This morning I am scrolling through Facebook and out of the many equine-centered photos one stops me in my tracks. A beautiful young lady with dark hair and dark clothes has a huge smile, almost a grimace on her face as an elegant black horse sharply turned out in a brown leather bridle has its nose to her check. The emotions of trust, love and JOY radiate from this image. I look for the story in the accompanying text, and find the words "siyah inci" posted by Hayal gibi güzellikler. Lucky for me Bing was happy to translate. . .and I was stunned to read the words "Black Pearl".
I am always amazed at how our Universe works - and its occasional sense of humor. Two nights ago I had spent over an hour writing a blog post to introduce you to an amazing non-profit, The BlackPearls. Cyberspace proceeded to happily dissolve my words before their publication. Since most of us have experienced that moment of lost work, I don't need to tell you the emotions I was going through. I just tried to console myself that THERE WAS A REASON this had happened. So I got up early this morning just to rewrite the introduction and stumble upon this photo while digitally grazing.
I investigated more and determine, to the best of my ability, that Hayal gibi güzellikler is a Facebook page for a Turkish photographer named Orhan Ozkan. I feel strongly about Photographers giving permission for use and getting credit for their work so I am not posting the picture here, but I did share his post on the Cheval Amour Facebook Page. (If you visit, pleae "Like" us while you are there!)
Not only does the "siyah inci" photo have its name in common with The BlackPearls, but their core work centers around the uplifting horse-human connection so aptly portrayed in the photo. This is summed up in their Mission Statement:
The BlackPearl Friesian Association is dedicated to serving our community by brining Joy and Healing to both Horses & Humans alike through Equine Performance Art in events that contribute to and successfully support our local charities.
I first watched this group perform a little over a year ago when they were a headline act at the Washington State Horse Expo in Vancouver, Washington. I was first struck by their unusual and elegant outfits, for both horse and rider. As amazing as their dress was, this faded to the background as the JOY with which both the horses and riders performed shown through. The audience around me was transfixed.
My next encounter with the organization was at the Northwest Horse Fair and Expo in Albany, Oregon. This time members of the organization found Cheval Amour's booth and Jase and I had a great time getting to know them. I was amazed when I learned that Board Member Susan McIntosh knew about Bluesign-approved fabrics. Most people have never heard of this international audit system that assesses fair labor conditions, the presence of toxic chemicals (not allowed), and treatment of emissions (e.g., air, waste water, etc.). I was further humbled and ecstatic when members of this group, known for their impeccable clothes, walked out of our booth with multiple items. But I wasn't prepared for what soon followed.
"We would like to chat with you about sponsorship opportunities and custom team jackets, is that something you would be interested in?"
The words jumped off the email at me. WOW! What an HONOR! And what good synergy with a group whose core values are in direct alignment with Cheval Amour's celebration of the positive effects of the horse-human connection. And let's not forget their reputation for great clothing. . .
Fast-forward to the email I got last night, "Jackets are HERE and they are just stunning!" This from someone who had a career in the textile industry. I can't even begin to express how happy this makes me.
And now I have a special offer for you. During our collaboration we decided to make a limited number of the jackets available for sale. A donation of $25 for every BlackPearl Limited jacket sold through Cheval Amour will be made to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization The BlackPearl Friesian Association. Buy your jacket right now! Because there are only a limited number of jackets available in each size.
Would you like to learn more about The BlackPearls? Visit their website to meet the equine and human members, tour their beautiful gallery and donate to their cause. Stay connected and up to date on their activities by liking The BlackPearl Facebook page. Check out this video montage of photos from their past performances, practices and encounters with the public made by Jana Peterson Photography.
Speaking of performances. . .The BlackPearls will be debuting their Cheval Amour BlackPearl Limited custom team jackets at this year's Northwest Horse Fair and Expo to be held March 21 - 24, 2013, in Albany, Oregon. If you attend, stop by their booth, where they will have the jackets available for sale.
Top Right: Patrick Fitzgerald
Middle Left and Bottom Right: Jana Peterson