THE ARTS are a major component of all the Horse Warriors™ programs. Each student receives a journal kit and art supplies at the beginning of the year. The journals go out on the trail in saddlebags, and are used at the arena and in discussion groups. They are year-round records of feelings, observations, inspiration and accomplishment. Art sessions are taught by professional artists and cover a broad range of media.
WRITING is also a regular part of the Horse Warriors™ journal sessions. Poetry, personal narrative, observation, and responses to discussion questions are all explored. Sharing is optional, and yet we find that at some point, everyone feels comfortable enough to read for their group. Student work is published annually in the newsletter, and occasionally submitted in writing competitions. Parents and students share a journal in our Power Ponies™ and Mighty Mustangs™ programs, utilizing the experience of creating together to deepen family bonds. Poetry, prose and reflective writing from prompts are some of the activities students work on in their journal time.
EVERYTHING WE DO, say, feel, share, comes through our own unique filter. If we remember that one little fact it can help us to be more compassionate. All of us have a strong sense of how we see the world. If we can remember that others are just as certain of their beliefs and perceptions as we are of our own, we can become more inquisitive and tolerant.
We had fun playing with this idea during our journal time out on the trail, and want to share the variety of “eyes” through which we viewed the same things.
Enjoy the diversity!
RED is flame drowning in a rainbow
Red is first in the primaries
Red is the center of a heart torn open
Red is a fingertip dressed up
to match lipstick
Red is lava brewed at the earth's core
Red is the last word from this pencil
Red is what happens to pink
when the white drains out
Red is the bitter end of purple
RED is angry
It is the color of a fire raging through
It is the color of burnt and dead pine needles
Red is a warning flag telling you to stop,
to go back
Red tells you
something is wrong
YELLOW is a lazy afternoon
That turns into a long,
warm summer night
Yellow is the glow of fireflies
And the glee of children
Yellow is a group of friends
Sitting around a campfire,
Yellow is a butterfly
pausing on a flower
on a warm afternoon
YELLOW is a new day, a shout of joy
and short, spiky rays of clapping
Yellow is the brave sister of orange,
the color of dreams that become real
Yellow is the scent of breakfast:
frying eggs, juice, pears and Cheerios
Yellow hides on white paper
GREEN can represent envy
Or being sick
But to me it is big,
open fields with
That flow together
like a big family
Also it’s like a
new year coming
With the blooming
green leaves at the
beginning of spring
EVERYONE wears purple
Because we are all royal
We have power
to do great things
It’s like a fat grape
waiting to be eaten
by us or
ORANGE is when I eat
Or look at the trees
in the fall
Or when my goldfish
Around in their tank
BLUE is sadness
A great big ocean of despair
that you can never escape
But it is also a possibility
A possibility of flying
through the sky
or crossing the blue ocean
of worries and
Blue is a possibility
BLUE is cold, but happy
Blue is the reflection
of a bright sky
on fresh snow,
the bubbling color of the sky.
Blue is untouched,
a serene lake uncut by wind
It is the bright ocean and
the beautiful tide pools.
Blue is the color of life
I'M FROM THE GREETING OF COLD fresh morning air that freezes my hair.
I’m from frozen toes and fingers, from my vision gone in the snow.
I’m from a cup of hot chocolate that melts my
I’m from grass and mud in between my toes.
I’m from May snow and July flowers.
I’m from seeing snow on the top of the tram in
August, then feeling it run down my back,
and hearing Elijah laugh and giggle
at my sister’s action.
I’m from walking through the door and being
greeted with a whiff of banana bread,
from warm hugs.
I’m from love and care, from annoying siblings.
I’m from feeling the hot black fur of Bella,
from bison and elk.
I’m from being submerged in the cold Snake River,
from hearing aspen leaves attempting and
succeeding to sound like raindrops.
I’M FROM JACKSON HOLE
IT WAS AN ORDINARY DAY when they left me. I can remember the sun out. There wasn’t any clouds in the sky. My older sister made breakfast just like every other day. I had to wake my brother and my other sister. If we weren’t up in time we would have to do more work around the house. Not that that didn’t matter ‘cause we had to do whatever work my grandparents wanted us to do. They didn’t get up until noon so we had time t do work. When we were done, we went out and played with our dog who had just had puppies in the back yard, but that didn’t stop them from coming and taking us. They stormed through the house past my angry grandmother and grandfather and my cousin who was living there. They came to the back door and all my relatives were yelling at us to run, but _____ was falling behind, so I ran back and pulled him up, but we were caught by the people who were trying to catch us. Why were they doing this? Where were we going? These thoughts were all going through me. Then finally one of them spoke and said, “You are safe now.”
“What do you mean by that?’
“You’re not going to get hit anymore.”
The big journey began and we ended up getting adopted. I know where I am now is a lot better than my real home and I know that I am safe.
TO ME THE VALUE OF WILDERNESS is as measurable as the value of a breath, or the sun rising to greet the new day. To value wilderness is like valuing the stars above and dirt beneath our feet – it is to value us. How do you place a value on yourself, your best friend, and your family? The value of wilderness is so enormous there is no number that can monetarily chain it. The value is in renewed breath, memories of scenery soaked in beauty, and earfuls of nature’s melodies. The value of wilderness can be measured in the joy one feels seeing a heard of elk in an open meadow of safe and speckled lupine; or the exhilaration felt when reaching a mountain’s summit and no mark of civilization can been seen for miles and miles; or the solitude and clarity therein that can be found lying in a patch of wind-blown grass. Wilderness to me is the life-blood, body and soul of our existence - all stems from it. Without wilderness we would have no home, orphaned. The value of wilderness to me is like valuing the sanity of future generations and longevity of our planet – how can these values not hold the weight of gold and diamonds?! How can we drain the mountains and sea of their plenty without first recognizing the wild’s true value in the connected web of deep oceans, far-reached places, and mountain tops that seem to kiss the stars? When we know it is just as ephemeral as us? Why must we belittle this breath taking beauty, which leaves us so awestruck, and fill of thriving energy, to pounds of coal, and net-fulls of tuna? Why can’t we value wilderness like we value our own lives – it is where we came from, it is what nurtured our existence, and it is home.
Hear the rhythm.
Listen to the songs of
creatures that crawl, the beings that fly.
They have the tune
of the fast paced life
of birth in the dawn
and death in the sunset.
Hear the rhythm.
Pay attention to the beat of
the rock, and the sound of
the dirt. For theirs is
the ballad of eternity
that even the best things
take time, yet eons can
seem only a minute.
Hear the rhythm.
Find the voice of your heart
and the melodies in your breath.
For these, out of any voice,
are those that will guide
you to what’s right. All you
need to do is to
I STAND FOR EQUALITY. I stand for kindness and care. I stand for people who don’t have anything against you because of what you wear, who else your friends are, etc. I have friends who don’t like each other, and I don’t like my friend’s friends. Luckily, my friends accept that, but I know there are people out there in our world who don’t understand. We have a lot of violence in our world. Where does it come from? We have violent video games, TV shows, etc. Why? That seems to be a universal question that will never be answered. Why, why, why? I don’t know. Poverty, prejudice, violence, etc. Why don’t we put more thoughts into our actions? Would the world be a better place if people had better educations or if they were more informed? That’s another question that can never be answered. Why not? Is there anything wrong with stopping to think? I don’t see anything wrong with it. I don’t. Do you? That’s the question.
TRUST IS A DANCE. It’s a balancing act between risk and safety. You have to be willing to take a chance to meet and connect, and at the same time be aware. You read the energy between you and another and follow your instincts. At the beginning of the dance sometimes you’re guarded and hold back, and pull away if it doesn’t feel right. What do you need in order to trust someone? Eye contact, seeing if people are open or closed - do they have their arms folded across their chests, protecting and hiding their hearts? I look for a smile, an ease of being in one’s own skin. If these invitations are there I’m willing to step out on the dance floor, so to speak, and try a few steps together. Trustworthy people are consistent, present, caring. They keep confidences, they live with integrity and they don’t cut corners and cheat themselves or others.
The art and writing programs at Horse Warriors™ are supported through annual grants. We want to thank the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, The Wyoming Arts Council and the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund for their funding of art supplies, program logistics, and honorariums for our guest instructors. Because of their generosity, our participants receive professional art instruction in a
variety of media, both in the studio and out in the natural world.
This project is also funded in part with an Arts For All grant
provided by the Town of Jackson and Teton County.