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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 saw a movie recently with a great parting line - "sometimes bridges need to be mended, and other times, it's okay for the bridge to be burned". Be delighted in the new chapters in your life! Congratulations on the book, the fabric, the Martha show.....

January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Ohhh! I love this! I have two little girls will too. My oldest will be coming up with all sorts of things we can make with it. She is 6, we have a farm, she wants a horse. For now the plastic ones are all she's got. I loved Amanda's post too. It was so sweet.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I know some modern big girls who still play with horses. This fabric will be PERFECT to make the most amazing quilt surprise for them. LOVE IT!

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobin in Texas

I have the spring 2011 kokka wholesale catalog and I don't see this one. How can I order it?

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathi crosby

great site, keep it coming

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercccamservers

Love love love this new design. While my little one (almost 4yrs old) loves princesses, she is also totally into being a pony / horse and galloping around everywhere.

I thought of the Soulemama post as well - of Adelaide sitting and playing so tenderly with all her much-loved toy horses. She'll be itching to grow ever bigger just to fit into your riding gear. Lucky one!

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllie - Petalplum

Heather just know that so many people love you and your art :)

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusie

I am absolutely in love with this fabric :)

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjen

Dear Heather,
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
I live in rural oregon and have many people in my life who have the horse affliction! My family included. My husband and I have 8 furry beasts at the moment. I wanted to extend the invite that if you ever find yourself in oregon that you are welcome to ride one of ours. It is wonderful to see a print that I can use for my neices that reflects normal girl activities, with a relatable character.
This has been a wonderful way to start my day.

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Q.

I just love this print! I will be looking for it this spring :) I grew up with horses and showed them in high school and into college. I haven't ridden in about 6 years now and I dream of them. I've passed my love of them down to my daughter. I'm going to make myself and my daughter something from this sweet fabric - can't wait!!

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

I love this print! The whimsy of a girl and her horses makes my heart melt.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrenogirl

I love this fabric. I empathise with the forgotten riding gear, but here is a story of hope.

I'm...... well in my thirties. I sold my horses when I was 18, as i was going to college. Life, marriage and work took over and horses were just a fond distant memory.However, in September 2009, I got an invitation to go riding with a friend. I thought I had better take a couple of refresher lessons just to get myself back on track.

I loved it, it was always such a passion and it was like like coming home. An idea started to brew in my mind, just at the back at first and then it started to surface, maybe I could have a horse of my own, again. My beautiful baby arrived about a month ago, he's perfect, but maybe that's a proud horse mama talking. Luckily I have a very understanding husband, who looks at my time spend with my horse as time he can work without guilt.

Don't throw that stuff away, when you love horses they have a way of falling back into your life.

March 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjudith

This really speaks to me, as this was as close to real horses as I could get as a child, growing up in a subdivision. In fact, if I ever get my ebook, "The Girl Who Galloped" (Amazon.com) published as a hard copy, this would make the coolest cover! I proudly admit, I still have my little horse collection and it lives on when little ones visit our house. Thanks for this, even though I arrived late to the party.....

October 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Gerace

this horse is so freaking cute, i want him! thanks for the blog though, i love it!

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