A Visit to the Clydesdale Horses
When I saw the holiday ad with the Clydesdale horses pulling the famous wagon, heads tossing, bells jingling and snow falling, I wished that I could see those magnificent horses in person. How grand they must be! At last, I had my dream opportunity at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fairfield on a hot afternoon. I saw the notice that they would appear there, and I must go.
With Google maps and my husband Martin as navigator, off we went to see these beautiful horses. I was so excited over this. We were early, and the line to get your picture taken with them was already long. My disappointment mounted, as I knew waiting in the long line in the hot sun would be too much for Martin. All was not lost as I discovered I could see the horses in their wagon stalls eating. Martin found a seat while I headed for the wagons with my sketchbook.
Whoa! They were much bigger than I imagined! And what strength and massiveness they had! There were about seven or eight of them feeding with their hind ends facing me. I started drawing one of them even though he was turned the other way. I couldn’t even get my drawing of him to fit on a double page! And he was snorting, and shifting his weight, and kicking out, and tossing his head, constantly moving. Not just placidly chewing his oats and standing still! One horse turned around and faced the crowd gathered there. He looked down on us with big eyes, tossed his head and opened his mouth as if to say something, but only shook his head back and forth.
While I was drawing this horse, a grandmotherly woman interrupted me and asked me if I would talk to her little eight-year-old grandson. She explained that he was crying, and that she wanted me to talk with him. He told me that he was crying because he couldn’t draw as well as I could.
He had been watching me as I drew. His name was Alex, and I squatted down close to him and held his hand and looked into his eyes. He was a dear, pretty child and my heart went out to him. I told him that it takes practice to be good at drawing, like it was when he was learning to write. I said he should draw every day. His grandmother said he was very hard on himself. He stopped crying as we talked and seemed comforted. I watched them as they walked away, wishing I could follow this child’s future.
What was this all about? He was a sensitive and observant little child. How intimidating the huge horses must have been for him! Then he saw me drawing them and wanted to do it, too. It must have been as overwhelming for him to be in the presence of these awesome animals as it was for me.