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Horse Paintings Blog - October 2010


suffork punch

Emma of White Hall
Posted October 26, 2010

When I received Pat's nomination of her bright chestnut mare, Emma of White Hall, I was thrilled! Emma is a Suffolk Draft Horse - a rare breed that I had never had the opportunity to paint.

I did some research on the breed and found Equinest, a horse oriented website (whose slogan I love: "100% Horse Crap"). They have a page listing "Horses in Critical Danger of Extinction" and also descriptive pages about each breed. Suffolk Punch was featured near the top:



As an artist, I love the fact that the breed is always sorrel, but there are seven recognized shades! The website's photo showing a headshot of the Suffork Punch could easily be Emma! She had that kind, gentle nature, that appears in the online photo.

Emma's owner Pat, who was recovering from a back injury, enlisted the help of her non-horsey husband Bruce to urge Emma to trot and canter around her pasture. I think Emma much preferred me to take photos of her posing standing still or eating grass! She looked great moving or standing still!

The "Beautiful Horses of Indiana" web page showcases paintings from the series. More will be added each week.

posted by Karen Brenner

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arabian horse painting

Posted October 21, 2010

Tiffany is a beautiful Arabian mare who was rescued at the age of 24, and has found a loving person, Sarah, to watch over her. Tiffany was nominated by another of her fans, Joan, who wrote: Tiffany is a "red-haired 'princess' whose eyes sparkle when she is outside in the sunshine--trotting around the pasture as if floating on air. Her eyes flash with pride and her very long, red mane and tail float effortlessly behind her like a beautiful veil floating in the wind."

Tiffany was shining example of a gorgeous Arabian! I'm so glad she is adored by all at her new home at the rescue stable.

The "Beautiful Horses of Indiana" web page showcases paintings from the series. More will be added each week.

posted by Karen Brenner

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Posted October 14, 2010

Sparkles is a 10 year old Appaloosa mare that is adored by her owner, Laurie, and Laurie's two cute sons, Lex and Wyatt. They were all three so enthused to show me Sparkles. I have to include their photo here:

Laurie's nomination of Sparkles was so sweet. Here's what she wrote:

"Sparkles came to us by way of a young girl who had raised her from day one. This young lady was going to vet school; her father had become ill and she needed to sell Sparkles. When asked how Sparkles got her name, I was was told because she sparkles in the field. When out with other horses you can see her first, and also because of the sparkle that she puts in so many young riders' eyes whom she had taught to ride.

"The minute I saw her she put a Sparkle in my eye and in my heart. I knew I had to have her and keep giving her the wonderful life she had been given before. And now my boys are learning to ride on her. She is a joy. . . We always have people stopping to say - Wow, what a beautiful horse. Most of them around us are bays or sorrels and not that they are not beautiful in their own way, but Sparkles just stands out. She 'Sparkles'!"

The "Beautiful Horses of Indiana" web page showcases paintings from the series. More will be added each week.

posted by Karen Brenner

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carriage marathon at World Equestrian Games

World Equestrian Games Carriage Marathon
Is a Mental and Physical Challenge for Competitors

Posted October 12, 2010

I went to the World Equestrian Games on Saturday to see the Carriage Marathon. It was even better than I could have imagined! The Kentucky Horse Park had laid out a 16+ km course with eight obstacles extraordinare. Twenty-five four-horse teams from around the world competed and I wish I could have watched each team tackle each of the obstacles, but that was not humanly possible. (Now I'll know what super-human power to ask for if I ever get the chance!) I did get to take photos of different teams weaving through each of the obstacles. It was so much fun!!!! We were all trying to get as close to the action as possible. . . . after a team exited an obstacle, some of the crowd would move on, opening spots up front for a better view.

Fellow spectators filled me in on the rules as we waited together for the next team to arrive. There were up to six gates that the team had to travel through. Gates were lettered with a red letter on the right, white letter on the left, dictating the direction of travel through the gate. It doesn't sound too hard until you find out that the other lettered gates are taboo until they've been passed through in their official order. Unlettered gates are always allowed.

Only after I purchased a program with a diagram of each of the eight obstacles did I realize the complexity of this sport! Each obstacle is a maze with many possible routes available to take the gates in order. The shortest routes involve tight corners and narrow passageways which are tricky when you are driving a four-horse carriage! Drivers spent a lot of time before the competition walking through the obstacles, planning their routes.

Here are some photos of the competition:

Gate 1: Kentucky Horses - Two decorated horse statues -- icons in Lexington -- decorated Gate 1. These hedge fences were shoulder high on the horses. You can see the red and white markers on some of the posts designating gates for the teams to pass through.

Gate 2: Head of the Lake - The first of three water obstacles was the first obstacle spectators saw when entering the park. The crowd filled bleachers on three sides of the Head of the lake! The horses entered and exited through the water, and many teams drove through the water as they made their way through lettered gates.

Gate 3: Spooky Hollow -- Giant pumpkin rest on bulky posts in Spooky Hollow, the only shady obstacle on the course. Trees and beautifully crafted fences formed narrow gates and passages for the teams to maneuver through.

Gate 4: Walnut Hill - This hill rose above the crowd to the delight of spectators! The horses climbed Walnut Hill many times from many directions as they wove through the course. At the bottom of the hill a wide stream/pond added to the fun! Crossing the stream plus driving up the stream were required routes in this challenging obstacle. You can see the water in some of the photos below.


Gate 5: The Stone Garden - Set in a "meteorite" crater, the sunken stone garden provides a bird's eye view for the crowd! And it also provided hills for the horses to climb.

Gate 6: Squirrel Grove --- My niece Lindsay (right) and her friend Megan met us to watch the marathon at the Horse Park. They are so lucky to live in Lexington! When they heard about the obstacle called Squirrel Grove they were very excited because their sorority's mascot is the squirrel! The giant squirrels mark the entrance and exit for Gate 6. The hefty fences sport giant nut sculptures for the squirrels to snack on -- after the WEG ends.


Gate 7: The Wagon Yard - Three covered wagons and a beautiful carriage gather round the fences in the Wagon Yard.

Gate 8: The Spring - This obstacle had the most water! Of course it was so far away from the main obstacle area, it took a while for us to find it. Once we did, I wanted to stay there all day, but my friend Sammy who went with me to the games wanted to eat and then go to the vaulting competition (we did buy tickets for that event). Darn. This was my favorite obstacle. Teams had to splash through about 50' of water on their way into the obstacle, then truck through water while going through different gates, and to exit they raced through a lot more water, making a tight turn -- in the water -- around a huge wooden fish sculpture. It was the BEST!!!!!

I love this photo where the horses seem to be saying "What?? Do you think we'll fit through there???" And the following photos shows that, yes, they did fit!

And here is a team racing around that giant wooden fish sculpture.

Kudos to everyone involved with the Marathon! The course was wonderful, the teams were giving it their all, and the weather could not have been finer! The crowd loved this event!

I cannot wait to start some paintings of teams in action!

See some aerial shots of the obstacles on
The Carriage Association of America's website

posted by Karen Brenner

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Posted October 6, 2010

Lady's flashy trot is outstanding! When I visited Carriage Lane Farms in Indiana, Evan was on hand to assist with the photo session. He calmly trotted Lady across the yard and she proudly displayed the beautiful movement that makes her such a star. Of course I loved watching her move, and prodded Evan to trot her by quite a number of times -- she's just amazing to watch!

Tom, Evan's father, arrived and together they showed us their many Haflingers. The whole family is involved with showing Haflingers! They have won many awards, including the Indiana State Fair's 6 Horse HItch class in 2008 and 2009. Lady is the lead Haflinger in their 4-6 and 8 horse hitch.

When Tom nominated Lady for the Beautiful Horses of Indiana project, he explained, "Our hitch teams usually involve all geldings until we found Lady. Lady has the feminine grace and upheaded spirit that commands you look at her in the show ring or in the field.... At the American Haflinger Show in 2009 she won her halter, mare in cart and was the lead in our winning 6 and 8 horse hitch."

And Evan explained exactly how they "found" Lady. Living in Amish country, there are Amish farms nearby. One day the family was out for a drive and ended up behind an Amish buggy being pulled by Lady. The followed the buggy home and ended up buying Lady. Since then they've also purchased some of Lady's siblings from the Amish family.

The "Beautiful Horses of Indiana" web page showcases paintings from the series. More will be added each week.

posted by Karen Brenner

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cremello quarter horse painting

Posted October 1, 2010

Sugar is a Cremello, a rare breed that is a creamy whitish beige color, with light colored eyes and eyelashes as well. Unique and memorable, the color's name seems to perfectly describe Sugar, because she was cream colored and very mellow! That was until she started to run with her herd through her super-size pasture. Then she was a Crem-dynamo! I loved to watch her run!

Connie, who nominated Sugar, wrote, "She loves to show her true beauty in the show ring . . . however she shows her elegance and trust outside the ring when we take her trail riding. . . . She is definitely an eye catching horse. Anywhere we take her we always get comments of her beauty."

Dakota, who shows Sugar in 4-H pleasure classes was on hand to help me get some neat photographs of his mount. I really liked the action shots, and chose this pose because it captures Sugar's graceful power. I really enjoyed painting her Cremello color with pale jewel tones.

The "Beautiful Horses of Indiana" web page showcases paintings from the series. More will be added each week.

posted by Karen Brenner

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I love the colors and motion in this! - T.A. Paxton

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Karen Brenner is passionate
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