JN Exclusive: Behind the Lens & In the Saddle With Giana Terranova

Twenty-three-year-old Giana Terranova has devoted the past four years of her life to capturing moments behind the lens, but this winter circuit she is balancing her growing career with her own competitive desires at WEF. She has picked up a lease for the season to help her pursue her own desires in the saddle, all while photographing some of the most beautiful horses in Wellington. JN caught up with Giana after taking home a tricolor in her first division ever with Over Easy at WEF to talk about how she juggles such a demanding but fulfilling schedule.

Where It All Began

The Southern California native’s love for horses was fueled by her grandmother, who signed Giana up for her first lessons when she was eight years old. It wasn’t until she was 14, however, that she began competing regularly when her parents purchased her first horse, Cooper, who she would show mostly on the local circuits. Giana was fascinated by photography and filmography at a young age and began a very popular YouTube channel to document her equine adventures. That love of film developed into a passion for still photography and she began taking photos at the age of 16.

Behind the Camera with Giana Terranova. Photo by Ariane Samson Photography

Upon graduating high school, Giana relocated to Savannah, Georgia to attend Savannah College of Art and Design to major in Equestrian Studies. There she rode for SCAD’s intercollegiate equestrian team and began training with Lauren Marcinkoski of Swamp Fox Farms. In an attempt to bring in some additional revenue, Giana began actively pursuing photography as a business under the name Giana Terranova Photography.

Little did she know, that bud of an idea blossomed into something spectacular. “This last year was when I officially went into full-time photographer and made it my one and only job! What started out as just a hobby to make some extra cash for horse shows ended up being a full-time career that actually is funding my horse show career as well!”

Tales of a Traveling Photographer

After graduating college, Giana returned home to Southern California and began training with Courtney Hurley of Hurley Equestrian. As her business took off, horse lovers all over the country reached out to Giana begging her to come to their locations to photograph their horses.

“Depending on the time of year, I can be pretty much all over the place. Besides Southern California I also make Northern California trips and Arizona trips. I usually come to Florida every winter, as well as stops in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina in the spring. Summer I normally do multiple trips Northeast, and I’m hoping to add to that list!”

Photo by Giana Terranova Photography

Giana couldn’t have been happier that her passion had developed into a career, but it did put a hold on her competitive desires for a while. “There’s always places to be, sessions to book, and I truly believe that constantly maintaining it and staying on that grind is what really has made my business grow as much as it has,” she shared with JN.

“However, it’s difficult for me to really find a horse that can truly be my partner because of it. I’m never really in one place for very long to be able to buy a horse or even maintain a long-term lease. Because of that I have to take what I can get, ride whatever comes along, and learn along the way!”

Giana showing her summer lease horse, Silbermond. Photo by Izzy Anderson

Ambitions Abound

Thanks to her connections with Swamp Fox Farms, Giana was able to pick up the ride on Over Easy, AKA Easy, a 15.2h Swedish Warmblood mare. The pairing that appears to be a great match as they started out their partnership together with a Reserve Champion in their warm up classes at WEF. “I’d definitely like to thank Lauren and Swamp Fox Farms for finding me a lease for my VERY particular situation,” Giana shared, “as well as Courtney Hurley for helping me become the rider I am today and getting me back into the ring competitively when I didn’t think it was possible before.”

Giana and Easy celebrating their win with Swamp Fox Farms trainer David Loman. Photo provided by Giana Terranova

2018 is the year that Giana plans to find a harmony between her riding and photography. “I’d really love to be able to compete consistently in the 3’ hunters at least for this year. I’d love to move up to the 3’6’’ eventually, but my ultimate goal is to be able to compete in the hunter derbies.”

As for her photography, she hopes that her travels take her to new places, even outside of the United States. “I always have to thank my amazing friends, family, and clients that have supported me throughout the years, spreading my work and my business all over. Without them, this company would be nothing but a fun idea I had as a teenager!”

And for those of us who have a passion we want to turn into a business one day, Giana leaves us with this nugget of wisdom. “I guess as cliché as it is: just don’t give up. Life is going to try and get in the way and throw curve balls and the best thing you can do is just keep on trucking along. As with most great things, there isn’t a quick way or short cut to success. Working with horses really gives us equestrians a front row view on how that concept works pretty well! If you are truly passionate about your idea for a business, it will succeed.”