Jessi Sparkman riding horseback on Bonny with Peaches in Montana
Writing Horseback: Do you own any horses? What type of equestrian riding style?
I have a couple horses. I own a 12 year old Quarter Horse that I’ve had for 8 years (Bonny), and a 6 year old Quarter/Percheron/Thoroughbred Paint horse that I’ve raised (Peaches). They are just about as opposite in horse personalities as you can find and I love them both for that. They both are a huge inspiration to me in life and in art. Horses don’t have to try to be beautiful, they just are. This makes it easy for me to observe and paint what I see in horses. They encompass every feeling of freedom, and every feeling of each season in Montana.
Having a horse is a lifestyle, not a hobby, and you are in it for the long haul. Being able to make a change in you as a human to speak to a horse in its language is amazing. It sounds obvious, but horses can’t talk, nor can they speak human, so we have to change how we talk and behave to use their language to communicate with them, just as they do with each other. My friends can all attest that once I get going on the horse topic, they’re in it for hours listening to me.
I grew up riding in the mountains of Bozeman, Montana, the Bridgers, Spanish Peaks, you name it, I’ve ridden there at some point in my life. Within the past 6 years I’ve been learning about Dressage and I’m thrilled about it. Dressage and Tango are the same thing to me. Different applications, but very similar concepts. Forward thinking, and moving without hesitation. Precision and flawlessness, or the seeking thereof. Being deliberate with your movements and your communication. Being a leader with your horse, or a follower with a Tango partner. The same goes with painting, and life, really. I think I can find any analogy with horses that can relate to life.