Sunday, June 10, 2012

Equine Dreams

When I was a kid, I loved to read (even though homework bored me to tears). There was a period of time when a lot of my reading consisted of reading books about horses. I didn't really envision myself mucking around horse stalls, but it's pretty hard to think or read about horses without being captivated by their beauty and their power. Daydreaming about such things goes a long way toward explaining why I fell behind in school when I was in junior high (grades 7 and 8).

One author who captured my attention was a woman named Marguerite Henry. Her books, such as Misty of Chincoteague, were well written, and even though the little "ponies" in some of her stories were not exactly the archetypical strong, bold stallions which I loved in stories about race horses, there was something about her stories which I loved nevertheless.

One summer, when my mother and grandmother took me on a driving trip to the East Coast (where we visit Washington DC, Williamsburg, VA, and similar places), they decided that I would enjoy a trip to Chincoteague Island, where Misty and Stormy had lived. We actually visit the home of the former owner of those horses, at the Beebe Ranch. I remember that she gave me photos of the actual horses, and showed me the stalls where she had kept them.

At some point, I believe that I bought a Breyer model horse which was painted to look like Misty or Stormy, down to the distinctive markings on the side of the animal. For someone whose father had never actually bought me a horse or a pony (despite my pleas that he do so), owning those plastic Breyer models was the next best thing, without the animal dung. I read so much about horses that there was a time when I was very well versed in the details pertaining to equine tack, although I have forgotten most of what I knew back then, since I eventually came to a point of acceptance with regard to the probability that I would never have a horse of my own.

Here's a little artistic rendition I created by downloading an image of a Breyer model horse. I ran it through certain filters in Photoshop Elements. It's a useful technique when you want to disguise the fact that the original photo shows a toy, not a real animal.

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