Hey there! I'm Kaelee and I am the creator of Artful Equus. The Artful Equus Blog will mainly be focused on compassionate horsemanship education and philosophy, as well as equine awareness. But I am an artist as well as a horsewoman, and fine art is just as important as the art of horsemanship here. So, I would like to take this opportunity to bring to light my vision on how the art and horses connect.
In this post I will give you a little bit of my personal back story and the inspiration that lead to the creation of Artful Equus. Here I will tell you about how my art journey began, as well as my horsemanship journey, and how this blog will tie it all together!
Artful Equus is the fusion of artistic expression and compassionate horsemanship education and philosophy, with the intention of creating positive change in the lives of equines. The experiences created by Kaelee Thompson's (that's me ;)) art and horsemanship are also intended to encourage the people experiencing the art (yes the horsemanship is art too), to not only think, but feel outside the box by sinking deeper into their true authentic selves.
Young children are often asked, “what do you want to do when you grow up.” My answer to that question was always, “I want to help animals.” At the time I even had a pretty good plan mapped out for how to make this a reality. I was going to follow in my mother’s footsteps and go to Cornell and study to become a veterinarian.
Instead, I went to art school.
My interest in art was peaked by my love of animals though. In particular, my love of horses. I was your typical horse obsessed little girl and was constantly drawing pictures of horses any time I couldn’t be in their presence. I drew horses so much that an elementary art schoolteacher of mine actually dubbed me “the horse freak” and forbade me from drawing horses for any more of our projects. So, I drew a donkey instead.
A few decades later not much has changed. I am still following my heart’s desire and creating art as an act of gratitude to the aspects of life that bring me the most joy. And horses are still my main source of inspiration. Beginning back in 2010, I went to art school to study illustration and began the long strange trip of discovering my personal style, which has led me to where I am at today. Today I do custom horse portraits for horse lovers just like you, as well as non-commissioned pieces that depict horsey, nature, and mystical themes.
But even though I am grateful to be able to pursue my dream making my art a lifestyle, I haven’t forgotten about my childhood dream of growing up to be “a person who helps animals.” So, my intention is to utilize my art to act as a beacon and draw attention to a cause to make a difference in the lives of animals in need.
And let me tell you, many of those animals in need are horses and equines of all kinds. There is a staggering amount of suffering being experienced by the equines of this world at the hands of humans and it is a heartbreaking reality that is not spoken about nearly enough.
Horses, nature, and mysticism are my most prominent muses and I aim for my art to reflect the inherent beauty and cosmic awe that I perceive in this world. But while my aesthetic style leans towards a more romanticized view of reality, the message that exists behind the art is meant to reveal some of the not so pretty realities of the equine industry that need to be brought to light.
My journey with horses began before I was old enough to remember. I grew up working in barns in exchange for riding lessons and spent as much time as I could just simply hanging out at the barn and with the horses. When I was on the back of a horse, or even just in their presence, there was always a feeling of acceptance, connection, and an inexplicable freedom.
As I got older, horses continued to be a significant part of my life. I was a part of the collegiate equestrian team while in college and since then I have done everything from giving horse drawn carriage tours, exercising horses at a sale barn, teaching lessons, leading horse camps, and guiding trail rides, as well as just simply sharing space with these amazing creatures any chance I get.
I love to explore and have moved around the country quite a bit, and I have found a way to work with horses everywhere I have landed. I feel so blessed to have the knowledge and ability to work with horses because it has allowed me to travel and always find work doing what I love.
And I am grateful for the collection of experiences and adventures that my travels and work with horses has brought me over the years. My knowledge of horses and my horsemanship practice is built upon an open-minded perspective that pulls from what I believe to be the best practices from every discipline and mentor I have studied under. I have had to learn to be discerning and filter out quite a lot of questionable practices as well though.
But while living a life traveling around, making art, and riding horses may sound pretty great (and it is!), it comes with its fair share of challenges too. There is a dark side of the equine industry that I have seen firsthand, and it is heartbreaking. This shadow side exists for multiple reasons; some due completely to ignorance/lack of knowledge and informed education, some to a view that horses are just tools, and some due to a denial of the effects that certain practices have on horses.
As I became more aware of some of the harsher realities that horses face, that little voice of my inner child began to speak up again….”I want to help the animals.”
So, it became my goal to embark on a never-ending journey to become the best horsewoman I possibly can. To find a way to interact with horses in the most ethical and compassionate way possible and to educate others to do the same.
I mentioned that there is a message behind my art that I want to bring to light. But my drawings exist for the sake of beauty, for the sake of creating experiences and evoking emotions, as well as for the sake of directing energy towards equine advocacy.
So, once the energy had been directed towards this message I intend to share, I knew I would need another vehicle dedicated wholly to the cause. And teaching in person horsemanship lessons is a great way to support this cause as well, but I can only reach so many people in this way.
Well, writing has also been a creative outlet that I have enjoyed as another form of self-expression. It has always been more of a personal practice and I never really thought I would share any of my writing, but the time has come.
I have created this blog as a means to tie together my creative and intuitive expression with my knowledge of horses, to promote conscientious practices in all of the equestrian realms. Here you will find a combination of educational and informative articles on horsemanship, philosophical contemplations on the dynamic between the equine and human species, and stories about some of the many horses I have come to know and love over the years and the lessons I have gained from them.
This blog is intended to be an educational outlet as well as a source of inspiration. It is intended to serve equestrians who are just beginning their journey as well as those who have been on the path for years and who want to expand their perspective.
There are many trainers, instructors, and equestrians of all kinds who are advocating for forward thinking and compassionate practices based on a better understanding of hippology (the study of the horse). My hopes are that by sharing my knowledge, mindset, and vision that I can make a significant contribution to this movement and inspire others to do the same.
Horsemanship is an art and a science. It takes an educated approach applied with intention to create the best output for all involved. So, this blog will offer what I believe to be the most effective and ethical practices, but will always take new information into consideration when it comes to light.
All in all, whether you are an art lover, or are just into philosophy, or whether you are a horse lover and want to improve your horsemanship, or become more mindful in any of your daily practices (horse related or not), then you are in the right place. There is bound to be something for you here, so stay tuned in to the Artful Equus Blog and see what resonates with you! And be sure to take a look at the rest of the site as well and browse through some art in the shop. Thank you for being here on this mission with me and feel free to leave a comment to help this art and horse loving community build some momentum!