Somewhere in Time and The Art of Connection

Angie's Maternity Session

Connection. My heart longs for it. My soul craves it. Hence my tagline, The Art of Connection. Angie gave me this brilliant moment of connection a couple of hours into our maternity session and the light shining from her brought tears to my eyes and goose-bumps to the top of my head and I truly felt not only our connection…I felt her daughter Kylie, due to be born in less than two weeks too. Angie has never seen the movie Somewhere is Time, but my lighting assistant Valerie Davidson and I have and we both gushed over how much Angie reminded us of THE moment in the movie where Jane Seymour sees Christopher Reeve in her portrait session and glows with love, creating the portrait that inspires Christopher’s character to go back in time to find her. For Angie, the love shone brightest when I asked her to send an image to Kylie.

Photograph of Angie by Valerie Davidson

I have photographed Angie several times for Faith in Fitness sessions. This image is from the maternity session I set up for this past Sunday and Angie is just two weeks away from her due date. The photograph is by Valerie Davidson, whom I’ve been mentoring for a few years and now am mentoring on a deeper level, and she is going to Photoshop World with me next month. The enhancement of this image is mine, lovingly done for an exceptional soon to be mother (and soon to be born daughter Kylie.Valerie brought her lights and backdrops to my home, where we set up a home studio for Angie’s session. Look for more studio sessions like these, and Valerie and I will be setting up mini-sessions as well. Contact me at for information.

What Valerie said about the session:

“I am a teacher ~ I am a student”.

This was the sentiment Lori Faith Merritt expressed to me when we saw each other last Sunday. There aren’t many people for whom I’d load up a ton of equipment and drive to the farthest point in the my universe to assist, but Lori Faith is the one person for whom I would, without hesitation.

She and I met a few years ago at a 4-H leader/student seminar I nearly didn’t attend. There were many subjects, but of course I went to Lori Faith’s seminar first because photography was, to me, the most interesting topic, with the idea that after a period of time I would move on to the next subject, which is what everyone else did. I stayed with Lori Faith’s session during the entire event. Time just lost meaning and what I learned that day set me on a path of change for my photography, but also very much in my personal life, as well.

No matter how much I think I know, I am forever a student. No matter how much I learn, if I listen, if I look, if I let my heart open, I will yet discover more. If I can pass on just one nugget to one other person, the cycle will continue.

This photo is an example of the student-teacher circle. This is symbiosis: Lori Faith finessed the pose, I snapped the shutter, she did the editing, I set the lighting – all the while she gently guided, explained, directed and molded.

As a bonus, I met the kind and sweet Angie who allowed us to create this image (and more).

If you’ve never seen Lori Faith’s work, I encourage you to check it out at Photography By Faith.

What Angie said: I’m really glad I decided to do this maternity session so I can go back in time and show Kylie. Thank you Lori Faith and Valerie for the incredible work you did. You two make an awesome team:)

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The Gift of Singing

I LOVE to sing (on a horse and in my truck and out in nature) and cannot
imagine my life without a soundtrack and the magical mystery of lyrics and
melody infusing my spirit constantly. Singing in front of people has been
harder due to some circumstances in my life that diminished the joy and sent me
further toward the sanctuary of those horses and my truck. In the last few
years, though, I’ve been gifted with some love and encouragement from family
and friends and I’m finding the joy and my passion is making friends with by
courage with every step toward a friend reaching out their hand to me and
offering sincere love, advice, smiles, hugs, and song suggestions. I am SO
grateful to every single soul who has blessed me with their encouragement and I
am looking forward to more opportunities to sing with my friends and let the
past fall behind me on a trail I’ll no longer travel or glance back at … for
I have come through the gate and seen the wide open and am running toward it!

There is a concert this Friday in Green Valley, AZ that prompted me to write this today. Two gals in the post below are so dear to me and they finally met last month and connected strongly as I knew they would. I wasn’t there that night as I was at the other end of the state photographing a horse clinic, but in talking to each of them it’s obvious that they are tickled pink about getting to know each other. The concert this Friday? Kip Calahan Young and Mary Kaye Knaphus. I’m so excited!

I’d like to thank a few folks here today who have cleared
some of the brush for me and offered to listen to me, sing with me, and laugh
with me when my vocal chords aren’t strong enough to match my spirit and my
breath hides on the high notes and my vibrato comes from my trembling body. You
are cherished, truly.

My husband, William, who has loved my voice and my joy of singing
from the start and has been there for me and encouraged me, without pushing me
to sing privately or publicly, and has made it clear that he will be there for
me with guitar and voice to play with me whenever I want. Although I’ve known
him since 1995 I was not able to look right at him (I know! My own husband.)
and sing until just a couple of years ago. I would shake and sweat and have to
close my eyes or turn away to be able to sing, even though I could sing along
with the radio with him in the truck with me before that since I was looking
ahead and not at him. Now, singing with him is becoming a true gift that bonds
us tighter.

My mother, Connie Mattioda, who happily lets me do the singing while she is a happy audience ofone.  From childhood, she only heard me
sing in the desert while we were riding together or later when I was driving
and we were traveling. My father made it clear in words and sometimes
more that I was not to sing around him and her love and strong encouragement,
often from the simple joy I felt from her and saw on her face when I sang, is
one of the major reasons I can sing at all.

Kip Calahan Young, who teased me when I connected with her in a way that made me
comfortable enough to start singing in the truck on the way to a dawn session
with ranch horses several years ago. I sang along with her CD, to Taking
Pictures with My Heart and Ponydance, and she told me to stop. I was a little
hurt and stopped. Then my joy in the dawn and our friendship took over and I
started again without thinking. She told me again to stop. I asked why and she
said “If you are going to sing that good I’m going to go get a camera and
become a photographer!” The teasing opened me up in ways no pushing or
prompting from others over the years ever did. When we got out to the horses, we were “out there” on the ranch and it was just the horses, Kip, her daughter Kyli, and I. While I weaved through the horses and photographed them in the dawn, Kip sat on the tailgate and made PB and J’s for us while Kyli slept. I looked over at her and said “What a way to worship on a Sunday, mmm?” and started singing In the Place that I Worship. She joined in and we sang the whole song through in prayerful and joyful comraderie. Thanks for giving me a key to that heavy door and singing with me, Kip.

Judy Coder, singing teacher extraordinaire, who taught me some breathing and relaxation
techniques, but who much more importantly introduced me to a part of myself
that had been blocked by something long in the past, for by looking that thing
right in the face I was able to walk by it and leave it where it belonged…far
from me. From that moment  I was determined to let nothing and no one, not even myself, keep me from singing joyfully.

Jon Messenger, who gives me a nod of invite to join him in
harmony on songs like Ponydance, Sky Above and Mud Below, The Eagle, and other
songs in an easy and comforting manner. He also was there for me at a pivotal
moment of soul crisis when I felt like giving up on singing, creating anything
for the public, and indeed relationships with people as well. Had he not been
there for me at the exact moment I needed compassion and direction and help
with throwing off the weight of something nasty from the past…well, I don’t
want to think about that. Point is he was and is a good friend and I know I can
count on him and I’m grateful.

Joyce Woodson, Rob Wolfskill, Audrey McLaughlin and the Journey
West gals, Suze Spencer Marshall, and a few other wonderful singers who took on
my “when I see you make me sing four lines to you” project. Four
lines of a song  was a BIG deal a few
years ago (about 2009-2010) and they really helped me get over my niggles of
fear. In fact, they not only listened and were kind but they also gave me
advice on how to make my voice stronger. When I dared sing along with Joyce
during a jam to one of her songs, and flinched when she looked right at me
(thinking I was being rude by singing with her) she made a point to tell me how
much she enjoyed hearing me sing HER song with her. Sigh of relief.

Kristyn Harris, who made it fun to sing with her on our
travels (and around the house, in the corral, in the desert, etc.)in a easy as
breathing way and we sang until neither of us had voices left. We sang western
and cowboy songs together, I introduced her to songs of different genres
(including her first introduction to Someone to Watch Over Me sung by Linda Ronstadt),
and more. My husband, she, and I even wrote a song together, Making My Way Back
To You. Even though her extremely busy life, travels, and her living a state
away keep us from seeing each other much I enjoy the times we do get  and the memories as well.

My mom let me sing without reins, Kip let me feel I could sing by her side and learn to sing
better, Kristyn was a big step toward singing joyfully and exuberantly with
another person, and this next gal is paramount to my working to sing strong and
free (and  to WORK my voice to make it
the best it can be).

 Mary Kaye Knaphus is my dear friend and sister in heart and soul. We lift each other up and will not allow each other to hide our light under a bushel. There have been singers in
my life from childhood who I am comfortable singing with and those few by whom I am
inspired to TRY to sing better so I can meet even a few notes with them and
have the breath to sing as passionately and strongly as they do. Mary Kaye’s
voice is far better than I feel mine will ever be and yet I sing with love and
joy and (more) strength because of our connection. In addition, her songwriting
is stellar and I love her songs! One time, we had been traveling back from a
very cold, challenging photography session for her No Wilder Place CD and I
entered her home for the first time. I immediately felt safe and at home and
so, like the songbird I am when I am happy, I started singing. She was busy
bringing things in and I didn’t think she heard me. When she said how happy she
was to hear me singing in her home, my heart brightened and I was brave enough
to ask how she thought I sounded. She promptly said I sounded wonderful, yet there
was a pause and I asked “And?” She replied that my voice was
beautiful but weak and I should work the singing muscles to be able to project
and sing with my whole body and spirit. Then she took my hands and said
“Like this” and SANG so clearly and wondrously that tears sprang to
my eyes and I was infused with her strength, joy, passion, and beauty and I
KNEW. I knew at that moment that she had given me a gift that had not only
healed my heart, it was the gift of moving from “I want to sing” to
“I must SING.” From that moment, whenever my past sinks it’s teeth
into me or I’m hesitant to sing from some misplaced sense of trepidation, I
embrace that moment and bring it firmly into the present. I look forward to a
lifetime of singing and Mary Kaye’s gift of that seed of Grace is nurtured in
my soul.

I am grateful to each person who gifts me with a smile, a
hug, a nod, a song, or a word or two of kindness on this song-filled journey.
People like those just this last weekend at the Crossroads Gathering and SWRRA
Ranch Roping in Benson, AZ who heard me sing one song at the Friday night jam
and were so encouraging to “the photographer who likes to sing.” Buck
Helton, who said I reminded him of Gillian Welch (blush). Paul Dietz, who gave
me a quiet compliment in the middle of the arena the next day (sometimes the quiet
compliments mean SO much). Evelyn Roper, who thought for a bit trying to
“peg” my style of voice and called it the high lonesome sound. To
each of you who came to me and said a kind word, I thank you. I thank you

And thank you to every songwriter and singer out there who has brought
a song to the world that became one in the soundtrack of my life. You have
given me a way to express myself when I couldn’t find the words and also given
me insight and stories and rhythm to dance to and so much more. BTW, Donnie
Blanz, though you didn’t even know me when you wrote Takin’ Pictures with my
Heart I feel you wrote it for me!

May we meet on the trail soon. Maybe we can sing a song
together. 😉


Lori Faith

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HeARTists for Horses Art Show: October 14th through November 22nd, 2011

An art show featuring a rich blend of painting and photography, featuring horses as well as other subjects, by the HeARTists for Horses four founding artists. Visit Northern Trust Bank, 6444 E. Tanque Verde in Tucson, AZ to view this amazing collection.  Proceeds to benefit four equine related rescues or equine assistance programs, including:
Step Up Into T.L.C. ( )
Equine Encore Foundation ( )
Hours are Mon-Fri from 9am-3pm October 14 through November 22 – it’s recommended to call 520-722-1575 to find out if all the rooms showing the art are available.

HeARTists for Horses was founded by four professional artists, women who came together through their desire to support horses. Two painters and two photographers have distinctly individual eclectic styles that offer a diversity of art through group shows and sales, with partial proceeds benefiting equine rescues and equine assistance programs. HeARTists for Horses is a group of like minded equine artists dedicated to using their art to benefit horses.  We will be offering artwork and prints with a portion of proceeds to benefit various horse organizations and rescues as well as showing in exciting art shows and events! Contact us at A website is currently under construction and will be at




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Answering the Call of the Desert

My husband and I attended a talk by John Sexton last night at the Center for Creative Photography that was wonderful. Full of insight and humor and evocative in ways I hadn’t foreseen. His retrospective on his time with Ansel Adams included personal stories of his job as assistant and how being in the space of such a talented and artistically hearted man influenced his own photography and life. As a bonus, Swanny (Mary Virginia Swanson) was there, as well as my friend Jay Dusard. Swanny I’d seen just the week before at a talk by her and two others on publishing photography books where I picked up her new book, “Publish your Photography Book” as I intend to get at least three books published within the next couple of years, but I’d not seen Jay for a couple of years and it was great to spend a bit of time with him before the talk and catch up on hugs and banter. During the talk, I was inspired to write down a few words that came together in my soul for a future project/book. Let you know what that is when it comes to fruition!

Today, the desert blessed us with temperatures in the 70s (after being in the 90s and even 100s this past week), with a light breeze and dots of cumulous clouds painting the sky. Parts of the city got rain, but not our land, and I heard it snowed up in Prescott. I had a lot of work to do and by the time I finished, worked out at the fitness club with my Mom then headed home, I was fueled with inspiration and beauty and grabbed one of my cameras and hiked out into the open desert that graces the north boundary of our land, answering the call of the desert, and PLAYED. Getting into awkward positions as I twisted my body over/under/throughout cacti to get just that one angle that would gift me with the image I sought, kneeling carefully on dirt scattered with prickers, and watching carefully for the reptilian critters that our good weather has enticed to be more active…I relished the smallest flower, the tallest saguaro, the miniscule curved thorn on a backlit barrel cactus…and breathed deep of the twilight air and felt my heart dance to the song of night birds. Below is a gallery of a few of the images that most touched my spirit.

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Image(s) of the Day

These are images that strike my fancy on a particular day, based on my feelings and memories of the image and how they fit in with my life that day. I hope you will enjoy them as well. The page is long and the stories short, but often the trail that led to these short stories took years to travel to. (These images are for your viewing enjoyment ONLY and may not be re-posted, printed, or utilized for any purpose that violates my copyright of them. Should you wish to use them for ANY reason, contact me for written permission.)

March 13, 2011: Just got the news that 16 year old Kristyn Harris won first place in the Rising Star contest at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival in Canada for the Musician’s division! A contest intended for emerging western entertainers, regardless of age, Kristyn had some stiff competition and I’m bursting with pride!!! She’ll be here in Tucson at our WMA AZ Chapter event at Old Tucson Studios May 28th and 289th.

March 12, 2011: The Riders in the Sky concert in Tucson, AZ last night at the Fox Theatre was wonderful. Then again, when are the RITS ever NOT wonderful? I had a great time seeing and photographing them again. They are ever charming, ever talented men with a lovely sense of humor! Hope to see them on the trail again soon!

March 9, 2011: Singer/Songwriter Juni Fisher is a gal I’m continually impressed by. Talented, spiritual, and a great mix of sass and class. These images were “co-created” by us last month in Tucson, AZ. Ain’t she purty?..

February 18, 2011: Got Mr. Les Buffham staying with us for a bit. There’s going to be some talking, singing, reciting, and eating tonight! I just love this ol’ hand! Anyone want to say Howdy, do it here and I’ll pass it on…hugs too!

February 6, 2011: A pleasant morning, round pen open for work, and a bosal y mecate…and you are “Colt Ready.”

February 5, 2011: “Vision of Grace” is another image of Tara Miller, who teaches Ballet in Sahuarita, AZ. A lovely woman and a beautiful dancer, I’ll be working with her in the creation of more images soon.

January 28, 2011: One of Judith Tarr’s lovely Lipizzaners, enjoying the freedom of running with the mares at twilight, name of  Ephiny.

January 19, 2011: I’m excited to have my second collaboration with Bit Magazine, a Dutch equine magazine that I worked with previously on an article for Linda Kohanov . The February issue will be out this weekend in Europe and the cover shows my image of two of Robert L. Morgan’s Morgan horses.

My husband, William Merritt , and I attended the memorial/vigil site at UMC for Gabrielle Giffords and the other shooting victims last night and were very touched by what we felt and saw. I don’t know who brought the horseshoe with cross yet I felt a connection to it and left my Faith tile next to it. May the prayers and love heal all.

While visiting the memorial/vigil site at UMC for Gabrielle Giffords and the other shooting victims, a man and boy stood in appreciation and love for one another amidst messages, momentos, and memories…

I found this message from a child to Christina particularly touching. (At the memorial/vigil site at UMC in Tucson for Gabrielle Giffords and the other shooting victims.)

January 11, 2011: * There are no guarantees.  From the viewpoint of fear, None are strong enough. From the viewpoint of love, None are necessary.
~ Anonymous ~

December 15, 2010: There’s something to be said about QUALITY Father/Son bonding time and the passing on of traditions. To show your son how to shoe his own horse, knowing he’ll be able to travel life’s trails with a confidence well earned…well, that touches my heart!

Came across this old photograph, says “Hank, Gil ~ around Howdy(?)”. One: Kids, don’t try this at home. Two: Anyone have history on these men? Circa 1920’s. As far as I know, this was Gil Traveller and Frank Burns.

December 1, 2010: This is beautiful, blessed, talented and ever youthful Marilyn Tuttle. Dave and Melissa Stamey (and possibly Laurie Wood) in the background. What an iconic woman this is. If you EVER have the chance to meet and talk with her, do so. Your life will be better for it.

November 24, 2010: Here is the 2010-2011 Western Music Association Board of Directors and Interns. My husband is standing in the back behind Marsha Short and Juni Fisher. I seconded the motion to elect him as Intern. Pull those boots up tight and ride right, William! A lot of people are proud of you and counting on you to do a great job!

November 12, 2010: While at the Tombstone gathering a few years ago, I set up this cute image with cowboy poet Les Buffham and fellow poet Buckshot Dot (Dee Strickland Johnson). Les is always happy to get a kiss from a pretty gal…makes him smile for hours! See you next week at the WMAs, Les!!! Who knows, might add another image to your “kissin’ gallery.”

Couldn’t resist. This is cowboy poet Les Buffham again, another year in Tombstone, with a new buddy. Fickle cowboy…

November 8, 2010: Dave Stamey. If you’ve heard him, ’nuff said. If you’ve not, treat yourself to a CD or five of his…you won’t regret it especially if you are a lover of horses and the western culture. He is one of the top singers and top hands I know. It was a treat to us folks who attended the Tombstone Western Music Gathering to hear his songs and a giggle to hear his new song about Bubba, a football helmet, and a nanny goat!

The Tombstone Western Music Gathering was wonderful on Saturday. Good friends, great music, and and the after concert jam a wonderful place to be. Here is Jeanne Cahill (who I swear could play a concert on a toothpick), Rollie Stevens (think of Marty Robbins and you’ll know what he sounds like), and Jerome Campbell (one of the greatest thumb-picking guitarists of our time).

November 2, 2010: Two years ago, I photographed Crystal and Taylor Carter for a design class assignment (one of the many times over the years I’ve photographed them). This sweet image, showing their devotion to each other, was created as they headed back to the ranch after our late afternoon twilight session. Now a family of three, they are as in love as ever…

October 27, 2010: My Moqui Mare, learning some boundaries/trust/marking the spot and staying there with confidence. She came to me with a lack of ground work manners and little understanding of boundaries. A stop on the long line, and sometimes regular lead rope with halter,  meant faster/wilder/uncontrolled horse in my lap. For her, this stand is no circus trick. This shows me that our connection is working and she is trusting me.  She’s a THINKER and adventurer and I’m accomodating those needs…as we are kindred souls there. We’ve made some amazing progress in just the last week! BTW, ain’t she purty?  (And yes, I’m holding the long line and the camera phone.)

October 20, 2010: There are Facebook friends, and then there are FRIENDS you meet through Facebook. I would likely have met this man through other horse folk, but I’m glad to have him in my life NOW, and that happened because he commented on a posting I did about Mike Beck. Mike Thomas, my great friend, is shown here at last weekend’s Ricky Quinn Horsemanship clinic. Mike, you’ll do to ride the river with!

“Blue Fire”, the Canvas Gallery Wrap that I’m donating for the auction this Sunday at the HeARTists for Horses Art Show. Hope to see you there! For more information, contact me and/or visit the HeARTists for Horses Facebook page.

October 12, 2010: There are moments when the grace, strength, freedom, beauty, and truth of horses gift us with those very attributes. The more time that is spent with horses, the more those moments become minutes, hours, and days…until those gifts become part of our soul. And when we struggle in our lives, sometimes all it takes is one moment with a horse to light our way again. This image, created last Sunday as one of the River Valley Ranch sessions, I feel shows one of those moments…

October 11, 2010: Ok folks. Two questions for you. 1) Seriously, can you get much cuter than Rowan on the Rocking Horse? and 2) Don’t you wish you had a picture like this of you when you were 11 months old or of your little one?

September 21, 2010: A horse lying down in the moonlight has always touched my heart. That it is my mare Moqui, silver hair glowing in the soft wash of the moon’s light, is magical to me. She has been here for four months now and each time I find her lying down, she rises before I can enter the corral. Tonight though, she continues to rest as I approach her quietly, enter the corral, and come to her side. She raises her head to greet me and we share breath and I start to stroke her neck…move to the withers…down her shoulders and she sighs and rests her muzzle in the dirt and falls asleep. I continue to stroke her and she wakes from time to time and raises her head, breathes with me, and rests her head again to sleep. Almost an hour goes by as I stay with her, for the last moments stroking her ears as she rests her head in my arms. When I start to leave the corral, she nickers softly…a murmer really…and rises and shakes off the hair I’ve loosened. I stand facing her and ask her for nothing. I am content to simply see her standing there in the moonlight. She has a gift for me though, and walks to me and raises her muzzle once more to my face and breathes with me…then lowers her head and presses it into my body and sighs again. Such love and trust, given this freely, is a blessing beyond compare.

September 17, 2010: I’m sitting here in a sky blue Life is Good t-shirt that reads Hold Your Horses, feeling very blessed. Last night photographing a lovely rescue horse, coming home to love from my husband and my animal companions, and lying on my mare’s back looking up at the stars. Today was blessed with syncronicity and connections and friends. Two of my favorite people, who are authors, both have their books close to publication. Tommorow morning heading to Wickenburg for a Western Horseman assignment with a person I admire and meeting a man I’ve befriended on Facebook but never met in person. Truly…Life IS Good!

September 2, 2010: This image is dedicated to all the horsemen and horsewomen, of all ages, who have been blessed with the first rays of dawn lighting their body and soul as they greet the day horseback. I don’t know of a better start to a day…

August 31, 2010: I have LONG desired to make this story image. After our wrangler Tate had ran through the creek several times for our photography workshop, I reminded him of the image idea I shared the night before that I hoped to create. With the boots and chaps soaked already, he graciously agreed to help create this image. Thank you Tate!

August 24, 2010: The Big Horn Workshops are going wonderfully. Sleep? What’s sleep? This morning, up pre-dawn photographing silhouettes, panning galloping riders, portraits, details, and more…then an after breakfast 2 1/2 hour ride through the pines, through streams, and up and down hills, all the while merrily photographing each other! Here’s an image from yesterday.

July 25, 2010: Yesterday morning, I photographed a lovely gal whom I’ve had wonderful sessions with over the past few years. Always a delight to work with, this morning I got to meet her two newer horses…including this mare “Gigi”. And yes, she’s a BIG mare!

July 21, 2010: After some morning rebellion, complete with bucks, farts, and tail swishing, Moqui and I settled into about a half hour of increasingly soft and attentive circles in the wash. Yep, we definately both came home feeling those “wet saddle blankets.”

June 8, 2010: Chop Wood, Carry Water? My life has a bit different Zen to it. I created this poster a few years ago from an image I created at the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson on an early morning on the drive into the ranch.

May 24th, 2010: After a few years with no horses on our property, I am very happy to have a lovely mare here who I met when she was provided as a horse for a Western singer’s CD photography session a few weeks ago. I immediately wanted to be with her and ride her and after the session got the chance to do so and let her “Mom” know how much I’d love for her to come to me. So Saturday, Moqui came to me in Tucson and we are developing a lovely bond and have, I feel, a shared adventurous spirit and will very much enjoy our rides in the desert. Ahhhh….just to be able to look out the window and see a horse and hear her whinny when I come out the door to greet her…heaven, I tell you, heaven! This image is from yesterday morning from my cell phone. Yes, the photographer used a cell phone for a camera (hey, it was in my pocket and she was soooo lovely!).

Moqui Mare

May 21, 2010: I have started to work with H.E.A.R.T., an equine rescue here in Tucson. The first mare that greeted me last week when I went there on an early morning was Bella, an older rescued Arabian mare. I enhanced an image of her…which I was also inspired to create several artistic creations from, to show the emotions she invoked in me. Those images are shown here in a gallery poster format.

May 21, 2010: I have started to work with H.E.A.R.T., an equine rescue here in Tucson. The first mare that greeted me last week when I went there on an early morning was Bella, an older rescued Arabian mare. Here’s an image of her…which I was also inspired to create several artistic creations from, to show the emotions she invoked in me. Those images will be uploaded here next.

May 20, 2010: Here are two of my favorite people. Ashley Mentzer, who recently won Miss Congeniality at the AZ Rodeo Queen Contest, and Wyatt McCrea, who is the oldest grandchild of the late actor Joel McCrea and his actress wife Frances Dee. This image was created at the 20th Anniversary of the Festival of the West, where I’ve been the official photographer since 2005. Wyatt was an instant connection for me when I met him in 2005 and I continue to find him to be a joyful, charming man who gets along with everyone he meets as well as being an exceptional horseman. I met Ashley this year and spent a great deal of time with her, even taking her out to photograph her for several hours. I do believe I’ve found another spiritual daughter and I look forward to our building relationship and many horseback rides together.


May 12, 2010: In 2005, I attended an equine photography workshop in New Mexico and one of our sessions was held at a Peruvian Paso ranch that I have since come to visit often and spend days at following the horses in their pastures for long hours. At that workshop, our group was taking a short break to eat and I noticed a lovely horse standing in the barn aisle, tied up in waiting for his own personal session with us. I was compelled to go to him, and felt I knew him somehow. There was a tack box nearby and I picked up a body brush and went over his body with it, feeling the strength of him and enjoying the connection he offered so quickly. When he was brought out to a small paddock and turned loose it was so exciting as he showed his true nature as a spirited, strong stallion. Ginger, shown here with him, told us this was Domeqc and I realized why I felt I had recognized him in his looks as well as his spirit. Years before, equine photographer Robert Vavra had photographed him and included him in one of his Equus books. I met him when he was 24 years old and look how lovely he was, with his crested neck that shone with a mane past his shoulder. I was fortunate to know Domeqc for the last years of his life and always felt that connection with him. One of my photographs of him hangs in the ranch office…one of him coming straight at me with mane flying. He will live in my heart and memory always.

Peruvian Paso Stallion Domeqc

April 23, 2010: While in New Mexico at the San Cristobal Ranch in 2005, amidst a herd of grazing horses, one mare’s head kept popping up over the backs of her compadres. A bright flash of sorrel, she looked right at me and laughed. YOU might think she was just yawning, but I was there…I know better…I know she was joyously laughing. I get a giggle whenever I look at this image!

Laughing Horse

April 12, 2010: I did a sunrise CD photography session with Jim Jones ( Western musician/singer/songwriter/author) yesterday morning, and this is one of the resulting images. Jim is with a borrowed mare named Moqui.

April 3, 2010: May your Easter bring you joy in the blessing of LOVE.

March 13, 2010: Festival of the West is next week. I’ve been their official photographer for the last five years and am excited to really “work it” to create the best images I can this year, the 20th anniversary. This image is of a lovely gal who I met while she was trying on corsets at Laced (owned by Karen Emerald Reeder). We connected and the next morning we met at dawn, with Karen, for a wonderful photography session. She had only had “mall photography” before and yet she was a very willing and charismatic gal…as shown in this, my favorite image of her.

Vintage West Gal

March 12, 2010: While in a design class at the local community college a couple of years ago, I submitted art for the El Tour de Tucson poster. Although many of the judges loved this image, I was told it was not chosen because it was a photograph instead of a painting. I feel it looks very painterly, although this is a “straight” photograph done with the panning technique…only contrast and color correction applied. Many thanks to my gal Crystal, and her wonderful husband Taylor, for running/riding past me several times ’til we got it just right just before the sun set.

Crystal and Taylor

March 9, 2010: At the 4-H workshops I did on February 27th on Animal Photography, my wonderful husband played “model” with a new Aussie friend for the benefit of the 4-H photographers. This is an image I created side by side with those young talents. I particularly enjoy the smiles on BOTH of their faces!

I very much enjoyed teaching the 4-H children. There was a level of enjoyment, trust, and intensity of focus (pun not intentional) with them. I believe they really enjoyed the way I emphasized unique perspective and passion over technique. There was time to critique some of their images, from the day, and from their portfolio…and I strongly … See Morebelieve in their potential and talent. One of the gals had a short “horse show lesson” with me several years ago during an event and she took what she learned to heart. Last year, she won her color class (in 4-H photography) at the local fair. (From William:  I had a lot of fun with that “shoot” and helping the students. As for the the dog, I even got a “kiss” out the the whole deal!)

William Merritt with 4H Australian Shepard

March 8, 2010: This little guy wanted to join his friend, the Costa’s mama. He is a little Anna’s hummer who also lives at the AZ Sonora Desert Museum in the Hummingbird Aviary. Cute little things, aren’t they? This one looks like a cartoon character to me.

Comic Hummingbird

This image was created yesterday at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in the morning as the clouds were rolling in. This is a Costa’s Hummingbird with her newborn chicks. I stayed close by for about an hour and a half until this lovely opportunity to photograph the mother feeding her babies occurred. Within minutes, the rain started coming down”.

Hummingbird Mama and her two Chicks

February 26, 2010: Rising to the Light. I look at this image often and find great inspiration in it. It seems to make my soul rise up. This is a quarter horse mare in NM, out on a ranch where they raise the mares and foals “in the wild” until they gather the weanlings and/or yearlings to train them as performance horses.

Rising to the Light

February 25, 2010: River #2. I love textures and essences of equine. This image shows two quarter horse backs after a long ride, wash down, and dry.

River #2

February 23, 2010: My cousin Liz Ann at Ted Degrazia’s Gallery of the Sun Virgin de Guadalupe chapel. This version is evocative of the mood the chapel instilled in both of us that day.

Liz Ann at Gallery of the Sun

February 16, 2009: I’m in AZ today enjoying the sun in temps of the mid-70’s and remembering when I went to WI in March a few years ago and photographed Fjords in Barronett at the Odden’s farm. I had a great time and long to go back again. One thing this AZ gal learned is not to kneel in the snow for a different point of view for too long and that even “sitting” requires diligence to not freeze my behind!

Fjord in the Snow

February 12, 2010: I will be the official photographer for Festival of the West again this year, my fifth year. I meet such wonderful people there. One of the greatest blessings has been to become dear friends with actor Ben Cooper (my “dearest Ben”). Here he is a few years ago in the celebrity mounted shooting contest when the event was held at Rawhide (now moved to West World in Scottsdale). Ain’t he CUTE?

Actor Ben Cooper

February 9, 2010: Sometimes I just have to do something silly. OK, maybe more than sometimes. But we have three cats who do silly things that distract me from my work and who strike various poses, each competing for who can fill the house with the most CUTENESS. So, how’s a gal to work with all that cuteness going on? This is our Neysa, a rescued Manx, enjoying the futon cushion in “her” papason chair.

Our Neysa Kitty

January 14, 2010: This was a promo card I made up a few years ago and just found in my archives.

February 8, 2010: While photographing for a woman’s quadrille team calendar, this gal Lisa came riding through the brush and I created an image not used in the calendar but one that has become an all time favorite of my husband. Lisa is a true horsewoman who has worked on ranches and her comfort horseback is evident in this image: Through the Brush.

Through the Bush

Through the Brush

February 7, 2010: While photographing the mounted shooters for my gig as official photographer for Festival of the West in 2007, some of my favorite images I created were OUTSIDE the arena (often are!). This is one of them.

Mounted Shooter

February 2, 2010: Georgie Sicking really loves this image of herself.  A Cowboy to the core.

Georgie Sicking on the Grey

January 29, 2010: Synchronicity. In sync with each other, body and soul, these two Peruvian Pasos race around the pasture in NM.


January 25, 2010: Her foal from the current year and her yearling from the year before with their accomodating Mustang momma.

Mustang Mare and her New Foal and Last Year's Yearling

January 23, 2010: While photographing Kip Calahan at her home a few years ago, I spotted these kittens lying in a patch of sun. Promptly, I was on my belly getting a low point of view image. Sometimes you just have to stop and photograph the kittens!

Kip's Kittens

January 22, 2010: At a benefit for wild horses, Michael Blake (author of Dances with Wolves), John Coinman (who fronts the band for Kevin Costner), and John Densmore (drummer from The Doors), performed for the crowd here in Tucson…John Densmore and Michael Blake are LONG time friends.

Michael Blake, John Coinman, and Jon Densmore

January 22, 2010: I love to photograph water, wood, textures of all kinds. This critter was discovered in the Red Rock Crossing stream in Sedona last May. Wolf? Bear?

Water Animal

January 21, 2010: The surprising patience, nurturing, and connection of horses and children never fails to touch my heart and soul.

Horse and Boy

Ah, the elegance of a horse…and the silliness.

Silly Horse

January 18, 2010: Logan Leach at the Southern AZ Horse Expo yesterday, with his current Mustang who has had just 90 days of work toward the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition he’s traveling to (with his father Lanny) tomorrow. This little horse partnered so hard with Logan that I can’t imagine him not bringing him back home to keep rather than adopting him out. Every flick of the ear and shift of muscle showed the connection and this horse was digging into the ground during a medium speed spin bridleless.

Logan Leach

Here is another image of Ginger Kathrens and Michael Blake at the Southern AZ Horse Expo yesterday, which I created right after they talked about wild horses.

Michael Blake and Ginger Kathrens

Yesterday at the Southern AZ Horse Expo, I spent time with several of my friends. Lanny and Logan Leach, Ginger Kathrens, Michael Blake, and more…meeting many more wonderful horses and people. This is an image of Michael Blake and Ginger Kathrens.

Michael Blake and Ginger Kathreens

January 15, 2010: Moo. ‘Nuff said…

MooThis is a bit what I feel like tonight. Hard working day today. Male lion, Reid Park Zoo, Tucson, AZ.


Ever have one of “those” days?

Did I Say That Out Loud?

January 14, 2010: I created this image of Lynn Anderson and Ben Cooper at Festival of the West in AZ a couple of years ago. One of my favorites still. In the background? Rusty Richards.

Ben Cooper and Lynn Anderson“Through the Glass”. Image created last Thursday at an animal shelter in Sedona, AZ.

Through the Glass

The eyes behind the paws in Through the Glass. Imagine them looking at you in your home…

Eyes Behind the Paws

January 13, 2010: I spent about four hours at an animal shelter, photographing and loving on the critters. I walked out with my heart full of love and yet aching for each animal who longs for a home. This is one of the images.

Eyes of Hope

Also, Beloved friend and singing partner of Curly Musgrave, Belinda Gail,sang in tribute to him at the celebration of his life in Pomona, CA on January 9th, 2010.

Belinda Gail

December 29, 2009: And singing Christmas carols, Heeeere’s Suki! While Mom’s away, the photographer will play…with her cats!

Singing Suki

December 25, 2009: This Christmas morning was blessed by beginning with Dancing ‘Round the Christmas Tree by Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave from the CD Our First Noel. The blessing of Love from our friends and family and with each other, my husband and I, was very strong this year…and the greatest gift of all. Thank you.

Heaven's Light

December 16, 2009: I have two images titled Heaven’s Light. This one, of a young girl peaceful in the newfound sanctuary of her partnership with a “throw-a-way” dangerous horse, touches my heart each time I re-discover it in my files.

Heaven's Light

Before I met Curly, I bought a CD of his in Santa Fe on my way to the 2005 WMAs. The first song that stuck in my heart, that I learned by the time I got to Albuquerque, was Make My Heaven Colorado. This song is how I first came to know of Curly’s heart and talent. Since then, his voice and songs have become essential to the soundtrack of my life and his teachings have inspired many songs to come through my own heart in congruent, heartfelt ways.
Won’t You Make My Heaven Colorado,
Somewhere on the Western range where I can buckaroo…Make My Heaven Colorado,
When I rode in Colorado I was halfway home to You.

Curly Musgrave
December 15, 2009: Santa Sage (also known as Santa Button…since he’s cute as a Button) Oh, the indignity of it all…
Santa Sage
December 8, 2009: The same horse in the last two images, here a bit more playful.
Horse Play
Here is another image of “the throw-a-way” horse. We had been working for about two hours this particular morning to come to a point where this image could be created. To achieve this level of serenity with these two was a blessing to photograph. The image is titled Sanctuary.

December 7, 2009: A “throw-a-way horse”. Reckless. Dangerous. Un-able to bond. Through the love of a girl and some time spent in connection with her and myself…we created this image. Years later, it still touches my heart and soul.

The Truth of Peace

The Owl and the Pussycat (In this case, “our” owl who visits and my Mother’s Abyssinian cat)

The Owl and the Pussycat

December 7, 2009: Silent Night…Holy Night…all is calm…Ahhh, the peace that can be found in the space of horse and girl.

Silent Night, Holy Night

December 2, 2009: Speaking of CUTE. Here is Cora Rose Wood with her brother, Bonner, and the adored Don Edwards. Couldn’t have planned this very emotionally authentic image!

Don Edwards and Cora and Bonner Wood

Also, Terri Taylor, backstage at the 2009 WMAs in ALBQQ. This woman can do purt near anything.

Terri Taylor

November 26, 2009: Lovely Juni Fisher. WMA Female Performer of the Year and who also won for her amazing album, Gone For Colorado. If you’ve met her and heard her sing, I need say no more. If you have not, may your life be blessed with her songs.

Juni Fisher at the WMAs

November 13, 2009: Here is Scotty Fitch on “his” camel. Maybe we should encourage a remake of Hawmps!

Scotty Fitch on Camel

November 12, 2009: I balanced these rocks in Sedona, then spent time just looking at them. I left them there and brought home this photograph of them to cherish forever which reminds me on hectic days to “slow”, breathe, and find balance…


And also,  This small flower, held gently by my husband, brought such a sense of simplicity and grace to my soul. And on a day when I so needed this message, it reminded me quietly to Breathe…


One more… The Western Music Awards and Conference will be in Albuquerque, NM next week and this man will be there. Anyone want to venture a guess as to who this is? It’s Mr. Les Buffham!

Les Buffham

November 2, 2009: BRAVE, wonderful Crystal. Her first child is due in just three weeks.

Crystal on haybale

October 27, 2009: Once again, the Cute Kitty “distraction” stops my work in it’s tracks. This is Neysa, our rescued Manx tabby…in position number eight.

Neysa napping

October 30, 2009: Sherry Cervi, one of the top barrel racers in the nation. I photographed her for an article in Western Horseman.

Sherry Cervi

October 25, 2009: Want to share this fun image I created of Dave and Dorene Daiss at the Empire Ranch Round-Up this past Saturday. I asked if they were connected by business or romance and this was their answer.

Kiss at the Empire Ranch Round-Up

October 22, 2009: This image, created a few years ago at a 4-H show in Tucson, AZ, continues to be one of my favorites. The gal with the backpack was talking on a cell phone and didn’t realize she had a new friend. When she started to move away I asked her to stop for a moment and got this image. It always brings a smile.

"Horsie Friends"

October 22, 2009: Images like these, presented in a Horse Play collage, represent the kind of images I LOVE to create for my clients and friends, and clients who then become friends. Imagine the images that would be yours if I did a photography session for you! How do I create fun images like this or ones more serious depicting the relationship between horses and their people? The Art of Connection.

Horse Play!

So, I get a new office desk with a hutch. I’m setting it up and leave the room for a few minutes. When I come back in the room, I see our shorthair, Button (nickname for Silver Sage, cuz he’s cute as a button) doing a power catnap in the hutch. He’s not allowed in my office (too many yummy chewable prints). Right…try to tell HIM that. Ain’t he cute though?

The Button in the Hutch

October 18, 2009: Lipizzaner Mare:Twilight Glow

Twilight Glow

October 15, 2009: I’ve been looking at some of my images from the past. Memory Lane, you know. Finding inspiration in some of the images I “forgot”. This one is of a young gal who at the end of our morning session came across some quail eggs in a ground nest. A lovely storytelling image resulted…

Cowgirl and Quail Eggs in Nest

October 14, 2009: An image of Colter Moore and two of his best friends, from 2006 at the Price Canyon Ranch in Rodeo, AZ. Brought out of archives and re-touched by inspiration tonight…

Colter Moore

October 12, 2009: This past week I was honored to create a “headshot” for a lovely singer for her Master Recital flyer. We connected immediately and her spirit shone in the resulting photographs. On Sunday night, my husband and I attended her recital. She sang Opera in Italian, French, and German, and followed with spiritually based songs in English. At 25, this “girl” has a soul that transcends age. The image here is of her at her recital. Her name? Nikky Douglas. Remember it. I’m sure you’ll be hearing about her…

Nikky Douglas

October 12, 2009: Also on Sunday, I attended a baby shower for my dear friend/spiritual daughter/often model Crystal. Her first child is due the day before Thanksgiving. This image was created in the twilight right after the sun had set, as the party was wrapping up. Always beautiful, Crystal simply glows as a soon to be mother. “Tucked into her gift bag” was a before and after session.

Crystal at her Baby Shower

October 9, 2009: One of my first images with my new Canon D7. ISO 100. Crop/resize/contrast only. Judith Tarr and her lovely Lipizzaner stallion, Pooka, at Camp Lipizzan (a writer’s workshop integrated with horses). Vail, AZ

Judith Tarr and Pooka

October 8, 2009: Camilla, one of Judith Tarr’s lovely Lipizzaner mares.


October 6, 2009: This image won Photo of the Week for Bit and Bridle Magazine’s contest, by 71% of approx 270 votes. Thank you ALL for voting!

Bit and Bridle contest winner!

September 22, 2009: Tesoro: Peruvian Paso Stallion, at twilight.


September 20, 2009: Lanny Leach, (and his son Logan) made it into the Extreme Mustang Makeover again this year. Here is Lanny at his 9-11-09 demo, standing on his horse showing the trust and calm instilled. I’ve photographed Lanny for several years now and admire his “truth”.

Lanny Leach

September 19, 2009: One of the core founding members of The Tumbling Tumbleweeds is vocalist “Tumbleweed Rob” Wolfskill, who is a dear friend of my husband and mine. This image is of him after their concert this afternoon.

Rob Wolfskill

The concert with my husband and The Tumbling Tumbleweeds in Tucson last night was great. We went down to the AZ Folklore Preserve today to watch them again and hear my new favorite song “Lazin’ Down the Trail” (band collaboration co-write). Couldn’t resist photographing them after the concert.

September 17, 2009: One of my images, the one shown here, will be in the Arizona Daily Star morning paper tomorrow. This is a Round Tailed Ground Squirrel in a PaloVerde Tree in our front yard, photographed through the window.

Round Tailed Ground Squirrel

August 28, 2009: Working through my Prescott Cowboy Poetry Gathering images for my Market Place, and had to take a little time out for Don. This is Don Edwards and his dog, Smokey (named after Will James “Smokey”). Two cuter faces would be hard to find.

Don Edwards and Smokey

July 22, 2009: Light Dance: Model Laurel Rae, whom I connected with very well. We’re already planning to meet again to create more imagery! This was one of my submissions for the NAPP Photowalk (we could only submit two) for best photograph. This was a worldwide event, so it’s a huge competition.

Light Dance

June 22, 2009: Spent the weekend with my husband out at a ranch. Followed Spanish Barbs around and managed to avoid the rattlesnakes and cougars, although I heard both. The image shown here is of a couple of two year old fillies, whom I photographed three weeks ago. Unfortunately, the one with the star was taken down by a cougar the day after this image was made.

Spanish Barb Fillies

Spanish Barb filly. Lovely in the twilight.

Spanish Barb filly

Posted in Image of the Day, Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Lori Faith Merritt in Pamela Nickoles Blog

I recently visited  Pam Nickoles’  Mustangs El Mariachi and Hope at Michael Blake’s ranch, meeting Pam for the first time.  Please enjoy this posting by Pam (which includes photographs of me).
El Mariachi

El Mariachi



Posted in Mustangs, Publications | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Bit & Bridle Magazine: Photo of the Week Winner 10/05/09

Rachel Econ

Rachel Econ

Last year, I photographed a “herd” of ladies at the River Valley Ranch in Tucson, AZ with their horses. One of the young ladies was Rachel Econ with her best friend, a Paint named Scotch. One of the resulting images, the one above, really pulled at my heart strings as it showed the obvious love of a horse and his girl. When Rachel published her first book, Passage to Stomio, (at 13 years old) this image was used for her bio photograph on the book’s back cover. I entered the image in Bit & Bridle Magazine’s Photo of the Week contest last week and was notified today that it won with 71% of the votes at close to 300 votes. Visit Bit & Bridle Magazine’s website here.

Posted in Equus, Publications, Youth | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Melissa Farlow featured on PhotoShelter

Melissa Farlow with ISPMB Mustangs
Melissa Farlow with ISPMB Mustangs

The February 2009 issue of National Geographic featured my bio photograph of Melissa Farlow, whom I’d met in 2007 while photographing Mustangs at the ISPMB. We’ve kept in touch and hope to meet again. Recently, PhotoShelter featured her as one of their stable of artists and the image was published again, this time on their website. Melissa, like me, would much rather be behind the camera than in front of it and so I am delighted that she likes this photograph of herself so much. Sometime when I’m out with the horses I’m hoping someone gets a new, wonderful image of me that I like as well as she likes this one. Every photographer needs a photographer!

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Cowboys and Indians Magazine and Festival of the West

Chasin' Clouds

Chasin' Clouds

     I have served as  the official photographer for The National Festival of the West since 2007 (in 2006, I shared those duties with another photographer). Images from the last several years can be viewed and purchased through my Market Place on the Photography By Faith website. I will be the official photographer for the upcoming 20th anniversary in 2010 as well and this year they are using my photograph, Chasin’ Clouds, for the festival’s signature image and you will see it in all the festival’s promotions. The rider in the image is Will Scott, a cowboy and aspiring actor.
     In the October 2009 issue of Cowboys and Indians magazine in the Open Range feature on The Festival of the West by Mark Bedor, six of my images were published. I am posting them here for you to enjoy. These photographs are © Lori Faith Merritt/Photography By Faith ® All Rights Reserved. They may not be copied or re-posted without written permission from me. Please contact me through my website for image/print purchases and/or publication rights.
     My photographs are of Hugh O’Brian and Mary Brown
Hugh O'Brien and Mary Brown

Hugh O'Brien and Mary Brown

Barbara Kennedy

Barbara Kennedy

Barbara Kennedy

Skip Clark

Skip Clark

Skip Clark

Dick Goodman/Johnny Western/Rusty Richards

Dick Goodman, Johnny Western, and Rusty Richards

Dick Goodman, Johnny Western, and Rusty Richards

 Rex Allen Jr.

Rex Allen Jr.

Rex Allen Jr.

and Charles Acuña.

Charles Acuña

Charles Acuña

Other images are by Mark Bedor.

Posted in Gatherings, Publications, Western, Western Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rusty McCall: Punchin’ Cows instead of Clocks (An Interview)

Rusty McCall: His personal favorite image

Rusty McCall: One of his personal favorite images

I photographed Rusty McCall six months ago at the McCall’s ranch in New Mexico and then a few weeks later at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas. As Heart Sessions, the photography was donated and I’ve gifted prints (one, a large mounted wall print of the image above) to the family since then. This month his mother Deanna is the cover feature article for IM Cowgirl and I’ll be posting a separate entry regarding that publication. In the article by Diane Tribitt, Rusty is mentioned and you can also find out more about this exceptional young cowboy poet at his page on This week, Rusty agreed to be interviewed by me and I share that interview with you here.

LFM: What is the first poem your remember that you related to so well it felt like you had written it, and why?
Rusty: I was kind of young to remember the significance of my first poem, but it sort of did remind me of one of my first horses, a little bay called Poco. The poem was taken out of a compilation of poems by John Lomax and went like this:

 I’ve roamed the Texas prairie,
I followed the cattle trail,
I rode a pitchin’ pony
’til the hair come off his tail.

LFM: You’ve often “ridden the circle.” What’s a favorite story of a time when it was just you and your horse riding the circle?
Rusty: I would say there really is not a favorite time. Every time is different and it’s great to just be Pardner and me riding along without a care in the world.

LFM: If someone were talking about you in 100 years, what would you want them to say about you?
Rusty: If you’ve ever heard Gail Steiger’s “A Cowboy’s Prayer,” there is a line in it that goes:

“And maybe someday when they’re old ‘n gray, they’ll think of me and someone’ll say
He sure made a good hand and we always did know he would be there when we needed him most”
(To read the song lyrics in their entirety,  click here)

LFM: You’ve met some great Cowboy Poets in your travels. Who are the Cowboy Poets you most wish you could have met and swapped stories with?
Rusty: Poetry gatherings are different each year. You get to sit and tell stories with different poets every year, so I can say there is not really anybody I haven’t met or talked to. About the only people I can think of would be Ian Tyson and Tom Russell just to tell them how much I love their music. There are always poets and musicians that join the cowboy poetry “family” so I’d would like to meet them and visit with them too.  As to the ones who are long gone, I’d like to meet them all, but especially Jack Thorp and S. Omar Barker because they both were from NM and spent some time in this country.

LFM: What is your personal favorite image that was created during our photography sessions when I came to the ranch? Describe the photograph and why it is special to you.
Rusty: I think one of my favorites has to be the one of me sitting on my horse on the top of the hill looking back. It  looks like I don’t know that I’m being photographed and I’m just ridin’ out lookin’ for cows.

LFM: Who are some of your best friends and how do they inspire you?
Rusty: I’d say two of my closest friends would have to be Gail Steiger and Amy Auker. I’ve got a lot of good advice from them and we e-mail each other almost every day. They have taught me to live for the moment, because you never know what tomorrow’s going to bring.

LFM:What are you most passionate about in life?
Rusty: I’d say just being outside, living this lifestyle with no clocks to punch and planning your own day.

Deanna and Rusty gave updates on his health and gave permission for me to share them with you.
From Deanna: He has deafness due to his last surgery, but it hasn’t affected his personality or intellect. He still cracks jokes, and as Gail Steiger says, he blows you away with his emails and thoughts. He rides his 4 wheeler all over the trails, and is already thinking about trying to ride his horse before too long. (I don’t think he’s ready for that, yet!) He is able to walk without a cane, but his balance is still a bit shaky, and he can hear a few words occasionally, but not enough for a conversation. He sees the docs September 8th, and that will give us a little better idea of what’s going on and what to expect.

From Rusty:  The worst is over, with things slowly starting to get better. I can almost hear again. I can hear “environmental” noises real well and I can hear a few words. I am back to walking on my own two feet, but am still having problems with my balance. It has been six months since I last rode a horse and I really miss it. I would say I’m at about 65% recovered.

Rusty and his horse, Pardner: One of my personal favorites

Rusty and his horse, Pardner: One of my personal favorites

Posted in Cowboy Poets, Equus, Heart Sessions | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments