These portraits are representational and rendered from photographs in order to honor the
importance of the animal, as an equal and necessary partner in riding. They depict the level of perfectionism necessary to succeed in the arena. I use pastels, which are temperamental and sensitive to the touch, as a metaphor for the horses that they depict. The difficulty of the material is representative of the challenges that riders face on a daily basis and the control of the marks indicates the success and hard work of both parties. By working against the nature of the medium, I demonstrate that showmanship works against the nature of the horse. Beauty and skill are central to the judging that occurs in competition, so they are central to the formal qualities of the blended tones. Each portrait is done on a life-sized scale in order to capture the vastness of the sport. This work illustrates the labor required to achieve a meaningful partnership and attempts to place viewers in the boots of the rider.
As a member of the Sewanee Equestrian Team, I have deepened my passion for riding
and furthered my relationship with my horse. Like any college athlete, the time and dedication that it takes to excel in the arena is both mentally and physically taxing. This means that a successful outing is much more than a blue ribbon to hang on the wall, but the satisfaction of putting your “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” into it and walking away with an even stronger equine partnership. This body of work explores this dynamic relationship, between horse and rider, and highlights a sport that is often overlooked, or even debated worthy of the title – “sport”.