Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lightning of Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge Painting #6

Update 1/13/2015:
News from Sand Wash Basin HMA in Colorado - It was reported today that  a  BLM  representative found  that former band stallion Lightning had passed away on the range. According to The Sand Wash Basin Advocate Team it was believed that Lightning was at or near 30 years old. In the remaining year of his life was photographed  many times by advocates, with Picasso. Even in his remaining months, Lightning remained, as always, a beautiful spirited and free wild horse.


8 by 10
acrylic on canvas board
by Linda L Martin (c) 2010
Reference Photography via Nancy Roberts
Lightning is a very flashy black paint horse with  what appears to be a large white dagger on his face in the form of a blaze then a lighting mark on his left side neck and stomach. He has other white markings too. Lighting is a perfect example of the ever changing circumstances of the band Stallions. Last year, according to heard watchers at Sand Wash Basin HMA , he had a small band of mares and foals, however by this summer one by one each mare had been stolen by other stallions until he found himself alone and fighting  stallion after stallion to try to get his mares back, or even trying to gain a mare.

detail of Photo by
Nancy Roberts

There are a lot of reasons that a stallion running wild might loose his mares. Sometimes it has to do with age and weakening strength. Other times it has to do with the fact that during breeding season, because there are so many bachelor stallions running together trying to establish their own harem's that a band stallion might be simply overwhelmed with the constant challenges and diversions.
I'm not sure of Lightning's age or how long he was a band stallion but it was surely long enough to have sired foals as several in his small band had not his color but similar markings of white.

By late summer, from document photography I viewed on Face Book, Lightning had worried himself and been fighting so hard for his mares that his condition was not very good going into the Winter. He was thin, an unusual occurrence among the documented horses on that particular HMA.  Finally, right after Thanksgiving this fall, he was spotted with a herd of bachelor stallions. He looked fit, had gained weight and he was sparing playfully with the others. Not only that but he was sporting a nice thick winter coat.

You will notice in the painting I've done for the challenge that Lightning has a lot of battle scars. This is not unusual for wild stallions.

A special thanks to Nancy Roberts for the photography and the link to the video of Lighting of Sand Wash Basin

 Just a side note on the video: This was taken when Lightning still had his band.
The two horses he is confronting are young bachelor stallions who are challenging him but are not up to a fight.

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