This portrait was commissioned for my birthday by my wonderful husband, Earl Carlson, DVM. The artist is Robert Pierson, a local retired veterinarian. We have many of his works. Dr. Pierson is well known for his watercolors of animals, particularly farm animals. We have several paintings by Dr. Pierson.
The horses are drinking out of the trough, hence the title for this blog. First, you see Hannah’s Dream, “The Baby,” featured on the left. She is an APHA-registered paint mare called breeding stock because she is not painted. She is a solid red dun. We got the Baby when the middle horse was 27. We wanted to have a horse coming up the ranks for riding and jumping.
We got her from a friend of Earl’s down in Franktown, Colorado. Little did we know that we would be feeding three horses for the next three years. Little did I know that two years later I would come off the Baby during a jumping lesson and fracture my hip. This fracture started a long orthopaedic soap opera that ended up with a third surgery to replace the fractured, unhealed hip. I’m still riding thanks to Dr. Douglas Lundy, orthopaedic trauma surgeon; physical therapist Todd Benz; and Dr. Kirk Kindsfater, guru of total joint replacements at the Orthopaedic Center of the Rockies. Special ongoing thanks to Pilates and massage therapist Don Spence for bringing my poor ol’ broken body back into shape after each procedure.
The black horse on the right is Scootsritealong, a black and white registered paint. Scoot is stunning. He is also a gentleman, a term for a most well-behaved horse. We got Scoot in the absolutely worst place to buy a horse-an auction. We went to see the horses at an auction at Colorado State University in March of 1999 with no intention of having another horse. Earl said to me, “Mare, look at this one,” and pointed to him. My heart nearly stopped when I gazed at this gorgeous creature. I am reminded by the book, The Godfather, when Michael is “struck by the thunderbolt” when he sees his Sicilian wife for the first time. Scoot was a three-year-old.
I first bid on another paint, an older, wiser ranch horse called “Buddy.” I didn’t get him. I told Earl I would never get Scooter, as we immediately began calling him. He said I would for three reasons: One, his age. Two, his size. He is a short horse in a world where people like big horses. Since I stand about five feet nothin’, I don’t care about height. Three, he was relatively untrained although the brochure said this APHA gelding had been “rode on the ranch.” Right. Anyway, I bid on him and won! I had to go home leaving Earl there as collateral, to get my checkbook and the truck and trailer.
The middle horse I can truly call the horse of my life. The beautiful palomino paint mare was Liberty Sunshine, our Marcie. She lived until 2005, when we had to put her down because of a large cancer at the back of her tongue. Marcie was a large part of our lives, both before and after marriage. I will write more about her in the future, in fact, a book hopefully. I have published the story of her last day, and I will post this soon.
An update on Dr. Pierson. He is well into his 90s, and is in assisted living. His wife, Toddy, one of the funniest, most outrageous ladies I’ve had the pleasure to know, passed away last summer, 2015. I had a good chat with Bob. He doesn’t paint any more, so I am thankful for all of his artwork that I have.