Monday, February 28, 2011

Adoption: "Dusty" Scott Litherland of Alder Hill Farm Rescue Challenge Painting #56

5 by 7 watercolor
by Linda L Martin

Dusty is Scott's new "Stang". I dont have the full scoop on him yet. But between this fellow and Scott it was love at first sight. According to Scott , Dusty is a very willing worker and since his surrender he has already been trail riding. Plus Scott has used him in horse herd management as a working stock horse. Pretty impressive for such as short time at Alder Hill Farm. I will up date this as I recieve more info so stay tunned. Things are very busy at Alder Hill right now as they are getting ready for their booth at Horse Fest. On March 11th.
A protion of the proceeds from this painting will benefit the Mustangs at Alder Hill Farm.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Adoption: "Mama" of Rio Lobo Ranch Colorado Challenge Painting #55

In Cheryl Morin's own words:

8by10 inch Watercolor
by artist LindaLMartin
"Mama is a BLM Mustang.
Near as we can decipher from her BLM brand she was 13 when she arrived at the ranch in 2008. 
She is a horse with a kind eye and a gentle soul. 
When she arrived at the ranch she had her 3 or 4 month old filly with her.  What we didn't know at the time was that she was pregnant.   The filly that arrived at the ranch with her is Miss.  The filly she gave birth to in March of 2009 is Nicker.
This girl is a good Mama and holy cow - she has a lot of patience.  She is raising both her girls and taking the time to teach the boys not only how to be a horse, she is teaching them horse manners.
"She is gray grulla - true grulla with dorsal stripe, stockings and bars on the back of her front legs above her knees and below her shoulders.  Indeed, she is rather short, barely 14 hands when she stands up tall. She is a bit round and she has a lovely mustache!  She is smarter than several people I know. 
My vet thinks that she has Connemara pony in her heritage which would explain the mustache and the 'brains'.  She loves to be brushed.  She is the sweetest soul.  Trusting.
The other night she was standing off rather by herself, and the others were up at the hay station.  I took her out a flake of hay.  As I walked up (didn't need to say a word, she knew it was me -- actually couldn't/wouldn't be anyone else ....) and before she confirmed I had snacks, she nickered 'hellos'.  I handed over the hay and knelt on the ground beside her feet,. close enough to feel her breath as she ate.   I had the most wonderful time just hanging out with my Sweet Girl while she had some dinner.  Clear sky. Snow on the ground.  Listening to her eat. And as she ate, the smell of grass and summer filled the air and for that short time, there was no one other than Mama and me.  She is a good girl."
You can follow Cheryl's blog for Rio Lobo Ranch at:

Adoption: "Riddle Me Dino" Stormy Ranch's Kiger Mustang. Gathered Riddle Ridge HMA 1999 Challenge Painting #54

From the Stormy Ranch blog: "We have been gentling mustangs since 1996. We love to work with wild horses. My wife and I have adopted 36 wild horses. We like to train them to ride and find good homes for them. We have a 15 year old Kiger stallion (Dino) that we adopted in 1999. He was 4 years old at that time. He is our show horse and we have traveled many miles to many states to show him. We love to take him places as he attracts a lot of attention and we can show the public what a Wild Mustang can become! We love to take our mustangs out to ride the wild horse herds in Oregon and take pictures."


"Riddle Me Dino"
16 year old Kiger Mustang
8 by 10  watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

He is now 16 yrs. Old. He is still a stallion and owned by Kevin and Lisa Sink of Sheridan, OR. According to Lisa in a recent email, Dino is known for his super calm demeanor.  "He was not hard to gentle and very easy to train. He is a joy to ride and he can even ridden by small children. "

She told me that Dino started his show career in 2002.  "Since then he has traveled many thousands of miles to many states to compete! He has won numerous championships and creates a fan club everywhere he goes."

Lisa also told me that this beautiful Kiger also is a bit of a camera hog. On the day the reference photo was taken he proved it.  "In the picture were Dino is looking back on the camera was a day I was trying to take pictures of other horses and He was keeping an eye on me because if I pointed the camera at another horse he would step in front of the camera. He was telling me he is the only one that matters!!! ", Lisa Shared.

Dino as they call him is well loved and a wonderful example of a great family adopting a special and talented horse.

A special thank you to all the folks at Stormy Ranch for their participation in the Mustang A Day Challenge.

A note of interest. A print of Riddle Me Dino will be made available to the Sink Family as a donation to help raise money for their grand child with Cystic Fibrosis. If you would like to make a donation to the family for on-going treatment please contact them through facebook or email through their blog.

To read more of their experience with Lisa and Kevin Sink's Stormy Ranch, their is blog:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Adoption: " Artista" Robert Carlson's 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover Horse Challenge Painting #53


" A Little Texas Springtime"
5 by 7 watercolor
by LindaLMartin Artist

In the words of  Madi LeClerc, Robert Carlson's partner at RM Performance Horses and  his Fiance':  

"Artista is a 6 year old gelding from the California/Nevada border.  My Fiance Robert trained him for the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Worth Texas.  We have owned Arty for 3 years now and he is my "go-to" horse for absolutely anything!  He is my competition horse for a sport called Cowboy Mounted Shooting which involves shooting .45 single action revolvers off his back, He will trail ride anywhere and through anything including downtown big cities with traffic, skyscrapers, buses, and adoring tourists, and even provides a mount for novice riders without a horse. "

At Madeline's request a portion of the money from the sale of this painting will go to the Mustang Heritage Foundation.To Read more about the various programs for trainers and the Mustang Makeover go to

Madeleine Shooting off of Artista during
competition. Photo used by permission.

RM  Performance Horses is located in Boyd Texas. You can contact them through
A special Thanks to  Amy Peterson Spivey of Lightning Bug Creek Photography. You can see more of her mustang photos on Facebook:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adoption: " Col. Mustard" Mustang A Day Challenge #52

Col.Mustard was the favorite of his owner Kat Moser. She saw this beautiful silver palomino in an auction and didn't know he was a mustang until she brought him home and saw the BLM freeze brand under his mane. She was very new to horses at the time and he was one of her first riding horses. " I only had him for a couple of years" she said in her email to me. " I wish I had taken more photos and especially one of his brand so I would know where he came from."

"Col. Mustard"
5 by 7 watercolor
by LindaLMartin Artist
Col Mustard was 24 when she sold him to his new owners. "no one could believe how old he was until they looked at his teeth" She guesses that he must be about 29 now.  This wonderful mustang made a good trail and companion horse. But Kat was very clear that Col. Mustard was the strongest horse in  the "corral".

Many times people wonder how an obviously well trained and acclimated horse like Col. Mustard gets in to the horse auction sale pipeline. Generally speaking there are very strict procedures for adoption, including  specifications as to the type of housing you must have for your adopted horse, what sort of food and vetting, as well as training you are responsible for. And there are spot checks as to making sure that you are keeping to the agreement and quality of care required. Then when you have met the requirements you can decide to return the horse or the horse is titled over to you by the BLM. This entire process takes about a year. Then you own the horse outright and basically are allowed to do any legal thing with the horse,  including keep or sell the horse, once you have title. 

refrence photographry by  Kat Moser.
Used by permission.

There is a data base at the BLM of every horse that is rounded up and branded. Those brands tell how old the horse is, where its original HMA was, and what the special information there is on there horse including the first person to hold the title of the horse and/or if the horse was returned etc. However once the horse is titled to a private owner the paper trail ends. If you would like to look into adoption there are two places begin looking.

Another place you can look to adopt a mustang are private rescues who sometimes rescue or have a surrendered Mustang. They will handle them and train them, then guide you through the process to learn to connect or join up with your new mustang. Search on line for a Horse rescue local to you or you can start with one of these two registered non-profit organizations.

Alder Hill Farm in Missouri:
Mustang U in Washington State:

Should you have a horse you have obtained through a public auction horse sale or private sale, and suspect that it might be a mustang, because it has a  freeze brand on its neck, you can either check with your local brand inspector or  contact the nearest BLM office to find more information on your new horse.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Adoption: "Nevada Blue Smoke" from Gold Butte HMA, Neveda, Mustang A Day Challenge #51

"Under Saddle"
Nevada Blue Smoke
5 by 7 inch watercolor
by Linda L Martin

 Bobby and Karen Strawbridgs's Nevada Blue Smoke. Mustang Stallion from Gold Butte HMA in Neveda

Nevada Blue Smoke
Reference Photo provided by Karen Strawbridge
Used by pemission

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Adoption: "High Sierra" from Cyclone Rim , Wyoming Mustang A Day Challenge #50

8by10 Watercolor
by Linda L Martin
Julie Gaspar's beautiful little Sorrel mustang mare High Sierra. According to Julie, Sierra was captured as a 2-3 year old at a place called Cyclone Rim Wyoming. The round-up at that time was  on Feb 15th, 2001. Julie says that she has owned Sierra for the last 5 years.  Before Julie became her owner, she was mostly a barn pet. Now Julie says Sierra is her steadfast trail mount. " I enjoy our many miles together"  Thank you Julie for sharing your beautiful mare with us for the Mustang A Day Painting Challenge.

Photo and Reference photography by Julie Gaspar
Used by Permission

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adoption: "Odakota" from Sand Wash Basin HMA, Colorado Mustang A Day Challenge #49

8 by 10 Watercolor
by LindaLMartin
If you have been following this blog for a while you will notice that I have Mentioned Nancy Roberts one of the Sand Wash Basin horse watchers/ photographers. Tonight's painting is of her Sand Wash Basin Adopted Mustang,  Odakota.  According to Nancy Odakota was gathered at Sand Wash Basin during the 2008 gather along with his yearling brother and his mother. His sire is the documented stallion known as Vegas. Vegas was returned to the HMA(horse management area) After the gather. As of the fall of 2010 he was documented with at least 3 mares, 2 yearlings and one foal in his band. There was another suggestion that perhaps he had several more mares but it hasn't been confirmed as of this writing.

Vegas's Band pre-2008 Round up.
Odakota is the little red foal  with the white face.
Vegas is the bay horse on the far left.
Odakota is standing between his mother and older brother.
Photo reference by Nancy Roberts and used by permission.

Odakota is a sorrel pinto. Nancy told me she is looking forward to riding him soon on the very range where he was born. Nancy frequents the Sand Wash Basin to document horses, identify them and to photograph them about 3 or 4 times a week when the weather allows.

A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this painting go toward the further documentation of  the Sand Wash Basin Wild horses.

If you would like to see more of the horses of the Sand Wash Basin Horse Management Area you can read about them on the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses page on facebook:!/pages/Sand-Wash-Basin-Wild-Horses/101181969939406

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adoption "Riley" from Sand Wash Basin HMA, Colorado Mustang A Day Challenge #48

8 by10 Watercolor
by LindaLMartin
 Riley is from Sand Wash Basin HMA and was gathered in the 2008 gather. He has now been gentled to the point that he is ready for a home and further training. Riley is being offered for adoption through the TIP program of the Mustang Heritage Foundation.

He is currently available in Texas at the Ranch of  Madeleine LeClerc and her partner Trainer Robert Carlson.

Last fall I stumbled across the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. Horse Trainers from all over the country and some overseas through luck of the draw take a BLM gathered adult Mustang and in 100 days or less gentle train and generally make useful a wild mustang. The trainer then competes on the horse for prizes and to showcase the animal. The Mustang is then offered for sale at auction. One such Trainer is Madeleine LeClerc.

These events, called Mustang Makeovers, are sponsored by the BLM and are run by the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Another program the Mustang Heritage Foundation over sees is the TIP program or Trainer Incentive Program.  Basically TIP Mustangs are placed in a trainer's care and in 60 days the trainer gentles the horse, teaches him to lead, lift his feet for trimming, stand quietly for grooming and vetting and to load and unload into a trailer. At the end of the 60 days the Mustang is offered for adoption to an approved home for $125. The trainer will then be paid a predetermined amount of money for  the work put into gentling the Mustang depending on its age. Payment is made to the Trainer by the Bureau of Land Management upon adoption of the horse. The trainer can also offer to further train the  Mustang at the new owners expense and teach the new owner the special needs of the newly gentled mustang.

Photo by LightningBug Creek Photography
Photo Used by permission
 The TIP program was put into place because of the large number of unadopted mustangs now in holding pens through out the country. One of the issues is that a "flashy" horse, usually a pinto or palomino and other horses of bright unusual colors, will usually be adopted but a plain horse such as bay, sorrel, brown with out much white  or a gray horse will not be as readily adopted as they don't look unique enough. Unfortunately the larger number of captured mustangs fall into these  plain color categories.

However, by putting some training time into these wild horses, it makes an opportunity for some one to own a mustang that doesn't have the experience level of dealing with a horse fresh off the range. Thus the horse is made more adoptable. Riley is just such a BLM horse. Riley, from Sand Wash BAsin HMA  was born wild. He has now been gentled to the point that he is ready for a home and further training.

You can contact Madeleine through  They are looking to find an adoptive home for Riley by March 1. If you know someone interested in owning  this sweet mustang please pass the word along.

At Madeline request a portion of the money from the sale of this painting will go to the Mustang Heritage Foundation.
To Read more about the various programs for trainers and the Mustang Makeover go to

A special Thanks to  Amy Peterson Spivey of Lightning Bug Creek Photography. You can see more of her mustang photos on Facebook:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Romance on the Range " Picasso and Monet" SWB HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #47

Just a Little Kiss
Picasso and Monet
Sand Wash Basin HMA
8 by 10 Watercolor
by Linda L Martin
Today being Valentines Day I decided to do a special Watercolor of Monet and Picasso from a delightful photo by another wonderful Colorado Wildlife Photographer, John Wagner. He spent quite a bit of time in the Summer and Autumn of 2010 capturing images of the Sand Wash Basin herd  and the families of Wild Mustangs there. In a series of shots with  Picasso and Monet they always seemed to be close to each other and Picasso doted on the buckskin mare.

John just recently published his first book of photography where he captured the family life of eagles even through the hatching and raising of their young. He tells me that now he is working on his second book. This one a pictorial essay of the Wild Horses of Sand Wash Basin HMA.   I hope you enjoy this collection of Sand Wash Basin couples in  my Romance on the Range Series.
Picasso and Monet
Reference Photography by John Wagner
Used by permission

Friday, February 11, 2011

Romance on the Range " Blazer and Yellowcat" SWB HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #46

Blazer and Yellow Cat
8 by 10 Watercolor
by Linda L Martin

Blazer and Yellow Cat
detail of reference photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Romance on the Range " Corona and Cheyenne" SWB HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #45

Cheyenne and Corona
"A Listers of the Sand Wash Basin"
8 by 10 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartin

Corona(L) Cheyenne (R)
Refrence Photography by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Romance on the Range " WildWind and WildFlower" SWB HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #44

"Wildflower and Wildwind"
8 by 10 inches  Watercolor
by LindaLMartin

"Wildflower and Wildwind
Reference photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Romance on the Range " Jib and Crazyhorse" SWB HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #43

"Early Morning Cuddle"
Jib and Crazyhorse
8 by 10 inch Watercolor
by Linda L Martin

 Jib is a really beautiful Chestnut stallion with a long star blaze and stripe. His chin is also white. He is an established band stallion in the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area. As Of last fall he had three mares  A Bay mare with a star, a strip and a snip, A gray mare and a beautiful chestnut pinto with very wild markings that the horse watchers call Crazyhorse.  According to Nancy Roberts, from her direct observations, its would seem that Crazyhorse is the dominate or lead mare in the herd.

Detail of Jib and
reference photo by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission.
Being the dominant mare in a band doesn't necessarily  assure the  favored affection from the band stallion, however the band stallion does tend to court and show affection to all of his mares and offspring in their turn. Tonight's painting I have decided, the honor of favored mare to Crazyhorse, simply because her unique markings merit a special documentation. That is not to slight the other mares in the band, as this is a tightly knit family who work together as a unit. As of June 2010, according to the documentation of Nancy Roberts, Along with the three mares were three 2 bay and one red roan yearlings, all born in 2009 and two bay colts born in the spring of 2010.

Detail of Crazyhorse and
reference photo by Nancy Roberts.
Used by permission.
One could say that Jib is eclectic in his taste in mares. Some stallions collect mares based on color such as Copper with his black mares and Prince with all of his bright red chestnut mares. However, with the limited number of available mares on the range, more often it is  the  availability of the mare, rather than hunting down the right color that makes it possible for a stallion to form a family band.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Romance on the Range " Sky and Storm" SWB HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #42

"Star Gazers"
Sky and Storm
of Sand Wash Basin HMA
8 by 10  Watercolor
by Linda L Martin

Since it is a week before Valentines Day I decided to spot light some of the parings that I had seen through the photographers watching the horses on the range. Stallions when given the opportunity and time will  find a mare, gently nurture that mare and eventually grow a herd via her children.

Because of the regular roundups to manage the Sand Wash Basin HMA horses and their frequency of every 5 years there are often times upsets in family groups. This is due to separation  of herd members and release at different times and sometimes different locations,and the frequent removal from the range all together. In this regard sometimes horses who are rounded up very often will chase their offspring away at younger ages say before they are a year old. More study needs to be done to understand why this is happening. 

Another thing that happens is that in order to slow population growth stallions out number mares at about 3 to 1. That generally means there will always be more stallions than available mares. This keeps the herds small sometimes only one mare to stallion and it also assures that the strongest stallions are the ones that breed and keep their herds intact.

In the perfect order of things a colt would not leave the family band until he is chased out by his band stallion until the age of 2 or sometimes 3 years of age. It is very unusual that a stallion would allow a colt to stay in the band until  its 4th year as by that time it would begin to compete with his own father for mares in the herd.

Storm and Sky
detail of  Photo by Nancy Roberts
used by permission

In the case of fillies they sometimes stay longer but are generally bred by 3 or 4. With the introduction of  PZP, the equine fertility drug that prevents mares from coming into foal, it is possible that mares wont produce offspring and that would mean that a stallion and mare might stay together with out offspring until such a time that another stallion challenges and steals her.

The herds at Sand Wash Basin, according to horse watcher Nancy Roberts, are currently in the middle of a study that will record the effects of  PZP on the horses and how to manage the herd better so that they do not become overpopulated in their management area.
This study is being conducted by interns through the Humane Society of America for the Bureau of Land Management.

I will be painting severals of these small family groups over the next week to celebrate their partnerships, devotion and loyalty of the Band Stallions to their prized mares.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Centauro" Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #41

Band Stallion Of the Sand Wash Basin HMA
5 by 7 inches
oil on canvas board
by Linda L Martin Artist

Reference photography by John Wagner
Used by Permission

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Snowman" Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #40

Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
oil on gessoed canvas
4.5 by 5 inches
by Linda L Martin
Photo reference by Nancy Roberts
Used by permission
Detail of  Nancy's Photo
Snowman is one of two gray band stallions
on Sand Wash Basin HMA that has no
Muzzle markings in pink. 
But he does have some fairly prevalent scaring
from fights on his neck and withers. 
He also has a shorter mane  which falls to the right
and wispy tail. Again these are not
permanent changes to his appearance. Close observation
 on a regular basis will allow horse watchers
to document changes to his appearance,
including the length of his hair, his preference
 for mares, and which mares he currently has.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Prince" Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #39

Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
4.5 by 5 inches Oil on Gessoed matteboard
by Linda L Martin

Reference Photography by John Wagner
Used by Permission

Prince is most easily recognized
 by the pink around his right nostril
And his bevy of  brightly marked red chestnut Mares.
Detail of  Photo by John Wagner
Used by permission

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Yellowman" Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #38

Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
5 by 7 oil on gessoed matteboard
by Linda L Martin

Photo reference by John Wagner
used by permission

"Cosmo" Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge #37

Cosmo, First of the Sand Wash Basin  Grays

oil on gessoed matte board
5 by 7 inches
by Linda L Martin

This week I will be painting  what I call the Sand Wash Basin Grays. The interesting thing about these gray horses is that as they mature they become almost solid white, with white manes and tails and brown eyes. Unlike horses that roan, a gray horse has a dilute gene that makes them turn lighter and loose their original color as they mature.  The original color is replaced with white. An Adult gray horse might be born black, bay, chestnut or any number of colors. They might also have  white on their faces and legs or even be spotted or pinto.

A good number of the stallions in  the Sand Wash Basin are gray. I will be painting 5 that are named and documented with some frequency. So how does one tell the solid white band stallions apart. Well interestingly enough it by a combination of their battle scars and their face markings.

Yes that is right I did say face markings. You see when  a horse has white markings at birth the skin under the white hair is usually pink. The skin under the colored part of the skin is usually black or dark. By documenting the nose modeling or  patterns of  pink on their noses it is possible to tell most of the gray horses apart. Because when their is pink, the pink might be similar but no two horses have exactly the same unique markings. As I paint these "White" stallions see if you can recognize their their nose pink.  Another way to tell the horses apart is to check their feet. Sometimes a horse born with a white stocking will have a lighter colored hoof on that leg. 

Reference Photography courtesy Sally Wright
Used by permission

As you might have already noticed when  trying to document horses and their behavior, families and migration, it might be hard to tell which horse is which until you have the opportunity to see the photos and study them. Eventually you get to notice unique scars on stallions from bite marks and verify them by their noses and their feet, even the tint of their tail and the way their mane's fall on either the left or right or even down the middle.. 

While it is true that at first sight you might be able to tell the band stallions by the mares and foals with their band, its important to remember that families of horses are very fluid.  Especially with  the ratio of stallions more than double the number of mares in some HMAs. Some of the more mature stallions manage to maintain and keep their mares in spite of challenges by other stallions and the disruption of  regular gathers by the BLM. But these stallions are rare. 

Stronger more dominant stallions might keep their mares for a long time but if one  gray stallion steals the mares of another gray stallion the only way you would know is if you recognize those subtle differences.
One of the challenges that a horse watcher has is being able to recognize horses that are similar at a distance and be able to tell them apart. As you will see later in this mini series of  "white "band stallions that can be really difficult when all  his mares are the same color and their off spring are gray like their sire.