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Girls Who Love Horses

"playing horses" heather ross for Kokka, available spring 2011Its hard to reconcile, sometimes, that horses were once a part of my life, and now they are not. I still have my chaps, my helmet, my breeches, my paddock boots, and a pair of very smelly and increasingly stiff riding gloves in the bottom of my closet. I hold onto them the way my husband holds onto the motorcycle helmet and form fitting leather suit that has not been used for over a decade. My cleaning lady (I'm not rich, just a really bad housekeeper) once found these last remnants of a brazen bachelorhood tucked away into a forgotten corner , and asked where the Mr.'s motorcycle was. "There isn't one anymore, he just can't bear to let go of the accessories", I answered, to which she responded with an expression of pure pity. She looked down into the dusty visor in her hands, shook her head and softly murmured "so sad."

He's not the only one who lives in a suspended state of denial. When I was packing a bag for my appearance on The Martha Stewart Show, I seriously considered including my riding gear. "Martha and I are just going to CLICK, I just KNOW it." I explained to a husband who was already exhausted by the general theme of self promotion that came along with the book tour that I had just begun. "and when she finds out that I RIDE, and that I grew up riding Morgans and draught horses, she's GOING to invite me to Bedford and I NEED to be READY. Because I can't possibly go RIDING with MARTHA STEWART in the WRONG CLOTHES. Now it was my turn for a long, pitiful look. "Oh Sweetie," TC said softly. "get over yourself." For the record, I have not YET been invited to Bedford to go riding. Nor, I should point out, have I put my riding things into deep storage.

But the acute awareness that a stage of life has ended, and the nostalgia and the piles of boxes of things that can't possibly be gotten rid of that begins to grow in it's place is really the third stage, isn't it? Before that part of your youth began or ended you must have first been able to imagine yourself loving a horse or a motorcycle or whatever it was that consumed you, probably for hours, in that fleeting stage of life where any perfect situation is possible and can be played out with the help of carefully arranged plastic figurines on one's bedroom floor. So when I saw this beautiful post over at Soule Mama I immediately knew that even though Kokka was requesting more princesses (yawn) for my new fabric collection that I also needed to do some little drawings of little girls and their plastic horses. I also knew that perhaps I had found a new and loving home for the collection of gear in the bottom of my closet. Of course, Amanda's little girl wont be fitting into anything for a while yet, which means that I can cling to my delusional dreams for just a little while longer.



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Reader Comments (89)

I wonder if the cleaning lady thought it was sad that your husband is still holding onto the helmet and such or that it's so sad that he doesn't have a motorcycle anymore?

I absolutely love the horses, and much prefer it to princesses. I'm the mother of boys, so I've never gotten to buy girly fabrics much, but this is so much better than princesses to me!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCathy A

I love this! This is my little sister - she had the collection of Breyer horses, even a barn she built, and loved to ride through the Girl Scouts.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer O.

O! WOW! i can't waaait for this print ...my 5yr old is a self proclaimed 'horsey girl.' this will have to be curtains in HER room too! thankyou thankyou!! ......o & i really identify with your statement "(I'm not rich, just a really bad housekeeper)" ...me too -no housekeeper tho, just a messy house...

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin LeBeau

I love this fabric! This is my daughter to a tee. I look forward to it's release!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA.J. Dub

As soon as I saw the design I thought of that post! That little Adelaide is one lucky girl to have a fabric inspired after her!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

My daughter will adore this fabric. I simply can't wait! She has a million plastic horses! In fact, I made a drawstring bag with your horse print to hold her collection and gave it to her for Christmas. She is far more into horses than princesses. This is so exciting to me!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I am really looking forward to this print. My 4 year old LOVES horses!!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

This? "I can't possibly go RIDING with MARTHA STEWART in the WRONG CLOTHES." Totally makes me love you.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCorvus

OMG OMG! When I was a wee girl, i had three loves-horses, dinosaurs, & Alan Alda. This is just amazing! I wish there was one with dark hair, but that's nothing tsukineko ink can't fix! I can't wait!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Oh Heather, I'm sure this post with your lovely new creations wasn't supposed to cause tears, but it has. Not big roll down the cheek tears, but just teary eyes. I too love horses and rode when i was young. I miss it so much. My husband and i will be retiring soon and I've just recently made the statement...."I want a horse." We'll see. It is a nice dream however. Thank you for a peek at your new collection. Looking forward to it very much. Happy New Year!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I haven't sat on a horse in 20 years and I still have all my stuff - although whether i would still get into my jodhpurs is another question. My reasoning is that I WILL get on a horse again (and I would like to teach my partner to ride) - it's just a case of when.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAna

This is a wonderful print. I'm more partial to the gnome fabric but this wonderful! Little girls shouldn't be all about princesses! I'm getting giddy about what to make for my girl using this fabric who has just a small interest in horses, but anything is better than more princesses!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTimmi

this is funny...the moment i saw the fabric, i thought, i BET Amanda Soule will be purchasing some for her daughter. i guess she was the inspiration?? too sweet!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentererin v.

Oh! This is totally my daughter! And even though she's 10 now, and has a real horse to ride, she STILL adores and plays with each and every one of her Schleich horses, which take up an enormous (and permanent...don't even THINK of vacuuming in there!) portion of her bedroom.

I see horsie-girl pajama pants in her future!

I adore you and your whimsical designs.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkate

My mom never played with dolls, but was absolutely obsessed with horses. I don't know what I'm going to make for her from this fabric, but rest assured that I'll be purchasing at least one print from this collection with my Mom's name written all over it. Can't wait!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramber

I got so excited when I saw this this morning! Living in Kentucky horses are a big part of our life & this would make the cutest clothing/quilts to help me celebrate the Kentucky derby! The illustrations of the little girl remind me so much of my little one. I can't wait to see the rest of it!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Oh how well I know that reluctance. I still have all my opera scores and voice lesson tapes. I don't think I will ever be able to let those go. Great post. And I adore your print. I too am sick of princesses. ;)

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

i am absolutely in love with this fabric. i have a horse loving daughter, and this is soooo her.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternettie

Heather, this post was beautifully written. It has been a wonderful introduction to your new fabric line in a way that helps the reader feel connected. And the design is terrific. I can't wait to see more.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy (badskirt)

Oh how fantastic! I can't wait to see what else will be in the collection after this taste of loveliness!

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmmmyLizzzy

I love the horse-loving girl prints! So adorable. I grew up before the princessification of all girls' toys (and before the disneyfication for that matter) and remember playing with and dreaming of horses for many years. We lived on a farm! there was tons of room for my dream horse but sadly, no.

Maybe Martha will still invite you, you should hold on to your gear for a little while longer. :)

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori

My horse loving mom and daughter will LOVE this! My mom's horse just turned 22, so she doesn't ride as much as she used to, but she will never give up her gear either. :-)

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

I love your blog post about girls and their horses. I am just like that, and still have some riding gear from when I was in my teens. I have the collection of Breyer horses too, which I gave to my daughter last year (she is 8) and she plays with them just like I did. It’s so awesome! I love that you made some fabric that shows it too, how sweet is that?

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Living in Idaho the kids have grown very fond of horses. Especially my daughter. I love how sweet this fabric is and am so glad to have something other then princess fabric to arrive on shelves. I always tease my husband he may come home from work someday and find a pony on our property. Last spring when we would be driving home a specific was, I'd take us on the back roads so we could see the baby pony and mama horse. The kids just loved it. I can't wait to buy some of this cute fabric.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Yay for horses!! I loved Amanda's post as well, as that was me when I was little. I don't know what I'll do if my daughter has a hankering for princesses..... Also, my bin of rock climbing gear just sits and mocks me, my harness literally saying "you really think you can get me past mid-thigh?" I swear! So sad, yes, but there is always something else to replace the joy and fill the space, no? :)

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRaven

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