A Camas woman is preparing to show a collection of fine art prints that celebrates the connections between girls and horses.
The exhibit, featuring art by Lara Blair, will begin with a First Friday reception, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Elida Field gallery, 421 N.E. Cedar St., in downtown Camas. Live music will be provided by Robin Smith-Jackson, of Terre Bonne, Ore., and Blair will be available to talk about horses.
“I’ve been capturing girls and their horses for about a year and a half now,” Blair said. “The show hopes to capture the essence of the “horse girl heart.”
The exhibit includes images she took while she was in west Texas for a photography art retreat.
Blair plans to take additional photographs and compile a book next year with images of horse girls from throughout the United States, including Hawaii and Montana. There will be photographs of Kim Meeder, of Bend, Ore.
She is the author of six books, including “Hope Rising,” and she operates Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.
“She rescues horses and pairs them with abused kids,” Blair said. “She is the ultimate horse girl.”
Other subjects of Blair’s photography include “Riley,” 8, of west Texas.
“She is a wrangler in the making,” Blair said. “Texas horse girls are tough but feminine. They have rhinestones on their jeans and the bridle of the horses.”
Another print features four females enrolled in an equine program in west Texas.
“They wear bling,” Blair said. “They have curled their hair and put on lots of makeup. They are very girly, but they can barrel race with the best of them.”
That compares to horse girls from Western states, who are more likely to wear plaid shirts.
“Everywhere I went, the horse girls were different,” Blair said. “They reflect the culture of where they live.”
The local exhibit will also include prints of Jessica Steinke, of Portland. She is in the equine program at Rocky Mountain College, in Montana.
LeAnn Hunter, owner of Rolling Hills Stables, in Washougal, is also included in Blair’s “Horse Girls” photographs. The image is of a post-surgery X-ray of Hunter’s leg after she was involved in an involuntary dismount from a horse.
“She shattered everything in her leg,” Blair said. “She got right back into the saddle after healing. That is the true horse girl’s spirit. You get back in the saddle no matter what.”
Blair does not ride a horse, but she has been inspired. Her daughter Rachel, 11, rides.
“I rode as a kid at summer camp,” she said. “I don’t have that super drive to ride a horse. I have other hobbies and a fear. They are big.”
Blair said “horse girls” are fearless.
“They don’t get caught up in the regular teenage drama,” she said. “They are so occupied with their riding. They are in control, and they feel powerful. I love that, and I want that for my daughter.”