January 12, 2012

In their eyes shine stars of wisdom and courage to guide men to the heavens. — Jodie Mitchell

This photo is one of my favorites out of my portfolio. I love the sentiment between horse and rider — both soulfully looking off into the distance. It was originally shot as an advertising image for a line of jewelry made by Bob’s Custom Saddles. The model is a young lady named Jennifer Ames. Jennifer is barrel racer down to her soul. She walks, talks, dresses and breathes the part — and you can tell when you see her ride how much she enjoys the adrenaline rush of being carried by 1000lbs of pure muscle and speed. She has passed this love along to her daughter, Cheyenne, who now rides AJ (the horse in the photo with Jennifer). They have all become a team — a family of people guided through life by a mutual love for all that is horse.

For so many of us, horses become guides. They are a place where we can go to dream, to look into the future, to reflect on the past — and find peace within ourselves.

Horses can also guide us outwardly.  Growing up, I lived next to a 3000 plus acre park project. It took years to complete and during the construction phase it was open to horseback riding. There were miles of intricate trails through open land and timber. I can’t tell you how many times I got lost while riding out there. But I was never scared. I always knew I could just let my horse have his head and carry me home. It is an amazing feeling to make that trusting of a bond with another being.

In reflecting on this ability of horses to guide humans, it reminded me of a pony I met at an expo a few years ago. His job was to guide a blind person through life.  He was a truly amazing little fellow. And he is not alone. Guide ponies are becoming more popular among the blind. People like the fact that a pony has a generally longer lifespan than a dog and — who better to look out for your safety than a horse! Go here to learn more: http://www.guidehorse.org/

 

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