Swimming my horse…and the Art of Living.

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. ” -James A. Michener

Some people call me crazy but I would argue that I am pursuing the art of living. Take this weeks blend of work and play. The Western Shooting Horse magazine wanted to do a photo shoot with me in the beginning of November so they asked me where I would be. I told them Maine…but warned them that the weather could be unpredictable.

The photo shoot was scheduled for November 5th…and on November 2nd the first snow storm of the year hit Maine shutting down roads and leaving well over 100,000 without power. Being the crazy horse people that we all are (we admit that all horse people are a little crazy, right) we never even considered moving the photo shoot.

Don’t get me wrong, photo shoots are fun…but they are also lots of work. Hours are spent preparing the horses, the humans, and picking locations. Did I mention it was cold? If a photo shoot is done well then the viewer can’t see that it was really hot, super cold or that the biting flies were trying to carry you away.

The weather did try to make a nice turn around for the shoot. Most of the snow was melted although we did take photos with snow in them. The best part about this shoot was that the photographer, Scoop, let me pick a lot of the locations. We aimed for the most predictable locations first…and then they let me have fun!

Growing up I would swim my horses at this boat landing frequently and I thought the backdrop was beautiful. I did have one request; after the photos that were needed were done, I wanted to swim my horse.

So what that we had almost half a foot of snow a few days ago…or that my horse had never been ridden bareback…or that my horse had never been swimming for that matter…lol.

If I read the above quote by Michener then I will leave you to decide if I was working or playing…but I will tell you it was chilly!

P.S.- Before you panic about the water being too cold for Newt, I can assure you that we didn’t stay in very long and he had nice warm coolers waiting for him when we got out. When my kids ran cross country they would ‘ice’ their bodies to promote healing. I have heard that Native Americans would stand their horses in cold water to ice their legs. The swim was actually refreshing…in one of those ‘polar bear club’ kind of ways!

To listen to a radio interview where I also talk about swimming, click here.


  1. Kimi on November 12, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Hi Stacey, I just want to take a minute to thank you for the wonderful quote. I lost it many years ago and I am very pleased to have read it this morning. I also would like to thank you for all your wonderful information. I ,too, found that loving your work is the most wonderful way to live and I became the first license female yacht captain on the west coast of Florida, however,I had to give up my Appaloosa farm to do so. Now, after a 30 year hiatus from my beloved horses, I have retired, bought 8 acres in Georgia with a house and creek and two beautiful black and white Tobiano Paint babies. The first year would have had me pulling out my hair without your guidance and knowledge. Amazing the stuff we forget. I have also followed every moment of your work wjith Newt and have started ground work with my two. So, Thank you…from one gal livin the dream to another…Thank You.

    • Kimi on November 12, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Exuse me Stacey, I had Newt on the brain from reading about you swimming him. What I meant to say is I have followed every episode of your training with Jac. Sorry bout that! Kimi

      • Stacy on November 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        I actually guessed that:)

  2. Dee Zane on November 12, 2014 at 7:57 am

    My parents live in Vassalboro, on Three Mile Pond . . . it is gorgeous up there!
    and swimming my horses is one of my fav childhood memories too!
    My horses and I live in TX, though, so swimming with them in Three Mile is gonna be difficult! 😉

  3. A.Lindsay Burnett on November 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Great fun, know exactly where you were and will keep that picture in my mind when I visit Albion in June.

  4. Jenny Martin on November 11, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    What a great video! What fun!

  5. Sarah Bernier on November 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I love this! Way to go on recreating childhood horse memories — I haven’t swum a horse since I was a kid, either — makes me a tad jealous 🙂

  6. darlaflack1 on November 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    What Fun!! I used to take the polo ponies that I looked after down to the ocean every morning and stand them in the frigid water for 20 minutes. Kept their hard worked legs tight and cold.

  7. Lesia Lowe on November 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    yours and Jesse’s giggling was the best part….like little kids…. Newt looked like a Pro!! and you were right….. the backdrop was breath taking!!! Maine is gorgeous!!! wish the video was longer!!

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