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Horse Whispers
 
Whispers from the Founder

Calling all Horse Lovers
August 08, 2013

With Horse Whispers we set out to bring something new and different to the horse art world. Something you won’t find anyplace else. Something that touches the hearts of horse crazy girls and horse loving women everywhere in a unique way. And that was to create an original series of horse-and-girl figurines with a beautiful idea behind them. Horse figurines that captured and preserved a special moment in time shared by a girl with her horse.

With this, our third release, we proudly add four more elegantly crafted horse figurines to the collection. If you are unable to get out and experience the special connection that is possible with a horse, the next best thing is a Horse Whispers figurine.


Distant Thunder

Day Dreamin'

What was that? The rumble of thunder
from beyond the horizon spells the end
of playtime for this girl and her horse.

Horses can take you places you would
not normally go by yourself, including
a romp through the land of dreams.


Pony Tales


Big Hug
"Go find your own book, you pesky pony!"
says this young girl as she ducks her horse's nuzzling. But does she really want him gone? Or is her secret smile saying, "I'm glad you're here. Let me read you a story.

No matter how big or how small,
every horse should be hugged by a
little girl at least once in its life.

 

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Horse Whispers 2013
January 02, 2013

When something is successful - a movie, a book - everyone looks forward to the sequel. This past summer the first ten Horse Whispers figurines were introduced and quickly became one of the hottest new horse collectibles to come along since The Trail of Painted Ponies. People were so impressed they wondered if we could possibly follow up.

We'll let you decide, as we proudly introduce the next five Horse Whispers figurines. Each is beautifully sculpted and painted with exquisite attention to detail. Each artfully captures a special moment shared by a girl and her horse. Each "works" in the round, meaning if you pick a Horse Whispers figurine up and look closely at it, you will discover that every angle reveals more of the interaction going on.

Allow us to introduce you to "Stargazer." By some magical somehow, the stars seem a lot closer on nights when you scan the heavens from the back of a horse. They seem almost within reach.
There's a saying, "To ride a horse is to ride the sky." You can tell by the graceful arch of her body and the rapturous smile on her face that the girl depicted in "Heaven on Earth" knows that feeling.
You have to be careful not to spoil your horse with too many treats. But there are times when sharing an apple says it all. Says "You're the 'Apple of My Eye.' "
A gentle pat on the neck and the whispered words, "Good Girl," can be the most encouraging way to reward a horse for good behavior.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to live where they board their horse. For the girl in "Town and Country," the perfect escape from town is to visit her horse in the country.

 

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Horses and Christmas: A Magical Connection
December 07, 2012

Recently we were contacted by a magazine that focuses exclusively on Holiday Gifts and Christmas Decorations and were asked what the connection was between horses andChristmas. The editors were struck by how popular Painted Pony figurines and ornaments had become at holiday time, and wanted to hear why we thought they had such a strong appeal. Our response, which drew on the thoughts not only of us at The Trail but our collectors and friends on our Facebook page, listed the following reasons:

CHRISTMAS PAST

1. Horses remind us of the charm of "Christmas Past," and refer back to riding in horse drawn open sleighs on snowy Christmas days to visit family and friends.

2. Horses recall our country heritage and the farms and ranches that many American's grew up on.

3. Horses bring to mind the "good 'ol days" when life was simple and the Holidays were the most important time of year.

4. Horses invite us to remember...they allow us to revisit the days when all we wanted for Christmas was a Pony under theChristmas tree. (Several of our collectors have written us to say that they got their first real horse at Christmas.)

CHRISTMAS PRESENT

1. Horses remind us of "Christmas Present," as we see horses taking the White House Christmas tree to the Capitol for the annual Holiday celebration.

2. Horses take Holiday visitors through Central Park, in the snow.

3. Horses take Christmas Carolers in carriages, through towns across America, to celebrate the Season.

4. Horses connect communities during the Holidays with parades and pageants.

CHRISTMAS FUTURE

1. Horses will remain in our Christmas celebrations forever.

2. There is a warmth and authenticity that horses bring to the Holidays that cannot be manufactured, or replaced.

3. Horses are the messengers from all the Christmas's past and present and we will dream of them forever.

4. Horses will always represent important traditions, well into the future.

Horses are magical and Christmas is all about the magic of this magnificent season!

To which can be added:

1. People are always looking for new gift-giving traditions at Christmas, and gifting Painted Pony figurines and ornaments has become a holiday tradition, the way giving glass balls, tin trains, and cut and etched crystal became holiday gift traditions.

2. Every Painted Pony, holiday included, comes with a story that adds meaning, so when they are gifted, in effect they come with a personal message.

3. Once purchased, figurines and ornaments that tend to increase in value every year, the way Painted Ponies do, are perceived as gifts that will grow in value with time.

4. Holiday gifts that have a handcrafted dimension are always more greatly appreciated.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Trail of Painted Ponies & Horse Whispers

 

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Born Horse Crazy
November 20, 2012

This will be the first year that Horse Whispers figurines will be available as Christmas presents, and we fully expect that giving and receiving them will become a cherished new Holiday Tradition. With that in mind, we thought we would share a true Christmas story written by Trail of Painted Ponies artist Janet Snyder, that wonderfully captures the horse-and-girl connection….

“When I was little, the only thing I ever wanted was a horse. I’m not sure how it started or why, there was just something about them that drew me and I loved everything about them. I was just born horse crazy.

“I had all kinds of toy horses with riders and stables to put them in. My room was covered with posters of horses, shelves with horse figurines and I had lots of books with pictures that I’d show my parents, showing them the kind of horse I wanted. All they would say is, we live in town, there’s no place to keep one.

“Every Christmas my parents would ask what I wanted and I always told them a pony. They’d take me to see Santa and I’d tell him, please, please bring me a pony for Christmas, one just like Little Joe’s pinto on Bonanza. When Christmas morning would come, I’d run to the tree hoping to unwrap a saddle or bridle or some hint that a pony might be tied outside in the backyard. I’d run through the house looking out the windows but there was never a pony to be found.

“After several years of this, my parents finally gave in. On Christmas we all gathered to open presents and my dad says, open this one first, it’s a special present from Santa. I picked it up and shook it like I always do trying to figure out what was inside. I opened it and let out a scream, it was a new halter with the name “Domino” engraved on a brass plate attached to the cheek piece. I ran to the window and tied to a trailer outside was a beautiful bay pinto all saddled up and ready to take for a ride. My dreams finally came true.”

This year, if a live Pony isn’t in the picture, giving that horse crazy girl in your life a Horse Whispers figurine will be the next best thing. Click Here to view the collection and place your order.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Horse Whispers!

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Comments

    erika said on May 17, 2014:

    tears....smiles...kisses....

    these figurines show the unimaginable bond btween girl and her horse...i am still hoping for a real horse of my own but this figurine comes close-and thats saying a lot!!

    Pat Layne said on August 02, 2013:
    Hi, I too was a horse lover from childhood, drew them, colored them, painted them, collected horse figures, read horse books, saw horse movies, rode a little in my teens, but only once did I have a ride where I felt that one with the horse! will never forget it...sadly I'm now old and never had a real horse of my own, but still follow the love however I can. Spend lots of time are Arlington Park race track in the summer - My happy place for "love of horses" So happy to find the Horse Whispers figurines. They are now on my birthday and Christmas lists. (how silly, I'm crying as I write this) thank you Pat Layne


Conversation with a Trick Rider
October 01, 2012

Our efforts to showcase the special relationship girls and women have with their horses recently introduced us to a fascinating young Colorado woman who has developed a name for herself as an up-and-coming trick rider. Our conversation with her turned into an interview, which was equally fascinating….
Ally Baumgart

Q: What got you interested in trick riding?
A: I ride in an organization at one of my local fairgounds. When I was younger and on lower level teams, it was often required for us to watch the higher level teams perform in shows. I was always captivated by the trick riders and wanted to be like them. It was always my dream!! Finally three years ago, I convinced my mom (who was very against hanging off the side of a horse) to let me start trick.

Q: Were you a daredevil rider before this?
A: I wouldn't call myself a daredevil - but I was never afraid of doing crazy things on horses! Before I started trick, I did liberty, bareback jumping without a bridle (I still do this now, too). I love jumping high and I was never afraid to make my horse run faster, even without a saddle and bridle. My own horse, Jojo, (I lease my trick horse, Ace), is a VERY uptight and anxious horse who never runs out of energy! When she gets nervous or excited she loves to buck and rear and has thrown me off many times. But I always get right back up- I can't let her get away with behavior like that!! I have had her for almost four years, since I was 12, and even then, I never thought twice about buying a calmer horse.

Q: How did you first get started with horses? Tell me about your first horse.
A: Ever since I was a baby, I have always loved animals and especially horses. When I was really young, my mom used to take me to pony rides and on trail rides (and I always had to ride the electric "penny" horse at King Soopers). When I was 7, I started taking a few lessons on a friend’s horse. From her, I met other riders at her barn which led to more riding time and more lessons! Finally when I was 9, I had met the age requirement to join the organization I am currently in. I have been in the organization for over 7 years now and have finally reached the Varsity level on all my teams.

I leased my first horse, Cabbie, for almost 9 months. (I'm not sure if you know anything about leasing, but we took the horse to the barn of our choice, but we did not officially own him. However, I had full use of him and for the most part, it was just like owning a horse). Cabbie was a brown quarter horse who was extremely difficult and stubborn. At this time, (four years ago), I was not trick riding yet so he was only used for regular drill riding and liberty. We wanted to buy him after 9 months but found out he had arthritis and could never be the strong horse I needed. That is when we bought Jojo, (aka the monster!), my current horse. I've had her for just about four years.

Q: What do horses do for you that nothing else does?
A: My horse is my best friend. I know that she will never judge me and will love me no matter what. Her life depends on me. She has given me an unbelieveable friendship that no one else could or ever has, and she is my other half. I don't know who I'd be without my horse!

Horses and riding in general have given me a passion and changed my life. To me, riding isn't a sport - it's a lifestyle. My life revolves around it! I love it more than anything else in the world and I know it will continue to be a part of me for the rest of my life.

Q: Is there a fear you had to overcome to trick ride? If so, how did you overcome it?
A: I didn't have to overcome any fears; I always knew trick riding was what I was meant to do!!

Q: What does it take to be a good trick rider?
A: It takes a lot to be a good trick rider. Physically, a trick rider has to be in shape - you must have strong muscles, especially abs, to pull yourself up out of a trick while the horse is running 30mph, you must be flexible in order to "fold" into different positions for specific tricks, and although many people don't believe it, cardiovascular endurance is extremely important! Mentally, you must have ABSOLUTE trust in your horse (that horse has your life in its hands!), you must fearless (this helps a lot when you're in a hanging trick and your head is 6 inches off the ground...), and you must always be in the right mindset. A trick rider must have complete concentration and focus at all times.

Q: What kind of horses make the best trick horses?
A: The best trick horses are solid, muscular and built bigger (so they can hold 100 pounds hanging off of them!), extremely fast, always reliable, healthy, and as we often call it, bomb proof. A trick horse can not spook at or be afraid of anything. He is holding the rider's life in his hands so he must be able to have full concentration on running the trick pattern at all times.

Q: Do you have a different kind of relationship with a trick riding horse than a trail riding horse?
A: Yes!! In every way. As I've said before, the rider must have ABSOLUTE trust in the horse. Also, the horse must trust the rider. Trick riding is not a comfortable or normal way for a horse to carry a person and it is often scary for them. So, they must trust their rider that they will not be scared or hurt.

Q: What have you found is the best way to establish a connection/trust with a trick riding horse?
A: I started out trick riding with my horse, Jojo, and she's a smaller horse who never liked trick because it hurt her back. She was very unreliable - one practice she would be perfect and the next one she would be bucking, kicking, angry, and we later found out, in pain. So the unique trust I needed with her for trick riding was never established. After we found out that Jojo couldn't do trick, we started leasing Ace who absolutely loves trick. I'm not exactly sure how we established the connection and trust that we have now. All I know is that there was a connection between us the first time I rode him (within the first 5 minutes of being on him for the first time, I had tryouts for a higher level team so I had to make Ace run and give it my all! There was no transitioning into a new horse). I had confidence and trust in him and he obviously sensed that and began trusting me.

So, I guess the only way to establish a connection and trust with a horse is to trust in the horse first.

Q: Are there different ways you communicate with a trick riding horse? Give me some examples. Who has been your favorite and why?
A: I don't really think there are different ways you communicate with a trick riding horse in general. However, what I have always done (and still do) is when I'm hanging upside down or backwards or whatever position I may be in, I talk to my horse. Even in shows with loud music, announcing, and the noise from his running, I still talk to Ace. I think it reassures him that I'm okay and that he's doing the right thing.

I have only ever ridden two horses for trick, (Jojo and Ace), and Ace is definitely my favorite! He is the ideal trick horse - he's the fastest on the team, healthy, reliable, bomb proof, and trusts in me.

Q: What has been your biggest thrill so far while trick riding?
A: My biggest thrill was definitely a show that I did for the National Western Stock Show in January of this year. It was a private show for business executives, the governor, mayors, senators, and many other people like them. These people paid anywhere between $90 and $5000 for a ticket to see the show. Thilling is definitely the best word to describe this experience... I could type for an hour and still wouldn't be able to completely explain it to you! The show was in a large arena filled with fancy tables in the center. The audience sat at these fancy tables eating a fancy catered steak lunch while the show literally revolved around them. It was terrifying because we had barely enough space to run a trick pattern around the arena (we had 10 feet of space around the perimeter of the arena to do our tricks). There were stages with huge cameras and TV's set up around the arena and there was even a bar that we had to run right next to! We were within 5 feet of the tables wherever we were in the arena. It was the PERFECT combination of every thing that could possibly spook a horse! Everything worked out just great, though!

Also, I won fitst place in a large competition two years in a row! My name is now on a plaque :)

Q: What are your goals?
A: My goals for trick riding are to continue learning new tricks and improving each time I practice.

My life goals are to go to college and become something that I love - I'm not exactly sure what that is yet but being an engineer is certainly a possbility! I want to live in a beautiful house in California and of course, have horse property!

Q: What's next for you?
A: I'm taking an AP, honors, and IB class in school and I'm drowned in work! I don't have too much free time at all, considering I take care of my horses almost every day, go to school, do homework, spend time with friends, work a job (obviously at a horse store!), and run Track and Cross Country to stay in shape for trick riding. So I guess what's next for me right now is just Senior year and more riding!!

Ally Baumgart

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Comments

    kailen said on January 24, 2015:
    how do you get into trick ridding? iv been interested since i was a little girl and watched Cowgirls and Angels. I live in michigan and am trying to figure out who to call or where to go.

    Lyndsey said on January 08, 2015:
    What age do you have to be to start trick riding

    mack said on April 04, 2014:
    What is the most common trick you do when you Trick Ride?


Who are Horse Whispers figurines created for?
September 04, 2012

Recently we were asked, “Who are Horse Whispers figurines created for?” The fact is, there is no single easy answer because Horse Whispers figurines were created for every girl who has been fortunate enough to have had horses as companions they own or ride, as well as all those girls who, for one reason or another – lack of finances, lack of family interest, lack of necessary space – have only grown up dreaming about horses. But if we had to answer, we would answer this way….

Horse Whispers figurines are created for girls (our use of the term “girls” here is intended to include women whose love of horses have kept them young at heart) who have found that some of their greatest “times of togetherness“ have been in the company of a horse. Times that made them feel linked in spirit.

Horse Whispers figurines are created for girls who carry with them the memory of a morning when they saddled up before the rooster crowed, took a long ride in search of a green place to graze, and ended up at a river where they laughed as their horse pawed at the water, then screamed with delight when it started to lie down.

Horse Whispers figurines are created for girls who spent summer afternoons lying on their backs in the grass watching clouds take on the shape of horse heads and hindquarters, and at night would dream of white horses that came to their rooms and took them for rides among the stars.

Horse Whispers figurines are created for girls who have brushed a horse until its coat glowed like burnished metal, then braided its mane and tail the same way they do their own hair. Girls who have put their arms around a horse’s neck, pressed their noses to their horse’s nose, patted the white star on its forehead, and swore a pony’s nip was better than a kiss.

Horse Whispers figurines were created for girls who have thrilled at the power that comes when the muscular flanks of a twelve-hundred pound horse yield to the gentle pressure of their slender knees and heels… and when they asked for more got an exuberant canter that made them both feel more fully alive. Girls who would later say their first taste of flight was on a horse’s back.

Horse Whispers figurines are created for girls who have looked into horse eyes that are as dark and shiny as volcanic glass, and known their hearts have been heard.

Horse Whispers figurines are also created for girls for whom a horse is no longer a part of their lives but is an unforgettable part of their past, and in these beautiful and elegant sculptures they see something that brings all those blissful memories and feelings back.

It’s like girls and horses have this secret between them, and Horse Whispers figurines are created for those who are in on it.

Rod Barker
Founder
Horse Whispers

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Comments

    Chielin Xu said on December 10, 2012:

    Hey, I love the model of Girl Talk.

    I don't get to ride much but looking at this model makes me feel like i am with ahorse talking!


Horse Whispers Fan Mail
August 01, 2012

From the very beginning, those of us involved in Horse Whispers felt it was important to keep in mind the fact that while many of the magical moments we depicted had a dreamlike quality, they would be based on reality. Our figurines would depict true experiences in the lives of girls and horses. They would capture real and loving relationships. And in recreating those moments we would be providing girls who had experienced them with a new way to remember them, keep them close, share with others….

And yet at the same time we knew that there were many girls who may not have had the good fortune of having grown up around horses, or spent a lot of time in the saddle, but who could relate to the idea of riding a stallion bareback in a pair of cutoffs, or hugging a horse’s neck and making a wish. If we were successful in what we were trying to do, they would “get” what Horse Whispers is all about. They too would feel the emotional connection.

So it came as a huge validation when last week we received this email: “I just wanted to send you a quick note to say I accessed your site from the Painted Ponies site and I was SO glad a did. What a BEAUTIFUL site you have. There is nothing like the glory of a girl and her horse. From when I was a small girl to being all grown up, nothing compares to having a beautiful horse by your side. It is a wonderful story that I lived and every girl who does too will hold a special place in her heart. From the time I first signed on to your website I could feel that you understand that feeling as well! I would recommend your site not only to every young girl, but to everyone who has had a horse growing up. It is just a wonderful site and I had to thank you for being there for the young people who treasure their animals and cherish them for the beautiful gifts from God that they truly are. I thank you!!”

If you also like what we are doing, if you have any Horse Whispers thoughts or moments you want to share with us and others, we would love to hear from you.

Whispers from the Founder

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Comments

    Mary said on August 13, 2012:
    I absolutely love looking at the photos people have submitted. The photos are all so much fun.

    Brenda said on August 13, 2012:
    Thank you so much for creating this website for girls who love horses!


At Last...the Horse Whispers Figurines Arrive!
July 03, 2012

Just when I was beginning to wonder if the month of July was ever going to arrive this year, it’s here, promising more hundred degree days BUT also heralding the arrival of Horse Whispers figurines in stores around the country.

It was seven months ago, in January of 2012, that we let the world know Horse Whispers figurines were coming.

We produced a set of prototypes to show to retailers, who oohed and aahed and asked how soon they could have them in their stores. And since that time we’ve had to wait. And wait some more. At one point I found myself getting impatient so I contacted the maker and asked what was taking so long? Why can’t they come out sooner? People are waiting.

“Hold your horses,” I was told, and I was reminded about what was important to us at the start of this collection. When we first came up with the idea for Horse Whispers, we knew we had something unique and special. Something with the potential to have universal appeal because there are horse-crazy girls and horse-loving women everywhere on earth. And so we took our time, searching for just the right production company for Horse Whispers. We wanted to work with craftsmen who knew horses as well as people, and who would be able to sensitively sculpt the body movements and facial expressions that were the essence of this collection. We knew from the start that this was going to be a collection whose success would depend on subtleties - the placement of a hand, the tilt of a head - and that every piece was going to be hand-painted by artisans in soft colors that reflected the mood of the situation depicted. To get that right took time. Sometimes longer than you’d like. But what you got in the end would be well worth the wait.

Put in my place, I’ve held my horses, and now it’s July and at last, this month, Horse Whispers figurines will be featured in stores around the country. We will be setting up a Store Locator on this website to help you find a retailer near you who is carrying them, but if you can’t find one close by we invite you to mention the collection to an appropriate store nearby.

And if you can’t wait, you can order now the through the Official Horse Whispers Official Store, by Clicking Here.

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A Day with the Horse Whisperer
June 04, 2012

Several weeks ago, on a sunny Saturday in New River, Arizona, I had the privilege of spending the day with the cowboy who inspired the book and movie, “The Horse Whisperer.” Buck Branaman is also the focus of the award-winning documentary, “Buck,” which follows him around the country as he conducts a series of horse clinics. Essentially a one-man operation based out of his ranch near Sheridan, Wyoming, Buck is in demand around the world by people drawn to his philosophy of “natural horsemanship.”
Buck Branaman,
the Horse Whisperer

He has a passion for seeing things the horse’s way, for working with a horse’s nature, for teaching people how horse’s think and communicate. As Nicholas Evans, author of “The Horse Whisperer,” has said, “(Buck’s) skill, understanding and gentle, loving heart have parted the clouds for countless troubled creatures. Buck is the Zen master of the horse world.”

There was no doubt about it. The man knows horses. Knows how to find their holes and is full of sound advice:
On how to fix them: “You need to give a horse a chance to make a poor choice. It’s how they learn. They’re like kids that way. Then you make it difficult for them to do the wrong thing. And don’t quit this side of succeeding, just because you may doubt yourself.”
On how to sit in the saddle: “Keep yourself in balance. Keep your feet in the right position. Throw your toes out and keep your heels down. That way, if something happens, say he walks past a dead cow and spooks, you don’t become a lawn dart.”
On what it takes to be successful: “Working with horses, there’s an ebb and flow to progress. You’ll go from euphoria to despair. From thinking, ‘I’m God’s gift to equines,’ to ‘I don’t know why I bother living.’ It’s all part of learning to work with horses.”
On what it takes to be a failure: “Horses aren’t lazy by nature. But if you’re an undisciplined rider you can make them dull and inattentive and enable bad habits.”

Many of his insights apply to people as well as horses. In that regard, his clinics are full of life lessons. “Don’t put limitations on what it takes to be a good hand. Do it till it’s done. Whether you’re fixing a fence or shoveling crap, most people do till it’s hard for them and then they quit. We live in a quitting culture. Don’t do that.”

Not that there isn’t a place for firmness when it comes to training. “Do less than what it takes to get the job done. And if that doesn’t work, do whatever it takes.”

Throughout the clinic he would ask, “Any questions?”

I had one, but saved it for the lunch break. Looking around at those who had brought their horses to the clinic, as well as the crowd of spectators, I had noticed the women in attendance outnumbered the men by a significant margin. I wondered why he thought that was the case. His laconic response was what you’d expect from the Horse Whisperer. “The same reason women are the ones who will ask for directions when they’re lost, and a man won’t.”

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Welcome to the Horse Whispers Blog
February 01, 2012

Greetings, and welcome to the Horse Whispers blog page. Going forward, I will be updating this blog regularly, but I will also be responding to comments and questions more frequently. So, as you read what is written here, if you have something you would like to say or ask, feel free to speak up and add your entry below.

As for who is writing this, that's me in the picture at the top, kissing a Palomino colt named Redford. While it may seem a little odd that the mind that conceived Horse Whispers belongs to a man, if you think about it, it makes sense. Being male has put me in a position to observe and note the way girls - and I use the term "girls" to mean young as well as adult women - seem to have something qualitatively different going on in their relationships with horses than boys and men do. Something it seems to me is recognized by horses, and reciprocated. Poetically put, girls seem to be free to hear horses whispering to them in their dreams in ways that boys do not.

I'm basing this on my observations of two women in particular, to whom I would like to dedicate Horse Whispers: Karlynn Keyes, and her daughter Valor Lee. You will see them pictured here. Karlynn, who is my partner, and who is also the President of The Trail of Painted Ponies, has been a horsewoman since she was a young girl growing up in Minnesota. She passed her passion on to her daughter while raising her in Arizona. Spending time around them both, I have noted that horses talk to them in whispers only they can hear.

May you continue to hear horses whispering to you in your dreams.

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Comments

    Rod Barker said on May 09, 2012:
    Beautifully put. Thank you.

    Peta said on May 06, 2012:
    Mr Barker, these figurines are extraordinary. It's like you've tapped into the psyche of us horsey girls. Looking at these figurines, it's like someone has turned some of my best memories into sculptures. I can't wait to start this collection and share them with my girls. Thank you for exploring this uncanny relationship between a girl and her horse.


 
 

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