Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Little Girls and Horses

What is it about little girls and horses? I had a meeting today with a good friend of mine who spends every spare moment of her time just as she has since she was old enough to walk.... with her horse. Oh, the horses have changed over the years, with names such as Wookie and Dixie Dan, Mr. Mischief and Drumbuie. But, her devotion to each and every one that has cantered through her life has remained complete. They are pictured on her Christmas cards, she is most comfortable with a riding helmet on her head, and her cell phone rings with a whinny. The current love of her life is Walter, a magnificent Hanoverian bay with a white blaze down his noble face and a flowing black mane. He looks for all the world as though he trotted straight off of a Ralph Lauren ad in an October issue of British Vogue. I’ve gone to see her ride at dressage clinics and been transported by the evocative smells of fresh air and horses, sweet hay and polished leather back to my own time as a horse crazy little girl. I do understand the attraction. Growing up, while my other little friends were busy with ballet lessons, I was at riding lessons. I adored my time spent in the saddle. My passion for horses remained, but my devotion to riding became too difficult to maintain so it was placed aside for other more ardent passions and pursuits. My loss, no doubt.

It is such a exceptional thing when one’s childhood passions follow one throughout life. My husband knew what he wanted to do with his whole life from that one visceral moment on a Sunday evening when he was a child and saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show for the very first time. No questions, no doubts. It would be music for him. He has been a songwriter and musician his entire life. Such a remarkable, happy achievement. At reunions, I see the wistful looks of the people with whom he grew up when they find out he has been successful in realizing his childhood dreams. I know it’s a rare and precious thing to be allowed to do what you love every day of your life, to truly live out your dreams. It just doesn’t happen that frequently. Dreams must be tended and sometimes sacrifices must be made to tend them well.
I have such admiration for both my friend, and my husband, for they have indeed tended their dreams so well throughout their lives.
Little girls and horses, little boys and guitars.
For some, some things thankfully never change.

The above etching is by Louis Icart and is aptly entitled “Youth”.
It hangs in my home as a happy reminder of one of my own youthful passions.


  1. I hope you don't mind me dropping this in on your blog, Pamela, but immediately recalled it, upon reading the post and thought you might enjoy it. It is one of the first poems I ever wrote - I think it came on the heels (or hoofs) of Black Beauty.


    They ride at night
    In the misty moonlight
    Then stop
    a while
    to rest
    And as they come
    You hear the
    Of their hooves
    And see the
    white marks
    On their

    They ride in the morning
    When the sun
    Comes up at dawn
    And trot
    and cavort
    Across the lawn
    In the meadow
    They will run
    Beneath the gleaming sun

    Horses are beautiful
    Red, gold, brown
    And black
    As they run in the fields
    With the

    By Kathleen Davison © 1970

  2. I love to hear of people following their dreams and making careers of their passions.
    Beautiful etching!

  3. I love the picture Patricia did for you!!! so cute!

    I only got to ride horses at camp, I was the girl in the ballet classes!!!!! Great post - very interesting.

    thanks for your comment!! Much appreciated.


  4. Another lovely post. Uplifting as usual. Greetings to Apple & Edward from Miss Winnie Dixon.

  5. I always love when you see videos of famous people or athletes who were already perfecting their craft and following their passion at an early age. Seeing video's of the Williams sisters playing tennis is great, along with Tiger Woods swinging away as a toddler.
    My mother was a firm believer in exposing many things, so I danced, played tennis, but when it came down to it, my art ruled - the heart should always be our guide. Following your heart to do what you love.
    Again, you have eloquently captured beauty in words and married it to a free spirited work of art.
    Raised in Kentucky, I am always asked if I rode. I do love horses - such stunning creatures.

  6. How beautiful!

    Hey, you did it again. Another lovely description of that kitchen and its history. LOVED IT! It seemed so real I almost thought you had the real inside scoop! Thank you for brightening my day!



  7. I think it's so important to make our "inner child" happy! It makes me so happy when I see others who have refused to let go of their dreams.

  8. I wanted a Palomino horse so, so badly when I was six years old. It's all I would talk about for the entire year. I begged. I could never understand why I couldn't just keep him in my room, cut my closet door in half, like a stable door!

  9. I've been so inspired watching all the Olympic athletes as they have been full filling their child hood dreams and seeing all their hard work come to fruition, even if they don't win a medal they are Olympic athletes!

    Your husband might enjoy the concerts I posted about seeing over two weekends, Pamela -- lots of rock legends who are still living the dream :-)

  10. Wonderful etching and post Pamela.

  11. When reading your post it reminded me of my little sister who did and still does love horses. It is if they know how to talk to each other without every speaking. When we were younger we shared a bedroom and I recall when she was around the age of three her talking to a horse in her sleep. Then at one point she raised her arm and pointed in the air saying "see the horsey." Just thinking of it made me smile.

  12. What a beautiful post!
    It is so inspiring to know people who have been passionate about something their whole lives! Luckily, the rest of us sometimes stumble into our passions on accident and begin the love affair a little later. Or they renew attention to an old passion when they decide that life is too short not to indulge oneself while we can!

  13. Yes - what *is* it about girls and horses (she asks as she is working on cover #7 for the little-girl-horse series she is illustrating).

    It occured to me just recently (quite belatedly) that I must be one of those living their childhood passions - although I tried hard for awhile not to. I've always drawn and had early 'commissions' (from teachers, and my orthodontist, etc..) to create things for them, but by the time I got to college I felt I needed to be more practical and went into computer science/statistics instead. Didn't enjoy it and my husband dragged me over to the illustration department and got me to change majors when I was nearly a senior...

    Funny how life works...

  14. I keep telling my son who is in college---you need to follow your passion or it can be a LONG working life!

  15. Horses and girls, what an inseparable combination! My daughter and two granddaughters have 5 horses between them. If I had not my foot (gently) down, we would not have room for cattle or sheep, but , like Doctor Doolittle, would be a home for retired cab horses!
    My husband, a scintist was hoping for a third generation of Professors. No such luck for him, we sprouted an artist and a photographer instead.

    I so love to see people following their particular star.

  16. Dear Pamela,
    Your husband sounds great!
    It makes me smile to think about little girls and horses. When I was five I asked for a horse and a swimming pool for my birthday. :-)
    I did get two plastic ones!!
    Passions seem to evolve and change throughout life, but the energy that motivates passion is the important thing, don't you think?

    Have a great day!

    Woof Woof to Edward please.

  17. I wish I liked horses, but when I was five years old, a horse thundered down and chased me across a field when I was walking home from school with an older girl. My little legs couldn't run fast enough, while she escaped in the distance, leaving me to it.The horse bit me hard on the backside.I thought it was going to rear up.Terrifying !Everyone thought it was pretty funny. My mother has never forgiven herself that she laughed when I arrived home.Wasn't long after that she enrolled me in a ballet class come to think of it.Give me Sleeping Beauty over Black Beauty any day!

  18. Yes, a hearty toast to all who have pursued great dreams and reached them. And a little cheer for all whose dreams have been modest, whose dreams have been adapted and rearranged due to circumstances and have managed to make them come true too! A lovely picture and a lovely tribute, Pamela. Trist and Gal are green with envy at seeing the wonderful drawing of Edward. Now they are also insisting on portraits too. Oh, boy, this is going to be difficult! I shall have to find an artist quickly! love Eleanor

  19. Pamela,

    I loved this post. It's funny, my dream has always been to be an interior decorator. I would love to be as talented as you. However, I have a safe government job with benefits, so I stay.

    Thank you so much for your kind words that you left on my blog.

    I always love reading your comments.


  20. What a poignant post this is... it makes me humble and thankful that after years of sacrifice, I am now pursuing my dream of being an artist and having some success. It has been a long road, but I am so blessed to now be doing what I love full time!

    Thanks for these lovely words,

  21. Pamela,

    I just adore your blog, so I could not resist sending you an award.

    It's at Sunbonnet Cottage for you.

    Your blog inspires the creativity buried deep inside of me.


  22. Pamela,

    You are most welcome for the award.

    You truly are a creative artist.


  23. Great and thoughtful post, Pamela. I adored horses as a child until my teens. I also did ballet! Every Christmas I used to put 'a horse' at the top of my list. Living in a suburb of London, it never happened. My father was a musician, and never wanted to be anything else. He loved it. He would play at the Royal Opera House on Saturday night and in the park with some band on a Sunday! What a man. As for dream ambitions, I'm still dreaming...

  24. I was a horse crazy girl. Obsessed. Parents said no. Had fourteen - half of them rescues - on the farm by my mid thirties, now it's all dogs. But my son is a racehorse trainer, and a good one, and my step daughter is a fantastic equine artist.
    Life is good.

  25. "We are such stuff as dreams are made on....." :)

  26. I so admire the beauty, strength, and grace of horses...their nobility, their spirit, their historic connection with mankind down through the centuries...

    A beautifully written ode to horses, and youthful passions and dreams.

  27. I myself and my sons don't get it and not even my teen daughter. When she was younger she liked horses some but was allergic so that was that.

  28. Beautiful art and thoughts. My cousin and I were just discussing this sort of thing tonight - how it's rare to discover a passion and pursue it. My older son is following his heart into a military career, which is something that worries me but at the same time pleases me since he found his passion. My younger one, like your husband, lives for his guitar and metal music. That career choice might scare me a bit more. ;) Wonderful post.. and thanks for your visit to my blog.

  29. I loved horses as a girl and so did my oldest daughter. There does seem to be that connection between girls and horses doesn't there?

  30. it's so wonderful to hear people realizing their dreams and doing exactly what they envision since childhood. i love horses and still remember the joy of riding. you are going to inspire me to ride again.

  31. I still love horses and seeing them i a pleasure. I was so disapointed with some UK horses being doped so disqualified recently. They are noble creatures. There is an arabic saying "you dog is your slave but your horse is your friend" often in the UK they are treated the other way round.
    Where I live now unfortunately I can't keep horses. I still have my saddle of course. "One day" I tell myself when we have moved again and my back is up to it. Some dreams can't be given up on, just put on the back burner.

  32. I rode for 25 years. Dressage was my love. When I stopped, the lifeblood drained out of me!

    What a great post.

  33. Wonderful and so true...My daughter is already showing that attraction to them...I'm still quite in love with them, too and they've even wondered into my artwork a few times...Luckily, being in Thoroughbred country, they're in great number here. They're the most special creatures...

  34. I am glad you have dropped by my blog and I appreciate your comments. I really love this post - I have loved horses my whole life, and I still own the horse I got at 13 years old (my horse was 3 when I got him). He is now 24 and I adore him. Our daughter is even named after him - Reed. This post was truly beautiful!


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