My Horses ~ My Art ~

* Canvass:  The forest

* Paintbrush: My saddle, my bridle Atop four willing hooves

* Medium:  My horse


Fae Shadow Trail


My horses ~ My art!  

My living, breathing, finely-sculpted, fluid-formed expression  a palpable, pulsing artform on four hooves.

To me they symbolize something even grander and more elegant than the amazing beings that they are.

My horses carry me into their realm. Into Nature and Freedom itself.

Fae Shadow Tree McGill


Together, we become part of a living painting, with changing light, shadows and shapes, back-dropped by trees and earth and scrub — all kept in constant motion by the ever-beating metronome of hooves and lungs and heart.

Like the famous works of the Masters, my horses free my passions and feed my soul. They take me higher, deeper into a greater world than I would ever reach alone.

Hokuleia in tow


As I watch my horses frolic in their pasture, I delight in how they move and respond one to another. Like a grand living organism, each seems to know his position in the herd and accept, or challenge it.

From my vantagepoint, I observe the antics, the movements, the intentions played out in the acre-sized fenced framework before me.

Hokuleia Tin Shadow


I interact with the art and the art interacts with me. My presence alone draws the horses to the fenceline, curious, creating both jealous displays of temper, as well as outright outbursts of fun. 

Apples tossed into the boundary cause a scurry of activity, each seeking a tidbit, oftentimes challenging a herdmate with ears pinned and hooves threatening. But soon, outstretched necks and gaping mouths chew contentedly, dropping frothy morsels from sticky-lipped muzzles.

Hokuleia Shadow Horse


Ropes and halters lead them out of the field. Obsidian eyes, soft necks and tangled manes follow closely. Dusty dappled coats receive brushing, blankets, saddles . . .

My tack, my gear, another aspect. The lines, the shapes — pommels and cantles, stirrups and reins — curved leather cradles of tradition, function and fashion. Colorful conchos. Riveting rosettes. Little details that make up the ambiance of the whole.

Colorful Rosette /Concho


Once in the saddle, my rides into the wilderness become my paintings. My masterpieces. And I paint them again and again. Each one unique.

A ride never really repeats itself, even on the same horse, same trail. Each adventure offers a fresh approach, a new angle of light, arc of color. The result keeps me riding, ever renewed, in this life-affirming endeavor.

Forest Sunbeam


I ride astride my horse, her dark mane pumping, flowing, as we float across the vast reaches, ears pricked forward, ready to greet the ever-unfolding scenery. I inhale the wildness of the place, adding to the intoxication, fragrant blossoms, vanilla perfumed pine, the earthy scent of amber leaves.

Others from our herd gallop alongside with flaring nostrils, dancing hoofbeats and outstretched tails, painting a fast-flowing portrait of joyous abandon. Embracing freedom with every stride.

Fae up McGill


My trails become my canvass. Texture and color, line and space, light and dark punctuate the endlessly pulsing pace.

The sagebrush in the valley floor greets my eye with rumpled heaps of widespread welcome. Once in the forest, gnarled-branched pinon pines become ghostly gatekeepers with brilliant lime-colored lichen “fringes”, their eerie moanings all but audible.

Contained in the images of the forest blurring past are flashes from my childhood the daydreams and horsey yearnings from monotonous schooldays past. Now, I live those dreams, I breathe them. 

I served my time back then, so that I can ride my time now — and paint my present, my future, with horses.

Top of the World


The outer reaches beckon. Up, up we plunge, forward into the landscape, into greater veils of wonder the farther we venture from home.

Here the light shifts, takes on new meaning. Instinct calls us, drives us on. 

Up in elevation, to thinner air and vistas of grandeur.

Top of the Moon


Past fatigue, past complaint, into the outer reaches of what we are capable of — for therein lie the prize portraits, the Art Nouveau, the Renaissance of distant reaches afar.

Shadow Horse Full Moon


My painting complete, inspiration fulfilled. Back at the ranch, bridles, saddles removed. Backs and legs groomed. Yummy cookies eagerly consumed, lips licking a long time afterwards.

My treasure trove of horses, back in their field, happily chewing hay.

I live. I thrive! Ready to “paint” another ride. Another day . . .



Starboy and His Girl

Copyright 2014

Photos: DawnHoof (Dawn Jenkins)


View of Little Dume Beach

Please also visit my Life Blog, Journal of Dawn,

for Strategies and Insights into the

Journey of Life



January 3, 2014 · 11:45 pm

11 responses to “My Horses ~ My Art ~

  1. Beautiful image, very good composition, I like it a lot! Adrian

    • Thanks, Adrian. Such a high when a good post comes together — and people like you appreciate. Is your weather cold in the UK right now? We’re having a very dry and warm spell here in Southern California — getting wonderful (unseasonal!) rides in this week! (Usually we have ice and snow at this mountain elevation.)

      • Haha!!! Our English winter is drear as ever – tho as a photographer I like drear too – lots and lots of rain coming over from the eastern USA – floods, disruption, you name it! Yes, it is good when a post comes together, a great feeling of creative satisfaction – as with one I’ve done this morning, or two “oldies” (like me!) sitting together. Oh yes, and every image I “Like” comes up in my blog’s sidebar too – so I hope you’ll benefit from the extra exposure. I’ve done a few horse pictures too and I’d like to do more – I think your’s very creative and innovative. Adrian

  2. franjurga

    That’s great, Dawn! Where’s the shadow image of you shoeing?

  3. Had to come back again to revisit those fabulous word and photographic images – an inspirational post, thank you!

    • Thank you! I, like you, had to come back to visit those same vistas. The weather here is unseasonally warm and dry — so last evening I trailered to the Y and rode Laddie, ponying Hokuleia : ~ ) up McGill trail again in crescent-mooned twilight!!! Rode back in deep starlight! Simply fantastic! So clear a view I photographed snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada range — way across the Valley and rarely ever visible — with pink alpine glow of setting sun. Never ever even seen that from here before!!!

      I love your posts, as well. Your horse is a real cutie! Somehow I fantasize that we are related. My mom’s dad’s family came to California right after the Gold Rush and settled in San Jose (from Alsace Lorraine region). Family name: Laederich. Who knows???

      • Wouldn’t that be something! My family are all from different parts of the British Isles, as far as I know, but thoughout my life I have felt drawn to France and “at home” once I got here, and I’m a great believer in connections. Soul sisters maybe?! 😀

        • Yes! Let’s claim that! Horse sisters, for sure. 🙂

          Dad’s dad from Fleet, outside London. Scottish heritage, too. (My daughter went to Uni at the RSAMD in Glasgow — Celtic music — folk harp — and Gaelic language, on the Isle of Skye.)

          But horse roots go even deeper than Isles or Continents. Where would we be without our horses in our lives???

  4. Reblogged this on A Few of My Favorite Things… and commented:
    Beautiful!” Oh, to be Embracing freedom with every stride.”

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