Canadian artist Jean Abernethy sketched throughout her youth, and the subjects of her illustrative meanderings were most often horses. At college, she initially majored in Equine Studies, but the drive to draw was such that she made a switch to pursue an art degree at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (now OCAD University) while selling her work freelance on the side. Jean drew many “generic” horse comics over the years until—eventually—out trotted a single recognizable character: Fergus the Horse.
It was only a matter of time before the world discovered Fergus and his diverse group of equine friends, which Jean’s pen has brought to life in literally hundreds of comic strips—in print and online.
At the time of writing, Fergus and his motley herd have well over 300,000 Facebook followers, as well as a website, and Twitter and Instagram profiles. Fergus is the star of the 2015 bestselling book The Essential Fergus the Horse—a comics treasury—as well as the 2016 release Fergus: A Horse to Be Reckoned With, and the forthcoming Fergus and the Greener Grass (October 2017), all published by leading equestrian publisher Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com).
When not managing her star creation and his fans, Jean provides illustration for a number of top equestrian publications, as well as a variety of other clients. She also enjoys painting and working as a summer trail guide at South Algonquin Trails in the Algonquin Provincial Park near Harcourt, Ontario, with her registered half-Arabian, Willow, where she’s headed this week.
“Tomorrow I load Willow to return to South Algonquin Trails for our summer work,” Jean says. “The Trailhead property is situated at the Southern edge of Algonquin Provincial Park, 7,653 square kilometers of Crown Land.
“At South Algonquin Trails we can provide a 10-minute pony ride or escort riders along the forest’s old logging trails for several hours. There’s something exhilarating about working hard with a great crew of people and horses. The staff are all fun-loving, knowledgeable folk, and the horses there, large and small, are very special characters. The Park encompasses an important part of Eastern Canada’s logging and art history. The woods itself…is simply magical…”
You can follow the adventures of Fergus the Horse on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and find out more about South Algonquin Trails here: http://southalgonquintrails.com/