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As we drove to Gale's farm to meet her Morgan horse, Trigger, I couldn't help marveling at the beautiful rocks and ferns along the roadway. What a mysteriously woody area that section of New York is! I love woods with low plant growth -- so perfect for horseback rides--especially when they are dotted with bulky rock formations. Driving into Gale's farm, we saw lots of beautiful spot for photos!
We found Trigger, a dark Palomino gelding, in the barn where Paul, the farm manager, was prepping Trigger for his photo shoot. Gale had written, "Trigger.. is a very handsome sum of his quirky parts: crooked nose, saddlebag sides, wide tabletop back, split mane and pigeon toe. Those who see him do a double take, for his charisma and presence can't be ignored and his dapples, even more pronounced in winter, are charming....His eye is large and rimmed with black as if he primps before the mirror each morning."
Paul promised to take us to lots of scenic backdrops for our photo shoot, so we set off following him as he led Trigger down the drive. We ended up at a beautiful lake -- one of two we'd get to use for photos. As we hiked through the farm Trigger posed on steep hilltops, beside pines, deciduous trees, and cliffs surrounded by rocks and ferns! This was so fun! And Trigger seemed to enjoy the tour of the farm as much as we did! Paul was an entertaining guide and posed Trigger in the most perfect spots! I loved the backdrop with the huge rocks and ferns the best, and chose that for Trigger's painting.
Gale send a poem that her friend, Ellen Lewis wrote about Trigger. Here it is:
He stands fourteen three hands and sniffs my pockets.
He is looking for carrots, or apple chips or a piece of me.
He has that.
He sucks in my heart and I can smell the space that surrounds us.
Manure and wet fur and autumn air and the bond we feel being there.
He is strong and pushes the other horses out of the way
and I need to tell him that's not the way to treat a friend
and he listens and then does it again
and they move out of the space and let him have his way.
It's an agreement they have.
The herd respects the needs of each horse and fills the place with absolute grace.
Watch them and we will all know a better place.
- - Ellen Lewis
Paul, who is the farm manager who helped me so gallantly with Trigger's photos shoot [see left], casually mentioned that he did not see any Spanish horses on the Beautiful Horses of New York agenda. Regretfully, I acknowledged he was correct, none had been nominated. Then Paul mentioned that he had a Peruvian Paso - Napoleon - who lived at the farm! He said he'd be willing to show me Napoleon after Trigger's photos were completed. YES! I do love Spanish horses! And Napoleon was fantastic! Here's his portrait.
Secret's Rising Eagle, "Hawk"
Hawk and his owner Viola ride in the Rockefeller State Park, which has 54 miles of carriage trails and footing made just for horses! What a paradise for horse lovers. And Hawk is popular at the park! Viola writes, "When I ride him in Rockefeller State Park people always tell me how 'beautiful' he is and always ask to take a picture of him. He stands proudly to allow them to take their photos and is very willing to pose with people young and small. He will allow small children to come up and hug and pet him, never moving a muscle, so that they are not afraid of him."
Hawk was a gem for me when I was taking his picture too! He loved racing around the large arena at his stable (which is right next door to Rockefeller State Park) stirring up clouds of dust! He was gleaming in the sunlight, showing off his lovely sorrel and white paint coat!
Viola and Hawk on the trail leading from the stable to Rockefeller State Park.
Wild Mustangs are so symbolic of the American West. Getting to attend a wild horse roundup last summer was a dream come true. It was so exciting to see the horses roaming the desert of Wyoming. But it is equally thrilling for me to get to visit Mustangs who have been adopted and now live in more “stable” homes. It’s enlightening to see how well they adapt to being pampered! One such Mustang, who is now and Easterner, is Soldier. His owner Hailee
“Soldier is an American born and bred wild mustang! We had the pleasure of adopting him when he was 3 through a BLM online auction. He was born in a herd that roamed the plains of Nevada and then was trained by inmates in Colorado before taking the long road cross country to join us. Today we doubt that Soldier ever lived in the wild as he sticks his head out of his half gate nuzzling everyone who walks past him for treats. Soldier enjoys everything about lining in NY in a stall and working in a ring. A fancy little mustang, Soldier has won
“Soldier is a wonderful pony and a blast to have in the barn. He is the ultimate sweetheart who can warm any girl’s heart. He is always good for a hug and a leisurely stroll in the woods.”
Zips Mystic Knight, "Gradee"
Susan nominated her American Quarter Horse, Zips Mystic Knight (barn name Gradee , GB, or Gorgeous Boy) writing, "Gradee has earned his very affectionate nicknames of 'GB' or Gorgeous Boy. He is sweet, smart & takes care of me when I'm on board! In his early days, he had some hard times that affected his self-confidence but now he happily enjoys his monthly Reiki sessions & gives me lots of feedback to better love him more. He knows my whistle and the difference between when I call him Gradee, 'GB' or Gorgeous Boy. His smile & knicker tell all! His sleek, almost black body moves softly when under saddle or in-hand, yet strong & powerfully when turned out."
Gradee was literally gleaming in the aisle of his barn when I arrived to take his photo. Susan and two members of his fan club were busily brushing, combing, spraying, banding (his mane) and just beautifying him til he sparkled! He looked GORGEOUS!
And once we went out in the sunlight, Gradee glistened! I wanted to capture all the colors reflected in his coat, so in his painting he is a rainbow of dark colors.
Speaking of sparkling, Susan summed up her nomination with: "Gradee's light shines from within which is what makes him truly a Gorgeous Boy to all who behold him."
Gradee and Susan
This young Thoroughbred filly is inquisitive and cute! Shocking Truth, as her owner Harmonie wrote, "is beautiful to me because no matter what kind of day I'm having she can always cheer me up. She loves to nuzzle me and gives hugs to show me that everything will be okay."
Shocking Truth is a real sweetie!
Shocking Truth and Harmonie
Raffael, a beautiful black Arab/Saddlebred gelding, found his home with Lorraine by chance and destiny. Here's Lorraine and Raffael's story:
"... a friend felt I needed a third horse, my sweet aged Arab mare and her little stable mate a small gray gelding are getting up in age. She told me of a young, white Arab needing a home. Turns out the rescue place had a similar name to another rescue so when I called the number I got from phone information, the lady said no young Arabs here but we have an adorable black Arab/Saddlebred cross for adoption.
"When we went to meet Raffael, we were told of his horrific existence while still within his Dams womb, then shown the article of the seizure. In the next field was a bedraggled but still stunning black Arab mare obviously in foal. When I asked the owner if she was for sale, he said no, she was just getting thru the rough winter, she'd be fine. We offered him a grand and a promise of a good home to no avail. We left feeling sick. Next thing I know here I am looking to adopt this lucky-to-be-alive little guy and his Dam -- totally healthy under the care of these people!
"Not only is Raffael the most refined beautiful creature ever to grace my presence, he is of the sweetest nature and smart as he is gorgeous!! Wonderful with my small grandchildren, the farrier loves him, vets too.
"His finest quality is showing now. Our little gelding Zeus was injured two weeks ago, spent a week at a vet. facility, came home to maybe a month of stall rest. Raffael has been a constant companion to him. We dreaded the isolation, Raff has kept Zeus totally content, only leaving Zeus to drink or get his occasional roll in. Instead of taking his position by the feed shack at feeding time he trots up to the barn and waits to be fed next to the stall we added to our turn-out for Zeus!! He looks so majestic poised by his little buddy not knowing for sure why, just being his best bud! He is a true creature of Beauty inside & out!!"
Lorraine and Raffael
Ruby Sue - "Specialty Zip"
Ruby Sue is a Paint mare whose registered name is Specialty Zip. Just 13, she was rescued from a meat buyer at a horse auction, and has become a star performer for her young nine-year-old owner, Emily! The two have been Champions or Reserve Champions in every show since they teamed up two years ago!
Emily and Ruby Sue
Apollo and Lorenzo
Lisa's Thoroughbred geldings, Apollo and Lorenzo, are very special horses. Lisa wrote:
"When I look back, I had a pretty great childhood growing up. I had my own pony, I went to a good school, got good grades, went to college and then went to grad school. I graduated from grad school and got my first 'real' job at 24.
Describing Lorenzo, her chestnut Thoroughbred, Lisa wrote:
"In 2006 I found out about a big horse that had been injured at the racetrack and was headed for an uncertain destiny. Lorenzo had won over $75,000 but became disposable to his owners after being injured while racing. My best friend Joanne and I went to meet him. At 17.1 hands, Lorenzo was very intimidating to Joanne who had very little horse experience. She talked me into buying him even though I knew he would never be used for anything but maybe light riding.
"A year ago Apollo developed a condition that made him unrideable. I often hear people say 'why don't you just get rid of that horse if you can't ride him?' What these people don't understand is that Apollo was there for me through the toughest times in my life and therefore I will be there for him during his tough times."
Lisa pointed out that dark bay Apollo, has a white "fat cat" blaze. Can you see the big fat cat sitting with his back to you? The cat ears and the big tail?
Lorenzo, Lisa and Apollo
All Grit, "Austin"
All Grit is a mahogany Thoroughbred with a lush mane and tail. His owner Lia wrote that he "loves performing and showing off" and he did enjoy being photographed! Here he's showing off not just from me, but also for the horses in the next door pasture -- although they seem content to be grazing instead of running.
Lia and All Grit
Heavenly colors — amethyst, sapphire, and ruby — fill my painting of Gus, a grulla mustang who is part of the Beautiful Horses of New
The book refers to Revelations where heaven's wall is described as having 12 layers— each with a different type of gem. I didn't recognize many of the gems' names, so I Googled them all. They are beautiful! I wanted to see them all together, so I made a board with them on Pinterest. I'm planning to use many of these colors in future paintings!!
Gus was the perfect horse for my first painting with heavenly colors. His grulla coat is a mixture of blues and purples complimented by his dark mane and face. Mustangs come in amazing color! Gus’ owner, Sharon, found him on the internet and traveled 22 hours from New York to Iowa to get him. She’s very glad she made that trip! Gus is a wonderful horse for her and her daughter to ride, show and even jump!
Gus and Sharon
Missing Renegade, "Squirt"
Kristen has recently begun competing with Squirt in barrel racing! Maybe you'll see them together at an upcoming event!
Squirt and Kristen
Dunscore Final Flight
Dunscore Final Flight is a beautiful, dark liver chestnut Morgan gelding. His owner, Deb, has has spent the past 17 years learning everything "horsey" from Dunscore, who was just 5 months old when he entered her life. Deb lists the lessons Dunscore has taught: "How to pick feet, lounge, bathe, clip, load, trailer, worm, give eye drops, long line, drive, trail ride, etc."
As a Morgan fan, I loved watching Dunscore as he roamed his huge Jerusalem Hill pasture. As "King of the Hill" he majestically dominated the beautiful landscape--cantering and trotting proudly in a way that Morgans do with such style!
Even so, I really loved the sunlight gleaming off his shiny coat as he stepped out of his cool barn. I think he's "King of the Barn" too.
Deb (she JUST made the photo) and Dunscore
Miss Ally Bueno
When life gets stressful, it sure is nice to have a horse to hug. Ally has provided her owner Pam with the gift of quiet presence. Pam wrote, "My mom now has stage 2 breast cancer. After I spend the day with my mom and her chemotherapy treatments, I head to the barn to see Allie. Whether it's to ride or just to spend time with her. . . . I can be stressed or sad and I go to see Allie and her knickers and whinnies cheer me up. She can seem to sense when I need a little horsey attention. Allie may not be an A circuit $50,000 horse, but the shear joy she gives me is priceless and it is what makes her beautiful to me."
Two of Ally's traits that Pam listed were her intelligence and her love for people. I tried to capture those traits in Ally's painting.
Elley (Pam's daughter) and Ally
Rusty Van Gogh
Ahhh, Rusty Van Gogh. Of course I would be curious about a horse that is obviously from the art loving Van Gogh family! Plus he has such an interesting story! Laurie, who purchased Rusty for her daughter Jennifer, explains all . . .
"Rusty's previous owner rescued him from starvation and abuse, with plans to train and sell him. He was so talented she kept him as her 4H horse, and sadly put him up for sale when college time came.
"I bought him for my daughters in 2003. It took awhile to earn his trust, his abusive past makes him suspicious of strangers, and he will not tolerate people running or being rowdy in his vacinity.He tolerated my oldest daughter Sarah, but the youngest, Jennie, and he "clicked", and a partnership began.
"The Van Gogh portion of his name is because he only has 1/2 a left ear, the rest was bitten off by his mother we were told.
"With personality plus, this little guy has done it all, well. Over the years he has taken Jennie from walk/trot, english, western, and games through jumpers and hunters. If she's not paying attention, Rusty will happily put her on the ground in a second, which he has done numerous times over the years. He has an assortment of dirty tricks, but he has made Jennie into a talented rider.
"Olympian Greg Best called him the 'Susan Boyle of the horse world' and 'he's a 17 hand trapped in a pony body,' and he has always been Greg's favorite in the clinics Jennie has ridden in. We have had many offers to purchase him, but he will be with us forever. This little guy has more heart, attitude, and guts than anything out there."
Jennifer and Rusty Van Gogh
Cowgirl and Her Barrel Racing Buddies
Cowgirl is a Barrel Racer. She is part of a dynamic team of Sorrel Quarter Horses, whose owners Kerry and Brenda unequivically told me, "Sorrel Quarter Horses are the BEST barrel racing horses on the planet." When I visited, Cowgirl posed perfect for photos. Then she raced around the arena, giving me a taste of her athletic ability. Her three sorrel buddies watched from a nearby pasture. Then Kerry and Brenda offered to get all four horses running in the arena! What fun!
(You'll have to take my word for it that the soil in that part of New York is purple.)
Kerry and Cowgirl pose in front of
Lacy is a Paint mare that belongs to Penny. Together the two like to trail ride and participate in parades. With Lacy's calm demeanor, she the perfect horse for both activities!
Lacy and Penny
Patience and Oscar
Hailee nominated Oscar, her best friend, for the Beautiful Horses of New York project, and while we were there, she told us about his sister, Patience. Patience and Oscar are full brother and sister. The Dutch Warmbloods' sire is the dressage super star Idocus. The two look so alike, with Patience being a feminine version of the beautiful Oscar!
Here's what Hailee wrote about Oscar:
"[Oscar] was the first horse I remember watching being born at our farm. Oscar has grown up in NY, enjoying the pastures of upstate and competing throughout downstate. Sounds wonderful right? Oscar has had a very difficult time making it this far in his life. When he was three he colicked very badly; we brought him to New England Equine and he had to undergo colic surgery for an impaction. Two years after that Oscar came to high school with me at the New York Military Academy. After high school Oscar journeyed on to college with me. In February of my first year he colicked very badly again and had to be rushed to B.W. Furlongs. After getting sick later that spring we decided it would be best for him to undergo an elective surgery. This elective surgery was supposed to fix the problem that he had been having with his colon. However he got sick again last February. Every time he has to go to the hospital I worry that I will lose my best friend. As I get ready to graduate and Oscar will be turning 10, I hope that we enter a new healthy and happy chapter in our lives as New Yorkers. I can’t imagine losing Oscar, for he knows how I feel and always knows how to make my day."
Denali and Stiletto
Denali and Stiletto love to run!
When I visited, Trish haltered both her horses and we walked across a railroad track to a HUGE pasture where she released Denali and Stiletto. My first thought was, "How are you ever going to catch them to take them back to the barn??" (I would guess this pasture was at least 20 acres of green lush grass.)
Trish was not concerned. (And when it came time to head back, the horses came right up to her to get their halters back on. I was impressed!)
After being released into the pasture Denali and Stiletto started playing! They were having so much fun, kicking and rearing and then running from one end of the pasture to the other! My telephoto lens was not nearly strong enough to get too many good shots when they were at the far ends of the pasture. But luckily, part of their game involved running past our location in the center of the long field! So I could get lots of photos of them approaching and flying by! It was such a fun photo shoot! Of course having beautiful horses as the subjects made it even more delightful!
Trish has had Denali, a Hanoverian, since he was 6 months old. He's 10 now. Stilleto, an Oldenburg, was entrusted to Trish by a trainer and breeder in California with hopes that the pair will go places. Trish calls both Denali and Stiletto to be "my children."
Stiletto and Trish and Denali
There are many more paintings to see!