Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Horse a Day – A Challenge to Myself:-)

arabian horse drawing
This is a combination personal and business post. I have decided to take on a challenge that I’ve been thinking about recently: I’m going to draw a horse ACEO (Art Card – 2.5 x 3.5 inches) every day. My mom is constantly telling me I should be doing my drawing, and I thought this would be a good way to do something and complete it:-) The drawings will be in graphite. The other medium I work in is colored pencil. If you know anything about colored pencil, you know it’s not the fastest medium – at least not the way I do it;-) Hence, my drawings will be black and white for now.

Above is my very first drawing. It’s an Arabian horse, and is much more detailed in real life - this is the closest I could get the scan. I plan to do different breeds, but my first is the breed that will always have a hold on my heart. This is where it gets personal… I know it’s still going to be long, but below is a very condensed version of the horse years. It’s still not easy to write, but it’s an important part of the tale and my daily challenge.

From 1981 until June 2003, my mom and I owned and were owned by Arabian horses. I was 12 when we purchased Farrahdette, a purebred Arabian mare. We’d had a sort of mutt horse, but had been boarding at a place that had Arabs. One thing led to another, and we purchased Farrah from a local breeder. At the time, the cost was huge to us, and we had some help for a down payment, and did the rest on terms. We were and always have been a little nutty when it comes to animals:-)

So, I grew up with Farrah. My mom’s and my life revolved around horses. We didn’t show, though we went to a lot of shows just to watch. We bred Farrah three times, each time learning more. We were never rich financially, but I feel I was blessed by having horses in my life. I know we gave up a lot to have them. My mom was a single mom working hard to raise me and to afford the horses. It may not have made sense to others, but it was the world we chose and it brought us joy.

We cleaned extra stalls and did whatever we could to take off on boarding costs, because we had three horses most of the time. At one point, we rented a one room cottage (one small room plus a tiny kitchen, bathroom, and closet) because it had a six stall barn. That was fun;-)

Anyways, I can look back and say it was illogical – all the money we spent over the years on the dream of the horse. Yet, I still wouldn’t change it. Well, except the ending – for sure I would change that.

Horses really were our everything. I’d been drawing them long before we actually had them. In school, if I could put horses into my assignments I did – even Spanish class. The only place it didn’t work was math; no wonder that was my least favorite subject, lol!

Up until 2003, I didn’t know how to identify myself without horses. It almost killed my mom and I to learn how. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. After we had to give them up/lost them, our downward spiral sped up to an alarming rate that culminated in losing just about everything else.

For some reason, after 9/11, Oregon became the state with the worst economy in the nation. My mom and I had left really unsatisfying jobs just prior to 9/11 to try an endeavor similar to what we’re doing now. I’ll be writing a post on my new views about the economy and all that at a later date. However, at that time, we couldn’t find stable work, or work that had paid as much as we’d been making (which wasn’t all that much).

Our self-belief kept going lower and lower. Our creativity drive went lower, too. And, of course, our bank balance went out the door. We hadn’t had any sort of savings, so things really just went south. We had two car loans, rent, bills, and three horses to pay for – doesn’t work too well without income.

You’d think that we would have sold the horses right away, but we couldn’t bear to. We let a lot of other things go before the horses. Even though keeping them had become a huge burden, we didn’t want to let go. How can you let go of an animal you grew up with? How can you?

Well, if you know something has to be done, but you don’t do anything about, the Universe responds to your energy and things start happening anyways. We could no longer pay the board for the horses after May 15, 2003, the people we boarded with were not sympathetic (they didn’t have to be, but it would have been nice). We had until June 15 to find a solution – I believe I waited until close to the beginning of June to start looking...

June 14, 2003, Farrah and her daughter went to a horse sanctuary in central Oregon. Her son, Deringer, was given to a private individual who was recommended by another horse person. That person chose to sell him not too long after, and wouldn’t divulge to whom. When I allow myself to think about it, there’s still a wound in my heart from that one.

The whole experience still has pain attached to it. In the ensuing years, I’ve been able to shed a great deal. However, writing this proves that there’s still some there. This is, quite possibly, the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

After the day we lost the horses, we lost ourselves. Nothing much mattered anymore. We tried to stay afloat, but didn’t succeed.

I don’t know if this will sound odd or not, but I honestly felt I no longer had the right to anything horse. How could I draw horses anymore after I’d betrayed ours? I couldn’t.

It took a lllllllloooooooonnnnnnggggg time before I allowed myself to acknowledge that while I no longer had my horses, horses were and always will be part of me. I know my mom feels the same. It’s in our blood, there’s no other way I can describe it.

While we don’t have horses anymore, I think we’re still owned by them. By the spirits of the ones we had, by the beauty of those we see now…

And, so, I’ve given myself permission to draw horses again. I’ve even done some colored pencil drawings in the past year or so. I’m making a commitment to do more, and to honor every part of myself. It’s the only way I can go forward…

Note: Farrah passed away on June 1, 2006, at the grand old age of 29. She was still at the sanctuary in Oregon, and had been well-loved (we're so grateful, because finding placement for old horses is hard). April (April Ballerinah) was adopted by a family, and became the daughter's horse. Deringer’s fate remains unknown…

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