My older sister and her friends would watch through the screened door onto the backyard roaring in laughter as I ran my course, my homemade yarn tail flowing in the wind as I sailed over the jumps. As an 8 year old I managed to get my hands on a VHS tape of a freestyle dressage performance. I would get up before school to watch and cry as the movements of the horse and rider went perfectly with the music. In our house, we weren’t allowed to have pets so I became one.
My name is Andra and I am a horse.
My mother encouraged me to attempt other hobbies. I did okay at gymnastics, softball, tennis, ballet, but I knew where I truly belonged. One morning I asked if she would help me find a place to take riding lessons, in exchange for cleaning stalls or saddles. It wasn’t until she caught me eating dried quick oats from the kitchen out of my own hand that she realized this wasn’t going away.
Riding was my only peace throughout middle school. Mom would drop me off a few hours before lessons to muck stalls, and from the moment I walked into the barn the anxieties of a broken family and chaotic school day fell from me. I could relax because relationships with horses are simple. They make sense because they are based on trust, gentleness, patience and love.
As I got older my personal life became undone; I fell apart and quit riding.
I don’t remember how my delight for horses began. My mother and father are both musicians and we grew up in the suburbs. Revelation 19:11, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True..,” accompanied by my sketch of the Rider in White, scrawled in my unicorn diary is the only evidence of my introduction to the horse world. I remember the impression that image had on me: Faithful and True are attributes of our God.
The years passed and the further away I got from horses, the more I lost myself. Someone once said that horses are God in the form of an animal. Someone also said God lives within us. My distance with horses is the same distance I feel when I am hiding from God. I love each of these things passionately and for me they weave within and out of each other, growing and changing into the new parts of my life.
Brown Horse Garments was started this past June. My sister, the same sister who had mocked me then, is now a horse herself. We get together to share ideas, worship Christ and while God and horses worked in me, our creative project was born: Brown Horse Garments. Our Tee-shirt company was formed to benefits multiple missions. Each shirt is attached to a specific mission and we are now working on our 3rd shirt design highlighting Hebrews 6:19 all proceeds to benefit a tiny blue-eyed girl, Mazzy.
I have never owned my own horse. But Christ has shown throughout my life that He is faithful, delivers us from enemies and keeps His promises. My dream of having a horse has not technically come true, but I have this feeling it may be because I still am one.
Andra LaMarca is an artist living and working in Ohio. She currently is teaching ART to 650, K- 3rd grade students. She lives with her husband, Angelo who is also an artist working with inner city youth.