Friday, September 30, 2011

Challenge Painting#202 Alder Hill Farm's Mustang Brothers from Branson

The Branson Mustangs
Prancer and Spirit
4 by 6 inches Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist

The Branson Brothers are mustangs caught near Branson, Missouri and  are full siblings of  Honey. They were captured as stallions that had never had training of any sort. The three horses had been kept as big yard dogs and had strayed from their home leading people of the community to believe they had been abandoned.  Alder Hill was  called in to capture them. After a few weeks of frustration Alder Hill Discovered that the horses not only had a home but they went back to it each day. After some consideration the authorities decided to that purchase of the horses would be more desirable than seizing the animals and going through a lengthy court battle.Both boys are now geldings and learning manners at Alder Hill Farm.

To read more about Alder Hill Farm and to read about their daily activities you can follow them on facebook.:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Challenge Painting#201 Alder Hill Farm's Mustang Chi Aano

"Chi Aano"
4 by 6 inch watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

Chi Aano is one of the gentle shy spirits of Alder Hill Farm Rescue in Missouri. A portion of the proceeds for this painting and all of the Alder Hill Farm Series will go to the support of sanctuary Mustangs. To read more about Alder Hill Farm click the link to go to their web page:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Challenge Painting #200 "Hope For Tomorrow" : 3 Alder Hill Farm Mustangs.

"Hope For Tomorrow"
Rosie, Domino, Brio
5 by 7 inch Wathercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Tonight I Celebrate the 200th Painting in the Mustang A Day Painting Challenge.  While I still have several Mustangs to paint for Alder Hill Farm this time around, I wanted to do something special in this painting tonight. “Hope for Tomorrow” is actually a bit of a fantasy.

Featured are three mustangs that came together as a twist of fate.  Brio the bay mare and Rosie the gray are both started under saddle. Brio is available for adoption to an approved adopter. Rosie has been adopted and her training has continued. These two horses are mares.  The third horse the paint in the background is Domino. Domino came to the farm as a stallion and surrender. He is a permanent sanctuary resident at Alder Hill Farm. His nick name is Dom or the Dominator.

Early on they discovered that even after gelding that Domino would gather mares and fight off geldings. As a result of his behavior they decided to put him in a special paddock with the two mini horses .  He spent the entire winter in with the two bachelors and the three got along fine.

By using the nature of the wild horse and the experiences that Dom had gleaned from his youth on the range, the folks at Alder Hill Farm discovered an interesting use for him. He is a dominant male and as such he knows how to teach other stallions and newly gelded horses how to have respect in a herd situation. Each stage of training includes the advantageous use of herd dynamics in helping the new horses settle down in to the routine of the farm.  For other horses it is part of the healing process to learn how to get along with other horses after having been abused, neglected or simply confined for a portion of their lives.

The likely hood of Dom ever having his own harem again is very remote. He is a challenging riding horse and very use full in helping aggressive or disrespectful geldings learn the ropes of being a horse in a herd. Of the 10 Mustangs in residence at both locations of Alder Hill Farm, Dom is one of the most popular because of his spirit, his personality and his splashy color.

Please do consider purchasing one of the paintings of the Alder Hill Horses to help raise money for the care of these  Special Mustangs. If you would like to know more about Alder Hill Farm or donate directly to them please go to

Monday, September 26, 2011

Challenge Painting #199 Rescue Flip at Alder Hill Farm in Missouri

 Update:"Filp" of Alder Hill Farm Rescue

"Milestone for Flip"
His first time under saddle
4 by 6 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Flip is the 15 year old Mustang Stallion that was found in  a stock sale in Oklahoma. He had been purchased by a kill buyer, one who ships horses to slaughter in Mexico. The woman saw him and purchased him then had him brought to her farm. She soon realized that Flip was going to be more of a challenge than she anticipated and more time to gentle than she had time to do. So She contacted Scott Litherland and surrendered him to Scott. Scott brought Flip to Alder Hill Farm last year when he took the position of head horseman.

It didn't take long to discover that Flip (named that because one of his ears is broken over ) had not only been treated badly and had many fear issues, but he also was an untitled mustang.

Leslie Maxwell works with Flip in
the Alder Hill Farm  Rescue Round Pen.
A year ago the only one who could
safely get near Flip was AHF's
Head Horseman, Scott Litherland.. 
Flip is a special boy who needs on
going special attention . To see
about Sponsoring Flip or one of
the other horses in Sanctuary At
Alder Hill Farm please go to their
website and contact them:

Now most of the readers probably understand by now that  to get a titled mustang means that you have given a year to your newly adopted mustang and provided for him and have worked to gentle him and have met the minimum requirements. When the time is up an inspector for the Bureau of Land Management will come and inspect your premises and make sure your mustang 's situation has met BLM requirements. Once you have satisfied the requirements you will receive the title for your mustang. Which means you legally own him and are responsible for him and you can sell or keep him just like any other horse.

Leslie Maxwell in the  round pen
with Flip as he wears a Saddle
for the very first time Since he came to AFH
with Scott Litherland last year from Oklahoma.

In the mean time Flip has been gelded and had to deal with a number of fear and health issues. Flip is slowly coming to trust the people of his new home where, once the paperwork is complete, he will be a sanctuaried permanent resident of Alder Hill Farm. It has only been in the last few weeks that Flip has begun to show enough progress so that more of his basic formal training can begin.

It is a real milestone in Flip's ongoing story, for this wonderful resilient mustang to have carried a saddle for the first time,  this month and connected with his first woman handler, in Leslie Maxwell.

If you would like to help fund the mustangs at Alder Hill Farm or perhaps adopt or sponsor a horse in their care please contact them through their website:

Just a Side note: This past summer, during the high temperatures and drought in Missouri, Filp had some problems with the extreme heat. A lot of horses in the region who were 15 or older dropped condition in order to contend with the heat. In Flips case he had to be bathed, fed electrolytes and a special diet and checked hourly. It was like intensive care. He was moved closer to Scott and his fiancĂ©e, Karen Hester. Karen spent many hours working with Flip to help him stay on his feet and lower his body temperature. Through Scott and Karen's tireless efforts  Flip is gaining weight and growing stronger every day. The reason he appears so thin in one of the above photos is because he is slowly recovering from the ordeal and gaining in strength every day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Challenge Painting #198 Rescue Honey at Alder Hill Farm in Missouri

Update on Honey,
The Branson Mustang At Alder Hill Farm
"Waiting for Motherhood"
Honey a Branson Mustang
4 by 6 inches Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist
Last winter we followed the attempts of the Alder Hill Farm Staff to capture three abandoned horses running loose on a 200plus acre abandoned subdivision near Branson, Missouri. After several attempts to catch the horses, it was discovered by accident, that the horses were not abandoned. They actually belonged to a family that basically kept these adult horses as pets, much like people keep dogs.

As it turned out the three horses were two brothers and a sister from the family’s adopted BLM mustangs. The young mare 3 years old  was the last of the offspring. Her name was Honey.

The first thing Alder Hill did was to geld the two stallion brothers, Sprit and Prancer. ( Ages 8 and 10 respectively). Their younger sister was brought in and, after a brief time in quarantine, to make sure she wasn’t contagious or had any illness, Honey was released in to Alder Hill Farm’s  herd  to grow up and just be a horse. Very shortly after her arrival at Alder Hill Farm, an appointment was made to take Honey to the Vet .  She  was to be checked for pregnancy. If the  breeding was recent then the pregnancy would be terminated because she was a full sister to  the two possible stallions. 

Honey standing behind her dominant Brother Spirit when
Alder Hill Farm Staff was called in to rescue what the community
thought were abandoned horses. It turned out
that their owners just didn't have time for the horses.
Being mustangs, the three decided to take care
of themselves.They found their way out of their rickety pasture
and into the lush grass of the abandoned development.
Photo courtesy of Alder Hill Farm Rescue.
As it turned out the pregnancy was too far along to  terminate, So  Honey will have a foal. Since there  is no certainty as to when the foal will come, the best guess is that it will be here sometime in  November. According to Leslie Maxwell, preparations are already underway to  give Honey and her new baby  a comfortable nursery.

Honey will at some point be available to adopt, but not until after her foal is born and weaned and Honey undergoes some under saddle training.  Right now Honey has very basic skills to make it safe to handle her and keep her healthy.
Because of the large number of surplus horses currently in the USA, Alder Hill Farm’s policy is to not allow breeding of the mares they adopt out and to geld all stallions to make sure they don’t breed. However, in the case of Honey and any other horse surrendered to the rescue,  the safety and well being of the horse is their first priority.
When Honey has her foal  I will paint that story too.

If you would like to know more about Alder Hill Farm in Missouri and the horses they have available to adopt please go to

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Challenge Painting #197 Rescue Frost at Alder Hill Farm in Missouri

The Premarin foals: Mustang /Paint Cross Frost.

4 by 6 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

Frost, a mustang/paint cross at
 Today's painting is of Frost a beautiful chestnut roan pinto from the Premarin  Mustang/Paint babies. This horse is available to an approved  experienced horse person. Frost has been trained to halter and some very basic ground work.  He will need the same time and patience as any mustang.

To read more about Alder Hill Farm and to see which horses are currently available to adopt go to

Challenge Painting #196 Rescue Cheyenne at Alder Hill Farm in Missouri

Editor's Note: Alder Hill Farm is no longer an active Rescue.

 The Premarin foals: Mustang Paint Cross Cheyenne.
Challenge Painting for Tuesday, September 21, 2011

4 by 6 inch watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

There were four BLM branded mustang mares in the production line in  the North Dakota Premarin Ranch.  All during their pregancy the mares were held in stanchions and their urine was collected to  make the drug Premarin. Premarin was used predominantly as a treatment for menopause in women. Today other drugs can be used with better results. Their foals were the by product of the production.

The mustang mares had been bred to American Paint horses. In addition 55 other foals  had been produced from Pemarin appaloosa mares. All  the offspring were purebred  papered/registered Appaloosas. Drug manufacturers like to use pure bred animals to test their products. All 59 of these foals were at  an auction house waiting to be sold  to use for drug and medical testing.

Cheyenne, a Premarin Mustang-Paint,
has found freedom and safety
at Alder Hill Farm in Missouri.
Photo used by permission.
 That day when Leslie and her husband, Craig Maxwell, found the foals they made a life changing decision. They rescued 59 six-month-old foals. And thus The Alder Hill Farm Rescue was begun. That was in 2004. Today the foals are in various stages of training. The Maxwells and head horseman Scott Litherland are working to train the horses and place them into good homes.

Little Joe from my previous post is one of those three currently available for adoption. A 4th Carmel, has orphan foal syndrome and is permanent sanctuary at Alder Hill farm. You can read Carmel's story in two parts Here: 
Part 1 -
Part 2 -

Today's painting is of Cheyenne a beautiful bay pinto from the Premarin  Mustang-paint babies. This horse is available to an approved  experienced horse person. Cheyenne has been trained to halter and some very basic ground work.  She will need the same time and patience as any mustang. To read more about Alder Hill Farm and to see which horses are currently available to adopt go to

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Challenge Painting #195 Rescue Little Joe at Alder Hill Farm in Missouri

"Little Joe"
4 by 6 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

Little Joe is one of  three mustang paint crosses that were rescued as foals.  You can find out more about him and his adopt-ability by contacting Alder Hill Farm Rescue  at  A portion of the sale of this painting will go to Alder Hill Farm for the up keep of its Sanctuary Mustangs.

Little Joe and some of the herd at Alder Hill Farm  spend some
quality time with head horseman  Scott Litherland.
Alder Hill Farm takes equines of every breed and every color.
Included  in their herd of over 90 horses, are 9 mustangs
and 3 BLM Burros.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Challenge Painting #194 Ready to Adopt from Alder Hill Farm Dolly in Missouri

4" by  6" Watercolor
by LindaLMartin Artist
Alder Hill's Description of Dolly:

9 year-old BLM branded and titled mustang,(CA girl) 15h, 1000 lbs, $1,000 adoption fee

Alder Hill Farm is excited to offer our first BLM branded mustang for adoption! Dolly is another very special former abuse case that is now ready for a new home. Due to the previous abuse, Dolly may ONLY be ridden in a Little S Hackamore with a very light hand, but she is fully saddle-trained and looking for her new home!

Dolly in the Round Pen
Last spring after a winter off.

Dolly was rescued by Scott Litherland from a KB auction severely underweight and very frightened of people. Dolly has blossomed into a beautiful girl and a complete love bug! Send your applications now, this special girl will NOT be available for long!!!"

If you would be interested in Dolly or any of their other horses available for adoption you can contact Alder Hill Farm  through their website:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Challenge Painting #193 Viggo Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA

5 by 5 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Reference Photo for this painting by
Sand Wash Basin Documenting Photographer Sally Wright

To read more about the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses "like" the  club page on facebook

Challenge Painting #192 Cosmo Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA

Sand Wash Basin Band Stallion
5 by 5 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Challenge Painting #191 Cody Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA

Cody is one of several Bay roan band stallions on  Sand Wash Basin HMA. 
5 by 5 inches Watercolor
by Artist LindaLMartin

Roan's usually come in three colors Strawberry or Red roan, Bay roan, Blue roan( born black) but can actually be any color even dun or palomino. Roans are not the same color as  grays and not even the same genes.

Here is how you tell the difference: A gray horse will start out solid and by the time it is an adult it will turn almost solid white with very little of its original color still left.  A roan horse, on the other hand, will turn lighter on the  main part of its body, but will stay dark on its head and face, legs and usually its tail and mane.
Although there are sometimes a few lighter hairs that show up in the mane and tail.

Reference Photo of Cody
by Sally E Wright.
Used by Permission

Another unique feature of a roan is that every time there is an injury anywhere on a roan's body and the hair is scraped off, the original color of the horse's hair grows back when the injury is healed.  This is especially interesting when you see band stallions that get into a lot of fights. Sometimes they have so many splotches of color from old injuries they all most look like appaloosa horses. They of course are not.

To read more about the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses "like" the  club page on facebook

Challenge Painting #190 Penny Lane Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover Horse

This is Penny Lane.

Penny Lane
"Ready For Anything"
8 by 10 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

She and trainer Madeleine LeClerc are ready for anything in this weekends Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Worth, Texas. Madeleine has been working with two horses, Penny Lane and Desert First to compete in this years competition.
To read more about the Mustang Makeovers go to  If you happen to be in the Fort Worth Area stop in and see the exhibits and the competition.

A special thanks to Madeleine LeClerc and Robert Carlson for allowing me to follow them through paintings during the Road to the Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover. Good Luck to them both. And Thanks to Amy Spivey of Lightning Bug Creek Photography for the use of the reference photography.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Challenge Painting #189 Silverado Band Stallion of the Sand Wash Basin HMA Colorado

of  Sand Wash Basin HMA
5 by 5 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist
Reference Photography courtesy John Wagner
contact the artist for availability of the painting

Friday, September 9, 2011

Challenge Painting #188 Blazer Band Stallion of the Sand Wash Basin HMA Colorado

Blazer, Band Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA
Band Stallion Sand Wash Basin HMA
5 by 5 inches Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

Blazer is a Band Stallion that lives with his harem of mares in the Sand Wash Basin HMA in Colorado. Blazer currently has one Mare as of this writing. Her name is Mystic. She and all the horses on the Sand Wash Basin HMA have been given names by the photo-documenters for identification purposes. On the The Sand Wash Basin the number of stallions to mares as of the last BLM Round up of 2008,  is that the stallions far out number the mares. This makes the competition very tough for a stallion to build up a band of any size.

Often when visiting the Sand Wash Basin, the photographers come back with updates on all the changes. It is not unusual for a mare to be with more than one stallion during the season. Not at the same time of course but as the stallions vie for mares upand coming younger stallions steal to build their harems steal from who ever is easiest. The one stallion that seems more consistent than all the others is Corona. He is an older more powerful stallion and at least up through this year he has managed not only to keep all his mares but  he keeps his band away from those who would ursurp his power.

 When you have an opportunity to visit Sand Wash Basin and see a band  it is important to know that what you are seeing might be a band of one mare and stallion and their offspring. Sometimes if a mare has been stolen she will leave her weanling and yearling behind. So a band of 6 or 7 may have a stallion, a mare, and 2 yearlings, 2 weanlings and perhaps a two year old that hasn't left the band yet.

Blazer's reference photo is by John Wagner. John has been a frequent visitor to the Sand Wash Basin HMA in the last few years. So far he has published two books of photography. The first was on the life of a family of eagles,First Flight the Journey of a Man and an Eagle and the Second on the Herd of Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses near Craig, Colorado,The Magnificent Wild Mustangs of Sand Wash Basin
. You can find out more about Johns trips and his books through Facebook.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Challenge Painting #187 Honor Band Stallion of the Steens HMA

Honor Band Stallion of the Steens in Oregon:
Honor of the Steens
5 by 5 inch Watercolor
 by  LindaLMartinArtist

When I saw the reference shot for this painting I was in awe. Maggie J Rothauge, also the heart behind Oregon's Wild Side, had captured the Steens Band Stallion Honor managing his mares. In the behavior known as snaking, a wild stallion will lower his head, flatten his ears against his head, purse his lips, always ready to nip if need be" and move his head in the direct he wants his mares to  move in.

This snaking behavior can also infrequently be seen in dominant mares in domestic or wild herds. Lead mares are the mares who are in the front of the herd leading the way. They also are more dominant and as such they reach food first and drink first and  their foals tend to be more favored .

Generally the lead mare will lead the band  to their next location often choosing when and what to east, while the stallion takes up the rear, fighting off challengers if they appear. He also is  ready to nip at the heals of the slow, reluctant and rebellious. While the band stallion  protects the herd front he back, the lead mare keeps the band moving forward. A good lead mare can make or break  a stallion trying to attain breeding rights to more mares, as she will lead the band to the stallion if they are separated and she will help him in defending the young.

Honor Snaking by Maggie J
Used by permission

While the dominant mare is leading the band, the stallion will also use the snaking motion to run around the outside of the band and keep them tightly together. This behavior reminds the mares and young that he is the boss and is to be obeyed. It also prevents a mare from lagging  or being separated from the group and thus an easy target for another stallion to steal.

To see more of Maggie's Photography please check out her page Oregon's Wild Side on Facebook 

There are more photo's of Honor there and many of the other horses of the Steens.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Challenge Painting #186 Terri Nutter's Mustang "Dammit" From Wyoming

Terri Nutter's Mustang "Dammit" was caught outside of  an HMA so she doesnt know the exact Horse Management Area of origin. As best she can tell  he was captured on the private land in an area bordering Conant Creek HMA in Wyoming.

5 by 5 inch Watercolor
by Linda L Martin Artist

 One of the common misconception is that all mustangs managed by the Bureau of  Land Management ( BLM) are on Federal lands. But in many cases the area of management is bordered or checker-boarded with privately owned lands. The horses of course don't know the difference. Sometimes they have to migrate through private lands to get to grazing or water.

Occasionally they stop and take up residence. Sometimes wild stallions will pick up domestic mares or domestic mares will join up with a herd passing through. This is one of the management issues that many people dont know about. The resulting foals can mean a huge financial liability for the rancher. Some ranchers even hire people to take the weaned wild foals from their domestic mares and train them and then either adopt them out or sell them. Because the foals aren't caught and branded by the BLM they are not as desirable as those who are completely wild and have the brand. This  becomes a huge problem for the rancher.

The BLM must depend on good relationships with land owners and  land associations in order to give the wild horses a free passage. When the horses become over populated  on private land, the BLM must go in and remove the animals. This has led to a lot of confusion in past months. Especially in Wyoming where the herds have prospered so well on private lands that the Land Associations are demanding that the BLM do something to control the populations. This of course has caused a lot of controversy mostly because the average horse loving American who doesn't understand the nature of the problem.

The best I can explain it to those who are in the East is the issue of the white tailed deer population. In Virginia the populations in the last 30 years have bounced back by careful management to the point of nearing overpopulation and presenting hazards to travelers and financial losses to farmers. In communities where the animals historically lived that were once country sides with large working  farms, the animals have become urbanized. Meaning as developments went in they live in gardens and feast off of peoples' flowering plants and back yard fruit trees in suburban neighborhoods and parks.
In the country, in Virginia, especially next to National Parks where there are no predators for deer, the animals come down out of the parks seeking food and found a feast of apples and other fruit from the apple growers. Deer don't just eat the fruit they eat the entire tree and this causes millions of dollars in damages each year. 
The Fish and Game Department in Virginia will allow animals that are too dependent on  human food sources to be shot with a special permit. They must be on the farmer's land and  there is a limit as to how many can be shot per permit. The reason seems to be that there are so many deer, that to trap and release the trouble makers wont solve the problem. Since deer are migratory animals just like horses they would just find a new source in the new location. In this economy feeding wild animals, which is actually against the law  in most states and on Federal land, could make or break someone who is trying  to produce food to feed the nation.

The most difficult problem is that too many wild horses on private land uses up valuable resources that the ranchers need for their own live stock. This includes grazing and water but also feed in winter. In drought years this can be a disaster both for the animals and the financial stability of the rancher. Wild horses need space to roam in order to stay healthy but a farmer cannot take on the feeding of  100 or more wild horses and still be able to keep his fences in good repair or feed and cloth his family.

There is also the problem of  dependency if a  wild horse starts eating from the livestock stores on a regular basis.When a wild horse becomes dependent on feed from a rancher, they often associate  them as the food source. Yet wild horses who are not afraid of humans, but have not learned respect can cause more than just damage from eating. They also have no limits around humans and can become dangerous and aggressive toward them just like any other wild animal, such as a deer or bear, once they associate food with humans.

The issue of wild horses  is  a complex one to say the least. The solution right now is rounding up a portion of the horses and  allowing them to be adopted. Many other solutions are being discussed and tested through out the BLM managed lands.

In the Case of Dammit there was a happy ending when Terri adopted him. Having Dammit, has been a very positive experience. This wild horse is full of personality and smarts. Like many wild horses, he likes to play and he loves attention. In Terri's words " I don't know how I lived all these years with out a Mustang."  His name might be Dammit but to Terri and her family this pretty boy is a blessing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Challenge Painting #185: Dessert First Getting Ready for the Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover .

Dessert First

Dessert First
8 by 10 Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

I can hardly believe that the Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover is coming up This weekend in Ft. Worth Texas! Tonights painting is of  Madeleine LeClerc's Dessert First(Desi). This adorable little chestnut mare was full of surprises when Madeleine began her training back in May.

First she was the least shy and most accepting and genuinely wanted to go to work. She also turned out to be not only the Alpha mare but the Alpha horse when she was turned out with the other horses at liberty for the first time. She has personality and a cute streak that Photographer Amy Spivey has caught over and over during this training period with Madeleine.

Desi being Bold.
This mustang has only
been in training since May
with Madeleine LeClerc.

Desi is small in stature( 13.2) yet big and bold of heart. She doesn't back down until the job is done. Madeleine has  practiced all sorts of useful activities with her, from trail and obstacle work, to  cattle  and last weekend  little Desi was in her first hunter show. She placed in all for  her events, proving her versatility.

Special Thanks to Amy Spivey for all of the reference photos of the Supreme Extreme Mustangs. See more of Amy's work at Lightning Bug Creek Photography on facebook:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Challenge Painting #184: Oliver

Lona Patton's Oliver
"Oliver At Play"
5 by 5 inches Watercolor
Oliver is a 16 hand, 15 year old Salt Wells HMA mustang gelding out of WY. 

Oliver's Story in Lona's Words:

“ He was captured at age two and went to an adopter in Pinedale, WY where he experienced some scary situations from her husband, like being roped to the ground on several occasions, blind folded and ear bit while some teens hired to mend fence thought they would cowboy break him, being caught and kicked off the property shortly after saddling him...Oliver then ran loose on thousands of acres with other horses for 8 years, never truly being gentled, much less saddle broke. 

He had developed a severe fear of saddles and ropes, and when the woman adopter got divorced, she had to give up Oliver. He went to another home with a good friend of mine for a little over a year, maybe two,  but were unable to train him or get past his highly reactive horsenality due to his past. 

Her (now ex) husband made her get rid of him.  Rather than take him to auction where he surely would have been bought up by kill buyers for slaughter, she chose to give him to me, with my promise that he would have a forever home and never again suffer from abuse or threat of going to slaughter. That was in 2005.
For the next few years, we (my daughter and I) worked with him on many of his issues, overcoming his fear of ropes, learning to lead and load in a trailer, learning to trust. It was a long road, and several times, I almost gave up hope to be quite honest.  My husband was getting a bit perturbed  with me having and feeding an unrideable horse.

Then in 2009, I met Ken's wife DeeDee.  I watched Ken work with a wild one during a demo at the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse adoption.  I decided then and there that I would hire Ken McNabb to train my big beautiful boy. He had the MUSTANG experience that Oliver would need, as well as a kind and gentle hand with horses, and had strong Christian values, which are important to me. “

Ken McNabb  and his apprentice Cody Black gave Oliver the patience and time he needed to over  come his fears and learn to trust again. Oliver’s training went so well that Oliver was even the grand finale of Ken's mustang series in his training show on RFD-TV last April.  Oliver returned to Lona and her family of mustangs and has shown himself to be bright intelligent and  a very willing and useful horse. 

You can read more of Oliver's Story here:!/note.php?note_id=417715051770&id=100000171522583&ref=mf

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Challenge Painting #183: Wadatika Of Coyote Lakes HMA Oregon

Wadatika is Tracey Westbury's  beautiful and elegant red dun Mustang. 

"Fire in the Wind"
Tracey Westbury's Waditika
5 by 5 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartin Artist
Waditika by Tracey Westbury
Used by Permission
  This amazing mare, according to Tracey, is very good with younger horses and  and is very shy with strangers. Sometimes she is known as "Tika the Diva" and such a pretty girl too. She well lives up to her Hollywood moniker as is shown with some amazing images of Tika and Tracey's beautiful daughter. Tracy has a wide and varied collection of photos of this amazing mustang beauty. It was really hard to decide which one I wanted to paint from for this project. But I loved the way the light looked on her mane. It was like fire coming through her mane in this reference shot.

I hope I was able to capture at least a small portion of the spirit of Tika.

Tracey Westbury is an avid horse woman, TIP Trainer, EMM Trainer and works tirelessly through her non-profit, MustangU to help get as many gathered mustangs from Oregon herds adopted as possible.