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Liz Staley Studios 2019 Review!

2019 is almost over, and what a crazy year it has been. I’ve talked about some personal struggles already this year in another blog post, so I’m going to concentrate on reviewing what’s happened with Liz Staley Studios this year. 

  • Added the Civil War Cavalry Horses, Vlaamperd, Brumby, Akhal-teke, Thoroughbred, Shetland Pony, Misaki, B’anei, Gypsy Vanner, Andalusian, and American Curly Horse to the Horses Of The World series.
  • Began the Dogs Of The World series, with the Welsh Corgi, Basset Hound, Shiba Inu, Siberian Husky, and Dalmatian early in the year, and adding the Australian Shepherd in December.
  • Unicorn and Krampus were added to the map illustrations, hopefully as the first in a series of mythological creature drawings.
  • Got accepted to Merch By Amazon and began selling exclusive shirt designs through Amazon’s marketplace.
  • Participated in “Equine March” challenge and completed a horse drawing each day of the month of March. These drawings are available as my first digital sketchbook, with artist notes about each prompt and how I chose to interpret them.
  • Added dogs, cats, birds, and cows to my commission resume.
  • Had an article published in The Barefoot Horse Magazine about my art and my horse, Glory.
  • Started selling patterned fabric through Spoonflower.
  • Began offering many new made-to-order products on Etsy, including coffee mugs, leggings, and backpacks.
  • Began offering my original pieces for sale on Etsy, too!
  • Started a coloring club on Patreon that provides exclusive new coloring pages each month.
  • Attended several local events, including horse shows and market days in neighboring areas.
  • Completed over a dozen commissioned pieces for satisfied customers of their own pets or pets of loved ones.

I don’t feel like I accomplished much, overall, this year. I certainly didn’t accomplish some of the goals I’d set at the beginning of the year. But, looking back on the list above, I actually made some big strides this year! I’m hoping to keep up some momentum going into 2020 and to start the new decade off with a bang. My next blog post will be the first of the new year, so have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you in the next decade!

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What’s In My Grooming Box

My favorite thing to do with my horse is spending time brushing her. I love to ride, and to drive, but I find that even just going and brushing Glory on a day when I’m not feeling great is enough to boost my mood. There’s something magical and satisfying about just spending some quiet time talking to my horse, brushing the mud off her coat and picking her feet, and getting the tangles out of her long tail. 

Maybe you’re new to horse ownership and don’t know what sort of grooming items you should have in your arsenal? It took me a long time to find the tools and products that I really love and that work for me. So here are my favorite grooming tools and products and why I chose them. 

I have no affiliation with these products and this is not a sponsored post. This post does include Amazon Affiliate links that provide me with a small commission if you click on one and purchase something, at no extra cost to you!

Sleek-EZ

Photo from Sleekez.com

My horse gets a super long winter coat because of her Cushing’s. Because of this, I have tried a LOT of shedding aids. The Sleek-EZ and the Grooming Gloves are my favorites out of everything I’ve tried, but let’s concentrate on the Sleek-EZ for a minute. I have the large Sleek-EZ and I absolutely love it. The size is perfect for Glory’s body, and it really gets the hair off! Plus it’s comfortable to hold too. My current one has lasted me through two shedding seasons already and will soon be on its third, and though it probably could use a new blade it’s still going pretty strong. Bonus, I’ve noticed it’s also very good at bringing up dust and dander when I’m using it!

Grooming Gloves

The newest addition to my anti-shedding-season arsenal are a pair of grooming gloves. I didn’t think that these things could do as good a job with getting out the winter hair as my Sleek-EZ, but boy, I was wrong! I like to slip these on each hand and go to town, massaging Glory with circular motions and watching the hair come out like crazy! After ten seconds of using them the first time, I was a changed woman. The long winter coat doesn’t stand a chance against a good pair of grooming gloves. These gloves have also taken the place of my curry comb for everyday use with getting caked on mud out of Glory’s fur. She loves having her neck scratched with them!

Stiff Brush

Any equestrian will tell you that a grooming kit should include a good hard brush. After I use my grooming gloves and/or Sleek-EZ, I use the hard brush on neck, body, and upper legs to get the majority of the dirt, dander, and loose fur off my horse. My hard brush has nylon bristles with a wooden handle.

Flick Brush

After I use the hard brush, I go over where I just brushed with a flick brush– a long-bristled soft brush that really gets into Glory’s coat and throws the dust off. I use the brush with a flicking motion, hence the name! Again, this brush isn’t anything special, just nylon bristles and a plastic handle.

Flex Finishing Brush

I finish up my body brushing routine by using a short-bristled soft brush on my horse. I go over her face with this same brush, as well as over her body and legs to make sure I’ve gotten as much dust off as I can. My soft brush is “hinged” so I can cup it in my hand and make it curve, which is why I like it as a face brush as well. 

Hoof Pick

I like my hoof pick to have a plastic handle, a thick metal pick, and a brush. I find the thinner picks with metal handles to be hard to hold, and I like having the brush so that I can clean the flat of the hoof as well as the grooves, without having to use the pointy metal part too much!

Mane and Tail Brush

I have been blessed with a horse that has a thick long mane and tail. Though her mane isn’t as long as some horses, it’s still pretty long, especially up near her poll. Her tail is long and fairly thick, and I love that it falls naturally into pretty little ringlets. But it can also be a giant pain in the rear to brush! I do use a detangling spray/leave in conditioner, which I’ll talk about later in this article. But for my brush, I like a nice hefty handle that’s comfortable to hold, and bristles with the round plastic bits on the tips. I love the big circular head of my current brush because I feel like it covers more area with each stroke, making the process a little faster.

Thrush Buster

Glory has little feet with deep grooves, which makes them a great place for thrush to grow. She spends 99% of her time in a dry lot that has great drainage, but still gets muddy when we get more than a moderate amount of rain. We keep a bottle of Thrush Buster on hand for when we need it for both the horses! (Though, if we can find something that works as well as this product and won’t stain our hands purple every time we use it, we would definitely switch!)

Eqyss Avocado Mist Conditioner Spray

My best friend and I use this on both our horses and we love it! We spray this on manes and tails to get the tangles out. Not only does it condition and get knots out easily, it smells AMAZING. Sometimes their tails are even easy to detangle the next day or two after we use it because it’s so good.

Eqyss Equine Spray Marigold Scent

We bought this once when the store was out of the avocado spray, and we don’t like it as much as the product above this on the list. However, I do use this every few days on Glory’s coat to help with her dry skin. I can brush her for thirty minutes and still have dust coming up because her skin is dry during the winter, and I don’t have access to hot water and heat lamps to give her a bath when it’s cold! So, after a ride or as a step to a grooming session, I will spray this on her coat, especially her back and flanks where the skin is the driest, and then work it in with my flick brush so it gets down where it needs to be. I’ve found that doing this a few times a week, along with regular brushing, helps keep the dandruff down until I can give her a proper bath.

And those are all the tools, brushes, and products that I use on a regular basis in my grooming box! I hope this post gives you an idea of my daily routine and maybe helps you out if you’re shopping for your first grooming kit. What brushes and products do you use to groom your horse? Let me know in the comments!

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What I Listen to When I’m Creating

I’m not one of those artists that can sit around in silence when I’m in my studio. I need music, a YouTube video, movie, or a show playing in the background pretty much every minute of my day. I can’t stand silence most of the time, and it’s very rare that I’m creating without anything playing from either my computer, tablet, or phone. Here are my top picks for what I listen to while I’m working away in my studio!

Music

I have a very eclectic taste in music, and I judge what I like on a song-by-song basis. This means that though I don’t like Country or Rap as entire genres, I do like certain songs from those genres. My most important criteria for music is whether it has strong lyrics. If I can connect with the lyrics and they move me or make me think of an experience in my life, or they tell a story, then I’m more likely to love the song.

My top favorite musical artist right now is an independent band called Icon For Hire. I stumbled across them randomly on YouTube one day and have been to two of their concerts, am a member of their Patreon, and participate in several of their Facebook Groups. Icon For Hire is fronted by lead singer Ariel Bloomer, an amazing song-writer and just an amazing human in general. In the beginning of 2019, she released a book called Turn Your Pain Into Art that I not only own multiple copies of (including the audiobook and a signed copy) but I have purchased it for several friends who deal with mental illness and self-hatred as well. I could write an entire blog post about this band and the impact they’ve had on my life, but maybe I’ll do that in a future blog! Instead, here are links to a few of my favorite songs from Icon For Hire.

Other musical artists that I like, in no particular order: Linkin Park, Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Katy Perry, Halestorm, Above Only, Against the Current, ONE OK ROCK, P!nk, Poets of the Fall, The Glitch Mob, Fefe Dobson, Mary Fahl, Disturbed, Savage Garden, Meghan Trainor, Breaking Benjamin, Beth Crowley, Owl City, Lindsey Stirling, Taylor Swift, Korn, Kesha, Avril Lavigne, Paramore, and so, so many more.

YouTube

I have a confession to make: I am a YouTube junkie. Right now I have two monthly subscriptions, and one of those is YouTube. I subscribed to it so that I could turn my phone screen off while a video is playing, and so that I wouldn’t have to sit through ads all the time!

I’m subscribed to lots of channels, but when I’m working on art I like to have longer videos (thirty minutes or more) on so that I can get lost in what I’m doing without having to change the video a lot. 

I LOVE true crime and documentaries, so a lot of what I watch on YouTube is in the true crime genre. My favorite true crime YouTubers are Stephanie Harlowe (well researched, multi-part videos about cults and true crime), Danelle Hallan (focus more on missing person cases and solved cases), and Kendall Rae

I also like listening to The Mile Higher Podcast, which is about an hour-long or more and covers all kinds of topics from current events to true crime to the paranormal. 

For art topics, my favorite channels are NerdECrafter, Rafi Was Here Studios, Becca Hillburn, and Chloe Rose Art.

My favorite horse-related channels are The Budget Equestrian and YourRidingSuccess. Obviously I need to find more horse channels to follow! If you know of any good ones, drop a comment and share it with me! I used to follow Evention TV, but they haven’t put out new videos in a long time.

I follow a ton of other channels that are a mish-mash of movie reviews, video essays, business advice, anime reviews, legal videos, and a bunch more.

Movies and Shows

So if you hadn’t yet noticed, I have eclectic tastes in just about every facet of my entertainment. It should come as no surprise that I have a wide variety of movies and shows that I like to have on while I’m working. Just like with YouTube, I like to put something on and not think about it for awhile so that I can get lost in the art that I’m doing. This is why I also tend to pick things that I’ve already seen so that I don’t have to concentrate on what’s going on with the plot.

I like all kinds of movies, from animated to sci-fi to fantasy to comedy and more. To list out all the things my husband and I own on DVD and Blu-ray would take forever, so instead I’ll list out a few of my favorites and concentrate on mainly what I have digital copies of in Movies Anywhere (because that makes them easily accessible back in my office from my computer browser, phone, or tablet). I’ve written already that my favorite horse movie of all time is Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (DVD). But also in my frequently watched are Krampus, Big Hero 6, The Croods, Pacific Rim, Deadpool and Deadpool 2, Spider-man: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, Ghostbusters (2016), Zootopia, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Thor Ragnarok, Into The Spiderverse, and Hocus Pocus.

Shows are tricky since I don’t have Netflix anymore, so I’ve been mainly limited to shows that I can find on YouTube. For YouTube shows, I like Hoarders and I Shouldn’t Be Alive. But, when I get my Netflix access back, I’m going to be back to watching my other favorites: Heartland, Criminal Minds, Free Rein, Voltron Legendary Defender, Trollhunters, Queer Eye, and Parks and Recreation.

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10 Gift Ideas for Equestrians

Disclaimer: This post includes Amazon Affiliate Links. If you make a purchase from Amazon after clicking one of my links, I receive a small percentage of the sale. This does not cost you anything extra, and helps keep my small business afloat. 

I have not purchased every item on this list, so please read reviews and use your best judgment before making purchases.

So, I do have a list of my own suggestions, but putting together these gift idea lists can be really time-consuming, and today I have a shift at The Foundry plus right after that I’m going to Virginia to see the new Star Wars movie! My schedule is a little crazy today. So, I’m going to include my list, as well as a video from one of my favorite YouTube channels, The Budget Equestrian, as well! Her video shares gifts for equestrians that are all under $20, and some of what she suggests are things that are on the list I made! So, check out her video below, then under that check out my list as well!

 

Click a photo in the list below to view that item’s shop page!

Rechargeable Hand Warmer Power Bank

 

 

Balaclava Neck Warmer

 

101 Ways To Die With a Horse

 

Horse Backpack/Show Bag

Boss Mare Mug

 

Massage Set

 

A Rider’s Journal

 

Leather Care Kit

Horse Ornament

Travel Coffee Mug

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Equilab Equestrian App Review

There are tons and tons of fitness tracking apps out there, but the one that I can’t live without for my riding is Equilab. Equilab is an app for iOS and Android that allows you to track your rides, see how long you spent in each gait, see trends, keep track of training for multiple horses, and also has social features so you can collaborate with your barn and plan rides. It also has a safety feature that allows you to send your ride to emergency contacts so they know that you are safe.

I’ve been using Equilab for a while now and I absolutely love it. I use it on 95% of my rides (sometimes I don’t bother because we’re just hacking around and having a fun ride, so I don’t use it then unless I’m trying to just keep track of how long we’ve been riding) so I thought I would write about it and share it with others.

After downloading Equilab, you can make your own profile, add your stable, and add horses. Adding your stable is great if you’re at a boarding facility because it gives you access to social features with other Equilab riders that are at your same stable. I’ve never used these social features because no one else at the boarding stable we were in last year had this app, so I can’t speak much about them. But from the information on their website, they seem useful!

One of my favorite features of Equilab is the ability to add multiple horses. You can see in the screenshot above that I have both Glory and Raven in my Equilab so that I can track which horse I’m riding and what I’ve done with each one. 

When you add a horse, you can set a photo for them, set their name, breed, gender, and more. You can also turn on the “Share With Stable” option, which shares this horse’s information with anyone in your stable. You can add notes which are shared with the stable members as well (a great way to share any changes to your horse’s feeding regiment!). If more than one person rides this horse, you can add a rider in the horse’s profile after setting it up. Then that rider can track their information on that horse and see their own trends.

Once you have your own profile and a horse set up, you’re ready to start riding! If you don’t see the screen on your app, you can tap on the “Start” option down on the bottom right of the screen, and that will bring up the screen in the above image. If GPS is on, you’ll automatically see a map of the area you’re in. To change horses, simply tap on where the horse’s name and photo is shown and select which horse you’re working with. Then, in the area directly to the right of the horse’s name, you can tap to select what type of riding you’ll be doing.

There are a TON of options for the type of training that you’re doing, even more than would fit in the screenshot I took. Select the one that fits for today’s ride and tap “Done” to go back to the Start screen.

Once you’re all set up, you just tap on the large green “Start Riding” button, put your phone in a tight-fitting pocket, and enjoy your ride! The app tracks how long you’ve been riding, and how much time you spend in each gait. It can even show you a map of your ride, as well! Once you’re done, take your phone back out and tap the button to Stop the ride. Then you can add notes, track the rider performance and horse performance, and even track the type of footing your rode on.

Above is a saved ride I did on Glory. You can go back to your previous rides and get a breakdown of your gaits, how many strides your horse took, your speed, and even how many calories you burned! The app will also show you a map of that ride. (You can see in the one above that I rode back up to the barn once we were done in the arena!)

The main Start screen also has a button with a “+” symbol in it that allows you to manually enter a ride in another screen, so if you forget to turn your app on but you know what you did for your ride, you can enter it later.

Also on the Start screen is the safety tracking option. This is so, so valuable for anyone who rides alone, especially if you’re out in fields or on a trail. When Safety Tracking is on, your location is shared with the safety contacts you’ve set. Those contacts can follow your ride and know when you’ve safely gotten home. 

So that’s my brief overview of Equilab! I don’t use it to its full capabilities, but it’s one of my favorite apps. I use the ride tracking all the time so that my best friend and I will know how long we’ve been riding for and so I can track my progress on Glory’s fitness and stamina. 

What’s your favorite horse-related app? Let me know and I’ll check it out!

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My 2019 Gratitude List

It’s hard to believe that we are over halfway through December already! This year has been so crazy that I can barely believe it’s not still April, to be honest, much less almost Christmas.

In today’s post, I’d like to express gratitude for all the many good things I have to be thankful for in this insane year. Though a lot of bad happened in the past twelve months, a lot of good things happened too, and it’s important to recognize that and to say thank you. So, in no particular order, here are the things I am grateful for this year.

  • I am grateful for every single person who has purchased a print, notecards, ornament, or anything else from me, whether it was in person, at The Foundry in Chambersburg, PA, or from any of my online shops. (Etsy, lizstaley.com, RedBubble, TeePublic, etc) Those sales helped get me through some tough financial times this year!
  • I am grateful for every commission that I was given this year. There are five people that are going to get original Liz Staley artworks for Christmas and I’m so excited to find out how they like their pieces. I love doing custom work and creating something special that will be cherished for years to come.
  • I am grateful for my Patrons! I know I’ve said this a lot, but being a Patron is one of the easiest ways to support my art. Patreon provides me with a monthly income that I can count on while also giving those who support my work perks and exclusive content. Some of my Patreon supporters have been with me for a long time and I appreciate them so much and hope I can continue providing them with content for a long, long time!
  • I am grateful for the Barefoot Horse Magazine, who featured me in Issue 23 of their publication. I had a blast writing my story for them and putting together the article that ran in their pages. It was such an honor for me, Glory, and my art to be included in the magazine!
  • I am grateful for my incredible friends from The Foundry Artist Cooperative. I have been there for almost 2 years now and met some amazing artists. One of the best things about the community at The Foundry is that everyone is so helpful and willing to share their expertise. Whenever I have a question or need advice, someone there is willing to help. It’s wonderful to be a part of such a phenomenal group of talented people.
  • I am so, so grateful for my friends who have stood by me and been the most amazing support system this year! I’ve never been someone who has a lot of friends- usually I have one or two close friends and that’s it. This year I have not only made friends with my fellow artists, but I also have a core group of friends who are the most amazing group of ladies I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and I could not thank them more for being there for me!
  • I am extremely grateful to everyone who shares my work on Facebook and Twitter. There are those who share nearly everything I post, and I see and appreciate you! Word of mouth is powerful, and things like the Facebook algorithm like engagement more than anything, so all likes, shares, and comments are appreciated because they mean my posts are more visible!
  • I am grateful for my husband. It was a rough year for both of us, but we couldn’t have made it through without teamwork. I hope we can get through 2020 with the same tenacity we showed this year!
  • I am grateful for my family, especially my mom and dad. When things got the roughest, they really helped out. In the same vein, I am so grateful that when they needed help I was in a position that I could provide it. I couldn’t have gotten through the worst parts of this year without my family, so thank you!
  • And, of course, I am grateful for my horse, Glory, and my best friend’s horse, Raven. Glory rekindled my love of drawing horses and set me down the path to the career I’m cultivating right now. Raven has been a serious blessing in my life as well, either by making me laugh or providing a soft neck for me to cry into when I needed it. Big thank you to my hooved therapists!

That is definitely not a comprehensive list of everything I have to be thankful for this year, but It’s a pretty good list (I think so, anyway!). What are you grateful for this year? Let me know in the comments!

Me with Glory, Thanksgiving 2019
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What’s the First Horse You Ever Rode?

The subject of which horse was the “first” I ever rode is a tricky one. I never took lessons when I was a child, but one of my cousins owned horses while I was growing up and I remember getting pony rides on them when we would go there for Easter and Christmas. I know there were other pony rides as well, most likely at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and carnivals. So the answer to the “first” horse is not very clear-cut at all! 

Instead, I’ll write about the first horse I ever took riding lessons on. I had just turned 30 years old that year and found a local riding center to volunteer at. In exchange for volunteering for the summer camp sessions, I got a few free lessons. Plus my parents paid for me to take a session of lessons as well, which was awesome and was something I was very excited for – despite the fact that I was the oldest rider in the beginner’s class by a few decades!

Since I’d been volunteering at the riding center for a few weeks already, I was familiar with the horse I would be riding for lessons. She was a gentle giant named Ivy, a 16hh-ish Percheron/Hanoverian crossbreed with the slowest gaits ever. Her show name was “Island Time” because she did everything at her own slow, plodding pace. I’ve always had a soft spot for big draft horses, so the moment I met Ivy the first day I was at the riding center I fell in love with her, and I was seriously excited to start riding her.

Ivy was an amazing teacher, patient as could be and just lovely to ride. She was also comfortable to ride bareback because she was like straddling a couch with her wide, flat back! I am not a naturally gifted rider, so having a patient teacher who could handle a six-foot-tall adult was a real blessing. I’m sure that Ivy hated my inability to post the trot, but she never acted up or stepped a hoof out of line, no matter how much I bumped around on her back. She was big enough to carry an adult, but gentle enough to teach a child to ride. 

The most “advanced” thing I ever did on Ivy was trotting over small crossrails. We were supposed to be trotting over those crossrails, but because I was such a bad and inexperienced rider she would get right up to the poles and stop suddenly before gently stepping over them. I don’t know if I was incapable of keeping her in trot or if she thought I’d go flying off if she went over any faster than a walk! 

Riding Bareback at Christmas

My lessons on Ivy went for a little over a year, until I got my own horse and started my first barn job. Because I was working at another barn in exchange for board for Glory, I didn’t have time to continue volunteering at the riding school. A few years ago, Ivy passed away suddenly. It was a huge blow to me when I found out, because she wasn’t very old and it was out-of-the-blue. I hadn’t been down there in quite awhile, so I hadn’t seen my old teacher before she passed. I was extremely upset about this, and I admit that I cried several times over the next few days because of the news (and I went and gave Glory some extra hugs). 

Ivy taught me how to brush a horse, how to pick burrs out of manes and tails, and how to tack up. She taught me how to ride the walk and trot, both posting and sitting, and how to go up in two-point jumping position. I hated posting the trot on her because her trot was so slow that in required a lot of work, and because of that I learned that I have muscles in my thighs that I didn’t know could hurt so much! She taught me to be proud when I made progress, and how to be grateful for a patient horse who would deal with teaching me to ride. I do wish I’d been at a point where I could’ve cantered on her, because apparently she had a lovely canter, but I wasn’t at that point when I stopped taking lessons there so it didn’t happen. I am forever grateful for the things she did teach me, however. She gave me a steady foundation for my riding, and even though I am still learning every time I climb into the saddle, I know that my basics are strong. 

What was the first horse you rode, and at what age did you first start riding? Comment below and share your story!

Me With Ivy

 

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Why I Changed Styles and Subject Matter

Sometimes, an artist just must change styles or subject matters. It happens to all of us at some point, I think. An artist changes styles because they improve their technical skills, do life studies, or find a new medium that they like, among other reasons.

People who have been following my art for a while may know that at the beginning of 2018, I started shifting my artistic focus away from comics and cartoons and over to animal art. For almost a year I tried to do both cartoons and animal art, but as time went on I slowly started doing more and more animal art. Now I almost exclusively draw animal art!

I wanted to take this post to talk about how that shift came about because I don’t think I’ve addressed that in detail. I still love comics and cartoons, and storytelling, but I’ve found animal art to be very fulfilling over the past couple of years, especially my Horses of the World series.

My Comics Booth, 2015 Ohayocon

I spent my creative time from 2010 until 2017 working primarily on a comic called Adrastus. Though I still love the story and still want to rework it as a novel, I found that creating it like a comic was just not working out for me. I had trouble gaining any traction with the comic, and working on it became harder and harder, especially when I was working two barn jobs to make ends meet and also trying to update a comic three times a week. It became impossible to continue the comic while also working, and I couldn’t create enough money through the comic to drop one of my jobs.

I got to the point where I actually met with a business advisor in January of 2018 because I was so desperate to get an outside, unbiased look at what I was trying to do. By this time I had done around 6 of my Horses of the World pieces, so I brought these and my comic art to the meeting. After having a chat with the advisor, I had a plan to get my name out in my local area by promoting my horse art.

Over time I began to realize that drawing horses and other animals is extremely rewarding for me. I wrote recently about My Mission as an Artist and how I hope that my art will encourage learning and conservation. It is so much easier to talk to people and connect over my animal art than it is to try and explain my cartooning and comics. I love to see people’s faces light up when they see my art at the co-op store that I’m a part of, out at a fair, or when I’ve been commissioned to do a portrait of their special pet. I find telling people about all the different breeds of horses I’ve drawn to be extremely rewarding, especially when I can tell them something cool about a breed they’ve never heard of, or something new about their favorite breed. Though I made many connections over the years of working on my comic story, and I cherish the friends that I made during that time to this day, there is just something more rewarding to me about the path that my career has gone down in the past two years. Perhaps it’s because of my life-long love of horses and now having them in my life because of finding Glory, but regardless I am so happy with the way that my artist career has shaped up lately and I hope to do more amazing things and keep growing into 2020.

2019 Outdoor Fair Booth

To close out, a huge thanks to those who are still with me despite my subject matter/style change! I was worried when I started shifting focus that everyone I knew from comics would disappear out of my life, but I am very glad that hasn’t happened.

If you’re an artist, have you ever drastically changed styles or subject matters? How did that go for you? Leave a comment!

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My Favorite Horse Event – PA Horse Expo!

I have been to a lot of great events, but one of the best horse events, in my opinion, is the Pennsylvania Horse Expo. Held near the end of February/beginning of March, the Horse Expo is four days of everything horse-related. Because of the date it’s scheduled every year, it’s also perfectly situated right between my birthday and my best friend’s birthday, so we use it as a birthday trip for ourselves each year.

The PA Horse Expo takes up the entirety of the Harrisburg Farm Complex. In addition to tons of vendors in the main hall (the main reason we go, to be honest!), there are workshops, demonstrations, shows, an entire section of the show where breeds are showcased, and more. It’s a bit crazy how much there is to see!

Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA

We mainly go to shop, because there are so many booths of horse things and there’s always something that we need. In the past few years, we’ve actually started creating a list before the Expo of things that we’re looking for, and then we attempt to stick to that list. Last year (2019), we managed to stick closely to the list aside from one pair of alpaca socks that I bought. Side note: those socks are absolutely my favorite socks to wear while riding and if that vendor is there again in 2020, I’m going to stock up on a few more pairs of socks!

We only ever go one day out of the four days that the Horse Expo runs for, but one day is enough if you’re just going to look at the vendors and buy a few things. We usually have time to visit all the vendors we want to visit and go take a look down through the Breed Row before we leave. Most days it is VERY crowded and it can be daunting if you’re like me and don’t like crowds. In 2019, however, we arrived close to opening on Sunday morning and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it normally is, so we were able to move around without being crushed by the crowds. It was a really nice experience and we had great fun taking our time looking around the booths.

Since we were at Horse Expo in a less crowded time this past year, we actually got to talk to more of the vendors, too. Because of this, we spent some time at the Sidesaddle booth, asking questions and getting to try out sitting in a real sidesaddle! It was great to be able to talk to these amazing ladies and inquire about this method of riding. I have a lot of thoughts about Sidesaddle riding, maybe I’ll do a blog post about those at some point? (I know we took photos of me sitting in the sidesaddle, but I can’t find it. Will add back here if I do find it!)

Vending at the Horse Expo is on my artist bucket list, of course. I know I just said that it’s very crowded and I don’t particularly like crowds, but I’m actually okay with crowds if I have a table between me and the throng- discovered that from doing lots of conventions over the past few years! I would love to take my art there and connect with new people one of these years. I don’t know if I have enough product just yet to fill a booth at Horse Expo, and I’d hate to not have enough stuff. But it is something that I desperately want to do at least once because I think I could really branch out at such a large event.

Plus, why wouldn’t I want to spend four days at one of the largest horse events on this coast of the United States? So hopefully, one year, I can be a vendor at the Pennsylvania Horse Expo and see this dream realized. It would be an amazing experience and I’d love to do it some day when I have the money and the product to make it worth it.

 

Vendor room, from http://pafarmshowcomplex.pa.gov/

If you’re in this area of the country and want to spend a day or two going to workshops, demonstrations, and meeting other horse lovers, I can’t recommend the PA Horse Expo enough. Maybe one day, I’ll see you there!