Anita’s Corner

My grandfather is responsible for my horse addiction. He started me out with my first pony, Patsy, when I was 5 years old. As I grew older, I wanted to get a horse, but he told me I would have to sell Patsy, to be able to get a horse. Well, no problem, I did that. So, he took me to look at a huge 16 hand black cutting horse when I was 10 years old. I had enough money to pay for half and he paid the other half. The big problem was, I did not know how to neck rein a horse, nor did I have a saddle or a bridle to fit a horse. I remade my pony bridle and got on the new horse bareback and she quickly taught me how to neck rein. (Neck reining is an indirect way to guide a horse by lightly allowing the reins to lie on the horse’s neck, instead of direct reining, where the rider pulls the horse the direction they want to go.) My Quarter Horse mare could spin on a dime and (don’t tell my Grandpa), she could cut sheep out of the flock and keep them separated as long as I wanted.
As I got into my teenage years and my artistic interests kicked in, I noticed the Arabian horse, with their beautiful conformation. The Arabian horse is a perfect horse for an artist with their gorgeous heads, high set tails and poetic movements. I took my Quarter Horse Mare and bred her to an Arabian Stallion and she had a gorgeous little colt. But this only sparked my appetite greater for a purebred Arabian. By the time I had graduated from college with a MFA in Sculpture I knew I wanted to sculpt some Arabian horses. My first three sculptures were of Arabians and by then I was also accumulating a nice group of Arabian horses for our farm…AJ Arabians. My husband and I made a deal…I could go full blast into breeding Arabian horses, with 3 purebred mares as long as I agreed to sell the offspring as yearlings. This was a smart idea (my husband’s) because the International Arabian Horse Association had a yearling Arabian Sweepstakes, that attracted a lot of high-end horsemen. My part of the goal was to make sure I had the best bloodlines available, and breed those mares to National Champions that would attract buyers, to even a small breeding establishment like ours. This worked very well and we bred, trained and sold these foals from 1970 until 1990 when the market for purebred Arabians sadly went downhill. At that point we sold all but two of our Arabians. We kept AJ Amayzzing and AJ Dakota. These were two of our best and also were our personal riding horses.
My husband and I love to trail ride on our horses. You get to see wild animals that are not afraid of the horses and you are blessed to be out in the woods and creeks and see nature first hand. We rode many trails, most in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, but we also took our horses to Tennessee and rode on the Appalachian Trail and rode in the Smokey Mountains. Later on, we rode around Lake Tahoe, California.
After I fell from a Hay Mow and had spinal surgery with rods implanted in my spine, I found that riding at a trot was not possible. At that point I had to leave my cherished Arabian Horses and adopt another breed with a smoother gait. Yep, I switched to a Tennessee Walking Horse. I still remember my husband shaking his head in unbelief when I told him I wanted to ride a Tennessee Walking Horse. He did not switch away from his beloved Arabian, Dakota, but I did, so then came “Sonny” Sundrop’s Mystic Son…and then later a beautiful TW named “Tuff” that appears that he could possibly have a little Arabian blood flowing in his veins… Hopefully?
In my sculpture creations, I started years ago with tabletop size sculptures of horses and worked up to life-size. I can say with no hesitation that the life-sized horse sculptures are a creative challenge that lights me up! They are very exciting to work on, as I can include many more details, and be able to reveal their individual personalities. Sculpting horses is similar to sculpting any animal that we have a close, loving, relationship with. You have to experience that special connection to be able to sculpt their exceptional qualities, which makes the bronze virtually come to life.

Anita J. Watts

Amayzzing & Dakota were two mares from our final foal crop from our Arabian Horse Breeding Stable. They were also our personal riding horses for hundreds of Trail Rides through Ohio, Indiana, & Kentucky.
Sonny was my first Tenn. Walking Horse with a super smooth gait. A wonderful ride!
I love being out in the woods as a part of God’s Beautiful Creation in all seasons.
Sonny never refused to go any direction I pointed him…always ready…always willing.
“Tuff” is my current TWH. He has a wonderful gait & looks like a big Arabian horse.