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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 LOVE it. Similar to Amanda, I too have a little Miss A who LOVES horses. I look forward to making her a little something out of this fabric. Yippee!!

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I can't wait for this collection, my cousin Laurie and I played with horses day in and day out as little girls, when she had to move away with her family, I remember feeling so sad to not have her to play with the horses anymore. She has her own farm and her own horses now on the opposite coast. Hopefully someday I'll get to go see her family and the beautiful horses!

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

Oh Heather! I have been madly in love with your fabrics since I discovered them 9 years ago. And while we have 3 little princesses of our own here, I'd have to say that this fabric is every girl's fantasy. The love affair with horses long outlasts the oh so brief princess phase - as your closet attests. LOVE it so much!!!! I cannot wait to get my hands on some. There truly is not enough fun horse fabric out there. Adelaide is one lucky girl!

I love your blog, you always make me laugh!

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermamajen

LOVE LOVE LOVE. Can't wait to get my hands on this.

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSar

you have outdone yourself once again! I will definitely buy and hoard this fabric for my future daughter who is SURE to LOVE horses. and this fabric.

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkarissa

Heather, you dear...this is me and my cousin Christine on your fabric! I was blonde and she had light brown hair and at least 50 plastic horses with the same fencing shown on the fabric. We used to play in the pea gravel in her back yard under a big ol pine tree and set up a who stable, with a barn and all. Every birthday and every Christmas she got yet another plastic horse from the toy store on main street in our hometown. It always came wrapped in red and white striped paper with blue ribbon. I can't tell you how the memories just flooded my heart when I saw this. I can't wait to get my hands on some and surprise her with some home sewn item yet to be determined! Thank you so much for what you do!

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I know so many girls who will love this fabric - some of my own as well. Lovely! :)

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRegina

I think you and your husband both need to get yourselves riding!

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRina

I'll definitely buy some of this--I don't have any girl grandbabies but I know here in Texas I'll find a special way to use this print!

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterangela

Oh, I just can't get over how connected the internet is! Though I personally feel connected to nearly all the fabrics you've ever designed (yes, I was a Breyer horse girl, too) I love that you've designed something around Amanda's little horse girl. My husband seems to think the internet is this blank empty space that people just get lost alone in for hours, but it's not! People care about each other! People are LISTENING!

I agree with a couple of other posters- seeing a little more diversity in your prints would be wonderful, and I'd just die over a series with little girls reading books in trees, the bathtub, the top bunk of the bunkbed with a flashlight, at the kitchen table while eating breakfast.

You've hit right on with this design, Heather. Is there anything you CAN'T do?

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecka

Oh dear God, please tell us these will be printed on quilting cotton.
I have halters, bridles, bits & a bareback pad in the garage (since 1986) that I can't bear to part with.

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMonica M

Your dreams are not delusional. I would not be surprised one bit if you announced you were starting a family and moving to the country. Don't give those things away just yet, or maybe ever! I love the new fabric:)

January 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusie

Thank you for this wonderful design- my horse-lovin' 4 year old will be SO excited to have clothes made from this- (she would NEVER wear princess-print clothes, though!). She would prefer to have a 'real horse' living on our city lot- thank goodness for the toy variety, gorgeous fabric, and wonderful imaginations!

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjenna

This is such a meaningful fabric design to so many! As a little girl, I loved horses but couldn't have one. Now my 12 year old rides and I love every minute of sitting in the cold barn waiting for her! Sadly, back when your Westhill horse fabric was out, I couldn't buy any. But last spring, I came across a bundle of fat quarters of the horses and the jodphurs, etc in a fabric store and snatched it up so quick!! You can bet I'll be all over this fabric the day it comes out! Love it! More horses!!

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRochelle

I'd made a pact with myself that there would be no new fabric purchased this year until a certain amount of the stash was used up or given away. Then I read this post and burst into tears. I too have that pile of horse stuff in the corner that I'll probably never be able to part with even though we said good-bye for the last time to my beloved 31-year-old pony last summer and I don't know when another horse will enter my life. I still have those plastic horses from my childhood and I also have an 8-year-old daughter, so this fabric is perfect. Thank you.

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda


January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertonya lemos

Looking forward to spring! Love your fabrics!

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

We muck things up so badly, make things so ugly and complicated, and then here you are again with your innocent, beautiful renderings of life in its best form.
Oh, and I would CLEAN your HOUSE for you! I would totally go to...where are you?...and CLEAN your messy house. You're MY Martha Stewart, man. YES you are.
And the little honey bears...haven't forgotten about them, right? Because you did post them on your blog at one point--you kinda totally put them out there for people to see and wish for and hope for. Right? So....

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterpieceLove

Stay true to you!

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

I just came back to comment on the fabric and how I absolutely LOVE it. I am surprised that you have had some people who have been critics of this particular print. I love how you stand up for your work and stay true to yourself and your designs. This takes me back to my 70's childhood even though I never really played with horses. It's the idea of it. LOVE.

January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori Porten

I love this fabric! And I really enjoyed reading both your original post and the update. :)

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFarmgirl Susan

Heather! You need to read THE JEWELS AND THE GEORGES if you haven't already. The subject of horses makes me morph into some wizened old cowgirl "...why I remember when Sully bucked me off five times in one trail ride...and don't even get me started on BW. That was a fine piece of horse hide, but quite a handful. Ornery as the dickens...."

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT

I want to see the rest of this collection--I have been trying to imagine the other coordinating fabrics! Is there one with just rows of fences, or with just barns and horses? I want to see them all! I will definitely be making some things for two little 2.5 year olds--the daughters of MY daughter's riding teacher. (they are not twins, but part of triplets--there is a boy also.)
Just love this new collection--princesses are fine, but the horses are more soulful (soule-ful?)

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Ellen

I'm a huge fan of your fabrics and wish you much happiness and success. This little print is darling and reminds me of my sister and I at play as little girls in the 70s. Sorry to read that you've received criticism from some readers of your blog. I love your line about not understanding the desire to do anything other than make other people feel good/happy. Good for you for standing up for your own artistry! The print is adorable.

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLyndsey

One of your best posts, including the note of explanation.

January 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

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