Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Sonadora" form Onaqui HMA A Happy Adoption~ Challenge Painting #79

This is Sonadora from Onaqui HMA. 

5 by 7 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

Karen Strawbridge adopted Sonadora and her two sisters Chica and Magic in 2006 .  Like most mustangs in captivity Sonadora displays a great joy at playing in water.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Zoey" A Rescue and A Happy Adoption~ Challenge Painting #78

Terri Keene's little mare Zoey is a very Happy Adoption. However, poor Zoey had a very rough start.
5 by 7 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartin, Artist
Here's Zoey's story in Terri's own words:
She was rounded up as a baby, and her mom died in the holding pen. She was adopted out somewhere in Shawano, WI with another mustang. The guy decided they didn't need food and was starving them. They somehow escaped and were running around Shawano for 5 days or so. A boarding place was contacted and they went and roped them and took them to their place.
A family that boards there decided they like Zoey. They said she would cower in the corner of the arena. She was skin and bones and had not had her feet trimmed at all. This family did all of Clinton Anderson's training methods with her over the summer.
Unfortunately, come fall, the would move their horses to a family members place, and they couldn't take an extra horse, so they relinquished her to the BLM. The BLM advertised her and the other horse on facebook. If they weren't adopted by the end of that week, they'd get on a truck and go from sale to sale. I contacted the guy and went and looked at her and the other horse.
I picked her ‘cuz she was halter broke, and the other wasn't. I could have had both! I paid $25.00 for her! It cost me more in fuel to go get her! LOL
She is a great little horse and has a huge personality!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

" First Touch" Fort Collins Mustang Makeover ~ Challenge Painting #77

"First Touch"
8 by 10 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartin Artist
“First Touch”
Painting number 2 following the Fort Collins Mustang Makeover with Madeleine LeClerc and Robert Carlson.
The first step in gaining the trust of a mustang is being able to have them accept your touch. Everything else is on hold until you get to that point.  Getting there is step by step almost a dance of acceptance.  Entering the space, the small world step by step until your hand is gently on the horse’s shoulder and he doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t move away.. There is an intimacy there that the horse connects with the handler. With a mustang it cannot be forced it must come by degrees so that the horse is not only willing to receive but he wants it and comes willingly.
Madeleine LeClerc using the whip
to make first touch.
Its not to threaten or beat the horse,
 but just used as an extension of the hand.
The first time I ever saw a horse worked with in this way I discovered that the whip as a tool was really an extension of the hand. The lunge whip, that whip with the long leather on the end, folded around the whip and touching the horse, making space between the handler and the mustang but touching. When touched first with the whip.. soon he will except the hand.  The key is touch
To follow the ongoing details of Madeleine and Robert you can like their Mustang Makeover page at this link on Facebook:!/pages/2011-CO-Mustang-Makeover-with-RM-Performance/119433394800806

Robert Carlson Making first touch with his hand.
Photo illustrations and reference by Lightning Bug Creek.
Used by permission.

Monday, March 28, 2011

" Beautiful Woman Who Stands" of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #76

Her name is Now Beautiful Woman Who Stands.
According to Karen Sussman, from the International Society for the protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) she is one of the horses made famous by a gather accident in 2008. Photographer Carol Walker was on hand that day when the herd of the Sand Wash Basin were gathered. Carol provided permission for the painting of this horse from some of her reference photos.

Beautiful Woman Who Stands
5 by 7 inch watercolor
by LindaLMartin, Artist

As I understand it, and from looking at the photos, the horses were collected and separated with a number being funneled by a series of chutes into trailers for removal. One yearling stopped and tried to turn away from the trailer. The young horse was stuck cross-wise in the cute, blocking the way. So Beautiful Woman doing the only thing she could  to keep from running over the young horse went up in the air and caught her chin on a support pole. Another bay mare beside her also tried not run over the young horse trapped sideways in the chute. In order to move aside her legs went dangerously outside between of the poles of the chute fence.
The horses behind were driven forward as the two mares struggled to detangle themselves.  Unfortunately Beautiful Woman lost her balance and was trampled.  It was a highly controversial and highly publicized accident. Somehow Beautiful Woman managed to survive without life altering injury.
Even though this Sand Wash Basin Mare had more publicity than most wild horses, when she was offered for adoption no one stepped forward. She was scheduled to go to long term holding as a result. So on National Adoption Day the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, headed by Karen Sussman adopted her.  She arrived at the Societies’ property, located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, on January 13, 2010. Beautiful Woman who Stands, now lives happily at the Society’s Interpretive Center where she greets visitors as they arrive. She spends most of her time just being a horse. The ISPMB not only adopts horses like Beautiful Woman and keeps them in Sanctuary, They also magage three distint herds and operate an eco-tourism facility in South Dakota.
When I first heard of this mare from The Sand Wash Basin, who was adopted by ISPMB, I was very interested in finding out more about this organization. From their website and a conversation with Karen, I discovered that this Is the original organization founded around the work by Velma Johnston, who we all knew as “Wild Horse Annie”. In fact they have a newly published book that you can purchase called “Wild Horse Annie and The Last of The Mustangs” about the Life of Velma Johnston. The book is by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths and can be purchased right off their sight.  Money from the purchase of the book helps to fund the ongoing projects of the ISPMB.
A portion of the proceeds from this painting, Beautiful Woman Who Stands,  will benefit

Friday, March 25, 2011

Evita's Foal of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #75

Evita's Foal
5 by 7 inch watercolor
by LindaLMartin
Evita is one of two black mares in the Band headed by the rich red bay stallion known as, Copper. Instead of painting  Evita, I decided to paint her not yet named foal. This black foal was born in 2010.
 As I was looking through the documented horses of SWB, I noticed something very interesting about most of the black mares of the Sand Wash Basin. Nearly every solid black (not pinto) mares have white stars on their foreheads. For those of you going out to horse watch this spring and summer  better check the stars so you can recognize them. A lot of the mares  also had brown or black foals with stars as well.  
Evita with her Black Foal in the Summer of 2010
Another way to tell the black mares apart would be  to check out the band stallions they are with. However , in a few months a lot of family groups could change as younger stallions begin to compete for mares. You can check out the 2010 mare page on the Sand Wash Basin Facebook page to familiarize yourself with some of the documented mares. Keep in mind that not all of the horses of Sand Wash Basin have been documented as of yet. Hopefully,  as more people contribute to the process,  eventually all the horses will be seen and photographed. With the possibility of new foals coming this spring this becomes even more exiting. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Barcus, Bachelor Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #74

6 by 9 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Barcus is one of 6 black documented bachelor stallions on the Sand Wash Basin HMA. Two of them are very well known black pintos. Both of Which I have painted earlier in the Challenge. They are Lightening and Benson.  I chose Barcus for this painting tonight because he is a very powerfully built stallion that has presence.  Although I am not sure of his age,  I don’t believe he has yet had any mares as of yet.
Bachelor stallions are those who are newly chased from their family bands usually at two or three years of age . And they run together, play together and practice their herd dynamic skills together. Sometimes they establish bonds with previously unknown to them stallions, mostly they run together with older or younger brothers and band mates.  Almost always are they male.
Sometimes these bachelor bands are made up of a hierarchy of older and younger stallions. Each at various levels of development. Included in this group may be older stallions that once had a harem band but lost them to other stallions. Because horses tend to  be herd oriented these bachelor stallions gravitate to each other and aid each other in shared survival skills.
Bachelor Stallions tend to stay together until they are old enough to venture out and capture their own mare. Usually this happens when they are around 8 or 9 years of age.  In the case of the stallion Jimmy Dark Sand, the Sand Wash Basin bay I named, these young untried stallions will often seek out a band stallion and proceed to follow them around waiting for an opportunity to spirit away a mare or two.  Its not unusual to see a single stallion following around a small band until the band stallion makes his stand and chases him away.  This chasing can take place over a day or a week until either the band stallion is worn down or they younger stallion gives up and leaves. Several of the Sand Wash Basin Photographers happened to be on the range the day that Jimmy Darksand had finally pushed the Band Stallion Prince to his limit. Prince chased Jimmy for most of that day all while Prince's mares ignored the proceedings and continued eating.
Very shortly we will be coming into foaling and breeding season on the Sand Wash Basin.  A bachelor stallion such as Barcus may choose a specific stallion and dog him until there is either a fight or the stallion chases him away. Most of the time there is only posturing. Posturing means a lot of squealing and grunting and pushing each other about. This usually ends with the band stallion leaving a pile of dung to mark the spot where he will not allow the opposing stallion to pass. Should the challenging stallion not respect the marker, a battle will ensue until one or the other backs down.  On occasion both stallions sustain injury from biting and kicking. Only vary rarely will a stallion die in such a fight.
The interesting thing is that when a stallion is busy defending his herd in battle sometimes another opportunistic stallion will run in and steal a mare while the band stallion isn’t looking. One place that you can see this played out is in the Ginger Catherine’s Series for Nature on PBS about Cloud. She has filmed some amazing sequences of herd dynamics in the defending and stealing of mares. Another thing that happens is sometimes two stallions will work in tandem to help each other acquire mares. One will run in and make a nuisance of himself while the other sneaks in for the mare.  It is a very powerful stallion that can keep his mares from this type of onslaught each season.
Because of the situation on the Sand Wash Basin HMA where there is a ratio of about 3 stallions for every mare, each time a mare comes into season a band stallion will have to be vigilant to keep a bachelor from relentlessly perusing until a mare is stolen. This dynamic is complicated with the use of the birth control drug PZP.
While PZP may have the affect of preventing pregnancy in mares, it also allows the mare to come into heat every month that she is not in foal. Thus stallions must be extra vigilant in protecting their harems when the mares have not conceived.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crow, Harem Mare of Sand Wash Basin HMA Challenge Painting #73

Crow of Sand Wash Basin.
8 by 10 Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Crow is a beautiful black mare with no white markings. Horse watcher,  Nancy Roberts said of her that she is the darkest black she has ever seen. Last season Crow was with the band stallion Yellowman. She had a late bay foal that was quickly starting to turn gray.
Crow is also one of the Sand Wash Basin Mares that is currently being given the birth control drug PZP to try to control the population growth of the Sand Wash Basin herd. The idea is that if the study  that begun in 2008 is successful then there will be zero population growth in the Sand Wash Basin Herd while still maintaining the genetic viability of the Herd.   Ideally the mares given PZP should not produce a foal for  up to three years.   If the study proves successful then round ups of the wild horses will happen less and less and thus prevent disruption of the normal behavior of the wild horses of the Sand Wash Basin. The study,  currently being conducted by the HSUS is due to be completed in 2012.
Correction: Crow with her 2010 foal is on the Right in this photo.
The black horse on the far left if Crow's 2009 colt.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pick-up Day for the Fort Collins Colorado Mustang Makeover Challenge Painting #72

"The Boys on Pick-up Day"
8 by 10 inch watercolor
by LindaLMartin Artist

What is the Mustang Makeover?
This is an event put together by the Mustang Heritage Foundation. By matching up trainers with older Mustangs, to  handle them, compete upon them and then present them for adoption.  The idea is that this preliminary training will make the mustang easier to adjust to domestic life and provide a higher chance for successful placement and adoption for the horses.
Mustangs for the chosen for the Makeover must be of a simular type and size and can only be chestnut, bay, or black. These are the most freqent colors among wild horses and the most difficult to find adopters for.
Madeleine's Boy  at the Holiding Pen
at the Paul's Valley Adoption Center

Madeleine LeClerc and Robert Carlson are two  Makeover trainers. They each have been assigned a horse through a random electronic drawing system. They will train and condition  these mustangs  from their completely wild state to competition in 100 Days. The Final test for these trainers and Mustangs will be on June 10th and 11th . 

Robert's Horse The First Day
At home in Texas

All horses in this makeover will be available for adoption on June 12th. Once the horses are adopted the trainers can also offer additional training for both the adoptive family and the horse. Madeleine and Robert picked up their Mustangs at the Paul’s Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center in Oklahoma  the second week of March.
To read more about the Fort Collins Mustang Makeover  here is their web information: There are also links to requirements for adoption, trainer qualifications and competition rules.  There are more Mustang Makeovers to come this year and of course the Supreme Makeover later in the year.
Special Thanks to Lightning Bug Creek Photography for the reference images and updates on the training.

Black Horse of Sand Wash Basin HMA "Bear" (Monday's) Challenge Painting #71

Bear from Sand Wash Basin HMA.

6 by 9 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartin

There are a number of black horses at Sand Wash Basin HMA I have painted several early in the challenge. Today’s horse is Bear.  Bear is a band stallion. He has one mare, Ellie and one filly, Flirt. Flirt I painted for the Golden horses of SWB. It is possible that Bear is not actually Flirt’s father that perhaps in fighting for a mare he captured Ellie and her filly after Ellie was bred. This is something that happens a lot on the range. Bear is a relatively younger stallion, however, from the photo documentation of the horse watchers in SWB he carries numerous battle scars. Sometimes they make him appear older than he is.
Close up of Brand and Reference Photography
Courtesy of  Sally Wright. Used by Permission.
Bear is significant because he is one of the few SWB horses to have a freeze brand. Most of the wild mustangs on the SWB HMA are free of brands. The BLM will not usually Brand A mustang from the SWB  after a roundup unless the mustang is  to be removed permanently. Once removed stallions are generally gelded and they are placed in holding pens unless they are adopted out.
There has been some discussion among the Sand Wash Basin horse watchers about Bear’s brand and where he came from.  Sometimes it’s difficult to read a brand unless the horse has been shaved or has shed out his winter coat.  Another thing that makes it difficult is if during branding the horse moves around allot and either blurs or has a double brand either in part of wholly. For a stallion such as Bear shaving his neck to see the brand more clearly is out of the question. However  photographer Sally Wright did an excellent job in capturing Bear’s Brand so  we could all look at it.
The BML has branding Keys so you can read the symbols and tell what his numbers are.  All Branded horses from BLM managed ranges have a U followed by  two symbols over each other  for the year of birth and then  a 6 digit number that is underlined. The first two numbers in the 6 digit number tell the state where the horse was gathered. The remaining numbers are the Federal Registration numbers.
There are also two additional brands that one might see on a BLM Mustang. The second is an Additional U with the regular brand. These horses are Sales Authority Horses and are generally sold for lower prices as they have been offered for adoption three times and were not successfully adopted. The Third is a number branded on the rump of older horses that are not considered adoptable because of age or other reasons. Generally these horses are destined for  Long Term Holding. Sometimes they are chosen to be in a program called the Mustang Make Over that is run by The Mustang Heritage Foundation .  More on that tomorrow.
Bear  showing his freeze brand. Freeze brands are always on the left side of the Mustang's neck. Mustangs destine for long term Holding will have a number on thier left hip as well. Sales Authority Horses will have an additonal U on their  neck as well.
Just a note the type of Branding that is used to brand wild Mustangs is not the  old hot iron type. It is  freeze branding. Freeze branding is more humane in that it doesn’t harm the horse or cause pain. It simply causes the pigment in the hair to change to white leaving an image in the shape of the implement used.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Steens HMA Week: " Available and Adoptable Black Filly" from Stinkwater HMA Challenge Painting #70

Black Filly
9 by 6 Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
I just couldnt bring myself to title this one with her tag number. Each day I learn more about mustangs and how they are managed and the people who care about them. There are such a wide varity and complex issues involved with the round ups. The most important one to my mind is what happens to the horses after they are taken off the range. The best case senerio is that adoptive homes are found for them.

This little filly from Stinkwater HMA in Oregon evokes all sorts of benevelont emotions, however she has yet to find an adoptive home. She seems to have three marks against her that probably should stir up the desire to rescue this baby from her implied circumstances rather than make her a less appealing adoption prospect. The first is the name of her HMA. Stinkwater doesnt exactly  suggest the romantic herds that Pryor Mountains, Kieger, and Steens bring to mind. Of course that  doesnt make her any less a daughter of great mustang stallions and  a historic legacy of our Wild Horse heritage.

Filly #666
Photo by Tracey Westbury
Used by permission

Our Guest Blogger Tracey Westbury says this about the little mare:

"This adoptable filly has fallen under several different nicknames;  Sixes, Night Mare, Witchy Woman...her tag number is the unfortunate 666.

It doesn’t help that she's all black and in her photo she has birds hanging off from her shoulder.  And yet this is what also endears her to so many people who've seen her photo.  She's obviously not happy about those birds there. 

This filly is from Stinkingwater HMA.  Horses here have a strong draft influence and range in size from 14.2-16 hands.  There are many roans to be found, along with bays, sorrels and blacks.  She's located currently at the wild horse corrals in Oregon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Steens HMA Week "Honor" Challenge Painting #69

Guest Blogger Tracey Westbury:
5 by 7 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
"This is Honor, a deep, dark dun.  I met him on our first trip up to the mountain.  Couldn't pull my camera lens away, he was just so stunning!  No one had named him.  Heck...there were no names on Oregon horses until I came along, I don't think! 
But he was clue where the name came from, or why I called him that, but if fit, and it stuck.  People I've never met or heard of know him when they see him.  No flashy, splashy colors, just a lovely boy. 
Honor's Band. Used by permission
copyright2011Tracey Westbury
 He's been gathered and released, and his brand indicates that he was born in 1998, and is now 13 years old.  He typically has only a couple of mares with him; the two he had pre gather ('09) were both kept back at the corrals.  Farrel and Maggie Rothague adopted his '08 son, and when they realized the dam was there, they picked her up as well; they are the two bays in the family photo."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Steens HMA Week "Golden Boy" Challenge Painting #68

"Golden Boy"
5 by 7 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Tonight's Painting is Golden Boy
In the words of our guest blogger Tracey Westbury:
"Golden Boy.  He's not the prettiest of the Hollywood stallions, but he's certainly one of the more recognizable for those who've been visiting the Steens over the years.  I'm not sure of his age, but this boy doesn't always hang with the 'younger' guns such as Honor or Majesty.  You'll see him there now and again, but more often I've found him somewhat distanced; close, but not too close. 
This could explain his larger than normal band.  While most of the stallions have 2 or 3 mares, GB has 4-6.  When I first saw him, he had a sorrel and white pinto mare among his harem. 

Golden Boy's Pinto Mare
and one of his possible offspring
Photo by Tracey Westbury.
Used by permisson.
Despite having a gather in 2009, which gave some stallions access to mares from other bands, the sorrel tobiano mare and GB were back together, and have been ever since.  I don't know how long these two have been matched up, but it seems she has no desire to leave, and he certainly has done his best to keep her, even though the others from '08 are with other stallions or gathered off the range.  I've included one photo of the mare, along with her 2010 colt.  When I first saw this band in '08, she had a colt very similar to this one; a bit darker, but still a buckskin with a big white blaze.  I'd venture to guess that means she was with GB back in '07 as well." 

Steens HMA Week "Jingles and Juniper" Challenge Painting #67

"Jingles and Juniper"
5 by 7 inche Watercolor
by Linda L MartinArtist
The Story of Juniper and Jingles as told by Tracy Westbury:

"The story of Juniper (colt) and Jingles  (mare) has captured a lot of hearts.  These photos were taken in late Oct, 2010.  Wildlife Photographer, Barbara Wheeler spotted Jingles and her newborn in mid-Sept.  When we reported that we'd spotted a mare who was extremely down in weight, we had a lot of people telling us that was normal for a mare who'd just foaled.  But upon seeing the photos, people were surprised at just how down in weight she was.  Coming into winter, when the snow could be several feet deep, we questioned whether she and her colt would survive.

When this photo was taken at the end of Autumn
you can see the dip in the mare, Jingle's,
 backbone,that is caused by loss of condition.
In an older mare such as Jingles, this is probably
 because she is feeding all the nutrients
she consumes to her foal instead of  building up
 her own stores for winter. Had the winter been
worse the mare would have probably perished and
her foal would have been nurtured by an aunt
with in the herd.
The two have been spotted a couple more times this winter.  Juniper is now 5 months and a very healthy colt.  Jingles, who at the time of these photos appeared to be a lead mare, now staggers along a good hundred to two hundred feet behind her band.  Her stallion appears annoyed with her, willing to leave her behind, not giving her a second glance.  When at the watering hole or a mineral deposit, Jingles stays a good distance away, waiting for everyone else to finish before cautiously moving in.

The winter has been kind to snow on the mountain!  This has enabled her to continue to get enough nutrition to feed her colt.  If she were to die tomorrow, Juniper would be strong enough to survive.  But there is no doubt that Jingles won't be with us much longer. "

Editor's Note: This story was written in February and as of Tuesday March16 both Juniper and Jingles have been photographed. Juniper is in fine condition and has lost all of her baby fluff and has turned into a beautiful rich chocolate silver that just glistens in the sunshine. Jingles did indeed make it through the winter. The resilience of Mustang mares is remarkable. She is now beginning to put on weight. According to one horse watcher they are hopeful that after 15 years of having foals she will be barren this year and in coming years, which will allow her a chance to live out her life  healthy. If you would like to follow more of the Steens horses please log into Facebook and go to the "Sister's of the Steens" page. There are photos, discussions, and a number of people who can tell you how to visit these horses safely.

A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this painting will benefit Mustang U.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Steens HMA Week " Dibs" Challenge Painting #66

Today's Challenge Painting is of a young Steens bachelor stallion. He was named Dibs by the daughter of this week's guest blogger Tracey Westbury.  

5 by 7 Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist

" When we made our first trip to the South Steens in the winter of 2008, we encountered the Hollywood Herd, and among them were two pinto colts who appeared to be long yearlings.  Katie stood quietly, and patiently made her way up into their space.  One colt stayed completely relaxed and continued grazing until she was 10-15' from him, at which time he simply turned and walked away.  She was determined to adopt him if he was among those gathered the following year.  She called Dibs.

When the South Steens was gathered in '09, Dibs was among them.  We spotted his photo in a friend's online album about a month after the gather.  We contacted the BLM, knowing that we'd be down for their special adoption event in February, but were told that Dibs was not there.  He was good looking enough, they felt, that he should be returned to the mountain.

Dibs and  Katie
in 2010
photos and references used by permission
copyright2010 Tracey Westbury

Katie was heartsick.  She knows what a rough life it can be for horses out there, and she didn't want to see Dibs hurt in battle, or worse, starving as an old, aged stallion in years to come.  When that day comes, it will be incredibly difficult for her.  But now, in the meantime, she's able to make trips with me to the South Steens to see 'her' wild horse.  In August of 2010 we found Dibs grazing with a bachelor herd.  He was grown up and filled out!  Katie again quietly made her way toward him, choosing her steps carefully as he grazed.  She'd stop and take a photo or two, then continue to approach.  Eventually, she was there.  The big pinto stood and posed for her, then turned his head to look at her.  As she stood looking into his eyes, he turned and faced up.  It was no more than a moment, and Katie took a step backward, 'releasing' him, and they both walked back into their respective worlds."

Tracey Westbury operates Mustang U, a non-profit for the purpose of helping make older gathered mustangs easier to adopt. You can read more about her work on her blog.

You can read more about the Steens on Mustang A Day Challenge News:

Paintings from the Steens HMA Week are available for sale. Each painting will be 5 by 7 inch watercolor offered for $45.00 each. A portion of each sale will go to Mustang U.  If you have a special  Steens horse that you would like to commission for the project please contact me through my facebook page:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Silvers and Golds of the Sand Wash Basin "Cheyenne and Tripod"Challenge Painting #65

"Cheyenne and Tripod"
6" by 9" Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Tonight’s painting and the last of our Silver and Gold horses of the Sand Wash Basin is of Cheyenne, Corona’s Dunalino pinto mare with blue eyes and Their late foal of 2009, Tripod. Tripod is a little cremello colt.
Here is what our guest blogger Debra More McGuire   has to say:       
“I think from pictures I have seen of Corona he is a dunalino. If the mare with him has a dorsal she would also be dunalino. They both carry a cream gene. That colt in the picture with them is a cremello. (the giveaway there is all his pink skin). Cremello is what you get when you get two cream genes.
"Corona, Tripod, and Cheyenne"
Corona is a Dunalino meaning that he looks like a Palamino but has a dorsal
stripe and zebra markings on his legs. Cheyenne is also a dunalino and has a dorsal
stripe. However because she is a pinto with white legs her zebra marks are hidden.
This photo was taken in the spring of 2010,
 both Tripod and Cheyenne are still in their winter coats.
Since the cream gene and the dun gene are two different ones a horse can carry both. That is how you end up with a "dunalino" All that is essentially is a palomino with dun factor and people started calling them dunalino. So if Corona is older then alot of the palomino genetics up there could come from him. At least one (maybe both) of his parents also would have carried cream for him to be the color he is and be passing it along. There would have also been a dun carrier in his background.”
A special Thank-you to  Debra More McGuire  for guest blogging with us. Thanks for all the great “converstations” on colors and mustangs. Love to have you back again anytime.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Silvers and Golds of the Sand Wash Basin " Cowgirl "Challenge Painting #64

5" by 7" watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Cowgirl is a mare of distinct color and exhibits the silver factor in her coloring. She is a yellow or red dun in color, however the silver markings come out in her mane and tail. Here is what the reference website suggested  by our guest blogger,  Debra More McGuire, states about both  silver and dun coloring on horses.

Dun is a simple dominant mutation that affects both red and black pigment. Dun appears to lighten the base coat, but usually leaves the color of the mane, tail, and legs alone. Dun horses also show primitive markings, such as striping down the back and legs, and other parts of the body. This association is so strong and consistent, a horse is not believed to be dun unless they exhibit at least a dorsal stripe. But not all horses with primitive markings are dun. Primitive markings which occur on non-dun horses are considered a form of countershading. Foals frequently exhibit these markings, and they usually disappear when the foal coat is shed. But in some cases, the markings persist into adulthood. Horses with the sooty factor often have false primitive markings, and gray horses often show them during the graying process. In many breeds, dun is also the traditional term for any yellow horse with dark points. It is quite common, for instance, for buckskin horses to simply be called dun.
 One or both parents must also be dun.

Dun is believed to be the oldest form of equine coloration, and the original wild color of the domestic horse. It is found in cave paintings, and in other equine species, such as the donkey and the wild ass. Przewalski's Horse, the last living wild horse population, is exclusively bay dun in color.
Types of dun are:
Bay Dun (Dun, Zebra Dun)
This is the most common type of dun. They usually have a tan body with black points, and often appear identical to buckskin horses, but with stronger primitive markings. Dun and cream can occur together, and when this happens, the horse may be called a dunskin."
Cowgirl not only exhibits the dorsal stripe and the zebra markings on her legs but she also has a withers mark  on her shoulder of a darker color than her coat.

Silver is believed to affect black pigment only. The body and legs usually become a chocolate color, while the mane and tail appear silvery/flaxen. Dappling may or may not appear. The roots of the mane and tail often stay dark. Sometimes only the tips show dilution, or there are only a few lighter hairs mixed in with the base color. Silver is known to produce extreme changes in shade. This can occur between seasonal coat sheds, or from the foal shed to the adult coat. Foals commonly have a wheat colored coat, white eyelashes and striped hooves, but these characteristics fade over time. Silver horses with the graying gene have been observed to gray faster than a horse without the silver gene. "

 I have only shared the parts of the color information that seem to fit Cowgirl. There is however, much more information on the subject of silvers and duns if you would like to read more on the site. Cowgirl is not the only high profile horse on in the Sand Wash Basin that shows the silver trait. Another is the Stallion Cimmaron. He has a bay base coat and a distinct silver mane and tail.
The interesting thing about wild horses is that some of these color genetic events, say the mixing of dun and palomino or dun and silver are usually completely random events. I would probably be remiss in ignoring the fact that our horses are actually managed on most of the HMAs so sometimes one preferred color will be left after a roundup in hopes that when the horses do breed that the horses in surplus will  be more easily adopted because of their color or markings.  Were it not so, the majority of the SWB horses would probably be some form or other of gray and not the wide variety of colors and patterns that are being documented now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Silvers and Golds of the Sand Wash Basin " Band Stallion Tuscarora's Little Girl"Challenge Painting #63

Another Gray Stallion Tuscarora, seemed to have produced a beautiful late filly by the Black Mare Gia. She appeared in the spring of 2010. She probably was born in the late autumn of 2009. The first thing everyone noticed that saw her was that she was healthy and that she was missing the tip of her left ear.

Frost bite is an occasional occurrence in the SandWash Basin and several mares and the occasional foal can be found with part of a missing ear. One or two of the stallions have partial ears missing. While it might be attributed to bites during fighting. More likely that it was due to the harsh weather.

Gia with her Palamino filly
Tuscarora had two mares one was black , Gia, and the other rose gray. The rose gray was seen to have a  chestnut filly  who was a yearling in 2010. It is possible that Tuscarora is aother of the slow to gray stallions.  One of the important things to understand about color inheritance and wild horses is that in the spring as the mares drop their foals( give birth) and come into their first heat the stallions begin sparing for mares. There is a lot of mare swapping that goes on as a stallion might steal a mare who has already been bred. So its possible that with Gia's foal that he isn't the father.

The interesting thing about the Sand Wash Basin is at this time there is no Palomino stallion with a band or of breeding age as of the fall of 2010. The only stallion of color is Corona the Dunalino Stallion. So where is the growing number of Palomino babies coming from?  Well its possible that Tuscaro and Centauro carry the recessive gene for cream gene for Palomino.

Here is the color site recommended by our guest blogger Debra More McGuire :

Quote from the page on dilutions of color:

" Palomino: A red horse (chestnut or sorrel) who is diluted to a golden shade over their entire body. They can be as dark as a true chestnut or appear almost white. They usually have a white, cream or silver mane and tail. Self colored manes and tails occur, but this is rare. Their eyes and skin are usually dark, but some palominos never attain full pigmentation. They may be born with blue eyes that never fully darken, and pinkish skin which develops mottling or freckles. They are very easily confused with the Gold Champagne phenotype, and also occasionally with flaxen chestnuts."

Gia on Left, Tuscarora center and
their palamino filly right.

One of the reasons I think that Tuscarora may possibly be the father of Gia's palomino foal has to do with her white markings. If  Tuscarora was a Chestnut with a gray gene and that gray only affected his base color and not his white markings then he could still father a  palomino if he has the recessive dilute trait. He has 4 shocks which you can see fairly clearly still in his photograph. If Tuscarora also had a dilute gene for palomino and a cream gene that would  have produced a palomino when bred to a mare with the same gene hidden away inside. You notice that  the filly has a wide blaze.. her mother also has a star stripe and a large snip but her  white markings are limited to her face unlike Tuscarora.

If I remember my history correctly,  It was often that sometimes a black foal would be produced from a palomino mare and a palomino stallion when the stallion didn't breed true. That black foal would when bred still produce palomino foals when bred to a palomino but with a one in 4 chance of producing a black or off color foal.

At one time, years ago the white markings of this foal by Tuscarora and Gia would have been  highly favored with her 4 socks and wide blaze. With so much flash she is a real beauty. However only time will tell if  Tuscarora's gray gene will show up in her. Should this little girl be rounded up a genetic test will be done that will confirm  her sire.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Silvers and Golds of the Sand Wash Basin "Irma and Isabella "Challenge Painting #62

Isabella and Irma are the featured Golden Horses of the Sand Wash Basin tonight. 

"Irma and Isabella"
6" by 9" Watercolor
By Linda L Martin Artist

They are from Centauro’s band. This mother and daughter are palominos meaning they are golden, or blond, in color with white manes and tails.

The dapple gray stallion, Centauro, has mares that throw their own color. Whatever the dam’s ( or mare’s) color, that is the color the foals seem to be. It’s only been since the round up in 2008 that Centauro has had these mares. So far none of his offspring have shown the trait to gray. His mares were part of the on-going PZP birth control study at Sand Wash Basin HMA so they had no live foals among this band in 2010. When this photo was taken by Nancy Roberts  there were 4 mares and 4 yearlings. Notice how the yearlings all look like their mothers.

Here is what our guest blogger, Debra More McGuire  has to say:

“The gray stallion must not be homozygous gray or his foals would gray. The fact that his foals tend to be the mares’ color would mean that his base color would not be a dominant one. He would most likely be a red base.
Homozygous would be dominant. That the horse could only pass that gene on for color (or trait). As in a HZ tobiano would always have a spotted foal regardless of the other parent. It is supposed to be 99.9 percent accurate. So a Homozygous gray horse would always produce a gray offspring regardless of  the color of the other parent.“

Would you like to  know more about horse color genetics? Deb recommends this web site to widen your knowledge:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Silvers and Golds of the Sand Wash Basin "Flirt" Challenge Painting #61

This week as we talk about the Gold Horses of the Sand Wash Basin I’ve asked  Horse Breeder  Debra Moore McGuire to be our guest blogger.
Debra began her research into genetics and colors when she purchased her first foundation Quarter Horse in 1981 "In researching his coloring I met and learned much about colors and breeding from Virgean Miller, one of the pioneers of the Buckskin breed."

The first horse we will go over this week is one that has been causing quite a stir on the Sand Wash Basin HMA. We call her a sooty palomino. But She and her mother are of such strange color combinations. Flirt is her name. Flirt is a deep gold dapple palomino with burnishes of dark brown or black giving her a sooty color. Flirt’s mom appears to be a grulla, however with burnish marks on her shoulders and hips of a deep gold in the midst of her darker coat.

  I asked Deb about the two of them.
“The little mare with your Flirt filly is a gray not grulla. The gold "burnishes" are part of her palomino coat that is left over. She was probably the same color as the filly as a foal.

Flirt and her Mother, Ellie in the Summer of 2010
Here Flirt is a yearling. Notice how Ellie has
 burnished gold under coat  and a dorsal stripe almost
like a grulla.  Flirt does have a very faint dorsal stripe,
 does have sooty burnish marks. Interestingly Corona the
Dunalino band stallion has burnish marks too on his 
face and legs but not to the extent of these two mares.

She looks like a younger mare and that would be why she still has so much color in her coat. She shows no dun factor (even though she might have counter shading, which would give her a faint dorsal look alike).
Her mane and tail definitely show the graying in that they are two-tone, black/white/yellow hairs. She is the type of gray that will go lighter very slowly over the years. And it may not even be real obvious until you look at photos with a 3-4 yr span between them. The points on this kind of gray go light the slowest. So her and the filly will have darker legs for a long time.

From seeing all the photos from SWB horses there does seem to be a lot of gray in those bands. But with all the dun/red dun/palomino horses out there you will get some very odd looking colors in the graying process.

The silver dappling and graying gene are actually 2 different ones. Here is the description they give for grey that may make it easier to understand.

Reference photo for this painting by
John Wagner. Used by permission.
"Contrary to popular belief, grey is not so much a color as it is a pattern (or more accurately still, a color modifier). Grey is a dominant gene that causes the horse's natural coat color, whether it be bay, black, dun, or palomino roan, to slowly "depigment" as the horse ages, much like human hair, regardless of the color, "greys out" with age" .  Because it is a modifier rather than an actually color is why that you can get so many shades and colorations in grey horses.

You can also have a "slipped" tobiano (which would be like what you were talking about in the cats), where you have a tobiano born from homozygous parents but it actually shows no white. If you did DNA on it you would find it is still a tobiano. Homozygous means it’s a dominant gene.

Please stop by the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses page on Facebook and Say Hi. Right now Nancy Roberts is in the process of Forming a Club to continue the public documentation of this herd. You can access the page by going to :!/pages/Sand-Wash-Basin-Wild-Horses/101181969939406