The Art of Giving

Beauty is in the eye of Susan Dahlin Bashford. She not only creates it through her paintings, but shares it through a joy of life that radiates when speaking with her.

You hear it when she talks about her childhood in a mountainous region of Guatemala. Her family lived there for a while when her father was head of sales for a Norwegian turbine company that had business interests there. After school, every day, she would head to the stables to ride her horse, Angel, with whom she competed in jumping competitions.

That was her routine between the ages of eight and 11. Her signature look was riding boots.

Susan Dahlin Bashford

“Horses were my thing,” Bashford said, adding that she even had a treasured collection of china horse figurines.

Her undying love of horses has now taken the form of a donation by her husband, John Bashford, to NC State’s Gallop of Honor, as a gift to celebrate her 60th birthday. For a $250 donation, a horseshoe and a personalized plaque will be displayed with others on the wall of NC State’s Large Animal Hospital or of the Equine Health Center at Southern Pines. These donations support the advancement of equine medicine.

Her husband jokes that her favorite things, in order of priority, are: 1) animals, 2) kids and 3) her husband.

Bashford’s love of horses and other animals has remained the underlying theme of her life, even as she immersed herself in the details of college life, a growing family and a busy career. That career included her time with WRAL, where she worked as a program host, travel editor and reporter and a producer of documentaries, children’s programs and restaurant reviews.

More recently, she has worked with friends at Horse Helpers of the High Country, headquartered near Boone, raising money to support rescuing abused, neglected or abandoned horses, restoring them to health and finding them a loving home.

“Tabby with Green Eyes”

Bashford’s connection to the CVM is found in her art. A portfolio on her website displays a lively assortment subjects, including donkeys, cows, dogs and fish. One of her specialties is animal portraits.

“Tabby with Green Eyes” is a large painting of her own cat, Oliver. She shared it with her friend, Susan Woodson, wife of NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson, who mentioned that it would be perfect to display in the emergency room of the NC State Veterinary Hospital.


The Gallop of Honor: Personalized horseshoes are a perfect way to recognize a beloved horse, veterinarian, or friend. For a gift of $250 or more, your horseshoe and personalized plaque will appear on the Gallop of Honor wall in the Large Animal Hospital.  With this gift, you will be helping the College set and keep pace with the advances in equine health. For more information, go to the Gallop of Honor page. 

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine