Sunday, September 20, 2009
Remembering Willie - oil on canvas board
Twenty years ago tomorrow, September 21, 1989, I bought my horse, Scottie. This date represents not only my return to horse ownership, but also to the world of horses in general and to horse art in particular.
I bought my first horse when I was 12 but had a bad riding accident a few months later which completely destroyed what little confidence I’d managed to build up. The following summer I sold Willie when it became clear that she was just too much horse for me, and I didn’t ride much after that. That decision haunted me for decades to come until the summer of 1989 when I decided that it was time to face my fear of riding and find out once and for all if I could overcome it.
I found a sympathetic riding instructor and began riding lessons on a wonderful sorrel horse named Scottie. The first day at that barn I had an overwhelming feeling of coming home to something that I had lost many years ago, and I vowed never to give it up again. Six weeks later I bought Scottie, and we began our journey together. He was only four years old at the time and was still very green, but he was very laid back and safe for anyone to ride. Even so, the first two years were difficult ones as Scottie tested me constantly to see how much he could get away with. I learned that if I persisted with him, he quickly gave up and did as I asked. That alone helped to build my confidence, even after a few inevitable spills. Eventually, he quit testing me and Scottie turned out to be the perfect horse for me.
Through my new horse ownership status, I met other horse people, and it wasn’t long before I began to do horse portraits and attend horse shows and events. My childhood dream of becoming an equine artist was realized, and I haven’t looked back since, no matter how bumpy the road.
I confess, however, that the past two years were a bit of a bumpy road, and I found it difficult to get myself to the barn. This summer my enthusiasm for riding has returned, and I’m once again going on trail rides and having a ball.
Yesterday was our first annual group birthday celebration at the barn. It began with a beautiful fall trail ride through the woods and fields and ended with a delicious potluck lunch back at the barn. I think it’s safe to say that all of us “mature” ladies enjoy each other’s company and look forward to our next outing together when the fall colors will be at their peak. There is no better trail riding than at this time of year when the woods are ablaze with color, the temperatures are comfortable and the bugs are few.
On this ride I took along a small digital camera and share a few of those shots with you below. This camera has definite limits, but you can get an idea of what our rides are like here, minus the uphill and downhill parts. It’s really hard to get shots going downhill when your horse is pitching back and forth or going uphill at a full gallop.
Here we are leaving the barn on a beautiful Fall day.
Here we stopped to let the horses pick apples right off the tree.
The driveway looks mighty long and steep at the end of a ride.
Our group photo. Scottie and I are on the far right.