Tag Archives: horse drawings

Run Find Out

sketch of horse and cat

“Run Find Out Meets BackOff Bozo”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

We visited a friend’s pasture in South Carolina over the Thanksgiving Holiday, and I spent a chilly afternoon observing and photographing while the guys messed around with fences.  When we pulled up in the truck, it was thrilling as twelve horses thundered up to us.  “Be careful,” Jim warned us, “They won’t kick you but they will kick each other and you might be in the way.”  Hmm.  They dropped me off and headed down the road.

A sorrel came trotting right up to me.  I learned later from Jim that his name is “Run Find Out!” for obvious reasons.  He nuzzled my shoulder.  Then my coat pockets – got any apples?  We began a little waltz around the trunk of an oak tree as the rest of the herd drifted away to the barn.  I know enough about horses to know that it takes the average horse 30 seconds to recognize a Horse Averse Human (H.A.H.!), and then they begin to plot their mischief.  I am not so much averse as I am… shall we say, cautious.  I’ve wound up in too many ditches and puddles and hedges to be enthusiastic.

A very vocal grey and white tomcat appeared from behind a pile of fenceposts to join our waltz. To my relief, the horse was more interested in the cat than in me, so I left our dance floor and stood back with my camera.  The horse was getting a bit too familiar for the cat’s liking, so the thought bubble here would be, “Back off, Bozo!”  What a brave little cat to challenge such a huge beast! Eventually Run Find Out trotted off to find out how the fence was coming along, and the cat and I both retired to the protection of the pile of fenceposts, where he snooped for mice and I continued to enjoy the sunset and the unhurried pace of the pasture.

Process:  The cat happened by itself pretty much – a couple of lucky strokes with pale blue watercolor and bingo – grey cat!  I proved to myself once again with the horse that Nature Sketch 130 lb. sketchbooks can’t handle all the layers of paint and pencil that I want.  The background, representing leaves on winter grass, was a few blotches of pale brown watercolor , let dry, china marker blades of grass in random patterns, then green watercolor blades made with the nearly-dry bristles of a square brush.  Kinda looks snowy!

Elkhorn’s Spotted Pony

Appaloosa pony

"Nike, Two-Year-Old Appaloosa", mixed media by Kerry McFall

The first horse I ever sat upon was Tony, my grandfather’s  cranky old pony, and none of the three of us was sorry when the “ride” was over.  The next horse, attempted on a 6th-grade dare, was an unnamed booger on a Klamath Falls ranch, who slammed on the brakes at the irrigation ditch, sending me on alone into the alfalfa field.  The third and final attempt was aboard “Smackwater Jack” somewhere near Atlanta, Georgia.   When Jack smacked the water with his hoof, it meant he was going to roll over in the creek… thus ended a short-lived career as a horsewoman.  As a result, I never did ask for a pony for my birthday.  I never drew endless sketches of horses, or went neighing and galloping around the playground like so many of my girl friends.  In college, I did develop a liking for cowboys – well, bull riders really, but I digress… cowboys aside, I have recently developed an appreciation for what graceful creatures horses are.  I’d like to start some of those horse drawings now that I skipped before, if you please!

Our trip to Elkhorn Valley last week wasn’t quite what I had hoped, given that I was sick with a rotten cold/flu, but that gave me a good excuse for just hanging around at the Elkhorn Valley Inn B&B, relaxing, coughing, and sketching.  The unexpected bonus was Nike, this two-year-old Appaloosa pony in the pasture beside the pergola.  She was a decent model, even though she didn’t hold poses for longer than it took to pull up the next thistle or whatever prickly things she kept eating.  She’s never been ridden yet, so she didn’t give me that knowing look that horses usually do… “So, Sucker, wanna have another go?”  She was just happy for company, especially since she couldn’t reach the blueberry bushes on my side of the fence.  Her destiny is to be a trail horse starting next summer, taking riders up into the glorious old growth timber of Opal Creek and neighboring forest lands – not a bad way to live, if you’re a horse.  But with a name like Nike, it does seem a bit mundane.