Just sending a thank-you to ShadowDog Designs, who has featured one of my Thoroughbred horse portraits not only in a new equine-themed collection of handcrafted goods, but a really primo blog post about the influence of the horse in human culture throughout history, even going back to antiquity.
I was born into a horse-loving family. In fact, when my parents married, both sides of the family joked that Mom loved Secretariat more than she did my father! My sister and I both have substantial herds of Breyer model horses and spent many years taking riding lessons. Countless hours were spent at the barn riding, grooming, and simply enjoying the presence of these precious, magnificent creatures.
Even though I’m now an adult, my love for horses has hardly waned. (I am Irish—an O’Hara—maybe it’s simply in my blood!) We actually live near some riding stables now (odd, so near to the city, when in West Virginia there wasn’t a horse for miles around our neighborhood!), and I’ve been tempted to begin riding again—or even just mucking out stalls, simply to be near the horses. Several of my vacations have been centered around visiting horses, mostly retired racehorses like Creator, the star of my photo “Presence“, at Thoroughbred retirement farms, and of course the stallions at the big stud farms in Kentucky. (In this house, Triple Crown race days and Breeder’s Cup days are full-fledged holidays.) We live near a racetrack now, and though it’s not a big show like Keeneland or Saratoga, I’m definitely keen to head out there simply to enjoy seeing Thoroughbreds do what it is they are born to do—run like the wind, strive to win, give their all while reaching for victory.
I think that horses, Thoroughbred racehorses especially, have so many similarities to humans in that way—they are intelligent, determined creatures with an intense will to win. It is very likely those qualities and those similarities that have made them such ideal partners for humankind over the years. As ShadowDog notes in her blog post about horses, quite a few historians point to the horse’s companionship and abilities as vital when it comes to the spread of civilization.
Well, enough rambling. Please go read ShadowDog’s blog post, where she talks about her own experiences with equines and shares some really fun historical and cultural hores-related nuggets. And definitely go take a look at her Horses: Symbols of Power & Freedom collection of equine-themed fine art, jewelry, handbags, and other fab handmade goodies!