Meg Brinton has been an avid horsewoman since junior high. Her grandfather raised thoroughbreds and even jockeyed his own horses. Although she never knew him, she believes her passion for horse came from him. Most of her life’s work has been as an equine veterinarian and she owns Ridgefield Equine Clinic. Even though she loves all horses, through her work as a veterinarian she noticed the unique connection the Friesian horse has with humans. Because she has seen these horses create joy and healing she is very devoted to giving back by sharing these wonderful animals through equine performance art. She along with a core group of founders was instrumental in forming the non-profit. She also rides dressage at FEI level and performs with the BlackPearls. She is always looking for that special Friesian that could do both. Her Friesian, Jupiter is a cornerstone of the troupe and is one of the sweetest horses you will ever meet.
Treasurer and Performing Member
Well-established Certified Public Accountant by weekday, adventure-junkie whenever she can cut free, Karen Ringquist balances her life of detail and accuracy at her computer screen with hobbies that require no less precision but produce a rush of adrenaline. White-water rafting and kayaking, mountaineering and hiking, cycling, and Ironman triathlons; Karen fills her life with sports that require skill, strength, endurance, and obviously, determination.
In her quest for new adventures, Karen started riding lessons in 2007 at age 40, a long time to wait for a woman who has been horse-crazy since before she could crawl.Combining her passions for horses and the outdoors, she initially focused on trail riding and alpine horse camping.
Karen purchased Cavalli as a five year old former halter champion in 2011. After trail rides and getting to know each other, she realized that her beautiful grey Arabian enjoys performing tricks. Following her horse’s cue, she found Lukas Bardue, who has been the driving force teaching Cavalli and Karen the art of liberty.
Performing seems to be in Cavalli’s genetic makeup, so he and Karen are together learning the art of dressage riding. Cavalli has performed his liberty act at BlackPearl Friesian Dance Troupe events, and Karen and he officially joined the troupe in late 2012. Both horse and rider are thrilled to be a part of this talented group who give so much, to each other, and the community.
Vice President and Performing Member
Hi!I have been riding with the BPFDT for the past 10 years. During that time, I have performed with several Friesians and an Andalusian.
At about age 8, I started riding and had my first horse at 10 years old. During my preteen and teen years, I raised my mare’s foal and trained him to ride and show in 4H.After high school I spent several yearsgalloping Thoroughbreds at the racetrack and a steeplechase farm in Pennsylvania.
I assist the Troupe with the business side of our colorful nonprofit organization, in addition to performances/appearances
PERFORMING MEMBER AND SECRETARY
HI! My name is Kammian Slesh, and I have been horse crazy since I was little. I started riding in my early teen years and have been hooked ever since. My Paint Gelding and I love trail riding and camping with our friends. We have been learning some Dressage over the last year as well. New adventures for us both!
I have been a member of the BPFDT for 3 years now, and every year I enjoy it even more than the last. Watching this group of wonderful people and horses bring joy and healing to people is amazing and truly a blessing. I am very excited to be performing with this group in the coming years.
DRESSAGE COACH AND PERFORMING MEMBER
Jessica Wisdom was born in Virginia and raised all over the world. Her military family moved a lot and change was constant, but her love for horses never wavered. She worked for rides at a military stable in CA and after several years, was given her first horse. One turned into many and eventually turned into her life’s passion.. Now a 20 year veteran of the industry, she teaches, trains and show full time as well as standing her riding partner, North Forks Cardi whom she trained from Training level all the way to winning National and CDI championships at the Grand Prix level.
Jessica coaches several of the Pearls who are working to improve their dressage skills and her and “Brown Pearl” Cardi join in the performances when needed. She enjoys being part of the Troupe’s efforts to share the magic of horses to the community.
Rachel was born and raised in Portland, OR.All her life she has wanted a horse, “it took until I was 45 years old to get my first horse, everyday I wake up and have to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming.Hawk is such a wonderful horse I feel like I have won the lottery! Being involved with the BlackPearls has made my life so full.The experiences I have had in touching others with the love of the horse are beyond words.”
I was seven when I was blessed to have my very own horse and have the property to ride and train on. She was a “free 4–H“ horse. Part Draft, dapple-grey, grandeur (to me) and an amazing teacher. She had broken her cannon bone as a young foal, so didn’t like going any faster than a trot. It wasn’t long before I wanted to experience the thrill of galloping down the field with friends. It took some encouragement and trust that she could and she did. But Stormy taught me very how to ride during those young adventures. I learned how to hold onto the reins so I didn’t have to walk miles home. I learned that if I were going to do something she did not like, I needed to do it near something that was tall enough to get back on. I learned to listen to her with her injury and how it affected her. It taught me a lot about trust, respect and compassion. Soon I had other horses and began showing in many diverse events. I had many opportunities over the years to work with troubled horses, rehabilitating with the trust, respect and the compassion my dear Stormy had taught me. My life revolved around horses and they were my best friends. I could crawl around on them like a jungle gym – as a youth.
Then I had a severe accident where I was told I would never ride again. For 9 years I was empty and hollow, trying to find a substitute for my passion and the safety of my horses. I got into Renaissance fairs and costuming events, learning how to sew and work with many different mediums. One day I saw a Facebook event for an Open House for the BlackPearls. As a little girl and romance lover and awe of the knights and royalty riding Friesians, I always dreamed of riding one of these magnificent and magical beings. So on a whim I drove nearly 2 hours to go. I walked into the barn, saw the horses, heard the laughter and my senses were overwhelmed with joy. I was home. I “drank the Kool-aid”. I make that drive nearly every weekend to be with them. My first year was spent working with the costume committee, ground crew in performances and as a backup rider. I had the opportunity last minute to be a performer rider 9 months in on Hunter and I was hooked! I am blessed to now be Wisse’s main rider and my dream has been fulfilled.My heart and soul have been healed by this experience and I am so grateful for the opportunities this Troupe has provided me to share in the love and healing magic these horses and people bring to our communities. This is truly a gift for me, and I hope it will be for you as well when we meet at one of our events. Please come by and say Hi. I would love to introduce you to our Stars.
PERFORMING MEMBER, LIBERTY & TRICK TRAINING COACH
It all began in 1983, when I was 3 years old in Anchorage, Alaska. That first time I was put on the little Shetland pony head to tail with the others on the pony rides, I was hooked. From that point on I would lie and sneak away to just feel that velvet nose, that warm moist breath, and the smell that could take you to another world. I even remember getting a whipping for sneaking away and riding someone’s horse in a field cause I lied about what I was doing. “It was worth it!”
Thirty years later I have managed, and was privileged, to run away and join a circus “Arabian Nights”, work at the Kentucky Horse Park, go to school for Equine Science, and travel the country. I have had the privilege to work with some of the most distinguished trainers in the entertainment world like, Laura Amandis, Julius Van Yule, Tommy Turvey, Caroline Williams, and the late “Gaylord Maynard”. I have also been fortunate to ride some of the top show horses in the country riding on the breed circuits, playing Polo, rodeos, and just having fun. That is what it is all about! Horses have enriched my life in so many ways, taken me to so many places, and brought so many important people in my life that I could never repay the debt I have to this creature.
I have been riding since I was about nine years old and throughout my horse experience have ridden a variety of horses and disciplines. I’ve also had a chance to be apart of 4-H and OHSET which has taught me the importance of patience, team work, goal setting and much, much more. I currently own two sassy mares: a 16 year old white Arabian, and a 11 year old Quarter horse mix. They have gotten me through tough times and have always been there when I needed them most, even if they do have their little quirks. I have always been deeply in love with every aspect of horses and would much rather be with them than doing anything else.
Imagine my surprise when my sister, Elena, told me she was volunteering for the Black Pearl Friesians Dance Troupe. My jaw dropped and I was stunned when I found out the Troupe was full of these beautiful and gorgeous Friesians. I too later became a volunteer and fell deeper in love with the horses. The members were very warm and welcoming and are today some of the best people I have ever met. Not too long ago I finally became a member myself and have had the time of my life with these wonderful people and horses, I owe everything to them for allowing me to ride their gorgeous creatures and be apart of their beautiful family. I am blessed to continue my horse career along side these beautiful ladies who have made me feel at home since the beginning.
Blanche Kohl was born and raised in Ketchikan Alaska and moved to Oregon in 2010. Being a very horse crazy child Blanche finally turned her love for horses into a reality in 1993. Blanche now resides in Newberg Oregon with her husband Jack on 26 acres that they share with 3 dogs and 15 imported Gypsy horses. Blanche rides primarily dressage along with driving. Blanche feels the Black Pearls are an awesome fit to showcase the talent of these amazing horses and be able to interact with the community in such a giving manner.
Registered as Kening Noble, but known as Kingston a 5-year-old Friesian gelding, born in Holland and found his way to the United States and to his forever home with Tanya in October of 2016. Tanya has always had a passion for horse and has beenriding ever since she could walk. As a kid she enjoyed 4H, and remembers wakingup in the morning and waiting for sunrise so she could go ride until sunset. I feel blessed to be part of the Pearls. It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of such a positive group of women.
Lauren Denyse Burrell; MBA, graduate gemologist and entrepreneur, had her very own stable at the age of six.One built specially for Lauren by her dad for the growing herd of Breyer Horses. Missy, a mischievous Welsh pony, trotted onto the scene teaching Lauren how to ride ~ even though they somehow always ended up in the apple orchard. It was the love of this little bay, which sparked the flame of equine passion in Lauren’s heart. A flame that burned brightly during her early days in Connecticut, riding everyday after school at the Red Barn with her two best friends Lori and Windsor Spirit, Lauren’s beautiful black mare. Days spent gaming, jumping, showing western pleasure with hours upon hours of trail riding were the joys of summer ~ winter too. At college Lauren rode hunters, played a Chukker or two of Polo and was inspired to try dressage. After graduation Lauren enjoyed a job that included traveling but unfortunately no horses. However, once she made her home in the Pacific Northwest horses once again lit the flame. Thanks to Dr. Meg Brinton, a beautiful bay thoroughbred mare, Kiltee, snuck in and stole her heart, for seven years they played at jumping, western dressage, tried cow sorting and finally settled into dressage. It was a wonderful dynamic learning partnership. During this time Lauren met Susan McIntosh & Susan Dyer and their amazing black Friesian stallions. In 2008 Susan asked her if she would like to join the Pearls and ride Jupiter in a performance to benefit the Silver Buckle Ranch. So began a new passion, equine performance art, baroque horses and bling. Lauren says: “Sharing these glorious horses with young and old alike ~ seeing the smiles of wonder ~ tears of joy ~ hearts brimming with love and dreams full of horses touches your very soul ~ I am living my dream, and truly BELIEVE if I can do it you can too! As Lauren currently searches for her next equine partner she has stepped out of the stirrups to allow others of the troupe to step up and feel the JOY! Hoof Beats to Hearts!!”
Affiliate members and volunteers
The Troupe found behind the scenes
I was born and raised in Hertfordshire, England and immigrated to the US with my husband in 1989 (aged 25). My past with horses is diverse; I am a self-taught trail rider, who as a child would save up my pocket money so I could ride horses at the local barn. I often dreamed about owning one, but never thought it would really happen…. years later I fulfilled the dream.
About 9 years ago I had a tragic accident whilst trail riding at the base of Mount St Helens. After the injuries healed, I felt emotionally unready to ride again. So with much heartache I gave my horse to a good friend who would care for him in ways I could not.
After several years, my heart still yearned for a large 4-legged companion and so I plucked up the courage to try again. I found Eli, one of my current horses., our bond soon strengthened and I felt complete.But who doesn’t want to say, “Yes, that beautiful black Friesian is mine”?So, the opportunity came for me to buy Hunter.
My reasons for joining the Pearls are many. I fell in love with the majesty, kindness and huge capacity for love that the Friesian horse possesses.Even though I don’t ride Hunter myself during the shows, I love that he can still be involved with the troupe. There are also many ways for me to contribute as an affiliate (non performing) member, which is when I became involved with the costume/creative design committee. I have fun playing with fabrics and costume ideas and pretty much anything that sparkles. I have worked on the revamp of the carousel topper for last year’s performance as well as a unique princess costume for the same act. I find it incredibly rewarding to see my creations bringing joy to so many.
We have a diverse group of talented riders whom I have enjoyed getting to know. Some I can identify closely with as they have been in similar situations to me physically and emotionally and have faced their fears and overcome them. The courage and determination it takes to get back in the saddle again and again (and some of us are not spring chickens anymore, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves!), is a constant reminder and demonstration of their strength and courage and an incredible source of inspiration. We all have our own unique challenges and confront them with the knowledge that, we have all been there, done that…etc. and know that a shoulder to cry on, a big hug or a high five is close by.
I am in awe of these ladies and of course their 4-legged companions! And I am proud to be part of the Black Pearl family. Such an amazing group of men and women whom I enjoy watching performing the sometimes life changing interactions between people, horses and their riders. I believe the greatest gift anyone can give another person, is their time and full attention – a connection.
Changing lives one horse at a time.
It feels good to share!
Hello. My name is Peyton, and I was born with a disability called Arthrogryposis. Basically, that means that my joints are frozen in odd angles. I don’t have as much motion as other people, but I make it work. I have to walk with braces on my legs, and when the ground is uneven, I use a wheelchair. Over the span of my life, my family and I have come up with many different ways to work with my disability. Instead of using my hand to write, I use my mouth! In fact, I’m typing this on my iPad with my elbow!
I first met the members of the BlackPearl Friesian Dance Troupe in March of 2012, about two weeks after I broke my hip. We were at the NW Horse Expo, in Albany Oregon. My mom and I went to one of the Pearl performances, and really enjoyed it. After the performance, we went to meet the horses. I, of course, was in my chair, so I was not expecting any horses to actually like me. I drove around, meeting all the horses and people, and then I met Jupiter. He put his head in my lap and from that point on we were buddies!! My mom and I have gone to Albany every year since then to visit with all of the wonderful BlackPearls!
The members of the BlackPearl Friesian Dance Troupe are the most inspirational people I have ever met, and it is a privilege to be able to return that kindness as much as I can! They mean the world to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
A couple of years ago I was asked to attend a horse show in WA by a friend.Why not, have never seen one and had no other plans.Grabbed my husband and off we went!
Please imagine two Motorcycle riders in full gear walking around a huge building, for an hour, with horse riding gear for sale only! Not sure what we were thinking but wanted to see my friend ride.The lights went down and we took our comfortable bleacher seats waiting for who knew what.All of a sudden there were a dozen of the most beautiful horses and riders ever in front of us!Music was turned up and for thirty minutes we experienced an equine nirvana high!
Fast forward, literally, to two days after seeing, feeling and meeting the BlackPearl Friesian Dance Troupe (BP’s).I sent a request to join as an affiliate since I do not ride a four legged horse (well, that has changed since then, wait for it), I had free time and wanted to assist them in any way I could having prior fundraising experience.
I have never regretted joining the BP’s. I have a new family of the most wonderful and caring Equine people in my life!I will do anything for them at any time, including, but not limited to, dumpling scooping the stalls while they are performing!Even my family has questioned my involvement and I tell them the same thing.“It is a rare occasion in life that you actually find and connect with people that you really only have the basic things in life in common with; love for animals, community and life. “ The BP’s have taken me under their wings to teach me how to ride for the first time.No, I will never own a horse nor will I compete, but I have now experienced the ultimate high.Riding and trusting a horse in the middle of a forest alive with birds, hikers, dogs, and Mother Nature showing off her true beauty that most will never see, with friends who truly care around me.How much more can I ask for in life except more please!
My heart is overjoyed to tears when I see them perform.The amount of time they put into training is not something to laugh about.When the countless practices turn into a perfect outcome, I turn into a big baby crying tears of joy in the background.
The BP’s are not just the most beautiful Dance Troupe you will ever see, they are also the most beautiful horses and riders, radiating love from all of their hearts.
Ever since I was old enough to know what a horse was, I wanted one. When I was four or five years old, I asked for a horse for my birthday. Imagine my disappointment, when what I received, was a stick horse with a plastic head.
However, several years later when I was 12 or 13 years old, my family did buy a horse. He was a chestnut Quarter Horse, named Tonto Willie. He was quite a stinker, but I loved that horse. I had him for several years until I graduated from high school and moved to Vancouver, Washington to attend Business College.
So began my many, many “horseless” years. I was busy working and raising a family and only rode occasionally. But, my love for horses never diminished. My younger sister, who was/is as horse-crazy as me, started attending the Washington Horse Expo. We went several years in a row and fell in love with the big, black Friesians.
I was blessed to be able to take an early retirement and started volunteering at a local stable for special needs children and adults. That is when I decided it was time to own a horse again. I bought a six year old Quarter Horse mare, named Jolie, four years ago, and continued riding and going to the Washington Horse Expo where my favorites were the big, black Friesians.
At the stable where I boarded Jolie, there were two women who belonged to the Black Pearls. I volunteered in 2014 to help the Pearls at the Horse Expo. It was very rewarding and exciting to be amongst these wonderful creatures and their riders. At the end of 2015 I joined the Pearls.
I am so excited to be a part of this group of lovely women and their gorgeous horses who bring joy wherever they go.
Life takes us on many twists and turns and it’s an amazing journey. When I was little of course I dreamed of owning a horse. What little girl doesn’t? I was an Army brat and never even knew anyone that had a horse but I did have a beautiful collection of porcelain horses that I collected when we were stationed in Germany. As a child and as an adult for that matter, the closest I got to a horse was on “nose to tail” trail rides when we were on vacations. That was my happy place though and I grinned from ear to ear. But dreams do sometimes come true and when I was 65 I was given a beautiful 24 year old Arabian named Amir!
This path to horse ownership all started with my husband of 46 years and a fishing trip six years ago to Panama. While Jerry deep sea fished, I got to ride in the jungle and on the beaches every morning and afternoon – just me and the owner of the fishing lodge. I was in heaven! When we got home I decided I wanted serious time with horses. That’s where I found my way to volunteering with a therapeutic riding center where I learned to groom, saddle, clean stalls and be a side walker assisting children and adults with all kinds of disabilities. From there I took some riding lessons, met people with horses and eventually was given the opportunity to lease Amir. At my barn there was a wonderful barn manager, very kind and helpful boarders, two Black Pearl riding members and three BP volunteers who mentored this very green rider. Nine months later I was given the opportunity to own Amir and my husband said, “I think you should do it.” Words can not express what the Black Pearls have taught me, how I value them as friends and how I love their mission statement. They supported me through a recent year of breast cancer and now I personally know the healing our equine partners provide. I have volunteered with them for about three years. I’m 68; Amir is 28 and God willing we plan to grow old together!
Deb fell in love with horses when she was a child mostly due to the fact her parents shared their love of horses with their children…which she is very thankful for.Deb lives with her husband, Fletcher, in Kalama, Washington with their three horses, one Jackpot the donkey, and three mischievous Yorkies. She joined the BlackPearl Friesian Dance Troupe in February 2012.Asked why she joined, “The BPFDT is a very unique and wonderful group of gals & guys, and most importantly, I love how they truly share their love of these horses with others!” Deb’s motto: “For the love of horses”.
I have been riding horses my entire life.I started lessons at the age of 4 and started showing at the age of 6.I have owned two amazing horses in my life.My first horse was a 16 hand Bay AQHA gelding named Free Toe Bandito.He took me around many arenas and trails.He passed away last year at the age of 30.The new love of my life is a 14’2 hand AQHA gelding names Texs Freckles.He and I travel together doing many different equine sports.We compete at gaming, barrel racing, have tried working equitation, trail ride and play at equitation western and English classes.He loves to travel with me and take on any new adventure.
I started volunteering with the Black Pearl Friesian’s with my mother.I love grooming the horses, braiding their long manes and tails.Helping the riding members get into their costumes for each performance.I am honored to be the first junior pearl to ride during our performances.I ride the handsome Friesian Jupiter.The members of the Black Pearl Friesians are my friends and mentors I am blessed to have them in my life.
I have ridden horses off and on most of my life.A few years ago my husband and I bought property so we could finally own and board our own horses. I have been blessed in the past years to ride several of the Black Pearl Friesian horses during our practices and for dressage lessons.They are majestic and amazing animals.I few years back I began volunteering with the Black Pearl Friesians at the Horse Expo.During these last years I have been amazed at the troupe’s dedication and love of the horses.I am honored this year to be a backup rider for several of the positions.