Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Spirit Animals – Gail’s Wild Horse

with 11 comments


Horses have always been part of my life – one of the first things I learned to draw was a horse. Through my growing years they were my solace, my exercise, my best friends, my freedom. In my dreams, horses would come and gallop me away from my troubles. To all outward appearances, I was just another pony mad little girl, collecting pony stories, small china horses and big picture books of horses from around the world. But in my heart I knew better. The horse was more than a fad for me – it was an expression of my spirit.

The horse, in the language of spirit animals, represents freedom – and the strength of the herd, the family, roaming together wherever the grass calls. Horses used to be indispensible to a traveller, before the advent of the internal combustion engine. My father used to enthrall me with stories of the horses he knew as a child, for he had a natural affinity with them too (although his spirit animal was the Eagle) and was often delegated to round them up in the morning and hitch them to the wagons.

There were few horses pulling wagons when I was a child, but still I grew up with horses as part of my normal experience. Their proud, magnificent beauty was one of the joys of my life.

Today it is impossible for me to keep a live horse, but horses stay with me, through books, movies and art. Two of my favorite horse movies are Hidalgo and Spirit of the Cimarron. Brian Adam’s songs for the latter – especially “You can’t take, I’m free” capture everything I love about the spirit of the horse.

When I was a child, a dear friend (the very human inspiration for the Cat Lady in one of my stories on Pythian Games) gave me Black Beauty and I have loved it ever since – another favourite literary horse is Shadowfax. The painting above was done with paint Shop pro. I still love to draw and paint horses, and I have found that the Smudge tool in PSP gives a lovely sense of movement and life.

In another favourite movie, Young Guns II, the Apache Kid speaks of the horse that comes to take you away from this life. Crazy Horse saw a painted horse in the vision that gave him his name. The horse is a talisman and balm to those souls who never quite `fit’ into this world. Our freedom may be in name only these days, but on the back of a horse, or in the painstakingly wonderful work of capturing its beauty in art, the horse is still the path to true spiritual freedom for those who can catch a strand of the flying mane as they rush by.

Written by Gail Kavanagh

June 7, 2008 at 1:28 am

Posted in Spirit Animals

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11 Responses

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  1. Lovely horse, lovely story, thanks Gail.


    June 7, 2008 at 1:35 am

  2. The horse is such a magnificent creature and I can fully appreciate why it holds such significance for you.

    Heather Blakey

    June 7, 2008 at 1:57 am

  3. Wow! Gail this is truly magnificent! The image and the writing is superb! Genece


    June 7, 2008 at 3:02 am

  4. I agree. The image feels like a horse, nd the words canter away in the soothing rhythm if a horse on the move. Well done!


    June 7, 2008 at 5:08 am

  5. Horse are truly amazing, Gail.


    June 7, 2008 at 7:14 am

  6. So many people love horses ! Some interesting thoughts about the spiritual significance of horses.


    June 7, 2008 at 10:30 am

  7. She runs strong and free, your spirit! Lovely painting & passionate paeon to horses, Gail! Kezza


    June 7, 2008 at 1:13 pm

  8. I have always loved horses and have ridden quite a bit throughout the years. Your picture shows a magnificent animal, one I would expect to read about in a fairy tale…a fine mount to carry the princess to her prince.



    June 7, 2008 at 1:47 pm

  9. It sounds like you have found the right mix of mystical and practical to bring you to your dreams and away from the world! -Q


    June 8, 2008 at 12:12 am

  10. A wonderful tribute to a magnificent animal!


    June 8, 2008 at 1:40 pm

  11. Wonderful! I’ve always had this special bond with these wondrous and magnificent creatures. There is nothing better than the feel of a horse’s warm, hay-scented breath against my cheek.


    August 20, 2008 at 4:08 am

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