who we are...
meet the performing pearls
President and Performing Member
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 years galloping 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 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.
Elena’s whole world revolved around horses way before she could even talk. She was surprised by her very own horse at the age of 12. He was an appendix quarter horse named Tucker. They were inseparable and with their fast-budding relationship, Tucker quickly became her first heart horse. She joined 4-H and in high school joined the Oregon High School Equestrian Team (OHSET) where she was able to try a broad variety of disciplines ranging from English and Western equitation/pleasure, team penning/sorting, drill, showmanship, driving, saddleseat, dressage and jumping. Her passion at the time was jumping and on weekends would volunteer as a working student at a local facility in exchange for jumping lessons. There she met her dream horse. A grey 17 hand Oldenburg gelding named Jakob that she still owns and loves.
The first time she met the Black Pearls was in 2013 at the North West Horse Expo in Albany. It was her first time meeting a Friesian in person and the experience was simply magical. Imagine the amount of courage it took to send an email asking to become a volunteer. She would have never expected how much her life was about to change with a press of that button. She officially joined the following year and would help as a groom/ground crew behind the scenes for the next 2 years and would then introduce her sister Kira to the troupe as well.
2018 would mark as one of the most memorable years in Elena’s life. She never dreamed in a million years that she would be able to have a friesian of her own. But fate would bring Ebony into her life and her very own fairytale would begin. Together they made their debut as new performing members and are actively training and showing in dressage. The Black Pearls have truly become her second family and she couldn’t thank them enough for all the wonderful opportunities, incredible memories and truly special moments they have gifted her. She hopes to inspire future young riders to reach for the stars and show them that it is possible to achieve their dreams, just as the BlackPearls have done for her.
Grace has loved, ridden and played with horses from backyard ponies in her early days to bigare, named Brianna. For eight months the new pair worked hard to prepare for many hopeful seasons to come of practice and competing only to find hard disappointment when Brianna was found lame.
Happily, almost 2 years later from when the significant ‘dream-horse’ door had closed, another incredible door was found opened… this was when she became introduced to the Black Pearl Friesian Dance Troupe in the winter of 2016. A relationship flourished with the Troupe’s horses and gifted team participants, as well as a developed connection with community awed by these magnificent black Friesians. She is thankful for the dedication and support of the Black Pearl team and through her commitment as an Affiliate member and part of the ‘ground crew’, she has grown into a Performing member with the Troupe and gives much of that credit to Friesian, Doekle and instructor, Jessica Wisdom who helped make this opportunity her “dream come true”.