Richard Dunwoody’s Unique Journey

Every so often one hears the story of an artist’s unique journey to find his voice. Richard Dunwoody’s transition from holding the reins of thoroughbred racehorses to holding professional cameras is one such tale. Born in Comber, Northern Ireland, Dunwoody was 12 when he started riding racehorses and rode in his first race as an amateur in 1982. He turned professional two years later and won his first Grand National on West Tip in 1986.

Dunwoody, now 50, became the only jockey of his generation to win the “Big Three” following wins on Charter Party (Gold Cup 1988) and Kribensis (Champion Hurdle 1990). After numerous victories and several serious falls, he retired in 1999 after a doctor warned of severe consequences to his damaged neck should he fall again.

Not one to remain couch-bound during retirement, Dunwoody travelled extensively and undertook expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic. In 2003 he competed in the inaugural Polar Race to the Magnetic North Pole and in 2008 he completed an unsupported expedition to the South Pole, travelling 680 miles on skis.

Besides horses and adventure travel, Dunwoody had always been passionate about photography and decided to make that his new career. In 2011 he completed an intensive nine-month photojournalism course at the Spéos Photographic Institute in Paris, and hasn’t looked back since. As a professional photographer he’s travelled to Afghanistan, Mongolia, and a dozen or so other countries. Early this year he held his first exhibition at St. Martin’s in the Fields in London in support of the Brooke Hospital for animals.

While Dunwoody occasionally misses his life as a jockey, he says “I prefer taking photos of horses rather than being on them; certainly at the Mongol Derby where the ponies rear up and it’s all a bit crazy. This is more sane.” To learn more about Richard Dunwoody’s remarkable journey and view his exceptional images I encourage everyone to visit his website at