Once upon a time there was a girl who had 7 invisible horses… When autumn came the girl spent a whole day washing all her clothes. She hung them on a string in her garden to let the gentle autumn sun dry them. Out of nowhere, a terrible storm came and its [fierce] winds grabbed hold of all her clothes and all 7 horses. The girl was devastated and spent all autumn looking for each horse spread around the country, wrapped in her clothes.
Ulrika Kestere is a photographer/artist whose work is founded in folklore and mythology. Her imagery evokes a love of nature softly conveyed through a dream like lens. A resident of Lund, Sweden she was born in Latvia where the influences of Scandinavia’s lush forests and deep waters are often represented in her work.
“There’s a great countryside in Latvia, a lot of storks, a lot of dreamy fog covering meadows during summer, girls with long braids…empty long white beaches. It sure has a dreamy place in my heart.”
“7 Horses” is a photographic story, a modern fairy tale inspired by accident. While taking a walk Ulrika made a wrong turn and stumbled upon a beautiful location.
“Later that day I came back with my camera and a bag full of clothes and decided to lay out a horse on the ground. After shooting I went home and the story about the girl and the horses just appeared in my head. The girl in the pictures is me.”
Asked about the dream like quality of her visual stories including “7 Horses” Ulrika explains.
“One of the worst things about growing up is how much harder daydreaming gets. All the things you thought were easy breezy turn out to be difficult. When I was small I couldn’t wait to get a moment by myself were I could just close my eyes and dream away into a fairytale. I try to do it today, but my mind won’t let me the same way. It always wanders of to thinking about to-do’s in my life. But I don’t want to let go of the daydreams, it’s the most beautiful thing, so that’s why I photograph and draw. I portrait my daydream world, I still know how it looks, I just have a harder time staying there with my mind. However, if I didn’t portrait it – I might loose it forever. Dreaming is so important. When you stop being a dreamer you sort of stop having fun. You just settle with what you have. Ignore all the people who say that dreaming about rainbows and unicorns farting marshmallows is for kids, it’s for everyone!”
We #WARHorses know a thing or two about dreaming, many of us are lucky that our childhood dreams have come true. Our horses provide us with a sense of fulfillment and happiness that permeates right down to our bones.
The tale of 7 Horses beautifully correlates to our equestrian lifestyle which can be fickle and tenuous. We willingly devote ourselves to our horses tending to their needs, providing them a good life, the best possible life. But the wind sometimes brings the unexpected. Like the clothes blown off the line, our horses can be gone in the blink of an eye.
We ask the usual questions – What if? Why? We plead for an answer, search for a reason, demand an explanation but often there is none. It simply is.
Now what? Do we bend to the wind? Give up?
No, we are WARHorses. We are equestrians and we are dreamers. We pick up our clothes, shake off the dirt and eventually rediscover beautiful memories. We find the strength to dream again, to gallop through the forest on a unicorn.
Be strong. Hold your memories close. Re-open your heart. And keep a bag of marshmallows nearby!
Thank you Ulrika for granting WARHorses permission to publish your work. You can learn more of Ulrika Kestere’s work by visiting her website.