Can you feel it? Spring IS coming! I can see tender green shoots shaking off the sleep of winter and pushing up through moist soil towards warm, sunny skies. I too find myself slipping outdoors, sitting on the stoop and turning my face towards the warmth, towards the promise of hope and growth.
Winter has been an emotional and physical grind. For me anyway. But the gift of challenging times is discovering what truly supports me and leaning fully into it. Community. Yoga and meditation practice. Music. My sketchbook practice.
And the horses.
These past few weeks I have committed myself to painting portraits of some of my favorite horses in the Hetra herd: the very first horses I worked with as a sidewalker, Charm (pictured above) and Smokey (shown hanging with his buddy, Red);
the Dude of the herd (and last year's Horse of the Year) Waldo;
and the youngest (and wildest) member, Tenneson (with another herd newbie, Georgie on the right.)
Drawing and then painting each horse has allowed me to perceive the differences in breeds but also in the wide array of personalities. After completing a portrait, I return to the Hetra barn with renewed appreciation for the contribution of these amazing creatures to the healing process for all involved in the therapy sessions. Yes, the riders are the clients served by all, but all - sidewalkers, horse leaders, therapists, client family members - are impacted by the spirit of the horse working in the session.
To date I have painted close to half the Hetra Herd. (If you follow me on Instagram, I have been posting images there.) As part of the Horse Penny Race (a yearly event focused upon raising funds to support the exceptional care of these hardworking therapy horses) I have created a set of 11 postcards depicting 10 of the Hetra Horses (one card is a horse image I created before this project started.) All proceeds (after printing and shipping expenses) will be donated to the Hetra Horse Penny Race.
I hope you consider supporting these amazing creatures by purchasing a set of cards (cost includes shipping.) Quantities are limited, so get 'em while they are fresh off the press!
My plan is to complete all 22 of the current herd (including the mini horses) sometime this Spring. I am not sure if I will create more postcards, but then again seeing the entire herd spread out upon my table may be more than I can resist :)