When Cindy lost her horse, Beau, she had difficulty finding any online
support for anyone who could truly relate to her loss. So she created a horse
loss support group and memorial website called Hoofbeats in Heaven (HIH).
Since its inception, HIH has featured the artwork of Kim McElroy. Cindy believes
that Kim's art is uniquely comforting to grieving horse owners and says her
artwork "makes tangible...the soul of the horse."
The members of the Hoofbeats
in Heaven support group help each other through their grieving process, sharing
their own stories of love and healing. New members are welcomed into this
family of like-minded and heartfelt friends, where they receive the support
and understanding they need.
In 2004, a number of
the members asked Kim if she could somehow create a group portrait to acknowledge
the support they've given and received and the connection they feel their
horses share in their heavenly herd. Kim was intrigued with the idea of a
group portrait, and she came up with a way in which to make it possible for
a group of people to share a painting. In March 2006, "Hoofbeats
in Heaven" came to life.
This complex and magical portrait came together
in miraculous ways, and Kim truly feels that her skill in portraying these
horses was aided by the power of their spirits, and by the love of their
owners. In addition to being a celebration of these individual horses for
their owners, this painting was commissioned with the intent to share the
healing message of horses in heaven with any person who needs this comforting
vision. Kim was inspired to paint the horse angel in the upper left corner
so that anyone who sees the painting whose horse has crossed over, can see
their own horse's spirit joining the herd.
The creation of this painting
is a story in itself. So many synchronicities and miracles occurred as the
participants began to truly feel closer to the spirits of their beloved horses.
They experienced a wide range of emotions, from anticipation and joy, to
the reawakening of some of their sadness. Some had lost their horses years
ago, while a few were very recent, yet the feelings were reawakened as they
anticipated seeing their horses again. They all kept in close touch with
Kim as she shared her inspirations, and the news when each horse had joined
the herd. When the prints were shipped and then unwrapped and viewed for
the first time, each participant shared their deep emotions with Kim by e-mail
or phone. It was miraculous to hear their stories of healing, and how they
all felt - without a shadow of a doubt - that Kim had truly painted their
horse's spirit, and that somehow, seeing their horse in this new light, allowed
them to move through their grief more than they ever had been able to
Each member of the website
who participated in the group portrait received a beautiful watercolor
reproduction of the original painting. The original resides with Cindy, Hoofbeats In Heaven
founder, as a heartfelt gift from the group to Cindy for her dedication and
support in their lives. All of the members were overjoyed to see their own
horse depicted, but also they felt a kinship with the other herd members
and were comforted in knowing that their horse is part of an infinitely beautiful
It is Kim's greatest joy
to allow the spirits of horses to express through her. Her love for horses,
and natural talent for art, is somehow amplified when she creates works of
art for others who love their horses so deeply. Prints of Hoofbeats
in Heaven are available through Kim McElroy's Spirit of Horse Gallery or call 360-297-7736.