Not that long ago…was it two summers ago? I watched the summer olympics and dreamt of being on a horse once again. I was quite taken with the eventing, and the fact that some of the riders were in their 50’s and beyond. “Maybe I can do that!” I thought to myself. (Hah!) But then the commentators would mention how this or that rider had suffered a fractured spine and had somehow come back to compete. My arthritic joints spoke up at this point and said, “Um, no.”
My riding days are behind me, but I can still indulge my abiding love for horses by occasionally letting them canter onto a canvas. They are very often present in my thoughts and it is fun to let them out once in awhile. This one, and his rider, trotted right out of my imagination so that will account for any awkward proportions. I hope you like my fiery steed! What lurks in your heart of hearts?
It isn’t just trees, with me. There also lurks in my heart a passion for horses, and I am fortunate enough to live near the Temple Lipizzan farm. As a child living in Brazil I saw these horses perform and it made an indelible impression on me. Many years later, when I was expecting my first child, I learned that they would be performing in Peoria where we lived at the time. My son was born shortly before the performance, so off I went, brand new baby in tow! You can imagine my delight then when I realized their home was very near mine when we moved to northern Illinois. I get to drive by and see the mares in their pasture this time of year, and wait with bated breath for the babies to begin to appear. They are born black, and over time turn classic white.
Here I’ve painted a stallion performing a piaffe~a collected trot in place. I’ve placed him next to the pillar on the one side, and indicated a tree beyond him. In the Spanish School of Riding the horses are taught a series of elegant dressage moves as well as “airs above ground” , moves that served to protect a rider in battle. The pillar represents the years of training a horse and rider undergo to be able to perform at this level. The tree represents nature, for these horses are not forced. The people who own Temple Farms are proud that sometimes their gleaming white horses have grass stains, and the movements are stylized versions of actions the horses do naturally. So a beautiful dancing Lipizzan is a wonderful union of nature and human endeavor.