met one of the chief trainers and riders there, Ben Atkinson. To even list Ben’s achievements and skills would take a whole blog post, so I’ve put a link at the bottom of this post to find out more about Atkinson Action Horses.
Our main objective was to get action shots that can be turned into an illustration for the book cover. After a few practice runs , we got some photos of Johnny galloping by with David on his back, sometimes using various bits of equipment such as his pistol or Cavalry sabre, thundering by, first on one side and then the other.
After the main shoot, during which our photographer, the lovely Emma, bravely knelt on the ground being repeatedly charged by a mounted Dragoon, armed with a sabre, she got some stills of the attire that David was wearing, and the equipment that he carried.
Out of roughly 280 photos taken,
she will narrow it down to just a handful, so that David and the team at Brindle Books can put our heads together and produce a suitable cover for the book.
Wellington’s Dragoon, Book 1: ‘To the Douro’ is set for release on 12th May 2022, (the anniversary of the Crossing of The Douro by British Forces fighting Napoleon’s army).
To find out more about David Blackmore, you can find his blog by clicking the following link:
To find out about David’s non-fiction books, you can use the following link:
To find out more about Atkinson Action Horses, you can use the link below: