Behind the Paint: Balance and Colt
This is another horse for which I could write several stories. I was in Los Angeles for the Breeders’ Cup in 2008 when I received a phone call from John Amerman about painting Balance . . . with her first foal . . . that would be born the following spring. Ah, the waiting game . . . months passed and Balance gave birth to a beautiful big A. P Indy colt at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington.
The Amermans lived in California and I was still living in Florida – so, we all agreed to meet at the farm in KY. I hired photographer Matt Wooley to meet us at the farm to take the photos. Everything was perfect except the weather, the CA and FL folks forgot that the sun doesn’t shine 365 days a year in Kentucky. It was early spring (winter might be more how I remember it) and no leaves where anywhere to be found.
Matt did the best he could with the over cast skies, but being a pro Matt came back each day for a few days and keep taking shots until the sun was finally out again. In the meantime I ventured to Ocala, FL to get my own photos of trees with leaves.
That is how we ended up with pictures of mama and baby.
The first night after meeting at the farm, I went to dinner with the Amermans and their blood stock agent Bob Feld. I picked up a habit years ago as a stockbroker and it’s called getting to know people! I love to hear the stories of what makes successful people tick and in this case, I asked the Amermans why they got into horses. John said during his career he was a CEO and moved them all over the world, in retirement it was Jerry’s turn to make the call – what did SHE want to do. Jerry told me that as a little girl she put a magazine cover on her bedroom wall. The picture was a horse painted by one of my favorite equine artists, Richard Stone Reeves. When she came home from college that painting was still on her wall . . . and when John asked what she wanted to do, she said – “I always wanted to have a horse.” . . .
To this day I give my post cards to all the kids that come by while I painting live, I started doing this before Jerry told this story, but you can bet I often wonder which of the kids I give some post cards to will some day want to own horses or maybe some day own a Kentucky Derby winner. Great Horses – Great Art they really do go hand and hand . . . and often they are surrounded by really Great People like the Amermans. (and yes, Balance is a half sister to Zenyatta and that big colt did go on to be the sale topper at the Keeneland yearling sale the next year.)