Chicory The Wonder Horse
Meet Chicory The Wonder Horse
Yeah okay, so maybe he's not really a wonder horse. But he is kinda wonderful. In fact he single handedly (urm ... hoofedly? umm ... hoovedly?) transformed my way of thinking about horses. And that's really saying something considering I had spent a lifetime of loving and riding horses as well as working with them both as a vet tech and at an equestrian facility. So yeah, maybe he really is a wonder horse.
Just one of them horse crazy girls
I am living proof that the book called "The Secret" can't possibly work. I mean if all it takes to bring something into your life is visualizing and wishing it so (practically every minute of every day), then I would have had a horse when I was 6 (maybe younger). But no, I was 30 when I got my first horse. It was the bargaining chip my husband used to get me to move to Iowa. "We'll live on a farm and you can have a horse" he promised. And it worked.
Now almost 15 years later Chicory is my best buddy. He is my muse and teacher about so many things. This page is dedicated to sharing some of my favorite stories about him.
"It is not so much about whether horses have a soul, as it is that horses are soul."I am a firm believer that animals (much like people) come into our lives for a reason. They may not be the animal that you wanted but they are the animal that you needed.
Chicory is exactly the horse I wanted and needed. I am almost always relaxed and centered after spending time with my big boy.
All copyrights are retained by the artist,
Mona Majorowicz of Wild Faces Gallery.
The artwork or content in this lens may not be used or reproduced, either
in part or in whole, without the express written consent from the artist.
Greetings From Chicory's Human
Mona Majorowicz of WIld Faces Gallery
My husband says I'm pretty good at attracting to me what I really want. Well Chicory is all that I ever wanted in a horse. He's got a wonderfully smooth trot and a willing attitude. He is very respectful and affectionate and loves attention. He also enjoys meeting new people. Well ... unless they are veterinarians that is. Once he gets a whiff of vet stink, he is outta there unless otherwise restrained.
I think the thing that most surprised me upon becoming a horse owner was that he had so much personality. Having worked with horses all my life I would have thought that this wouldn't have been such a revolution to me. But it was. My relationship with my horse is very much that of my relationship with my dogs and cats. I chat to him and enjoy all of my time spent with him even if that time is mucking out the barn.
My name is Mona Majorowicz I am a professional artist who has been making my living selling my work for some time now. I am an animal artist, (meaning I paint critters) who works primarily in Oil Pastel or Water Soluble Pencil.
I own and operate Wild Faces Gallery with my husband Mike in a small rural town in Iowa. There we sell my original artwork and prints, as well as do quality custom framing and offer Giclee printing for other artists as well as for ourselves. I have over 20 years experience in the art and framing industry, both as a business owner and as a working artist.
I write a regular column for Apples 'N Oats (an equestrian magazine) about painting horses. If you would like to see real life photos of Catch, or want to follow the painting's progress (with full story) from start to finish please visit my blog, Fur In The Paint
Animals are my passion and art is how I chose to express it.
Chicory Is A Registered Quarter Horse
About The Quarter Horse Breed
Chicory is a registered American Quarter Horse. He is a big boy standing a little over 16 hands and is a red dun in color. He is a testament to the breed. Gentle and obedient but also funny and charismatic.
It's been a very long time since I looked at his registered papers but I think his registered name was Jack's Triple T. I changed it pretty much immediately. Chicory comes from show horse bloodlines but I wanted a name as unique in personality as he was.
According to wikipedia
The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other breeds of horses in races of a quarter mile or less; some individuals have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph (88.5 km/h). The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States today, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with more than 4 million American Quarter Horses registered.
The American Quarter Horse is well known both as a racehorse and for its performance in rodeos, horse shows and as a working ranch horse. The compact body of the American Quarter Horse is well-suited to the intricate and speedy maneuvers required in reining, cutting, working cow horse, barrel racing, calf roping, and other western riding events, especially those involving live cattle. The American Quarter Horse is also shown in English disciplines, driving, and many other equestrian activities.(more ...)
Books About Quarter Horses - Learn More About This Amazing Breed
Chicory On Horse/Human Communication
Equestrian Theater Presents: Chicory in "I Want Out."
In late Spring I stand outside the barn scratching Chicory, who by now almost completely shed out, but still has plenty of those crazy-making itchies. We quietly enjoy the warmth of the sunlight and the gentle breezes. He looks wistfully out to the pasture, of which he has been denied access to, since December.
A thought comes to him. (I could see the wheels turning) He looks at me and nickers softly. I look him in the eye, silently questioning. He looks out to the pasture, pauses a moment, then looks back me. I continue to scratch him, but don't move. He waits for a moment, then swings his head s-l-o-w-l-y back to look at the pasture. He holds a little longer than before, then looks back at me. I smile placidly and continue to pet him. The words, "What's that Lassie? Timmy's stuck in the well!" roll through my head.
Chicory sighs deeply, his frustration at my apparent dull-wittedness is obvious. Since I am failing to comprehend what it is that he wants, he decides to take it to the next level with charades. He steps away from me and walks over to the gate. Makes eye contact again, then tosses his head dramatically over the gate leading to the pasture. This time he doesn't look back at me, but rolls his eye over to see if I am paying attention. I think if he could have pantomimed the unlocking of the gate, he would have.
I walk over and pat him. "Sorry big guy, You'll have to wait another week or two before I can turn you out." He drops his head, and again sighs deeply making a groaning noise. I would like to think he understands my meaning. But truthfully, I think he is just resigning himself to the fact that his human is a complete and utter idiot.
Chicory: The Zen Master
He's Good for my soul
Excerpt from my Apples 'n Oats column.
We recently have had many storms pass through, which has left our farm soggy and battered. After the latest, I was out walking the pasture, looking for downed branches and shingles. While doing this, my horse followed me about, taking nibbles of grass every few feet. I was rushing around trying to get done as quickly as possible. There were more chores to be done than there were hours left in the day.
Chicory patiently followed me, as always the courteous gentleman. Whenever I would stop for even just a moment, he would softly nuzzle my back or arm. After a few of these gentle persuasions I finally got the hint and took a break. I just stood there in the misting rain, leaning against his warm body and watching the flood waters flow through the low spot of the pasture. I let myself get absorbed in the pleasantness of it all. It is a wonderful feeling to let the quiet and stillness get inside.
Chicory's Favorite Toy Is Not Really So Much A Toy
Who knew a round bale of hay could me so much fun
Whenever we put in a fresh round bale of hay for Chicory, it's kinda like Christmas for him. He always rushes up and takes massive energetic bites of hay while I am removing the twine. I finish up quickly and move away because he is beside himself wanting the partying to begin.
Usually he trots around it several times squealing. A couple of small bucks and a few kicks towards it, are thrown in for good measure. Perhaps, he will take a break to munch a mouthful or two of hay and ruminate. This is followed by snorting and rubbing his body along it like it's a giant curry comb. He pushes it around the pen, breaking it up and then, flops down in total abandon and rolls and snorts and farts. Ah, life's simple pleasures.
In the course of the next few days he will have pushed all one ton of it around. Every few hours I will look out and see the bale has moved from its previous location. That part drives Mike a little crazy. It tends to waste hay and occasionally is really hard on the fence. But I think from Chicory’s perspective its the best horse toy ever!
Other Great Horse Toys - Yes They really Do Make Toys For Horses
They'll Keep Your Horse Healthy And Happy So He Doesn't Pick Up Any Bad Habits
Chicory Loves A Good Game Of Keep Away
And Various Other WInter Sports
Often in the winter Chicory likes to play a good game of keep away. Usually he does this with a mitten or glove I pull off to make some chore a little easier. He doesn't actually dart away with it he just positions himself in such a way so when I reach for it and can pull his head away keeping the glove out of my reach.
I stop reaching he brings his head back to center. I stand eyeballing him wondering if I try for it what he'll do. So yeah I try again. And again he calmly swings his head away. I withdraw my reach, he swings his head back to center. Hmm.
When he notices I haven't fallen for the awesomely funny gag yet again, he ups the anti. He starts bobbing his head making the glove flop about and slap him on the face. Sort of taunting me like "Lookey, lookey what I've got." We do the reach and pull away thing a couple more times until I just give up, whereupon he drops the glove at my feet.
A Game Of Chicken
His other favorite winter game doesn't actually involve me at all. He gallops full tilt in freshly fallen snow careening toward his paddock fence. Then just about the time I think he's gonna crash, he slams on the brakes and does a rolling stop any reining professional would be proud of, and comes skidding to a halt within inches of the fence.
Then he stands, pauses and snorts. The he wheels about bucking and squealing running back the length of the paddock where he whirls about and does it again. He continues in this way until he's bored of it or exhausted. He has yet to hit the fence but I wince just about every time I see him do this game.
Being with my horse reminds me of who I really am. I am a woman who lives close to the earth. I am rarely happier than when I am sweaty and muddy and smell pungently of horse.
Chicory's All Time Favorite Treat
HINT: It rhymes with dapple.
The people I bought Chicory from loved him dearly. He came to me well treated with no fear of people. He loved all various grains, but he apparently also was never given any treats. I come from a long line of people who equate food with love and so I promptly set about trying to assure my place as the love of his life through bribery.
The first time I gave him some apple, he delicately snuffled it about the palm of my hand until it fell onto the floor. And then looked at me like "What?" Because I'm a bit of a slow learner, I tried again. Apple bit proudly offered on outstretched hand. Snuffle, snuffle plop.
So then I moved onto method acting. "Fine" I said. "I'll just eat the scrumptious apple all by myself. More for me." And took a bite. He snuffled around my mouth and poked his muzzle toward my hand wanting to try again. I bit off a piece and offered it.
This time he tasted it and then promptly spit it out, waggled his tongue around to make sure absolutely no bits might yet be stuck in his teeth and gave me a very distinct "are you trying to poison me!" look. I pretended not to notice and took another bite of the apple while using my best high school drama class acting abilities, I made it clear that this apple was the best thing ever.
He watched closely for a few moments and then once again snuffled at me hinting that I should share. I gave him another chunk, and he promptly spit it out looking confused. I continued eating and eventually he'd get too curious and start nosing about again.
As I offered another bite, I warned him it was his last chance. He pushed it around my palm, then picked it up ever so delicately. As he chewed, he bobbed hid head vigorously (You could see the wheels turning) and then swallowed. After a few moments he snuffled for more.
And thus began his love affair with apples. At this point he drools like a Pavlovian dog when he thinks he's gonna get some. And yes, I do buy him apples now and again. But mostly I get wind-fall apples from neighbors trees. Even after all these years, it's pretty much the only treat food he'll eat besides a grain ration. Well that and apple flavored pony treats or an occasional granola bar. But really all a granola bar is, is just a grain ration in stick form.
He Also Really Likes Anything WIth An Apple Flavor - Actually he rarely refuses a goodie of any sort
I have actually planted some apples trees just to keep the old fat boy in apples but mid winter, when the apple stash is gone ... treats are needed.
Chicory: My Horse, My Muse - Soul: One of many portraits that I did of Chicory
The truth of it is that Chicory has made a better person of me. Much of my work as an equestrian artist is about creating beauty. And he is a part of that. My horse is my friend and my muse.
And I often draw upon my experiences with Chicory when I create.I can honestly say that in some way every horse painting I do has some element of him in it.
As I write this, we are in the frigid grip of winter. This has been the coldest season that I can remember, since we moved to Iowa well over a decade ago. As a result, the much cherished time that I usually spend with my horse every day, has been cut down to a few short minutes of feeding, breaking the ice out of the waterer and perhaps a quick curry or scratch before my fingers go numb. The sweet smells of drying hay and sweaty horse seem like a long forgotten memory.
It is a blustery cold Iowa morning, complete with a fresh dusting of snow. As I make my way to the barn my fingers are already starting to sting. I break the thick layer of ice on the water tank and head inside to give Chicory his hay and grain. He greets me with a nicker and a nuzzle, then regards me with his large liquid eyes while greedily eating his breakfast. My feet are beginning to get cold and my hands are now numb and yet I stand with him for awhile.
I am often asked why I paint so many horse paintings and it is at moments like this that I find my answer. It is a fascination which never seems to get completely fulfilled. I believe I create horse images for the same reason those early cave dwellers did; because I am in awe of their beauty and spirit. Painting is a way of knowing the horse just a little bit more.
Being with my horse reminds me of who I really am. I am a woman who lives close to the earth. I am rarely happier than when I am sweaty and muddy and smell pungently of horse. I work indoors under artificial lights to create a life filled with animals, freedoms and the outdoors. We are not so different, my horse and I. Sunshine, fields of green, and a cool breeze are all bliss, especially on a cloudy day with the threat of snow.