Frieda’s Gem

Frieda’s Gem

“Horses offer us a choice
To listen to our inner voice
The One who knows, the One who cares
The One who understands our fears

The horse reflects and listens to
The truth that always passes through
Illusions met will vanquish strife
Living in love shall give us Life”

~ Kim McElroy

Frieda’s Gem was commissioned by Sandy of Raven Rock Ranch as a gift for her friend Leigh Shambo, founder of H.E.A.L Human/Equine Alliance. In 2014 Leigh had to move her ranch operation to California and she was concerned that her two older mares, Frieda and Gem age 25 and 40 would not be able to make the trip. They were kindly adopted by her friend Sandy and continued serving as a therapy horses and lived out their lives in comfort. Gem passed away the following December. The following summer Sandy decided to commission me to paint Frieda’s portrait, and then suddenly Frieda also passed away. We both knew that the timing of presenting the portrait for Leigh would be even more important now as a gift of healing.

It is so rare that two people share and love the same horse. I told Sandy that in giving such a beautiful gift of love, I would offer her a full size print of the portrait, so she would have the painting of Frieda for herself as well.

Sandy asked that I depict Frieda with her forelock braided; she said “she has had her forelock braided hundreds of times by each child she helped heal at Raven Rock Ranch”. We discussed ideas for background colors and Sandy and I both felt the color purple was the right choice. In meditation with Frieda I did indeed see purple, but it came vividly and unmistakably in the form of an amethyst stone.

I was able to unveil the original to Leigh when she was in town teaching a clinic at Sandy’s farm. Attending were a dozen people who had all known and worked with Freida. It was such an amazing day. The portrait was a total surprise to Leigh, and in sharing the deep love she had for Frieda I told her the story of the amethyst and I said I was curious why it appeared in the vision as a cut amethyst and suddenly Leigh said, “of course it was a cut amethyst because it represents her life companion mare “Gem”! Tears came to our eyes as we looked at each other knowing the profound gift of insight.

Leigh’s comments:
Frieda’s Gem has a place of honor on our ‘horse wall’ among photos of her many companions over the years. Most delightfully she also presides over my morning yoga space, so we get to spend some eye gazing time most every morning. This beautiful and true portrait of my beloved equine partner fills my heart with joy each time I look at her. I experience ‘Frieda’s Gem’ almost as a living presence, so strongly can I feel the spirit of both mares through this dynamic work of art, which has filled my heart again and again already and I know it will for the rest of my life. What a wonderful tribute to a great, loving mare!

Reference photo:


Leigh Shambo gratefully receives Sandy’s gift of Frieda’s Portrait:DSC_5143



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