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A Little Bit of Smoke
A Little Bit of Smoke is a gorgeous sorrel and white Paint stallion who is wonderfully trained by his owner, cowboy Clint. A the click of his fingers Clint can get Lil Bit to do just about anything! Clint demonstrated Lil Bit's agility as the stallion loosely lunged in their backyard, circling calmly at a trot coming within inches of Clint. Lil Bit adjusted his direction at the slightest gesture from Clint.
Debbie, Clint's wife, mentioned that the couple had been married at a stream at the foot of their property, with Clint appearing aboard Lil Bit at the start of the ceremony. She offered to have Clint take Lil Bit down by the stream for photos, and off we went! The setting was beautiful! We came to a shallow, gurgling stream with woods in the background. Debbie mentioned that Clint could get Lil Bit to wade in, so of course we had to see it! Poor Clint gamely waded in wearing his cowboy boots, clicked his fingers - and in jumped Lil Bit. I got some great photos!
But I could not resist basing my painting of Lil Bit on some action shots taken later when Lil Bit was cruising around his pasture. Maybe someday I'll do another painting with Lil Bit in the stream, but I'm really happy with this painting of Lil Bit.
Lil Bit and Clint
Austin - Time to be Dirty
Austin is a registered Pinto/Paint gelding who loves his life! His pasture is high on a hill in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Gail, his owner, says he gets a real kick out of watching the many bicyclers who ride up the road at the edge of his pasture training for the local triathlon. Sure enough, when we were visiting a group of bikers peddled past, and Austin was tracking their progress! I like to think this painting captures his observant nature.
Austin and Gail
Suade is the perfect name for the this Morgan cross gelding whose super short coat is so soft and smooth it reminds me of an ultra expensive suede jacket — or maybe a suede couch because this boy is large and voluminous and just seemed comfortable to lounge around with.
Suade’s owner Vicki has partnered with him in all kinds of horse activities, from mounted shooting, barrel racing, various trail obstacles, broom polo, horse soccer and trail riding with friends. She describes him as “a gentle soul with an amazing personality. Also he’s very photogenic!!” (That of course got my attention!)
When we arrived to take pictures, Vicki and her friends and Suade, lead us across the road and down a wooded path to an amazing clearing filled with
Vicki and Suade
Paco was rescued by the Oswego County Humane Society's Large Animal Project in Oswego County, NY. The society's director, Carol, heard about the Beautiful Horses of New York project and nominated Paco. Here's what she wrote:
"Over the past 2 years we have taken in 7 surrendered horses, all malnourished, rehabilitated all and have found homes for all but one. His name is Paco and he is gorgeous but was malnourished (as far as we have been able to determine) from the time he was a yearling. He is 4 and we have had him a year and a half. When we got him he was so malnourished he could not stand on his own. For the first two weeks he had to be lifted to his feet every four hours. He is developmentally delayed both mentally and physically but he is a healthy and happy, good boy. He has been difficult to place as a companion horse only."
Kathy, Paco's foster mom, brought him over to Vicki's arena so I could photograph him while visiting Suade. In an arena filled with fun (but strange to him) horse toys, Paco was a perfect gentleman. He was curious, but focused on Kathy as she had him following her like a puppy. What a cutie he is!
Find out how you can adopt Paco!
Paco and Kathy
Storm Front Comin - AKA Precious
Precious is an 18 year old Appaloosa mare with an outstanding and ongoing career! Her owner Jilian summed up their achievements when she nominated Precious: "Precious is a champion show horse. She holds Appaloosa Horse Club Reserve World Championships in Junior Horse Camas Prairie Stump Race and Non-Pro Keyhole Race, has been #1 in all nation multiple times, and holds many points in a variety of events from games to showmanship to jumpers. Not only has she been a top show horse, she has carried me many miles as a whipper-in with the Limestone Creek Hunt."
When I met up with them, Jilian gave me more detail about Precious achievements. I am very interested in their hunt club adventures, since I would love to go on a hunt someday. Jilian filled me in on some of the particulars about hunting.
And since Precious had won so many awards, I could not keep them all straight. Jilian promised to email me the details. What a list!
" I know you were asking about some of Precious's achievements. I looked them up so that I would get them all right! In 1999 at the Appaloosa World Show she was Reserve World Champion in Junior Horse Camas Prairie Stump Race (Barrel Racing) and 5th in Open Keyhole Race, at the 2002 Appaloosa National Show she was 3rd in both 14-18 Nez Perce Stake Race (Pole Bending) and 14-18 Keyhole Race, and at the 2007 Appaloosa World Show she was Reserve World Champion in Non-Pro Keyhole Race. Throughout the years, shown almost entirely by me, she has gathered quite a few points with the ApHC. She holds Open Superior Event Horse titles (meaning she has gotten 50 or more points in an event) in Camas Prairie Stump Race, Figure 8 Stake Race, Nez Perce Stake Race, and Keyhole Race (her best event with 238.5 points), as well as her Open Register of Merit (meaning she has gotten 10 or more points) in Rope Race. She has her Youth Superior Event Horse titles in Camas Prairie Stump Race, Figure 8 Stake Racem Nez Perce Stake Race, and Keyhole Race and has points in Jumping, Saddle Seat Pleasure, and both English and Western Showmanship. She has only shown Non-Pro for 2 1/2 seasons and holds Superior Event Horse titles in Nez Perce Stake Race and Keyhole Race and is nearing it in both Camas Prairie Stump Race and Figure 8 Stake Race. Precious has also been in the top ten in the nation for year end points with the ApHC in many events, and has been #1 three times: 1999 Youth 14-18 Keyhole Race, 2002 Youth 14-18 Keyhole Race, and 2003 Youth 16-18 Nez Perce Stake Race. She is much more than a show horse though. I have owned her for 14yrs. She got me through my teenage years and we survived crazy things like racing trains with our friends (she was clocked at 32 MPH before I chickened out once!) and she has carried me many miles out on trails and out fox hunting. She had her first foal in 2005, and shortly after weaning the baby she came down with EPM. I was lucky enough to catch it very early and she made a full recovery, going on to show at Worlds in 2007. She had her second foal in 2010 and at 18yrs. old she is back in the show ring winning. Again, thank you so much for choosing her to be a part of your work!"
Precious and Jilian
Nola Sota has a personality that her owner Sara describes as one "only a mother could love." And Sara lavishes plenty of love on this Paint mare! Nola is shy around strangers and her first reaction is often to pin her ears back to frighten away anyone who might antagonize her. Sara mentioned that Nola was bullied by others at her previous home. I thought by horses, but Sara said, no, bullied by other horse owners. That just doesn't seem right. By the end of my visit I think Nola was starting to get used to my presence. She seemed to almost accept me as a nice stranger.
In this painting I wanted to capture Nola's beautiful colors plus a bit of her attitude --- softening a bit -- as I hope she is able to learn to be more trusting under Sara's care.
Sara and Nola Sota
Because I love heavies, Miss Dixie is one of my favorite New York horses! She is all about being heavy and proud of it! Her demeanor is that of a large diva -- calm, moving along at her own speed if she so desires, happy to have you admire her, and very attracted to food.
Dixie is the perfect horse for a beginner rider. And beginning riders can mount up! Dixie is one of the horses at Big Easy Stables in Cortland, NY, where she gives trail rides in the beautiful country side!
One beginning rider, Dixie's owner George, attests to to wonders of Dixie:
"Dixie has no special markings. She isn't fast, can't jump very high, and has no interest in competition of any nature. Dixie will never be a show horse, she'll never win a ribbon, or command big money in a sale. Dixie probably won't even win this contest. The only thing that makes Dixie beautiful to me is that she changed my life. I was born and raised in the Bronx. A very blue collar section of NYC. I had no exposure to horses whatsoever. I attended college in upstate Y, decided to stay here, and started my adult life. Having spent all my time raising a son and starting numerous business, I woke one day and found myself 50 years old. This was when I met Dixie. My girlfriend bought her for me and boarded her at her new stables. I reluctantly rode this huge, slow moving, gentile giant and fell in love with all I've been missing for the past 50 years.
"I now rush from meetings and postpone other work duties to get to the farm and pick wild apples to feed Miss Dixie. I spend way too much time riding and walking around the farm, gazing at and learning all about horses. My fir ends, family and business colleagues think I've gone crazy, lost my mind. They say, 'I don't get it.' I simply reply, 'I know.' I've never been happier."
Here's a photo of Dixie with George.
Katies Grand Finale (Banner)
Banner is one of the calmest horses I've ever met. She patiently stood by Delores, her owner, as I chose numerous picturesque spots around Delores' farm for shooting pictures, calmly grazed in her lush pasture while I took photos, even stood along a stream, gazing contently at the camera as I took even more photos. So why did I depict Banner in an all-out action pose for her painting? Well, once Banner started moving in her round pen, I couldn't resist the combination of loud flashy color and speed!
Destiny and determination paired together to bring Banner into Delores' life. Here's Delores' story:
"Over twenty years ago I met a Paint Stallion "Crayon Scribbles" I fell in love with. I went home and sold every horse I had so I could purchase a Paint mare to breed to him. The resulting foal I named Katies Crayons (AKA Katie), and we started many adventures together in the meantime I would buy young horses train them and sell them.
"Over the next 20 years of this, and a few wrecks on horseback I found myself getting scared to ride. The years were taking their toll on Katie also. I planned to get one more foal out of her before it was to late. This would prove to be Katie's third and finale foal.
"I named her foal "Katies Grand Finale" aka Banner. I feel Katie saved the BEST for last, and that this foal was heaven sent. the following year I had to put Katie to rest, and the bond between Banner, and I grew I would try riding other horses, but it kept proving disastrous. I had a girl help me start Banner as a late 3 year old then I took over riding her. Something clicked between us.
"The following spring I decided I was going to start showing Banner in the walk/trot western pleasure classes. I won my first belt buckle that fall when we won Year End Reserve Champion for our division. I feel that Banner is one of New York's most beautiful horses not only because of her coat color and pattern, and bloodlines but because of the special bond we have together, and for what she gave back to me. One of the boarders at the barn even say she wishes she had a bond with her horse like I do with Banner.
"Thank God and Katie for giving Banner to me."
Banner and Delores
Elaine nominated her daughter's horse, Saddleback Scandal, for the Beautiful Horses of New York series with these loving words:
"I remember when... my husband and I went to the Saddleback Dispersal Sale in Hamilton, NY. We were hoping to find a quiet broke gelding. Instead for some reason my husband bid on a yearling filly.
Scandal and Amanda
Scandal with Elaine
Sir Duncan Way
Duncan is kissably sweet! Dee writes, "He loves everyone, human, feline or equine. He has kisses for whoever seems to need them and is loved in return by everyone. He even loves kisses bestowed on his own nose by anyone who will give them.
Dee's adds, he's a "laid back horse." Dee had previously owned Guinnness, a horse who has already appeared in the Beautiful Horses of New York series. He's the one who jumped his pasture gate while I was there taking photos. So I really can relate with Dee's praises of Duncan: "I was looking for a sweet-natured, laid back horse and he fits the bill completely. His manners are impeccable and his patience is limitless."
It was fun to have Duncan pose with Dee and her husband Greg and his Harley. It's so nice to see two people who are enjoying life with fun adventures, whether it is horseback riding or motorcycling. Of course, Duncan is much more kissable than Greg's Harley.
Theresa's Colorful Pintos
This painting reminds me of a fun-filled, crazy, colorful New Year's Eve party! There is so much energy -- the horses and ponies seem to burst of out their cluster and jump forward eagerly into the new year! That is my Happy New Year's wish for you! May you burst into the new year filled with joy and exuberance!
This colorful painting features Theresa's "Pinto collection." She's an avid collector of Pintos -- in all sizes and colors. (The painting left of this one features her Gypsy Vanner -- a Pinto of course! -- Jumpin Jack Sprat.) In this painting, you'll find Splash, her champagne and white spotted Saddle Horse/Tennessee Walker; Kaley, the black and white mini up front; Magic Man, the black and white Shetland pony who Theresa rescued; Prince, the tall black and white Tennessee Walker, and the brown and white pony -- whose name I thought was Joey, but later discovered that's Magic Man's nick name. Believe me there was so much action going on during this photos shoot, I was a bit confused about who was who!
I hope you enjoy the painting -- and have a wonderful year!
Penrhyn Sword of Hope
I feel in love with the Welsh Cob breed when I met Tuscani Dundee, whose painting is in my Beautiful Horses of Indiana series. So when Dundee's owner, Lisa, offered to let her friend and fellow Welsh Cob breeder, Laurie, know I was planning the Beautiful Horses of New York project, I was thrilled. Sure enough, Laurie nominated her stallion, Penrhyn Sword of Hope. She included a link to her Brynayer Welsh Cobs website. Check it out and you'l know why I could hardly wait to visit!
Pen who had misbehaved earlier in the day, was, according to Laurie, "pouting." He was in a pasture at the top of their wooded farm, and he was pretty peeved that he could not see his herd who was in a lower pasture, out of eye sight. (I think he had earlier escaped out of his private lower pasture and been visiting with the mares -- obviously that was frowned upon and resulted in his confinement.) Of course his desire to join his herd, combined with Laurie gently prodding him to move around the upper pasture, resulted in some exciting photos!
Pen's wonderful arched stallion neck, his long thick mane and muscular Welsh Cob body combine to make him a perfect poster boy for the breed. I loved seeing him, and look forward to meeting more Welsh Cobs in the future!
Pen and Laurie
Kamy, a Morgan/Quarter Horse Cross, spends hours on wooded trails in New York with her owner, Marianne. It was on one such ride that Kamy saved Marianne from a potential disaster. Here's how Marianne describes the incident:
"While cantering down a narrow trail at Otter Creek Horse Trails, we came too close to a dead tree sticking out on the right. The tree hit the inside of my leg (between the horse and me). It knocked both of us sideways, sent my saddle off to the side, but I could not get off because the tree had torn through my pants and literally I was hanging off the side of this horse with my leg over her back and with a tree attached. She stopped and just stood there. With some help from my friends I got loose from the tree (a 3" piece was actually broken off inside my pants) and was able to get off. I stood there shaking, not from what happened, but from what I know could have happened should Kamy have bolted with the tree hanging off one side of her and me off the other. As far as I am concerned, she is worth her weight in gold after keeping her head through that incident."
Kamy and Marianne
Morning Glory is a Thoroughbred mare with a big heart. She acts as guardian over her realm of people and pasture mates. Her owner, JJ, explains Glory's uncanny ability to sense when help is needed -- and to get people to assist.
JJ wrote, "The best way I can illustrate how beautiful she is, is to tell a short, sad, but beautiful story. A little over a year ago I looked out my window just in time to see her [Glory] jump the pasture fence into our side yard. I was alarmed and shocked to see her clear a four foot fence and stone wall. Additionally she was recovering from a serious injury to her withers. She was calling and rearing. I rushed outside and she came right to me. I just opened the nearest gate and shoved her back in the pasture. Immediately she began racing along the fence and calling and then running up the hill toward the other horses. Concerned, I followed her only to see our 29 year old gelding down. Sadly the vet couldn't save him and we lost our old man. Glory mourned him, and to this day she lets us know whenever there is a problem. We have seen her chase a bear out of the pasture and come and get us when another horse colics. We always pay attention when our beautiful little mare calls."
JJ adds, "On the outside Glory is a flashy little bay. On the inside she is smart, brave, sensitive and incredibly compassionate."
Glory and JJ
Of course a horse with the name #1 Stunner would have to be include in the Beautiful Horses of New York series! And Stunner lives up to his name! This four-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse is a stunning Champagne Tobiano - a rare, pale color combination that glows. His owner Diane wrote that she purchased him as a two year old to be her trail riding companion and they have been going on single and group rides since. He's been the perfect horse!
She adds, "He has a great sense of humor and personality. He will climb over, through, or around just about anything you point him towards. It is fun to throw odd stuff into his paddock and watch him play with it while the other horses snort and spook."
I painted one of Stunner's pasture mates, who seemed to wish he'd get to be part of the fun, in the upper left corner of his painting. It just seemed right that Stunner should have an audience.
#1 Stunner and Diane
James Blonde, a pale palomino Quarter Horse, had a special mission. His owner, KC, described the mission when she wrote, "James has the distinction of saving my life with horses. After a serious riding accident, my confidence was at a low. James belonged to a friend, who often invited me to ride. [James] was obnoxious and stubborn, impetuous and a nudge, but never malicious. He was a known quantity, and we learned to trust one another. James came to live with me when my family moved several years ago. I could not have foreseen how versatile he would become. He went to Kentucky for Pony Club Games with my daughter, evented and showed with us both, jumping 3 feet plus, participated in military re-enactments among musket and cannon fire, loves competition, and is bombproof on the trail. I can't imagine I will ever encounter such a horse as James. He is 15 hands, personable and incredibly cute."
Here's a photo of KC with James Blonde. He is cute! KC wrote that he is about 23, and you can see he lives a a beautiful farm!
KC and James Blonde
Jumpin Jack Sprat
Jumpin Jack Sprat is a tri-colored Gypsy Vanner with a mane that stretches to the ground - although it is usually streaming after him like a foaming white wave as he gallops around his pasture. He's eye candy for horse lovers!
Jack's owner, Theresa, loves paint horses! She has a collection of various sizes and colors. In fact my next blog will feature five of Jack's pals in one painting. But Jack wasn't in the shot that I used for reference material for that painting -- so he gets his very own painting.
Theresa explained how Jack, a 7 year old gelding, joined her collection and has had a staring role ever since:
"We are a family that does not breed horses. We have a lots of Pintos of all breeds. My mom, daughter and myself show and train our horses at local shows. Jack came into our lives 3 years ago. He was our dream horse. Jack is a rare tri-color Gypsy Vanner. He was untrained and had many issues when I convinced my husband to let me buy him. I trained him and he now rides and drives and became the 2010 Pony of the Year in our local club.
"I love bringing Jack to parades, our local fair, local shows and the Equine Affaire to introduce the breed to people who may never have had the chance to see a Gypsy Vanner."
I hope you get to meet Jumpin Jack Sprat someday!
Theresa and Jumpin Jack Sprat
There are many more paintings to see!