Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rounder Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #10

There are so many things that can be deceptive about things living wild. Youth and Stamina sometimes don't win out over wisdom and age. Oddly enough it's a little difficult to tell the difference between a stallion with some age on him and a stallion that is just run down from trying to fight off other stallions or defend his mares from continuous onslaught of opportunistic bachelor stallions.

Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
8 by 10 inch Acrylic on Canvas Board
by LindaLMartin Copyright(c)2010
Reference Photography by Sally Wright

The first image I ever saw of Rounder he looked like a beat up old man on his last legs from a life time of hard living. However, by May of  2010 he had stolen every mare that Lighting had kept safely through the winter and all of his foals under 2 years. By the time breeding season was over Rounder had not only gathered a harem of  6, but he was putting on weight and  vigor from the confidence that standing against an established stallion brings.  At the end of breeding season, it was Lighting who looked depressed and worn down. At the time Lighting was the only horse on Sand Wash Basin HMA that seemed to be under weight.

Life on the  sparse Sand Wash Basin is hard, but even harder facing a winter depressed and underweight. Fortunately Lighting also eventually adjusted to his loss and will probably being seeking out mares again. He now runs with the bachelors.  These changes are continual on the range. Lightning's foals will grow to young horses and now in the spring, unless there is human intervention, Rounder will produce offspring with the mares and raise the foals of Lighting.

An interesting side note.  When I first began training and learning about horses and their behavior,  we were warned that a stallion will kill the foal of another stallion. From what I have seen and heard from the observers this is not true in wild horses. The truth be known, I didn't see it in my own horses either when I had domestics. In fact, what seems to happen more often than not is that  when a band stallion takes a mare and her nursing foal, and her foal to be, They are all adopted completely into his family. He cares for and nurtures those foals just like he would a natural born foal.

Refrence Photo of  Rounder provided
 by Sally Wright

One of the striking differences I have noticed between domestic horses and wild horses, Mustangs specifically, is that the successful stallions have not only a strong sense of survival but they have a strong sense of protection and benevolence. The successful stallion provides,  to the best of his ability, every opportunity for his band to survive. This includes being gentle with the foals and nurturing them. I wonder as I learn more  of the tenderness between horses, if one of the reasons some older stallions never seem to loose their mares is not because they are stronger but because there is true appreciation and affection for the stallion from the mares.

It will be interesting to see what happens between Rounder and his mares in the next  few months and how well they go through the winter.  It will also be interesting to see if Lighting will try and succeed to get his mares back. Stay tuned. 

Special Thanks to Sally Wright for the Reference Photography


  1. Always enjoy the commentary associated with the image...Good learning

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  3. Thank you, Linda! Fantastic job! Rounder seems to be quite protective of every member of his new family and I really do hope that there will be foals next year!

    Lightning is doing so much better now but I'll bet that he tries to get his girls back in the spring! Can't wait to see your painting of him too :)

  4. Sally, Lighting was head portrait #6. I found some better photos of him and I will be doing another portrait later of him and all the band stallions. Probably full body or with one or two of their mares. Im with you! I think he will try to get his mare back too. =0)

  5. Now that horse is what I call "has an honest face"! Love this one Linda!

  6. Thank you So much Sherri. You can see Rounder's new baby with Pablina tonight for the Challenge Painting #102