equine art · house post

Decorating the Office – Equestrian Style

Now that my office is FINALLY finished (in fact, I am writing this blog post on my own computer at my own desk like an actual grown up!), I need to think about what and how to decorate the walls.

Most of my horse-themed art will go up on the walls. I’ve previously reviewed the various pieces I own here.  I’ll also be putting up my Kendall’s Spavin Cure poster and getting a high quality print of the amazing cartoon of Tristan that Emilie drew for me.

So far, I know I’ll be adding these World War I cavalry propaganda posters to the walls. I’ll download the high-resolution TIFFs from the Library of Congress and bring them to my local print shop. At 11×17 sizing, even on good paper they’ll only cost a few dollars each.

I also have a chair in the office that, longterm, needs to be reupholstered. When I do finally get around to that, I’d like to add a throw pillow that fits with the theme. Maybe some horsey fabric on spoonflower.com.

Obviously, my ribbons will be hung up in the room. I don’t have so many of them that I can or should think about other ways to display them besides hanging. Someday, maybe – but for now they’ll go on the curtain rods.

How do you decorate in an equestrian theme?

equine art

Digital Cartoon of Tristan by Emilie of because pony

So a little while ago, Emilie of because pony offered up a killer deal on her digital cartoons of horses in honor of Abercrombie’s birthday.

I suppose this is the part where, surprise! I sort of spring it on you, blogosphere, that Emilie has been working at my barn for…um a while now. She is just as awesome in person as she is on her blog, random coincidence that it was that she ended up at our little barn in Vermont! (Ok, not so random, but aaaaaaanyway. I am the best at awkward after-the-fact revelations.)

(oh and Abercrombie is cuter in person than he is in pictures. true story.)

To pick up the rambly thread: I jumped at the chance to get a digital cartoon from someone who probably spends more time with my horse than I do and knows his mannerisms and his goofy faces.

I described a pose generally, his ridiculous begging face, see also photographic evidence here:

one of approximately 8 million pictures of him doing this
And then she took it from there, and LO IT IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT.
Tristan doesn’t always photograph well, and I’ve always had this hope that his personality would come through more in art, and this proves me right! Which is going to be a dangerous discovery because now I want more and more and more.
(proof: I showed the image to my husband with zero prep or advance explanation and he laughed for several minutes straight and then finally said “that is the most Tristan-like thing I’ve ever seen!”

You, too, should order one because <3. Check out the commission form on her website! (Oh and follow her blog, of course, and her Facebook page.)

equine art

Classic Equestrian Art from the Yale Center for British Art

My brain is mush today, and has been all week. Also, I walked to work in -15 this morning – with my Smartwool tights under my pants, so thankfully no more frostbite.

So here, have some gorgeous paintings from the Yale Center for British Art. (All are in public domain, and so ok to post, but click on the links back to Yale to show their online collections some love and to get loads of additional details.)

Henry Thomas Aiken, 1785-1851
John Wooten, 1682-1764

Thomas Spencer, 1700-1753
Anson Ambrose Martin, active 1830-1844
James Ward, 1769-1859
John Frederick Herring, Jr., 1815-1907
breyer · equine art · model horse showing

Breyer Stablemate Custom Painting

As I mentioned briefly in my recap of the Vermont Live Model Horse Show, I wandered into the main part of the farm store and almost immediately got sucked in to painting a Breyer Stablemate.

I’ll be honest: I spent an hour and a half painting my little Stablemate to look like Tristan. I had a three year old girl on one side of me and a five year old girl on the other side painting Stablemates pink and purple, and gold and orange, respectively. I got way, way too into it but it also turned into a lovely sort of zen thing and I’m happy with the results.

I’m usually terrible at all things artistic, so that this even turned out passably good is amazing.

Coat 1: Very splotchy.
Coat 2: Getting darker, but still splotchy.
Coat 3: Starting to look good!
Coat 4: good enough for now! Starting the black on his legs and hooves.
Coat 5: Adding black to the mane and tail, and touchups on the body to darken the splotchy parts.
Coat 6 doesn’t look much different, but it was basically continuing to touch up splotchy parts.
Coat 7: Adding in the white, and done!
Thank you, Guy’s Farm and Yard, for a fun morning!

equine art

What’s on your walls?

I bet quite a few of us have some horsey art on our walls. Last night, I decide to go around and catalogue all the horse-related art or decorating I have. In the process, I discovered that the disposition of art on our walls is basically 50% horses, 20% old maps, 20% 1940s propaganda or tourism posters, and 10% seriously geeky stuff like, you know, a replica of the painting that Adama has in his office on the Galactica. We have an atypical, geeky sort of style.

So here’s the horse stuff, attributed when I can.

Brave little metal pony. He has suffered so much from both the cat and the puppy crashing into him on a regular basis. Arya particularly likes to get her Kong stuck underneath him, bash into him a few times in an attempt to get it out, and then sit down and whine until one of us comes and helps her. It’s a drag not having opposable thumbs.

The first piece of art I ever bought, at Everything Equine in probably 2006?

Fun story! The 1956 Olympics were actually in Melbourne, but the quarantine restrictions for animals were so difficult that the equestrian events were held in Stockholm. It’s the only time in history that it’s happened. Fiance’s family is Swedish and he found this as a gift for me.
A friend’s photograph of an old school horse named Thumper that I used to ride. Thumper was a Standardbred who was D-O-N-E with being a school horse. You had to pony kick him repeatedly to get him out of a walk. He was a long suffering soul.

A gift from my parents. This particular artist does a ton of these. I believe my brother has one of a soccer ball turning into a soccer player.

This is actually a paper cutting that my grandparents brought back from China – the black is the paper, the white is the background piece. It’s amazing up close.

My helmet from riding in France. Way not ASTM/SEI approved, therefore relegated to decoration.

I wish I could remember the artist. This is one of my favorite piece of art of all time – the horse’s head looks just a little bit like Tristan.


These are custom ink drawings by the amaaaaaazing Mackenzie Kincaid. She did the bottom jumper one as a brief throwaway sketch, and I begged her to complete the set for me. I love them. I asked the fiance to frame them for me for three Christmases in a row, and the matting is…not great. Sigh.
So: what’s on your walls?

equine art · etsy

Etsy Shopping Guide: Vintage Horses

I have an Etsy problem. It’s not as severe as it could be, given my horse-induced perpetually broke state, but it still qualifies as a problem. I start looking at gorgeous things on that site and I get sucked in and two hours later I’m sighing over an Art Deco inspired Star Wars end table.

I thought I’d put together a few posts of nifty horse-related things to buy on Etsy in advance of the holiday season – or, you know, any time you need to gift something to another horse lover in your life. I’m thinking that some of these in particular might make lovely trainer/barn manager/vet gifts.

First up: let’s talk vintage horse items. I happen to have a tiny collection of vintage horse objects that I love, and any of these would fit in great on my shelves.

US Cavalry Saddle Bags ($249.99)

As soon as I saw these I let out a pathetic, besotted sigh. These went with a McClellan saddle, arguably the greatest military saddle the United States has ever produced. I wrote my master’s thesis on the beginnings of the US Cavalry, so I’m more than a bit of a buff.

Beyond that, though, they’re just gorgeous – all those buckles and the wonderful soft supple leather. Lovely.

Art Deco Knife Rests ($79.00)

I’ll be honest: I’m not entirely sure what a knife rest is, or why one would be needed.

But aren’t these lovely? I love the long lean lines of them, the elongated yet elegant neck and backs.

Equestrian Horse Head Cigarette Holder ($32.00)

In my opinion, this is the best bargain on the list. It has great Art Deco lines, is in beautiful condition, and actually has some practical use – it’s not just a tchotchke for a shelf. I think this would look incredibly classy on an office desk.

Brass Winged Horse Figurine ($10.00)

This is tiny but whimsical, and would make a nice shelf piece, especially for such a low price.

Vintage Hunting Candy Tin ($14.99)

Another small and sweet item. I particularly like vintage hunting themed items, and this one has the added bonus of being on a tin that could be repurposed for all sorts of other things.

equestrian history · equine art · someday farm

Decorating the future tack room

Someday, someday I will have my own farm. 20-25 acres, 4 stall barn, enough space for Tristan to retire, a horse for me to ride, and maybe a stall to keep a foster horse. I have many thoughts about the layout of this barn, but one thing I hadn’t considered until recently was tack room decoration. I was looking at WWI / WWII propaganda posters for work the other day, and came across one from WWI that I absolutely loved.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library’s terrific propaganda poster Flickr set.
Isn’t that fabulous? I love it. That got me started, so I looked for a few more.
From zazzle.com.
Again, zazzle.com.
From Flickr.

Last, but not least, I LOVE this one, as it ties together my undergraduate work on medieval military history and my graduate work on American cavalry history. It also has the benefit of being ironically anvilicious given the way the First World War remodeled much of the Middle East.

From zazzle again.