My Rhio was part of artist Tracie Thompson's holiday project. She wanted to do a study of a different horse each day the month of December. The set was to be called Christmas Ponies. Thanks to social media, through a friend of a friend, I heard about her need for additional models, and dug around in my photo archives. I sent her a handful of shots of Rhio, not really knowing exactly what she was looking for but striving to give a range showing his personality as well as his charming good looks.
The photo she picked is a ride photo, from our first ride of the year in 2011. It screams RHIO in so many ways - his intensity, his focus, his drive, and his super-charged energy. I love the motion in this photo. I love remembering how it felt to be there, sharing in the glory of flying down the trail with him. This is why I love my horse and our sport - for the moments like this one.
Tracie did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of Rhio in every way. She did have to create some of the muzzle out of her head, because if you look closely at the photo, he is sticking his tongue out and flapping his lips. If you look closely at nearly every single ride photo I have of Rhio, he is doing either or both of these things. It means he is anticipating something he likes - he does it for feeding time, when it's time to be turned out of the barn, when we are on a solo training ride and start heading home, and most of the time at an endurance ride, when he's out there on the trail for the joy of it (and because he thinks he is a race horse and can/should be first.) I guess she didn't want to have a Christmas Pony sticking his tongue out and flapping his lips! It is certainly an oddity.
Thank you, Tracie, for this wonderful original art of my boy. It will be framed and hung with love on my wall for years to come.