Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Quest For Faux Horses

One of the awesome events attached to the World Equestrian Games was an art project called Horsemania 2010. LexArts, Lexington's premier cultural development, advocacy and fund raising organization, produced the Horsemania event which challenged local artists to create these life-sized painted horses to display around Lexington until after WEG.

I really enjoyed spending time searching these horses out and if you read my "A day in the life of a WEG Volunteer" post you'll remember I spent awhile on my last morning in Lexington trying to photograph as many as possible.

Here are a few of my favorites...



In The Sky With Diamonds


Egyptian Treasure


We all really enjoyed them and the sometimes deeper meaning to some of the pieces but Chrissy fell in love with them and decided she wanted one for her farm. I mentioned that Hickey Feed recently advertised the pink one they had and she made me promise to check to see if it was still available when we got back to Washington.

Upon returning Chrissy & I took a drive out to Hickey Feed to see if it was still there but learned once we arrived that it had been sold a few weeks prior for about $500, more than the asking price initially. They said they were pretty sure they could have held out for more...and they're probably right.

By this time Chrissy was sure that she wanted one and that she wanted Maeve to customize it for her. So we set out to find another one. Within a few days I located a bonanza of them on Craigslist at one locale in Oregon. I wrote them a few times, sent photos back and forth but between my trip to the Caribbean, Chrissy's trip to Panama & my little jaunt down to California last weekend, we finally set up an appointment with the individual offering them for sale just this last Monday... about a month after my initial contact with them and two months after the decision to seek one out was made in Lexington.

I landed from the California trip on Sunday evening and 8am on Monday morning, Chrissy & I set out for "Sweet Home" Oregon (sounds like a song in there somewhere, right?). The adventure gave us some time to catch up on horse news, friends, and lots of other stuff but took a bit longer than we expected and after having to stop to eat, we ended up at our destination around 2pm.

We had no idea what we were about to encounter, only that these folks had at least one single horse, two teams of horses set up in harnesses for a wagon and/or stagecoach display as well as a Native American on the back of a paint horse.

We got a little lost at first but when we saw the big white gate with the faux foal on top we figured we had the right place. As we came down the driveway, we were suddenly struck with the adorableness of this place. Someone had taken a great deal of time to create amazing scenes all around this property (perhaps 2 acres?).

As we drove up toward the house we passed a miniature old western town

a large size "Jail", "bank", "Saloon" & "hotel"

some deer

Wild bears were plentiful

A large Ram

and a Native American seemed to be directing us across the driveway

to the prospector and his mule

This is where a very nice gal named Deborah came out to greet us. We knew there had to be some kind of story with all of these scenes set up all over the property and she shared with us that her Parents had collected all these animals and her Dad had constructed all of the play buildings and even the replica stagecoach and hearse by hand. For many years this had been his passion and the animals came from their many travels. Some of the collection was being sold off in preparation for his move to live with his daughter once his wife, who is dying of cancer, passes away here soon. Suddenly this wonderland had a very sad overtone and coming to collect one of it's pieces began to feel more like becoming part of the legacy rather than taking it apart. Deborah gave us a mini tour of place and introduced us to the rest of the collection.

An elephant (That Chrissy wanted to bring home with us as well!)

some giraffes

A Tiger

A hippo & another elephant

This team of mules

A team of Clydesdales

and finally the horses we'd come to see

We were only prepared to buy one and the owner did not want to split up the driving pairs but poor Chrissy actually would have preferred one of the larger horses initially.

And then we met the gray Arabian that we'd decided would most likely come home with us

and while I remembered getting the photos, the horse seemed to be just a bit different than I my mind I kept seeing a red saddle for some reason...

...until I realized I had it mixed up in my head with this Horsemania Horse

Desert Dream

And when I got home I's even the same horse in basic color and position...suddenly it seemed meant to be...Chrissy got her life-sized model horse after all. Perhaps we'll call this her Faux Horsemania Horse...

Then came the issue of getting it home. We had initially planned to bring the horse trailer but at the last minute thought it would be fine to bring just the flat-bed truck so we all brain-stormed about how the best way to haul it home...

We all had a good laugh about hauling it standing up and facing forward, joking about the looks we'd get on the drive back up to Seattle.

But eventually we figured laying down was probably safest so this is how we traveled up I-5.

I'm sure we got quite a few looks thinking this might be a deceased horse as we made our way home. One guy followed us into a rest-stop, slowed down as he passed, checking out our cargo and then moved on without stopping to "rest". We even parked for dinner in Winlock and I'm sure he brought a few more double-takes.

He's now at Horsepitatlity Too, Chrissy farm in Auburn. He's called Patrick, after Deborah's Dad and Maeve's been summoned to come and give her opinion on if he should be painted "Maeve" style or left as is...that's a blog for later I'm sure...but for now, Chrissy has her faux horse and it turns out to be very close to one of the Lexington Horsemania horses.

Most of the Horsemania horses did sell at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion on December 3rd and more than $383,000 was raised to support local charities & the arts in Lexington. But if anyone else is wishing they could have one of their own, there are about 15 remaining horses unsold at the auction but available on ebay with starting bids of $3,000 each. That could be quite an interesting holiday gift for someone. I checked them out and the auctions are due to close on December 18th.

This one's one of my personal favorites and still available without a bid as of today on eBay (in case anyone's still shopping for me!).

Paisley Pony

I did check out the list of all of the ones on ebay. A few of them do have bids but most are still available.

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