Rio picture earns snapper top gong

Winning shot: Philippe Rozier rides Rahotep De Toscane to team gold at the Rio Olympics PICTURE: LIBBY LAW PHOTOGRAPHY

A pro equestrian photographer with deep links to Queenstown has snapped up a top international award.

Libby Law won the Silver Camera Award, for the best horse sport shot of 2016, at the prestigious World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany, last Saturday.

Law, who spends six months a year covering events in Europe but calls Queenstown home, captured a fist-pumping French rider Philippe Rozier riding a bouncing Rahotep De Toscane to a team show jumping gold at the Rio Olympics last August.

Snap-tastic: Libby Law in action

The striking shot was chosen from 100 submitted by pro shooters from around the world.

“Just to be a finalist in it is phenomenal – it’s mind-blowing,” Law says from Germany.

It was the horse that shone in the award-winning shot, in a rare combination of horse and rider celebrating.

“That photo stood out to me as soon as I’d taken it because of the fact that the horse was so energetic after jumping this massive round and he did this big buck and a cheer for himself as he came through the flags.

“That frame is perfect for the horse – but I wish Philippe’s arm was higher.”

Equestrian Sports New Zealand boss Dana Kirkpatrick calls the win an “amazing achievement” and possibly a first for a NZer.

Law’s early mentor Andrew Cornaga, of Kiwi photo agency Photosport, says she stood out for her enthusiasm.

“Years ago, we made it a goal for her to get to the Rio Olympics – which is where she shot that picture.

“I’m really proud of her, it’s great.

“She’s come a long way in a relatively short space of time but that’s all down to how hard she’s worked.”

Law first moved to Queenstown with sister Charlotte Graf in 1995 and most recently worked for skydiving company NZone. Her sister Kate and mother Colleen also live in the resort.

Next month’s European Eventing Championships in Strezgom, Poland, is Law’s first official assignment for equestrian’s governing body FEI.

In a testament to her professionalism, she’s tempted to use her 2500 euros Silver Camera prize money to follow NZ rider Sam McIntosh to an event in Spain.

Disclosure: Libby Law is a close friend of the writer