Get Back On The Horse – Goal of 2012

Abbey and Lozen
Abbey & Lozen - our TB/CSH mare and her colt

Yeah…so, I’m a horseaholic. I’ve been in love with horses all my life, riding since I was about seven. It’s an addiction like no other.

Life happens, children are born and you lose your horse and your nerve somewhere along the way in favour of preserving yourself, lest you get hurt and are unable to tend to your tender babies. I think that’s a natural  and I’m okay with that.

Vicki was my favourite horse…ever. I could quietly whistle across a fifteen acre field, our secret whistle. She’d pop her head out of the grass, perk her ears and take off at a breakneck canter. She got me back riding after a bad fall on a crazy thoroughbred. We played polo together, dealt with her bowed tendon and injury, galloped bareback in moonlight – “Dances With Wolves Style” and she was the first horse I ever put one of my children on.  She developed moon blindness, but she could still pick her way across the field when I whistled and my voice was enough to be her eyes. She stayed with me most of her life, until  she had to go onwards.

Keeping a blind horse is a tough go. You have to walk them like a baby so they get some exercise…they can’t go out and joust about with other horses because they never see that playful kick or bite coming. They can’t see ice, or a fence.  You become their guide-dog, herd mate and playmate. I was with her to the end and I’ll never forget her. She was that special.

Glenna – Our retired RCMP Thoroughbred mare by Sham

My own babies are 19, 15 and 7 as of today. I haven’t been on a horse since I was three months pregnant with Grace, so that’s something like 8 years, 4 months and 3 days to the last time I was in the saddle (not that I’m counting). Now, I’m seriously scared to get back on. If I fall, I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself. It’s an honest fear. I’m getting up there and I’m not so very fit at all.

Being on top of the horse aside, there is magic in the barn. Folks wonder why I paint barns? It’s my refuge. My church. My quiet place. My holy grail of horsey. Homage to the equine. Vicki’s house.

Fuzzy - in the barn.

Yesterday, I went out to look (for the second time) at a beautiful soul. A 16.2 hand, 10 year old thoroughbred named Fuzzy who is tired of jumping. I fell in love at first sight with him, and I know in my heart he wouldn’t hurt a fly…yet I’m still afraid to get on his back and see if we’re a lifetime “fit”. There is something in his eye that tells me he’s special. He’s akin to understanding that “whistle”.

Lozen, losing his baby hair
Lozen - losing his baby hair into a gorgeous grey

My top goal for 2012 isn’t about painting or sales or being a better person. It’s about conquering my physical fear, getting on the horse and treating myself to that once in a lifetime human/animal bond – a guilty thirst for an intimate soul-to-soul relationship like no other.

Artists understand this.

I’m really scared….but maybe the biggest thing is that I’m more scared of not ever feeling that feeling again in my life.

Motivation is a wondrous thing, and heaven knows I’ve told y’all a billion times to conquer your fears. My turn…… I’ll let you know tomorrow how this turned out.

What are you really scared of? What’s your “horse” to get back on?

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Jggdesigner

    This is a great post, Janice. My horse is getting back to watercolor painting after working in fiber for a long time. I am visiting your blog because of Artist Conspiracy and my curiosity about the newer members. I am so glad I stopped by here.

    1. Janice Tanton

      Well thank you very much. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post & I love the AC. I’ve been a member since late winter last year, but haven’t as much time to devote to it – lots of painting required!

      I’m sure you can start back to the watercolour. Perhaps there’s an interesting mixed media combination of both?!

      1. Jdewitt60

        What is it about artists and horses? I’ve got a story to tell and I’ll try to make it brief. When I turned fifty, both my children had left home and gone to college. My husband was maintaining workaholic hours, and I was burned out teaching elementary art.

        I decided I wanted to learn to ride a horse. I’ve always loved animals, wanted a challenge, and needed something to love. In one year I have done the following:
        taken many riding lessons
        switched from English ring to Western Trail riding.
        Rode almost every day last summer.
        Leased a horse
        Bought a horse


        Fell off six times…

        Last two falls in close succession. In December I hit my head (with a helmet) and lost consciousness. Concussion. Slowly, slowly, I began to walk the trail again with my horse. Nothing fancy. Last week there was an ATV on the trail. It was stopped with the rider off. My horse was nervous, we walked by slowly talking to the kid and just as we passed the ATV, the kid moved, and my horse spooked, did a quick bolt, and popped up. Was on him til he popped up. Fell, hit my head, not so hard this time, but broke plastic sunglasses and ended up with a huge shiner and stitches over my eye.

        Either I really suck at riding horses, or I’m crazy. But I know this, there is something about riding that is like nothing else I’ve ever felt.

        But is there a point where you don’t get back on? I’m pretty scared right now…

        1. Janice Tanton

          Thank you so much for sharing that story. I can say right now….I got back on, and I don’t plan in getting off any time soon. The point where you should stop…is not when you’re scared, but when you really think you could injure yourself seriously. Nothing is ever a sure bet and that’s what’s so wonderful about horses – you have to be completely in the moment. It’s an exercise in living, deep listening and joining with another living thing. It’s not supposed to be easy…but when you connect, there really is nothing else to compare it to. Keep me posted….and no matter how long you’ve been riding, you can always learn something. I’m a big advocate of lessons and training!

  2. Susan Gallacher-Turner

    This question and post hit a ‘nerve’ with me because I just had a life event force me to face my fear. You see, 4 years ago, I fell down and broke my wrist. I’m an artist, so that meant I couldn’t work at all. I had surgery and physical therapy and healed. It took a long time to rebuild my strength in that wrist. Sooo….

    What was I really scared of? Falling down again and hurting myself again.

    What did life do? It gave me a ‘horse’ to get back on …I slipped on some ice last week and fell down. Hard. I am fine.

    What did I learn? I can slip, fall and get back up. I don’t have to be afraid anymore.

    1. Janice Tanton

      Susan – thank you so much for your comment and the feedback. Yes! You can slip, fall down and get back again – this time with a bit more perspective. Stay tuned…I’ll update you on how this is all going VERY shortly. 🙂

  3. Bcstonehouse

    Most touching account of life experience. Lesson from history worthy of reaching a much broader audience. Thank you and regards.

    1. Janice Tanton

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read. There are things in our lives that define our outlook on life. Horses have always been one of those very important things that throughout my life, have continued to educate, challenge and raise my soul.

  4. Tahirih Goffic

    I was a “horseaholic” too. My girl was a registered quarter horse mare, Peeti Poco. She was my best friend, confidante, constant companion, from the time I was twelve, until she passed when I was 27. I miss her so much! I actually get emotional from the smell of horse manure! Lol! I’m not afraid of getting back on an actual horse, although it’s probably been about ten years, but what I’m afraid of is recapturing that girl who loved horses…and fairies, and goddesses. We “grow up”, and we give away so many little pieces of ourselves, in order to fit in, or not rock the boat in our relationships. We sacrifice fantasy for changing diapers, we sacrifice horses and pastures for apartments and “security”. I want that girl back, I want to paint from my inner child, instead of what is “safe” and “real”, I want to dance without inhibitions, to sing in front of people again…maybe saying it here will help it become…thanks for the challenging question, Janice.

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