Friday, January 22, 2010

A Horse and His Boy

I'm finally going to unveil one of my recent commissions. This is Junior, a sixteen year-old Polish Arabian, and the painting is 11 x 14 oil on Raphael linen panel. It was such fun to photograph this guy, and Junior is obviously a very special horse, so I've asked to share some of his story. I don't think I can put it better than Junior's owner did in her first email to me.

"Junior is a very special horse. He is my son's guardian angel. My son, Riley is 10 yrs old. He has Epilepsy. Riley started having seizures when he was 2 yrs old. When he reached 4 yrs in school were playing hockey/soccer. Riley thought he was too sick to play sports. That worried me. He wasn't sick. He had seizures...

Riley's first riding lesson – one of many – would be on Junior. One year later the riding school sold their land. They put some of their school horses up for sale. I am a single mom and always dreamed of having an Arabian since I first watched the Black Stallion! I took it as fate. I had been saving up to take Riley on a trip Alberta to see the 'bad lands' and the Dinosaur Museum. Instead, I used the money to buy Junior.

Junior transformed Riley. Riley was no longer telling people he was 'sick,' even though there were days he was having 6 seizures in a day (while on 2 medications!!)! Other kids talk about hockey, baseball and soccer- - Riley just smiles and says anyone can play that- but not anyone can ride a horse!

The first year we had Junior, there was an incident with Riley as he was trotting around on his own in the arena (I was in the middle of the arena) and Junior stopped and would not continue to move. I walked over to ask "Why aren't you making him go?" I thought maybe Junior was being a brat..I then realized Riley was having a seizure while sitting on Junior. Junior had known something was wrong..and he stopped. This happened a few times after, each time Junior would stop slowly and wait for me.

Junior has given Riley so much confidence. Riley thinks he can do anything. Riley is now taking only 1 medication and is so far 1 yr seizure free!

Junior changed Riley's life..and mine. I have people at the barn where he is stabled offering to buy him. I will never part with him. I know the day will come when Riley will out grow him, and we will have to buy a second horse. I like to tease Riley about when he out grows Junior...that Junior will be all mine to ride...and I will buy a pink saddle polos... etc. Riley gets mad and tells me 'He's a boy horse- he doesn't wear pink, mom!'


Juliet said...

This is such a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Again...the healing power of the horse!!!

Anonymous said...

this is a truly inspirational story... we all need a junior in our lives to watch over us. Riley is a lucky boy to have found a soul mate in Junior

Elizabeth McCrindle said...

Thanks for sharing painting and story Linda, it made my day :)

Judith A. Johnson said...

What a great story, thanks for sharing it. My own Arab has protected me time after time, not from seizures but other situations. It has happened enough times that I no longer think it is a coincidence. They are lucky to have such a wonderful horse.
And your painting is beautiful!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for sharing! I am constantly amazed by the empathy of horses - mine and others - so nice to hear of the story of a Horse and His Boy!

Reflections From Life Art Blog said...

What an incredible story AND painting to go with it!

The beauty of animals is that they are so amazingly sensitive to human emotions and very responsive to them. Horses are used all the time to help handicapped/disabled people, who ride and get therapeutic exercise while riding. The horses always know when something is happening that shouldn't be happening to the rider and they stop until someone comes to take care of them.

Cats and dogs are the same way. One of my cats has adopted my disabled brother and always knows when something is wrong with my brother. Tooki comforts him and refuses to leave his side until he is feeling better. Animals even know when help is needed and they go and get help for you!

Anyway, sorry to ramble. This is a gorgeous painting of an Arab!!! Just stunning!


Joan said...

Linda ! What a wonderful inspiring story. Now that the tears have cleared my eyes I can write this comment. Beside the point that this is a wonderful painting....'s what I think You should do....turn this blog entry into an article for HORSES IN ART...yeah, that is something that would make a wonderful article for them and who knows how many people may be inspired to seek out therapeutic riding when they read it !!! Go for it Linda.