My Artistic Vision
Some of you who know me well know that I come from a family of artists. Art has always been a part of my life but my inner artist sometimes wished I could combine my horses with my art. Many people have combined their passion for horses with their art in their own way but I had yet to find a way that spoke to me and my artistic voice.
I made genuine sterling silver and gemstone Wow!bands for bridles and that was cool but I needed more. I designed my own websites, business cards, and logos but still wanted another outlet.
For those of you who don’t know, my father, Jack DeJohnette (https://www.facebook.com/jackdejohnette) is a well know Jazz musician and master of Improvisation. Growing up, music was all around me but little did I know that this Improvisational style would come to permeate me to the very core in my career as a horseman.
As many children are, I was influenced by my parents but sometimes we don’t realize how much. As I began my path into the art world, The horses called to me at a young age as well. I was completely obsessed and by the time I was 8 I poured over books about these magical animals, By the age of 16 after many riding lessons and working at the local stables, I declared I wanted to be a professional horseman. I had no real idea what this entailed but I knew the horses were calling to me in a very visceral way.
I followed a fairly traditional route with horses…Until I didn’t. Like many people, I was taught all the basic ways of being with horses which really didn’t allow us to “be” with horses. It took me many years to find my “outside the box” mentors that set me free from that box. I openly confessed that when I was set free as I call it, An awesome, experimental, happy monster was created. I stepped enthusiastically into a world where I could do anything with my horse I wanted as long as we understood each others vulnerabilities. Anything was and is possible if you are willing to try and figure out how to do it. From an amazing, wonderful deep connection with an animal, amazing things happened and continue to happen.
I got the idea to collaborate with my father when I started to see that this Liberty training that I was playing with closely resembled how musicians improvised together. It was a free expression between two or more beings with music. I felt like when my horses and I were at liberty together, It was like a musical improv. Especially since we are often listening to music. In Dressage we use the terms Tempo and rhythm all the time. These are music terms. Horses are music to me. Dancing with them is joy.
I like the idea that when the horse is at liberty, he is like another musician and can play his own instrument. When he is in tack, or under saddle it is not the same though I enjoy riding very much, It is a different type of collaboration. More like a guided dance.
My dad was gracious enough to agree to come to the farm and help me see my artistic vision start to come to life. I brought him to the herd and explained how he should see the horses as fellow musicians and “listen” to their music. That way he could get in the right frame of mind when I brought Mercury in to the arena to join our Music and Dance Trio.
In my vision I wanted to put a shaker on Mercury’s leg so he could have his own instrument. I had to get him used to the sound and lots of carrots seemed to convince him this might be a good idea! He was a bit nervous about it and all the film people around. “Oh and who is this person sitting in the middle of our arena with instruments all around him making all these strange sounds!” He seemed to say. Were it not for our deep connection I would not have been able to settle him as quickly as I did.
My dad started to listen to Mercury’s movement with the shaker and as Mercury started to move with me and dance, my dad expertly added his music spontaneously to what was happening. It was pure magic and joy! I felt that all at once, all my worlds came together in a way they never had before. I had made a living breathing, work of art! Live Music, Dance, Horses! I must say I am quite spoiled now and want live accompaniment all the time! We filmed the whole experience and will be filming more. I’ll keep you posted in the mean time, enjoy another exclusive trailer. http://youtu.be/AVMnJqF1-LM