APHA
For The Soul—Unique Aspects of the Western World

 

Paint in the City

Who needs the paparazzi when you’ve got a flashy Paint Horse turning heads?
By Raquel Lynn

I can feel them staring. I hear the muffled whispers and watch out of the corner of my eye as they slowly, slyly, pull out their phones in disbelief—in a few minutes, I’ll be the star in a photo or video on some stranger’s social media account. “Suck in that stomach, sit up straight and try to look good,” I think to myself.

I might live in Los Angeles, but it isn’t the paparazzi that follow me around—it’s just the general reaction from surprised tourists and city dwellers not expecting to see a flashy Paint Horse trotting across Riverside Drive, with the world-famous Hollywood sign off in the distance.

My L.A. equine adventure only recently began; I was horseless from 2015 to 2017 while my husband Adam’s music career took us to New York City and then across the country to Los Angeles. Growing up on a 400-acre dairy and maple syrup farm, my entire childhood was spent hauling sap with our draft workhorses or exploring the land aboard our family ponies., and there was always a horse show on the calendar. While I love building a new and exciting life with Adam, my equine-free “normal” felt strange, like a chunk of my soul was missing. I missed riding, soft muzzles and the sound of a gentle nicker from across the pasture.

California life is so different from my equine-centric childhood in Burton, Ohio I’ve lived by the beach in Santa Monica and in the hipster hills of Silver Lake. During this time, I made friends—horse girls, of course. That’s when I learned about a hidden gem called the Rancho, an active horse community surrounding the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. I still remember my first drive around the Rancho; I squealed with delight like a teenager when I spotted a horse being ridden nonchalantly down the traffic-filled street. I knew this was the place for me.

Horses in Small Spaces

Eventually, the stars aligned and my wildest dreams came to fruition when Adam and I leased a house on Thompson Avenue—squarely in the heart of the Rancho. Nestled amongst hair salons, hotels and diners, our little equine paradise gives us the best of all worlds.

When I tell people my horse lives in my backyard, I mean it. Our property is zoned and approved by the city to have two horses occupy the space. Guests are always surprised when they enter the house and are greeted by a loud whinny from HH Indys Nu Daisy, my 4-year-old chestnut tobiano mare.

“Yes, that’s my horse,” I explain. ”Yes, that’s my horse,” I explain. “She’s our third roommate that doesn’t pay rent.” Living in close quarters with your horse is a unique experience. “Fira’s” stall takes up most of our miniature backyard—it’s a generous 24 feet by 30 feet and is less than 50 feet away from the house. Fira came home in 2017, and she quickly became a member of the family. She’s also one the most “talkative” horses I’ve ever known—she nickers “Hello” when she spots me through the windows of the house during the day. In the morning, she waits by the gate and stares into my office; once she’s spotted me, her shrill whinny declares it’s time to feed. Fira also knows when no one is home and astutely listens for the sound of the front door opening—some people have dogs to greet them when they get home; I have a horse.

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This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Fall 2018 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.

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