Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Features

September 27, 2011

Horses and art bring Garvin County closer to home

Noteworthy Neighbor

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Garvin County is an example of one of those places where the story of how people came here features one element they couldn’t find anywhere else.

One such tale is Irmgard Geul, a native of the Netherlands, who started out pursuing a fascination with American horses and then fell in love with the region of Oklahoma where they’re bred. Along with this is a revived investment in an artistic passion, which adds to an already talented pool in the Pauls Valley area.

Geul’s love for horses goes back to her childhood, though she did not explore them as a way to make a living until 1994 when she helped found Nedpoint Quarter Horses. She made the plunge after seeing the animals in magazines and how people would ride them, starting with some of her earliest purchases near Stratford.

“From the moment I sat on a pony, I fell in love... I always wanted a horse,” said Geul, who’s lived in the area since 1998 and bought the other half of the operation in 2003. “It was a perfect location for what I wanted to do.”

Though she sold most of her operations to new management in July, Geul has seen the operation grow from a small program where she bred only a few animals to something which helps ship any variety of horses all over the world. She had actually thought about starting things back in Holland, but found out how hard it was to do so from things being far more affordable here as well as more land to choose from.

A life filled with horses also works for Geul since she has no children, the animals serving the role, and also enjoys seeing some of those bred on her ranch earn awards thanks to area trainers. One area of pride is strong stock in animals who regularly bring home top honors in competitions like reining.

However, the one thing Geul enjoys the most is springtime at the ranch and being there to see the new foals born each year. It has been educational for all involved, including a few foreign exchange students working on degrees in the field.

“I think the breeding program is really fun if you’re into animals,” said Geul, who has no plans to leave the horses and the ranch outside of the business. “I realize now that owning horses is a lot more involved.”

Geul’s artistic flair also traces back to childhood and she actually earned a degree near in her native Blaricum in sculpting and landscape art. Before the equine journey, she actually spent two years doing landscape design and then 15 years as a freelance print/fabric designer for companies along the lines of Fila and Proline.

Since stepping back from the horse business, Geul has made it her mission to tackle canvas work like water color, acrylic and crayon. She even mixes in animal photography into inspiration of her art and hopes to portray how the creatures of the world see the things they encounter day-to-day.

Geul is working on creating her portfolio and hopes to have it ready to present sometime by November. She would like to create art people are interested in taking home with them and will take on commissioned projects on occasion.

“There’s so much inspiration at the ranch,” said Geul, speaking of how fascinating it is to observe animals gathering together. “I get up in the morning and I want to make stuff.”

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