Leonardo-monoprint by Sheri Rohl.
Some girls grow out of the horse thing.
Some parents are disappointed when their horsey daughters exchange Saturdays at the barn for Saturday nights with boys. Boots for heels. Saddles for cars.
I believe my folks hoped I’d grow out of it. It was expensive and I was always getting scratched up or thrown off and I was always dirty and my boots were always covered with horsepoop. I knew I wasn’t going to get a car, that’s for sure. Anyway, I can’t be entirely sure what they thought, because I was usually goofing around with my horse. Or reading about horses. Or drawing horses. Or playing with my Breyer model horses. (Was anyone else bothered that Breyer horses aren’t exactly to scale with Barbies? Yes, I know Barbie had her own horse—eventually—a prancy, palomino with a very narrow barrel—to accommodate Barbie’s inflexible hip joints —and a brushable mane and tail that looked like it had been set with hot rollers. Barbie’s horse always seemed like it would have really preferred to be a pink unicorn or something. Breyer horses had a certain gravitas to them. They looked real. And Barbie’s heels don’t go down.)
I did try to grow out of the horse thing. I knew my skill set was pretty solidly in the art world, which doesn’t generally bode well for making tons of money. I got rid of my Breyer horses and told myself it was because grownups with architecture degrees shouldn’t have such tchotchkes. (I also became a bit of a gypsy—working as a theater designer—and toting around dozens of bulky plastic horses while I hitched rides to gigs and various crappy apartments would have been a logistics problem.) I stopped drawing horses. I sold my saddle.
All these things I regret.
God knows what I was doing. Raising boys, certainly. Driving to soccer practice and little league games. Doing laundry. Lots of laundry. Drawing Thomas the Tank Engine sixty billion times. Boys are usually not particularly crazy about horses. Not the way girls can be anyway.
I am one of those weird horsey girls. Even if I still haven’t bought my horse. I can sit on a hay bale and draw horses and call that an fantastic weekend. I can collect saddles and bridles and cool horse stuff. And now I can say it’s part of my work.
And if I’m ever forced to be a gypsy, again it will be with one of those adorable Gypsy vanner horses and the colorful vardo wagon. Full of tchotchkes.