I was born with a love for horses. Maybe it's my Irish ancestry but, whatever the reason, by the time I was 10 years old I had memorized all the different colors (bay, chestnut, etc.), the names of the body parts (hock, withers, etc.) and knew the different breeds and riding styles. I read all the books about horses I could get my hands on. I could tell you the stories of America's famous racehorses.
My parents finally gave in when I was 11 and bought my first horse, Appy, from a local riding stable. He was a mutt — part appaloosa with large tan spots on his rump and a dirty white color that never looked clean no matter how much I brushed him. Appy was stolen about a year and a half later and died a tragic death. But that's another story.
I owned four horses through my teen years, rode western and english, and competed in shows from barrel racing to jumping to dressage. I even took my horse with me to college so I could continue riding with my trainer not too far from the University of Michigan.
When I was 18 I made the decision to follow Christ. I was born again. (It does happen. The experience is real.) I started to read the Bible regularly, what modern Christians call having a "quiet time". It just means you spend time in prayer and meditate on scripture. I had a Christian roommate. We would write scripture verses on index cards and put them in a box on the kitchen table. Then we would pull one out every morning. That would be our verse to think about that day.
One Sunday morning before church I was having my quiet time with God and read the verse in Matthew 6:21, "For where your treasure is, your heart will also be." That verse made me pause because I had been recently thinking about the fact that I was spending so much of my time and energy riding and training my horse. This horse was a beautiful bay 17-hand Thoroughbred named Running Blues.
I went to church that morning and the pastor happened to preach on the verse "for where your treasure is, your heart will also be." That got my attention big time. I wondered if God was telling me it was time to refocus my heart and let my horse go. That was a hard thought for me because my identity was so wrapped up in my riding.
Back home after lunch that day I was sitting at the kitchen table staring at the box full of cards with scripture verses on them. I said to God, "Lord, I don't believe you're going to do this, but I know that you can if you want to." I reached over and pulled out a card. It said, "For where your treasure is, your heart will also be." I was stunned. I said "OK." Not long after I put Blues up for sale. The first person that looked at him bought him.
It was very hard letting go but my heart did refocus. A year later I was married and four years after that my husband and I headed for seminary in California.
I share this personal story because I still find it so amazing myself that the God of the universe cares enough to be personally involved in our lives.
Horses are such beautiful creatures. I did the pastel painting above this year. It's 24" x 24" framed with True View glass — glass that's almost invisible. You can buy it directly from me for $1000. Shipping is free.
I am also available for commissions to do portraits of horses. Call me at (719) 547-1093 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss sizes and pricing.