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For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for horses. I was born and raised in Eureka, California, and grew up drawing and painting—horses were my great escape. At the age of 10, I got my first horse, and it profoundly shaped and influenced my life. Long days riding in the Redwood forests blessed me with amazing adventures and a close friendship with God and nature that runs deep in my soul.

I will never forget the New Year’s Day after my college years, that I wakened with a hangover and sold my horse for cash to a horse trader. A part of my soul died that day. I remember thinking, “this is what it’s like when you grow up... you have to go to work to pay bills and your dreams die.” The years that followed were by far some of the toughest years in my life.

After living in my own self-destructive prison for years, I got tired of who I had become. I knew if I did not do something, I would end up in the grave. I finally had the courage to face the pain in my life and take a close look at the unhealthy patterns and choices I had been making. It was at that time, that God brought a horse back into my life that needed help as desperately as I did. We embarked on a journey of healing together, that powerfully changed my life. I got set free!

Years later I discovered the Friesian horse, and I couldn’t believe such a magical creature existed. They were like something out of a DaVinci painting, and I knew I wanted one in my life. I once heard someone say, “there’s nothing like the heart of a stallion.” Having grown up with the typical stallion stereotypes, that they are mean, aggressive and dangerous, I wondered if this was true? What started as a dream, and a single stallion, evolved into a bachelor herd of three, known as The Forest Boyz. This little dream took on a life of it’s own and has become so much bigger than I ever imagined.

Meike, Menno & Saphire live free in the forests of the northern California coast. Nothing brings me more joy than giving these three stallions the best life that I possibly can. It is a rare thing to see stallions living together free, in a natural setting. I love discovering who they are, and seeing their individual personalities emerge. I not only discovered there is nothing like the heart of a stallion, I found out there is nothing like being their friend. I never could have imagined their relationships with each other would be so deep and intimate. They inspire me every single day and through my art, I hope to offer a glimpse into our world.

Is there such a thing as heaven on earth? I think there is. I love being free… and I love extending that freedom to my animals. Dreams don’t have to die. This shepherd girl is living the dream with three black stallions.