Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mustang A Day Challenge Painting # 325 Picasso, Close up. Sand Wash Basin HMA Band Stallion

"Picasso, Close Up"
4 by 6 inches Watercolor Study
by LindaLMartinArtist

I am a bit pensive these days and I think this little study expresses it nicely. John Wagner just returned from Sand Wash Basin with some lovely photos of  little Mimi and her father,  Picasso. The more the documentors photograph and share them with us the more insight I get into the nature of the gentle affection between these band stallions and the offspring of their mares. I wonder in all of Picasso's possibly 24 years what he thinks of and what he  remembers. I saw a photo of him once in the midst of a huge herd of horses at Sand Wash Basin. It was impossible to tell if some of the mares were his. I imagine that most of the horses were removed very soon after that. I didn't recognize a single horse except him in all the 50 or 60 horses in that shot. That photo was taken in 2005.

Some one told me in 2010, in the course of the beginning of the challenge, that when the 2008 round up came about that Picasso refused to be caught. In fact he was so good at evading capture that they finally had to go get him and bring him in the old fashioned way. They chased him down on horses and roped him. I'm so glad none of us who know him now had seen it.

Bad things can happen to wild horses when they are roped. As the story goes he was slated to be removed. However, I was told, the representative from the HSUS who was helping do a PZP study on the herd begged them to release him. And they did. Thankfully. While there were some incidences from that round up that were not the BLM's shining hour, the removal at that time, of selected horses, and all of them under the age of 4, boosted the vigor of the herd.  Even in the drought that began back in the winter with very little snow the majority of the horses where Picasso and his band live are thriving and healthy. In fact some are pretty heavy which is good for the herd heading into winter. Winter can be very brutal in that part of  Colorado.

Picasso was famous long before that round up as there were photos all over the world  of this horse at some point. I had seen some of them myself in different places long escaping my memory. None of us knew his name or where he was from at the time. How could we? No one was documenting the herd  at Sand Wash Basin HMA in any great detail until after that 2008 round up. Yet I had seen photos of him long before I knew where he was or that he had been named by followers of the herd.

The BLM announced a few weeks ago, at the last meeting of the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses Club meeting  some one told me,  that the next round up was now scheduled for September 2013. Everyone of us seemed to think of poor Tripod. He is the crippled son of  Corona and Cheyenne. He is a coming 3 year old and has been on his own running with the Bachelors for almost a year. We are worried about him, wondering if he could make it through a helicopter round up. There are already people who want to put him in sanctuary if he can be safely caught. And to soften the blow the horse specialists are entertaining bids for bait trapping. It seems like the Sand Wash Basin is a great candidate for an "alternative style of gather.". They want to take 200 of the current herd sized 340 give or take a horse at the last tally.

The growth rate on the range there seems to have slowed a bit thanks to the PZP study. We are all hoping that this will be the last gather ever on the Sand Wash Basin HMA. I have mixed feelings about Picasso. He is down to one mare and he is 24 and still producing foals; however, at some point his last mare will be stolen by a younger stronger stallion, as is the way of the range. Would it be better for him to stay on the range and let his certain life drama play out or would it be better to remove him and get him into a protected sanctuary where he can run free and live out his life never to be chased again. Ive not enough wisdom to answer that question.

Last year when Lightning lost his mares, He fretted and chased and lost conditon. It was really painful to watch, but he eventually adjusted. And now they tell me he is alone part of the time and with the young bachelors part of the time. And I have a feeling that if he has an opportunity he will grab a mare when no one is looking. That wouldn't be such a bad life for Picasso.

In the mean time, three of the photographers are going to publish a book of their photographs and thoughts. John Wagner is one of them. He has been letting me paint from his shots for nearly 2 years.  I will keep painting  the horses of the Sand Wash Basin as long as he and the others allow me to use their shots as references. This is an amazing time for all of us.

Would you like to follow the Sand Wash Basin Herd? The new club has been formed. You can be a part of the action by donating, volunteering to help clean up the range, naming a foal, sponsoring a horse and even going out to photograph.

  On Line? Here is what you can do:
Join the club!  http://
Follow the herd on the blog:
Interact with photographers and other club members at the Facebook page:
Special thanks to John Wagner for the awesome reference shots for this and all the horses in the series of Sand Wash Basin paintings for this Summer.   Please check out his awesome photos on the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses Club page on Facebook.

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