Hazards of Plein Air Painting: Horses

These horses are curious about what is happening.

These horses are curious about what is happening.

Today I went over to my friend’s hay and horse farm to do a little plein air painting. I thought I would set up my easel in the dry lot with the horses. They all know me and are not afraid of me. You can see in the above photo they are looking at me but not running away. In fact, they were really happy to see me. They wouldn’t leave me alone.

Cookie, the black horse with a white blaze came over to me and stuck her nose on my nose for a sniff while Silkie, the bay horse with the white star, was behind me nibbling on my pony tail while I was fooling with my camera. Pretty soon I had 6 horses and a mini-mule around me, close, way too close. Not the safest place to be so I shooed them away and decided to set up outside the dry lot.

This horse is too close!

This horse is too close!

I am also a horse trainer and I know and ride most of these horses. Silkie is my lesson horse and listens to my verbal commands very well. My advice is not to go into a horse pen and paint with nothing separating you and the horse. They could step on you, kick or bite you or otherwise harm you. And they would want to sniff and play with your easel and otherwise get in your stuff. They are worse than dogs when they get curious. In my case, they would kill me with kindness as pretty soon one of them would decide to chase the rest away to monopolize the attention. That results in biting and kicking and a lot of running around by the herd. So stay on the other side of the fence and paint. Much safer and more productive, too.

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