Monday, July 27, 2020

Milliron Monday: Pharaoh's Horses 7 27 2020

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

The harness shop had seen a lot of traffic through the years. It was the early 1950s. Jody Haley Smith, Dr. Smith's widow, was a young horse-crazed girl. Visiting downtown Mansfield, Ohio, to run errands, Jody's mother dropped her off at the harness shop. It was Jody's favorite place to visit. As she walked through the shop door, the smell of leather and Neatsfoot oil permeated the air. Buckles, clasps, worn and new leather laid neatly in a row. But, something was different this time. Instead of working at his bench, the old harness-maker was packing boxes.

"Why are you packing?" Jody asked the old harness-maker. 

"I am retiring," he said. Weathered, calloused hands gently placed awls, bevelers, cutters, punches, and other tools into a box. He enjoyed Jody's visits and her questions about horses and harnesses. 

Near the front counter, an old picture, delicately framed, was leaning against the wall. "I like this painting," Jody said. "Will you take it with you?" 

The painting, Pharaoh's Horses, was a print of the original by J.F. Herring. The painting is of the renowned Arabian horse Imaum. It presents three poses of the grey stallion's beautiful head. The painting was first exhibited in 1848. Imaum was stabled by Queen Victoria. She gifted the stallion to the Clerk of the Royal Stables who sold Imaum to Tattersalls where he was purchased by the artist J.F. Herring. Herring used Imaum as a model for many of his paintings. Herring stated, "Imaun is the most brilliant horse I've ever known." Herring loved and kept Imaun until his death.

"I want you to have it," the harness-maker said, knowing the picture would continue to be adored. 

Jody, without hesitation, was grateful to own the picture and thanked the old man for his kindness. She has treasured the art throughout her lifetime, hanging it in the Smith family farmhouse. Now, many years later, the print belongs to her son, Pat. 

My friend, Carmel Rowley, shares a great article about the painting and it's history. Read it here.

Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

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