By Brigid Morrissey

Kris is with her horse Bella who, along with her mom, was found in a pasture with no
food or water and severely underweight. Both were taken to Heartland Equine Rescue. 

It is said that the camera adds 10 pounds, but photographer Kris Warning wished the camera could add 1,000 pounds when she encountered her first rescue horse at a photography shoot. One of her friends bought the horse for $40 at an auction, but the price was based on weight Kris says, “I photographed the mare — who was skin and bones — to document it for my blog at the time, and see it in person for myself.”
A part-time photographer since 2011, Kris has been a horse owner for over a decade. Her portfolio contains family and senior portraits and anything nature-related, so it was a natural transition for her to combine two of her favorite hobbies.

In 2015, after purchasing a rescue horse of her own through Heartland Equine Rescue in Southern Indiana to train and nurture back to health, Kris began volunteering with the nonprofit organization. “I photograph at the organization to give my time and services, educate, and bring awareness to people in the horse world as well as the general public.” Kris points and clicks at equine events like endurance rides and open horse shows. “It’s great to see and hear about the second chance the horses have been given. All breeds from all circumstances can end up in a rescue situation. The commitment of such kind volunteers with big hearts is apparent by the lengths that they’ll go as far as time, money, and care in rehabilitation.”

Chance is a off the track thoroughbred who’s racing name is Strategic Aim. He is a permanent resident at
Heartland Equine Rescue. Photos by Patti Hartog 

Kris says her family has had two rescue dogs in addition to their horse, and so her children also have an awareness and appreciation for rescue animals. “It’s had an impact on them as well.”

Apart from her commitment to Heartland Equine Rescue, Kris belongs to the Equine Photographers Network and occupies a spot on its volunteer list for photographers for rescues. Throughout this experience, she has formed relationships with more than just the horses. “I’ve made a lot of connections. I have several friends in the business of horse rescue. I know someone who places off-the-track thoroughbreds. She reaches out to people who are looking to place their horses and networks to find them good homes.” It doesn’t matter where Kris volunteers; she is witness to some of life’s blessings. “It is beautiful to see the horses’ progression from when they first arrive to their adoption day.”

Heartland Equine Rescue welcomes donations and corporate sponsorships. If you’d like to give more than a check, you can go to its website. From there, you can find your niche. Although Kris has a particular endearment for horses, she maintains that you don’t need it to volunteer. “There doesn’t need to be a special reason to look at a rescue animal, whether it be a horse, dog, or cat. They’re amazing and deserve a loving home no matter what.”