This is how it startedJustin’s idea of painting began when he reached for the riding whip and drew in the sand.

He  took my whip with his mouth, as I tightened the girth, and drew in the sand. I was annoyed by his silliness because by the time I was ready to ride and get to work. He was delaying our ride as long as he could. Then there was this amazing moment when I simply watched him as he was drawing. As I watched It looked like he was making brush strokes like a painter.

I said, “OK, so this is what you have been trying to tell me, you want to paint? Really?

But you’re a horse.

It was as if his comment back to me was “You noticed.”

“Do you want to paint houses or fences or something like that?”

“No, I want to paint pictures.”

“But you’re a horse, you have hooves, how will you hold the brushes or are you going to use your tail?”

“I’ve been trying to show you how I can do it for a long time. I can hold the brush with my mouth, but I need your help.”

Once I discovered Justin’s desire to paint, I began working with him by teaching him to use his natural instinct of foraging. Sometimes horses pull up dirt and roots as they graze. It is very natural for them to scrape the grass back and forth on the ground to remove it. Justin used this natural motion to create brush strokes on the canvas placed on the ground.

After all, it was his idea to paint, so he knew instinctively how to hold the brush with his mouth and how to make strokes on a surface. I helped him learn how to apply the brush strokes on the canvas. It was like teaching a beginner in anything. Starting with the basics, one step at a time, and keeping them focused and interested.