A Colt, a Holiday and a Whole Lotta Paint

What do you get when you start with a blue roan colt and add a little (O.K., a LOT) of red and white Crayola paint for the 4th of July?

A living American flag, that’s what. Have you ever painted a horse? It’s a fun challenge.


Emma walks Quill at the farm before we load him onto the trailer. That’s Mocha on the right, waiting to load up, as well. Photo by Matt

Emma Billington, a wonderful horsewoman and horse trainer who lives on San Juan Island, agreed to walk Quill in the local Friday Harbor 4th of July parade, as I would be riding Mocha. Handling Quill, who turned 2 in June, is something I would trust only a handful of people to do. I’ve raised him since birth and often refer to him as “the love of my life” so you get the idea. While he’s still only a colt, Quill stands at nearly 17 hands. Physically, he’s a big boy, but mentally, he’s still a youngster. Like most youngsters, he’s curious and awkward and a little unsure of himself. What better exposure than a parade?

To get him ready for said parade, Emma also generously agreed to help me decorate him. We painted him at home on the farm–using non-toxic, washable paint, of course. It took us a little more than an hour–and he was very good. We held our collective breaths that he wouldn’t smudge it on the way in the trailer but he emerged from it unsullied.

Emma kept Quill near Mocha during the parade because the filly kept him calm.

Emma kept Quill near his “Auntie Mocha” during the parade because the filly’s no-nonsense nature kept him calm. Photos by Josephine and Charlotte Crosby.

horses in parade

We’re part of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, so posse members rode together as a group.




What a handsome pair!

What a handsome pair! Matt and Yukon before the parade (with Quill in the background).

Matt went as Zorro (as the theme of the parade was Hollywood), and Yukon was his typical magnificent self.



Little Miss Mocha was a trooper and patiently carried me throughout the entire crazy parade. She was very calm. Not bad for a filly who just turned 3.

filly greets girl

Mocha says hello to Charlotte Crosby, one of the members of our ground support team.

Now, to plan for next year…

Amy on Mocha, who didn't spook once during the entire parade.  Brave little girl!

Me on Mocha, who didn’t spook once during the entire parade. Brave little girl!

more mocha

2 thoughts on “A Colt, a Holiday and a Whole Lotta Paint

    • It was great fun! And Quill was indeed very good. He was restless at times, and needed reassurance, but he didn’t get reactive. I was really happy with how everyone did.

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