Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mustang A Day Challenge #36 "Chi- Aano" January Special to Benifit Alder Hill Farm Mustangs

"Moon Light"
Alder Hill Farm Rescue Mustang
5 by 7 inches Oil on Canvas Board
by Linda L Martin

Chi-Aano and her stablemate Brio, who I painted early in the challenge were rescues  that were surrendered to Alder Hill Farm. These two mares had been adopted from the BLM  some where in the west, then they were homed in Maryland. The many supporters of Alder Hill Farm raised the money to transport the two mares by trailer and bring them to  Alder Hill Farm in Mussiouri. A lot of the fund raising from Alder Hill Farm is doing through their facebook page and social media. When an emergency arises The word is put on the facebook page and then funds are collected through Paypal.

Chi-Aano Mustang at Alder Hill Farm
Photo used by permission
Of course Alder Hill also does other local fundraising for the farm. Rescues like Chi-Aano and Brio are most of the time funded by donations of a dollar or  5 dollars at a time. In this way vet bills can be covered as they arise, special needs and emergency trailering.

Every horse that comes to Alder Hill Farm goes through 30 days of quarenteen, evaluation for adoptability and level of training and then if necessiary to make it more adoptable the horse is given additonal training.  Hoof, teeth and medical care plus all up to date innoculations are also administered. And  for first time horse owners there is even aprogram of training for the new owner in how to handing the horse and  care for it.

One of the best things about Alder Hill Farm is their practice of making a place for each horse that is adopted  in case some circumstances change and the horses need to leave their forever home. In this way a horse like  Chi-Aano when it is adopted out would never have the uncertanty of  possibly ending up with an unfit home or being taken to sell at the highest bid.

You can find out more about the horses and activities of Alder Hill Farm Rescue  by joining their facebook page:!/pages/Alder-Hill-Farm/143615622351535?v=wall

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mustang A Day Challenge #35"Carmel" January Special to Benifit Alder Hill Farm Mustangs

Carmel: The Rest of the Story.

"Carmel Remembering"
Sanctuary Mustang Alder HIll Farm
8 by 10 oil painting on Canvas board
by Linda L Martin
Often times in owning horses we never get to know their entire story and how they came to be as they are because often horses are traded like cars sometimes having up to 10 owners in their lifetime if they reach old age. After I posted the story of Carmel yesterday I heard from one of Alder Hill Farm Rescue's Founders, Leslie Maxwell.

Leslie actually started in equine rescue in 2005 when she and her husband Craig rescued 60 purebred appaloosa foals from certain death. Although both Leslie and Craig are full time professionals with careers, their passion and lifestyle revolve around horses.Taking on these 60 babies, having them trained and then adopted to forever homes opened up a way of life that not only has been a vast learning experience but it has made Leslie uniquely qualified in the care of throw-away horses. Specifically horses who are the bi product of  the estrogen replacement therapy called Premarin also known as PMU.

This is in Leslie's own words regarding how Carmel came to be at Alder Hill:
Thank you Linda for the lovely write up about this extra special boy!

Carmel was rescued from an auction in ND where he was being sold for drug testing along with 9 other mustang pinto foals. The foals were from a PMU ranch where the babies are often jerked away from their mothers at very young ages as the foals are concerned a 'waste by-product" of the industry. This would also fit in with the orphan foal syndrome symptoms that Carmel exhibits.
The foals that survive were often sold for slaughter, most commonly they were flown live from Canada to Japan where the young horse meat is a delicacy and is served thin-sliced, sushi style. We were able to take 5 of the foals, while Serenity Acres was able to save the remaining 5 foals. I am thankful there are not any PMU ranches left in the US and less than 20 in Canada at this time."

For those who don't understand the intricacies of Premarin or PMU manufacturing, basically what is done is to keep a mare pregnant and standing in a stall where she has very little exercise and a special bag is attached to her so that the estrogen laden urine can be collected for synthesizing into hormone replacement for menopausal women. These horses are kept in narrow stalls and  not even aloud to lay down. Today there is very little need for PMU ranches as Premarin is pretty much outdated therapy and much better medicines are used with out the side effects and the risk of certain cancers that come from using Premarin.

Courtesy of Alder Hill Farm Rescue
Photo used by permission
Reference photography for the Challenge painting
used by permission of Scott Litherland via
Alder Hill Farm
 If the conditions of the Premarin mares, as well as, the total lack of need for the medicine, and the throw away foals, don't make you outraged by this whole process then think of this: Some of the mares in these facilities are mares that were taken off the range in the USA and purchased for this purpose then shipped to Canada. The question is how did this happen? Why is an animal deemed by law a National Treasure to be protected and preserved in the United States of America being sold to  the highest bidder to live an unnatural life of confinement, to have one foal after the other and never be able to nurture those foals and to have those babies ripped from them right after birth never to see them again. There is no knowledge of Carmel's Sire. But his mom and the mother's of all the PMU mustangs rescued by Alder Hill Farm  were mustangs.

It is no wonder that Carmel had lasting side effects from the treatment he received from birth until he reached Alder Hill Farm. There of course is  no way of knowing exactly how he was treated during the time before Alder Hill received him and his 4 companions. But for him to show the symptoms he does, with the inability to socialize, his treatment was most probably extreme.

The Oil painting I have done of Carmel tonight will be offered for sale in three weeks as it must have time to dry. A part of  the proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to fund the sanctuary mustangs at Alder Hill Farm.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mustang A Day Challenge #34 "Carmel" January Special to Benifit Alder Hill Farm Mustangs

The challenge had challenges today, so I ended up doing a wonderful graphite drawing of today's Subject from Alder Hill. Occasionally there really are special needs horses and this particular mustang is one of those. Mustangs in general, because of the natural selection so predominate to their survival in the wild, must have a keen sense of the interaction with the herd as well as the ability to stay focused and problem solve. These qualities make Mustangs unique among all horses and once a person connects with that horse the relationship between horse and person is phenomenal in its intricacies and communication.

Graphite on Watercolor Paper
5 by 7 inches
by Linda L Martin

Because of this traditional forced based domination training rarely works and usually only serves to abuse the animal and break its spirit, what expert horsemen have found is that patients, gentleness and natural horsemanship is the only sure fire way to "join up" with a wild horse. Building a relationship that teaches leadership and channels all the skills a wild horse has to make it into a useful and well adjusted and adapted Mustang in a domestic environment is the best way. Trust and focus are the only way this can be accomplished.

However, Carmel the beautiful sorrel pinto, has a disconnect when it comes to focus that makes him undependable. I wonder how this would play out in a wild sense to have a horse with this problem, almost like an equine autism or asbergers. I say asbergers because he does seem to understand and learn.  From what I understand according to Alder Hill's Head Horseman, Scott Litherland, Carmel just doesn't seem to be able to have that ability to connect with the  humans. He seems totally unable through chemical make up to focus on how his actions affect anyone other than himself or how they put him or others in danger, for that matter.

I have picked up little bits of information here and there on aspergers and autism through reading and knowing children and at least one adult with the condition. Believe me, its something that is either caused through environment or something intrinsically born into the person.  Sensory perception such as feel, taste, hearing sight is so heightened that they avoid everything that causes them pain from the experience. The moms I have known, with children with more extreme forms of the condition, are frustrated and at a loss because they want to hug and love their children, they want to bond with them, cuddle them. A child with the condition can't or is so far removed from the concept of human contact and connection that they live almost in an invisible bubble.

"Close up of Carmel"
Photo courtesy Scott Litherland via
Alder Hill Farm Rescue
 In the case of a wild horse the survival of such a horse in the wild might be iffy at best unless the family  made concessions to the condition to assure the young horse survived. In a predator based Herd Management Area this might be iffy especially since any person or animal with the condition would be prone to  repetitive obsessive behavior that would make them unaware of their surroundings. That for a wild animal would practically assure their untimely demise. In the case of a herd, thought there is one thing in the favor of the possibly autistic horse and that is structure. Horses tend to do the same things each day at the same time unless a threat causes them vary their activities. Even seasonal changes and herd migration would allow the autistic horse enough stability to adjust over time because of the comfort of the repetition.

Which brings me to another important fact regarding horses with autism. Because not enough work has been funded for observing and documenting horses in the wild we don't know much about how they survive and how they deal with these issues as they arise. We don't know what happens to cause a foal to become a failure to thrive yearling like Sparrow in one of my previous posts.

The bad thing about it, as I was doing research on equine autism for this challenge drawing, I came across some horrendous stereotypes and ignorance regarding horses in general and conditions like autism.  Most horsemen attribute behavior like Carmel's to Orphan Foal syndrome.

There is no doubt in my mind that there is such a thing in as Orphan Foal syndrome but I don't think that it is the same thing as autism. Yet autistic behavior is often attributed to Orphan Foal syndrome among domestic horses that have no ability to connect with humans or have no social skills in a herd situation. Orphan Foal syndrome is usually caused by isolating a newborn horse and only interacting to feed it. Its a horrid form of abuse that never lets the animal develop social skills or  and usually causes the animal physically difficulties because it is usually neglected in every way. There is hope for horses with Orphan Foal syndrome, however, it takes love and patience and a lot of kindness. The person handling the animal with Orphan Foal syndrome is basically charged with the task of showing the animal how to be a horse. Something it should have learned from a baby from its mother and from interaction with other horses. Then it can be conditioned and repurposed to be useful. In the case of Carmel he was an adult horse that was still with his mother.
 I found this difinition of asperger's syndrome when researching on the web from the site :

Detail of Carmel Drawing
"Asperger's Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder.   Both Asperger's Disorder and Autistic Disorder are in fact subgroups of a larger diagnostic category.  This larger category is called either Autistic Spectrum Disorders, mostly in European countries, or Pervasive Developmental Disorders ("PDD"), in the United States.  In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical, their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and gross motor behavior. They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French Literature, door knobs, hinges, cappucino, meteorology, astronomy or history.  The name "Asperger" comes from Hans Asperger, an Austrian physician who first described the syndrome in 1944.  An excellent translation of Dr. Asperger's original paper is provided by Dr. Uta Frith in her Autism and Asperger Syndrome."

As you can see Autism is a completely different from Orpan Foal syndrome inspite of the simularities in results.  Autism causes the foal to isolate its self and focus on its own repetitive behavior. In Orphan Foal syndrome the foal is forced into unatural isolation by a human, causeing it to be unable to socialize, learn and develop.  A horse with Autism might be given all the love and patience but will always have limited ability to function and be useful in the way an average rightly wired horse does. A horse like this can successfully live out his life in sanctuary and interact at his own level with out suffering abuse. This is the plan for Carmel through Alder Hill Farm.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this drawing will benifit Alder Hill Farm's Sanctuary Mustangs.  Please go to the Mustang A Day Challenge Store on Etsy to see more Original Art Available for Sale.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mustang A Day Challenge painting #33 "EL Morro" January Special to Benifit Alder Hill Farm Mustangs

"EL Morro"
oil on gessoed canvas board
5 by 7 inches
by LindaLMartin
      Well I spent most of the afternoon watching the Nature Documentry on Cloud and his Story for this one. You can actually find all three parts of the series on the PBS site. It was kind of important to me to watch it for several reasons. You see I had heard about the Ginger Kathrins project when the first one came out however I didnt have a tv at the time.  So I  finally had the opportunity to watch it before Christmas and then again today. It was actually prepwork for this particular painting.  
His name is El Morro and he was born in the Pryor Mountins, was a part of Clouds herd and was captured then auctioned off.  Somewhere between his auctioning and  today El Morro then ended up in the care of  Alder Hill Farm's Head Horseman, Scott Litherland, who worked with him then sent him off to his forever home a useful, well adjusted  and useful Mustang.
"EL Morrow"
Reference Photograph used by permission Scott Litherland

I consider this horse a triple treasure. He is first a Mustang and at his capture that was geneticly varified not only as to be a decendent of Spanish horses, but  who his family was in cluding his father. The BLM who manages the horses takes blood samples to see who belongs to who gentiticly since there is a lot of  movement from family to family in wild horse herds. This is done each time a gather is accomplished.  He is also a treasure because of his color in that he is among those that remember the myths and Romance of the old west when the beautiful black stallion  comes and saves the herd. And He is a treasure in that he is part of the Pryor Mountain horses  who have been documented since the 1995 in film and shown though out the country  through PBS's Nature Series.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mustang A Day Challenge painting #32 "Sandy" January Special to Benifit Alder Hill Farm Mustangs

Adopted and Branded BLM Mustang (unknown location)
Oil on  Canvas Board
by Linda L Martin

Sandy is 5 years old in this Photo. She was adopted and trained by Scott Litherland.
She is a  very light buckskin. Notice her ears are outlined in dark and that her
mane falls on both sides of her neck and is two colors very much like the
Tarpan wild horses.  According to Scott's Facebook page she was intended to be his horse
However, because she was so small ( most mustangs are on the small side usually under
 15 hands) He decided to pass her on to one of his associates. She has
adapted well to her new life  and like all of the horses that benefit
 from Scott's special care, She has thrived in her new domesticity.
Reference Photography used by permission of Scott Litherland via Alder Hill Farm
 Just a note about Sandy's portrait. I looked at several photos of her and decided to make her a bit older and her mane longer as in some of her later photos.  Also if you look closely under the mane in her  photo you can see the faint white pattern of her freeze brand. The markings don't show up as well on her portrait because of the flash glare on the wet paint.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to Alder Hill Farm to help in the care of their Sanctuary Mustangs.

Pablina and Diego Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge painting #31

"Pablina and Diego"
Jet's Band Sand Wash Basin HMA
Oil on Canvas Baord 5" by 7"
by Linda L Martin
Private Comission for Mustang A Day Challenge

Pablina and Diego
Refrence Photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by Permission

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Picasso Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge painting #30

Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
8 by 10 inch watercolor
by LindaLMartin

Reference Photography by John Wagner
Used by permission

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Picasso’s Mares: Olga, Mustang A Day Challenge painting #29

9 by 10
by LindaLMartin

Olga  penned by the BLM during the 2008 round up
Both Olga and Mingo, Picasso's other harem mare,
 were given PZP,  the mare birth control shot, to prevent them
from foaling.  Olga produced a foal in 2009.
Photo by Nancy Roberts used by permission.
As of this writing Olga's two sons were last seen
with the band before the snows hit.
Olga appears to be in foal again to Picasso
 and will probably foal sometime in late summer or early fall.

Photographed by Nancy Roberts in the
summer of 2010. This was  before she had
 her late in the season baldfaced paint son, a stud colt.
 The foal was named by PJ, by Sand Wash Basin 
 horse watcher/ photographer, John Wagner. PJ is short
for Picasso Junior. Photo used by permission.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Picasso’s Mares: Mingo, Mustang A Day Challenge painting #28

8 by 10 inch
by LindaLMartin

Reference Photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by Permission

Monday, January 17, 2011

Picasso’s Mares: Monet, Mustang A Day Challenge painting #27

Monet’s Story:

~Storm Warning~
by LindaLMartin
8 by 10 Watercolor
While Monet isn’t actually a wild horse, she is an integral part of the existing herd at Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area.
Picasso was documented by wild horse watcher Nancy Roberts with his two mares, Olga and Mingo and their offspring in April of 2010, just before foaling season began on the Sand Wash Basin. By late summer a wiry light boned buckskin mare had joined the band.

In August,  Aleta Wagner  made her very first trip out to the Sand Wash Basin to see the Mustangs. She emailed me after seeing the painting, “ A Fine Romance” Aleta expresses her part in the ongoing saga:

Monet and Aleta
Close-up of Photo by Barbara Wheeler
Used by permission
“I am the one who name Monet. When I saw her last Labor Day weekend she walked right up to me and rolled in front of me! Barbara Wheeler ( Wildlife Photographer) got photos of it! I was about 2 feet from her. Picasso is my favorite stallion ever. Their love is one of a kind. Your painting is absolutely GORGEOUS and completely captures their love!”
Aleta told me that it was the thrill of a life time to be that close to the horse on her very first trip to the range. The magic of the moment intensified when Monet walk up to her.
As the Autumn approached more and more photographers documented the  blossoming relationship of the two horses and Monet’s special place in the band.

There was some concern expressed by the horse watchers, especially Nancy Roberts, about the mare being on the range in the winter. She is always worried about domestic horses on the range as many are abandoned or strays that are not adapted to the harsh winters.
Monet is branded with the Brand of the Sombrero Ranch and that is where the rest of the story is pieced together.  I had the great pleasure of speaking with the Horse Manager, Mark Bishop who manages the 600 head herd of Sombrero horses that winter on the range adjacent to Sand Wash Basin HMA.

Sombrero is possibly the biggest trail horse operation in the US. “We don’t breed any horses.”  Mark told me “We have a lot of quarterhorses, paints, appaloosas and a number of drafts and draft crosses.”  Among the Percherons, Suffolk, Clydesdales and  Belgains, according to Mark, there are even a few adopted mustangs in the herd as well.

Reference Photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by Permission
“There are a couple of ways she might have gotten out” Mark said regarding Monet, “ One of our biggest problems is that people passing through our land aren’t careful about shutting gates.”  He went on to say that when people aren’t careful and don’t keep the gates closed horses sometimes get out. “ Its goes both ways” Mark said “Sometimes our horses get out and sometimes the wild ones get in”

This poses a problem for the ranch.  “We winter our horses on the range From December1  until round-up in May.” According to Mark they are under certain regulations and agreements with the BLM (Bureau of Land Management, the entity who manages the wild mustang horses). “ We aren’t allowed to  go in and round up (stray) horses during mustang foaling season  because the activities might disturb the foaling mares.”

Because of the sheer size of the range, 157,730 acres of public and private land in the HMA range and the additional Sombrero acreage bordering the public road along the highway, they might not see a stray horse for months or even years unless they are spotted by a passing stranger or the animal strays back into the Sombrero land. Ideally they try to round up all the domestic horses and leave no strays behind. It is really important that people visiting the Sand Wash Basin Area act responsibly and do not leave gates open. Closing the gates when you go through them helps to protect both the domestic animals as well as wild animals.

I asked Mark about the wintering of Horses on the range. He told me that generally they check on the condition of the horses and how well they are foraging on their own weekly. “Depending upon the snow fall we begin feeding hay before the horses begin to loose condition. “  Mark said it usually takes 4 or 5 men to feed daily during winter. And they usually put out large round bales to supplement what the horses find on the range.

He assured me that all of the Sombrero horses are well acquainted with dealing with snow and looking for food in the adverse conditions found in the area around Sand Wash Basin.

"A Fine Romance"
8 by 10 Wathercolor
by LindaLMartin

The most likely explanation of Monet’s sudden appearance with Picasso’s band is that someone left the gate open and she simply took the opportunity. When round-up came in May and the Sombrero Horse’s were moved to their summer jobs, Monet was most likely already in the Sand Wash Basin and simply hadn’t connected with a band yet.

It is also possible that she was somehow missed during the annual May round up. Later when a tourist or ranch-hand went through the gate thinking no horses were around, she probably just walked through to join up with Picasso and his band since she was lonely. From much of the photo documenting from wild horse watchers there is no doubt that there is great affection between the mare the horse watchers call Monet and the mighty stallion, gaining daily in fame that so many of us love,  called Picasso.

Update on Monet: Monet was captured and returned to the Sombrero Ranch with three other mares who escaped to the range this spring 2012. According to photographer John Wagner Monet has spent most of June being used to give rides to children. Monet is an aged mare that ran with Picasso for nearly two years. She  is famous for the ongoing affection between herself and Picasso. Picasso is possibly one of the most photographed American Wild horses in the world.  We would like to help find Monet a forever retirement home to live out in retirement. To find out more information Please look on the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses Page on Facebook. I will up date with more information as it is available. ~Linda
UPDATE 6/28/2012 Sombereo Ranch has contacted Nancy Roberts and the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Club to help find Monet a home to live out her life.  If you are genuinely interested please contact the Club through this address: and they will help you purchase Monet. Only serious people please, thank you. If interested contact  
Nancy will be out to visit the mare tomorrow and will be taking photos to post on the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Club page on Facebook this weekend. Also we know now that Monet is 24 and has her shoes on to correct her foot problem.
Final Update: 7/30/2012  Several people offered to adopt Monet. Finally the arrangements were made. Unfortunately on the pick up date, as I was told, Monet Coliced during the night and they asked that they reschedule the pick up.  As the story goes the new pick up day was scheduled for the  following weekend. That morning Monet did not come up for feed. When Monet's care givers went to look for her, they found she had passed away during the night.

We who met her, and we who followed the accounts of her were all blessed by the many photos of her with Picasso and the stories of Monet's life as she ran with the wild horses of Sand Wash Basin, Colorado. Rest In Peace Monet.

If you would like to find out more about the Sombrero Ranch and their entire offering of trail riding activities please check out their web site:

Many photographers and advocates interesting in helping document and protect the herd at Sand Wash Basin HMA have now joined efforts and organized into the Sand Wash Basin Advocate Team (SWAT) of the  Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS). You can connect  with SWAT and GEMS to see how to adopt any available wild horses from Colorado's Sand Wash Basin Herd by contacting them through Facebook: or through the GEMS Website:

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Picasso and Monet" Sand Wash Basin HMA Band Stallion and Harem Mare MADC painting # 26

"A Fine Romance"
"Picasso and Monet"
8 by10 inch Watercolor
by LndaLMartin

It seems to be a beautiful romance unfolding at the Sandwash Basin. One of the most colorful and regal stallions, called by most, Picasso. His tri-colored striking markings are making him one of the most famous and frequently photographed pinto mustangs in the country. This story began last spring when a beautiful fine boned remuda horse from the Sombrero Ranch showed up in Picasso's herd. This tawny buckskin mare, the horse watchers have named Monet. She is a domestic mare who when given the choice has chosen to stay with Picasso. In fact when the horse watchers on the range discovered her they were concerned that she wouldn't be able to withstand the rigors of the rough terrain and sparse forage that the Mustangs thrive on. Worse was the condition of her feet as a domestic they are softer and grow faster than the Mustang hard flinty hooves. 

by  Nancy Roberts
Reference Photo Used by Permission

Yet as the story goes the wranglers came out to the range and tried to capture her and she would have none of it. She wouldn't even get with in roping distance not to mention haltering distance.
All of us who love these Wild horses are waiting with great anticipation to see how  she will fare through the winter. Picasso being the wise band stallion that he is with many years caring for  his band even through  the gathers of 2008,  and 2005 when many of the bands were separated and never regrouped, seems to have a special tenderness for this mare. The affection among the two is well documented among the photographers that frequent the Herd Management area. And Picasso's affection for her  may be one reason why she has chosen to stay with the herd.

by John Wagner
Reference Photo Used by Permission

 This painting will be offered for sale on Etsy. A portion of the proceeds will go to  Nancy Roberts for her efforts to educate and benefit the horses at Sand Wash Basin HMA. 

More paintings to come of Picasso and his Harem as well as some of his beautiful off spring.

If you have a special Mustang you would like to have painted please email me at or message me in Facebook or etsy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Apache" Sand Wash Basin HMA Bachelor Stallion MADC painting # 25

Shand Wash Basin HMA Bachelor Stallion
5 by 7 inches
Oil on Canvas Board
by LindaLMartin
Refrence Photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by Permission

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Tag" Sand Wash Basin HMA Bachelor Stallion MADC painting # 24

Sand Wash Basin HMA Bachelor Stallion
5 by 7 inches
Oil on Canvas Board
by LindaLMartin

Refrence Photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by Permission

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Cowboy" Sand Wash Basin HMA Bachelor Stallion MADC painting # 23

Bachelor Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
Oil on Canvas Board
5 by 7 inches
by LindaLMartin
Photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission

Monday, January 10, 2011

Benson Sand Wash Basin HMA Bachelor Stallion MADC painting # 22

Sand Wash Basin Bachelor Stallion
5 by 7 Oil on Canvas Board
by Linda L Martin

Refrence Photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tashunka Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #21

Tashunka Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA. Tashunka is a  Bay roan horse on Sandwash Basis HMA

Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
5 by 7 inch Oil on Canvas Board
by Linda L Martin

Refrence Photo by Nancy Roberts

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Davy Greasewood Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #20

Another of this weeks Bay Stallions of the Sand Wash Basin HMA of Colorado, Davy G or Davy Greasewood is a very typy mustang. His is very athletic and stocky in build. Besides his strong build and personality, Davy was named named for a forage and cover plant that grows  prevalently in the Sand Wash Basin: Greasewood.
"Davy Greasewood"
Band Stallion of  Sandwash Basin HMA
5 by 7 inches Oil on gessoed matte board
by Linda L Martin

Special Thanks to Photographer and Herd Watcher
John Wagner for the refrence photo of Davy G

There are so many paradoxes in how the HMA's are set up as public use venues. HMA's being horse management Areas of public land. I personally had never heard of greasewood before I began to follow the  Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses. So I did a little research. Greasewood is one of the plants that grows in these highland semi-desert areas from Colorado all the way into California and as far North as Canada and as far south as Arazona desert areas. According to some of my research Greasewood when ingested by sheep and cattle gives off a chemical, oxalate sodium or oxalate potassium, that can build up in the system and cause kidney failure. It is especially toxic to sheep.This to me was especially poignant when I discovered that the main competition that the Horses have for grazing at Sand Wash Basin have happens to be the sheep herds that lease the land for the winter months.
Greasewood Plants grow in
Semi desert areas and can
be from 3 to 4 feet tall as
predominatly a ground cover.
According to one source
this is a forge food as well

Greasewood is a succulent browse that will sometimes spread out and take over areas among the various desert grasses and sage brush, greasewood is one of the forage foods of the horses, deer and antelope that live there. I am not sure how the build up of greasewood chemicals affects other wildlife as there was no data on it that I have found yet.

 By the look of Davy G and his band of mares and foals from this the 2010 season, Their healthy appearance probably means there is plenty of a variety of foods to eat in this HMA.

Close up of  a Greasewood plant

According to the photos and reports of  horse watchers, there hasn't been any appearance of over grazing nor has there been an appearance of starvation of other wildlife. There was a brief period when water in the Sand Wash was a little difficult to come by in the Summer. However The BLM, I am told installed a solar driven pump and tank to allow wildlife to stay in the area instead of straying to water sources on private land.

Kokomo Bachelor Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #19 (1/5/2011)

Kokomo Bachelor Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA in Colorado. Kokomo is another of the amazing bay paint horses at Sand Wash Basin. This painting was painted at the request of  Nancy Roberts, horse watch organizer and photographer.

Sand Wash Basin HMA Bachelor Stallion
5 by 7 inches
oil on gessoed matte board
by LindaLMartin

Kokomo refrence photo by
Nancy Roberts

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eagle Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #18

Sparrow's Daddy is Eagle. Eagle is one of the beautiful bay pinto stallions at Sand Wash Basin HMA. Eagle is a noble stallion that really does have the look of eagles, all conficence and inner strenght. The Wild Horse Watchers have named each member of his band has been named after a bird.

Band Stallion of Sand Wash BAsin HMA
Oil on  Gessoed Matte Board
5 by 7 inches
by Linda L Martin

Refrence Photo  by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kiowa Bachelor Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA Colorado MADC Painting# 17

Kiowa Bachelor Stallion
 Sand Wash Basin HMA
Oil on gessoed Matte board
By LindaLMartin

Kiowa is a band leader at Sand Wash Basin. This does not mean that Kiowa is a band stallion. His band is  one of bachelors consisting of  4 other stallions in ages ranging from yearlings to adult stallions. However being a band leader doesn’t mean he is the top horse. That honor belongs to the head stallion in the band. Usually an older stallion who has never had a herd or who has lost a herd to other stallions.
In a normal healthy herd of wild mustangs the family band would consist of  mares and their female offspring ranging in age from 3years to new born and their male offspring usually ranging from 18 months to newborn. Generally the males are kicked out of the herd and join other bachelors that band together in a bachelor band. During this time of weaning the young males learn to fight by playing with each other, grow in strength and basically learn to become self-sufficient and also work together as a herd.

Photo Reference by Sally Wright

In a band the pecking order or hierarchy is usually determined by experience, age, temperament and the ability to convince all of the band members that you are to be reckoned with on each and every decision; from eating, to drinking, to where to sleep and all other important variables. The job of lead horse in a band usually goes to the dominant mare in a family. And this lead horse generally decides who stays and who goes, as well as other decisions. She may even decide when its time to move to better grazing. A Stallion with a very good and loyal lead mare will actually be able to go out and fine more mares because no matter who tries to steal his band, his lead mare will always lead the band back to the stallion.

This is surprising team work you can see illustrated in the Ginger Katherine’s series about Cloud seen on PBS.
While horse behavior is often very predictable, there is no such thing as a standard precedence in how relationships will play out. The only constant is that individuals in the herd survive and thrive no matter what because of the independent thinking and ability to adapt to their circumstances in the wild.  Imagine the surprise of the horse watchers at Sand Wash Basin HMA when they discovered Sparrow, the little yearling mare, had been adopted into this band of bachelor Stallions.
Sparrow, as you will remember from previous posts, is the little underdeveloped mare that everyone is concerned may not make it through the winter. Sometimes harsh are the elements that wild Mustangs thrive and face.  Yet in October of 2010 there she was in a video taken by Mustang Watcher Nancy Roberts.  Kiowa leads the heard into view followed by  Moon ,   Willie, Nick and then Sparrow being protected by the current dominant stallion of the band, Roper.
In a normal horse family band the stallion will take up the rear to protect the weakest in the group and make sure they don’t stray while the lead mare leads the family boldly forward. In this great video by Nancy you will see this protection behavior.
Again Kiowa is a major part of this ongoing drama of little Sparrow.

Notice how the two horses with the strongest personalities protect the herd and stand between the photographer ( possible danger) and the weakest member of their band. Had Kiowa been a mare then his foals would have been following right with him: a yearling, weanling and new born.
Special Thanks to Sally Wright for the Reference Photo and to Nancy Roberts for the Video Clip. You can read more about the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses on  Nancy's Blog: