Friday, May 10, 2013


I think I can make a case for the genetic inheritance of love for horses. My older sister was just a toddler when my parents visited a large stable where racing horses were kept. Many of these were high strung horses whose handlers even had difficulty controlling at times. As my parents were being shown around the facility, they lost track of my sister, who had wandered into a barn and into the stall of one particularly bad-tempered stallion. When they found her, she was underneath the belly of this stallion that was standing absolutely still as she patted him. Everyone who knew this horse was astounded that my sister had not been trampled to death by him. To this day, she still loves horses.

My dad enjoyed all horse races, and particularly the ones where the jockey is in the little cart that is attached to the horse (harness racing). Saturdays meant the T.V. was tuned to horse racing and/or hockey. I preferred the horses over the hockey, and I distinctly remember my excitement the first and only time my dad took me to a live horserace. It was a whole new world of sounds, smells, and levels of excitement I had not experienced before! As the horses were paraded before the race, my dad would talk about their build, their racing history, and a whole lot of other details that faded from my hearing. I simply wanted to watch them walk, canter, gallop. I wanted to touch them and even ride them myself.

As a teenager, I was able to get drives to the outskirts of the city where I lived to a farm/stable that had horses to ride. All of my hard earned money went toward paying to saddle and ride those majestic creatures, then brush them afterward. I'm sure the horses were old and worn out, but to me they were as commanding of respect as if they were in their prime and from a top line of breeding.

My granddaughter has an affinity and deep love for horses which has been evident from the time she could first talk and walk. When she was only 4 or 5 years old, she was taking riding lessons - a tiny little girl on top of a huge animal. Horses LOVE her, whinny to call her, puff over the top of her head on her hair, and allow her to ride them when they won't tolerate others! 

So, all of this to say, is it any wonder when I saw this beautiful horse standing in the late afternoon sun, with his coat "on fire" with color, I had to get a photo that captured his beauty. The look in his eyes, the turn of his head, his all was just so perfect and struck such a chord in my heart! 

As I painted this creature, I found myself reflecting on how the love of horses has been a part of my family for several generations. Both my sister and my granddaughter were too young to have been influenced by external teaching when they showed their connection to horses. I think it is in the genes. I am so glad I got to paint this majestic first horse painting, filled with a lot of meaning and even "history" for me. 

30" x 40"
oil on gallery wrap canvas

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