Friday, December 10, 2010

Sparrow of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #8

of Sand Wash Basin
5" by 7"
acrylic on gessoed Matte Board
by LindaLMartin
Reference Photo provided by Nancy Roberts
 Sparrow is a yearling filly at Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area. She was born in Eagle's band. Usually  filly will stay with their band until the age of 2 or 3 or until such a time that another stallion steals her. 
Sparrow is a bit different from the other more vigorous horses in the band. She is under weight and doesn't seem to be developing like the other horses her age. Even though her coat has luster and her eyes are bright there is some issue in that she is not a thriving horse going into the winter.
Nancy Roberts and some of the other herd watchers at Sand Wash Basin  noticed that She was no longer with her band in the early fall but had been kicked out and adopted by the bachelor stallions. They observed that she has no trouble keeping up the the wild boys of Sand Wash Basin and the bachelors seem to dote on her and protect her.

Everyone is waiting with some concern to see how she fairs during the winter because of her frail appearance. Should she make it through the winter and into the breeding season,  she may run with the boys another year or until her first heat. If she comes into heat she will probably create quite a stir with in the bachelor herd until one of them claims and wins her.

Reference Photography by
Nancy Roberts

There are arguments in some quarters that a horse that is ailing or ill or seems to have poor condition  it should be removed from the herds. Even though that would seem a humane choice for a domestic horse, in the case of the wild horse their ability to make their own choices and live free, even though seeming a death sentence, in the case of Sparrow it might be the making of a new legacy of survival. The thing that is different among the wild horses is there is a self determination that doesnt exist in horses in captivity.

Natural selection and survival of the fittest does play a major role in which horses thrive and which dont.  Those with the best bodies that adapt to extreems in weather and conditons, those with the strongest bone, the most intellegence and the hardest most adaptival behavior, the best feet, they go on to contribute to the gene pool. This makes for a tough horse with social skills and intelligance sometimes missing in domestic horses that have been over bred  for specific use. Some times living wild seems brutal and harsh but the best and fittest are the ones that go on to produce. They pass on those same qualities to their off spring. Its the reason why in areas that seem not to support animal life these amazing Mustangs have thrived for the last 500 years.

One cant help but love little Sparrow and her gentle nature.
As I was painting this little painting I was reminded of the the  great song verse.. " His eye is on the Sparrow, I know he watches over me."
This painting was created by request from Gabriele Moritz.
 Special Thanks to Nancy Roberts for the reference photograph.


  1. Thank you very much, Linda. She looks very sweet and I appreciate the text. Do you write all of this with just a little feedback from Nancy. It really makes for a great valuable selection. My little sparrow,the first filly that made it into the MustangADayChallenge....

  2. Gabriele and Lourie,

    I used to publish a quarterly about horses and people involved with them in the 90s. I draw from about 40 years of experience studying horses and their behavior and working with them. Plus the feed back that Nancy gave in relating the saga of little Sparrow. I try to add helpful information to the mix that helps people understand about these amazing wild horses of ours. How did you become interested in Sparrow?