Who is the horse living within me ?

I have grown up with horses and it all began with my cousin’s riding school called La Torche where I spent my entire weekends as I child. My parents’ horses – my first horses – Ab Libitan and Cerf Volant were on full livery there. As my parents would take off for long rides in the Rambouillet forest, I would stay at the riding school. I would spend my entire days wandering in stables, observing horses for hours, watching lessons in the arenas, sat on the show jumping material, or hidden in the tall grass. When the night would come, and my parents would return, I never missed the preparation of the “mash” which warm smell imprinted my memory.

I would watch them take the saddle off, groom the horses, clean the leather equipment, refill the stable with straw, gently caress the animal. My early childhood was slowly paced by long hours of silent learning.

My mother was a fashion designer. She used to draw beautifully and here is what she taught me: to draw properly, you first have to learn to look. I couldn’t hold a pencil yet, but I was already drawing horses in the dusty floor of the arenas, between two lessons. Later, I started focusing on curves, lines, volumes and hollows. And I discovered that looking, really looking is a meditating state.

Horses teach me how to paint. I have tried to understand what ties our human soul to the horses’ for ten years now. If I hadn’t discovered my passion for horses, as much as the question of what we are meant to do together, or what they are meaning to tell us, I would have never found the winding path leading me to learning to paint.  


Painting the way I see it.

Catching the light within the horse’s eye :
My “série noire” (black series) is painted that way. First I cover the painting cloth with black. No blank page for me, but a dark one instead, just like the inside of the earth. Painting on a black cloth means painting the light. This light is as much physical as spiritual, and I first look for it inside the horse’s eye. Through its gaze, it delivers a silent but immediate message, it gives a meaning. This is the reason why I mostly paint portraits: to be as close as I can to the depth of a gaze.


Paintings, horses, and the challenge of verticality :

When ones rides, they learn a posture, they learn to stand straight between sky and ground, to feel the vertical posture they are holding on to. When I am facing a painting, my work becomes silent and introspective, motivated by this recurrent question: who is the horse living within me? It is also a quest for the rise of a spirit, for the horse speaks to our emotions of course, but it also addresses something deeper and more eternal than humans. It’s an archetype. Horses give us a key to the world’s soul.


The horizon is full of horses :

My work also follows a horizontal path. Thanks to the connection I made with riders or horsemen from many countries, I started a series called “Horses from the world and equine cultures”. Horses, and the way men work, worship or adorn them, is different from one country to another. Yet, horses from all over the work make “one”, united in “the horse”. They make this encounter possible regardless of cultures, religion, or customs. “The horse” enables people to meet, to bound at the very place where noone could without it.


Journalists and writers talking about my work.

“Frederique Lavergne paints outside the timeline, in a poetic space that belongs to her. If I had to define that space, I would say it is where we question our soul bound with horses. For who is this horse? So familiar, so close and important to us? How deep inside ourselves can it take us to? What initiatory journey will it make us undertake?”       

Laurence Bougault, Writer.


“It all starts with black here. In the lightful studio, the cloth, gently put on the easel, has been entirely covered with black. Light will soon flood out from the abyss of this disturbing shadow. It finds its way out from the eye of an inspired-looking horse, staring at us and the whole world. It’s serious and gentle. The refracting medium of its eye shows the light coming from the inside of the animal, the one coming out from the guts, from the end of time, to meet the divine. Everything is there. The painting could be completed. At that point, Frederique judges whether her work is worth finishing or unmaking. The future of the painting comes down to the accuracy of the gaze and the truthfulness of the expression. The eye from which the light came out joins a structured, powerful body without frills that neither lies in its motion nor in its proportions. The horse’s body imposes itself, flooding the background with a vibrant presence. Nostrils quiver, dilate, the hind legs reach far for infinity, the neckline stretches out towards the unknown. A harness made of leather and buckles punctuates the scene, as if it contained the strength of the horse and civilized it. Horses, as well as all the animals Frederique paints, are both free and contained, wild and docile, powerful and sensitive. Frederique’s paintings draw a bridge between their bestiality and their humanity. The paintings remind us of the immense wisdom and kindness horses offer us by sharing our lives, and sometimes even living for us.”

Agnès Galletier, journalist and writer.


  • 2006 : Grand Salon Entre Sable et Bruyère : Prix Bruyère, Animal Art category
  • 2007 : Grand Salon Entre Sable et Bruyère : Prix Bruyère, Animal Art category
  • 2010 : Ex Arte Equinus IV : Director’s Award, 2nd runner up with « Mirada en Arte » oil on canvas.
  • 2011 : Ex Arte Equinus V : Final work selection with « Mehendi our Humayun » oil on canvas.
  • 2012 : IALHA Art Contest : Premier Prix avec « Amazone » oil on canvas.
  • 2014 : "Coup de Coeur l'Eperon Magazine" Price Ar(t) Cheval, France
  • 2018 : "Great Signature" Award - "Art in the street" Festival, Luxeuil-les-bains, France