Why does an animal so big and powerful submit to something smaller than it? And how is it humans and animals can share affection, even love with each other? I think there is a message in there, about closeness and trust.

This a portrait of family-friend Sonia Babic and her mare, Indie. Sonia lives on a farm, makes leather belts, and has three kids and two step-kids. Her job is training horses, and fixing problems in horses who have picked up bad habits. To watch her at work is mesmerising: she reads the horses and their behaviour, jumping on problems before they happen, keeping them close when she spots an issue. You could believe they are speaking to each other.

The portrait I have painted captures a moment where Sonia was draped herself over Indie’s back, just interacting with her, no training ropes or saddles. Sonia was stroking Indie’s chin and Indie was leaning in towards her, nuzzling her face. There is warmth and touch, and a little bit of danger. Here are two species leaning into each other.