Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New Blood- The Back Story of Shock Top and his Dam and Sire

Shock Top's Back Story along with the painting "New Blood"  Haze, Demi and Shock Top of Sand Wash Basin HMA

I love telling talking with mustang people and telling the stories of the horses as they relate them to me.

Find Prints of " New Blood" on Fine Art
The story of Shock Top is very interesting. Horses in the wild form bands. Meaning usually there is a stallion, a mare and their offspring. Bands tend to be very fluid especially when the Range becomes over crowded and there is not enough territory for the horses to stay spread out.   In the case of range stallion Davy G he had a mare a foal and one day a domestic horse the photographers named Demi showed up abandoned on the range.

No one knew where Demi came from or who abandoned her but it was very apparent that she was a beautiful well bred horse so the local BLM office put an add in the paper saying that she had been found. And that they were seeking someone to claim the mare. The only thing is that she was not branded. Thus there was no record anywhere of her or her owners.  Some suspected she simply escaped. Some thought maybe a family relocated from the east where there was not branding law. Others wondered if perhaps she had been stolen and because of her distinct markings they decided it was safer just to let her go on public land. 

There was no doubt that she was not wild as she willingly approached anyone and knew what apples were. A little known fact: Wild horses have no clue what domestic horse food is and they have to be taught to accept it. It has to be done slowly to not cause colic or ulcers.

Davy G quickly adopted Demi into his family with his older mare Yarrow.  All the time that Demi was with the small band she never came into foal. Then one day tragedy struck the small band.  The mighty stallion Davy G or Davy Greasewood was  mortally injured and had to be destroyed.

As often happens in the wild there is always a stallion waiting in the wings to take over when a band stallion is old, growing weak, or dies. Sometimes violent fighting occurs and the new stallion drives  the mares away. In the case of Davy G. The sorrel stallion Haze waited patiently until the mares were ready to leave and simply walked in and took over. The following year  Shock Top was born with his brilliant chestnut red and white splashes of color. 

A lot of people who do not know wild horses very well and only see them in movies or read about them in books do not understand that rarely do bands stay together for longer than 3 or 4 years. This helps preserve the diversity of the band and keeps them healthy.  It has other benefits as well because the older horses will teach the younger horses how to survive in the wild.

You can contact me directly about originals or commissions of your favorite horse of course and if I have a story about that horse and where he came from I will absolutely share it. To contact me directly email me at:

Reference photos for this painting came from John Wagner a frequent photographer of the Sand Wash Basin Herd in Colorado.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

PJ of Sand Wash Basin HMA Mustang A Day Challenge painting 456

PJ ( AKA Picasso Junior) 
Young Stallion of Sand Wash Basin HMA
Oil on Canvas Board
11 by 14
by Linda L Martin
$350 USD
Reference photographer John Wagner
to purchase:
or ( write painting in the subject line)

Update on Lightning: Painting Number 6 Mustang A Day Challenge

Originial Acrylic painting on canvas board
10 by 8 inches
Thanks to the many advocates and photographers following the Sand Wash Basin HMA in North West Colorado I have been able to follow through personal contact and on Facebook the many wild horses of this herd.

Lightning is among my favorites. This past winter he passed away of old age on the range where he was born. He was well over 20 years of age before he finally lost his band. The following is what I wrote regarding this magnificent stallion when I first posted this original painting in 2010:

"Lighting is a very flashy black  pinto horse with what appears to be a large white dagger on his face in the form of a blaze then a lighting mark on his left side neck and stomach. He has other white markings too. Lighting is a perfect example of the ever changing circumstances of the band stallions. Last year, according to heard watchers at Sand Wash Basin HMA, he had a small band of mares and foals, however by this summer one by one each mare had been stolen by other stallions. "

Later in his life in the months before his death, Lightening began to pal around with Picasso, one of the most famous wild pinto stallions in the west and certainly in Colorado. By this time Picasso had lost his mares as well and the two stallions kept each other company. They were seen frequently together on the range. It occurred to me as I heard and read the stories and observations, this is the way really long living wild stallions live in retirement. Rarely are wild horses, even stallions, alone and friendless in nature.

You can read more about Lightning and the other horses in the challenge on the Mustang A Day Blog:
Special Thanks to Nancy Roberts for the reference photography of Lightning.

See more of the Paintings I have done in collaboration with the Wild Horse Photographers and advocates here:

Thank you for looking. ~Linda