Thursday, February 21, 2013

Origins of Today's Wild Horses, Are Some Perhaps Ancient?

This week on the Mustang a Day Challenge I am painting and telling the stories of the Alberta Provence Wild Horses in Canada. Since I became ill with some sort of cold  right in the middle of it I thought I would take a break from painting today and share with you all some interesting natural history. 

The first thing I came across was this wonderful video of the Reconstruction of an Ice Age Yukon Wild Horse, Pretty inters testing. (please read further after you watch.)  There is some very interesting discussion on the page under the video. I don’t necessarily agree with everything written there; however, it is informative and thought provoking.

Then I thought well why not do a bit of a comparison between the Restoration Tarpan and the  reconstructed  Yukon Wild horse. And I thought to throw in the finer boned version of the Alberta Wild horses. I want to say that unless some significant DNA  testing is done on both the living and the dead all thoughts are conjecture. However, I think anything is possible regarding these horses until proven otherwise.
The Restoration Tarpan here in Virginia seems to have a build much like the
Ice Age Yukon Wild Horse. The photo on the right was taken  in 2011.

Lastly is a video of the Konik horses.  These wild horses, like the Restoration Tarpan are the descendants of the last living Tarpan in captivity. The horses in the wild were long ago hunted to extinction as pests to crops and livestock and for food. Some however were captured  and used as beasts of burden and transportation. These were also bred privately in captivity.  I managed to find online in Wikipedia a copy of the only known image of a living Tarpan.
I accidentally forgot to turn off the gray scale feature before I inserted
Ken's image just taken in the past year of an Alberta wild horse. I was
quite astonished as to how similar the facical features of the Alberta horse is
compared to the actual Tarpan. Both horses are stallions. Click on the image to see it larger.
This horse was kept captive in Russia. It was a blue dun, 18 years old when the photo was taken.  Oddly enough the lighter boned wild horses of Alberta look very much like the Tarpan photo graphed in the Russian Zoo.
Here is the photo Ken took with the color turned on. In reading some of
the research materials I learned that  Blue dun is also a form of
black, red dun and bay.

 Some say the last remaining wild Tarpan died in 1906 in a zoo.  Yet there is documentation by the Smithsonian that the true resurrection of the Tarpan came about as a result of Nazi genetic experiments. The desire to resurrect the Tarpan gave the Nazi scientists the justification for raiding zoos across Europe and confiscating 500 acres of pristine ancient old growth oak forests in Poland. The project while very politically motivate allowed for the preservation of many of Poland’s ancient and rare species in a protected island amid the destruction of WW2.( To read the article : Galloping Ghosts :

Today some of the characteristics of the ancient horses are not only showing up in Canada old growth forests but also In the high desert horses of the USA. The American Mustang, according to one article I saw said   that any wild horse in North America that has the characteristics of the Tarpan or even the Yukon Wild Horse should be tested for links and gene markers of the ancient horses and preserved not as feral, but as truly wild and native to the land.

Even if nothing else. North American Wild horses need to be preserved  not only for their historic significance in building our countries but also  the herds’ ability to help replenish the land, and its potential connection to its ancient ancestors.

Konik  are still currently being used in reforestation projects and to restore and maintain wetlands and tributary health in countries like France, Netherlands and Scotland.
One interesting thing about the Konik is that they tend to resemble the Preswiski’s and Mongolian horses in build and head shape. The restoration Tarpan tends to be closer to the reconstructed Yukon Wild horse  while the images of the Tarpan that existed favor many of the Alberta horses.

I don’t come to any conclusions about whether the horses of North America are distinctly and continuously living descendents of the original horses. But I do think that more study is due these amazing horses to investigate those possibilities. Even without the  study into the genetic origins all the wild horses make significant contributions to be considered precious enough to maintain and protect in both Canada and the USA as Heritage Herds.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Helping Raise Money for the Wild Horse And Burro Association

This Week: I am offering 4 original paintings of South Steens Wild Horses in Oregon to raise money for the Wild Horse and Burro Association. Several of these magnificent horses passed away in 2012. One very popular band stallions Golden Boy was humanely destroyed after fatal injuries due to fighting. The mare, Jingles, was believed to be aged at 28 years old and produced her last foal,  a beautiful chocolate silver stud colt in 2011. She managed to stay with the colt even through declining conditions until it was strong enough to survive alone in the band. She died of natural causes. These are memorials to these wonderful wild horses.

The Wild Horse and Burro Association offers a number of support opportunities for owners of adopted Wild Mustangs as well as a registration service to help keep track of the horses and potentially reward those in competitions to show chase these amazing animals. I support this fledgling organization because I believe that working together to protect those that have been adopted as well as those in the wild is the best way to preserve our living wild mustang horse heritage.

 To bid ask to join the group via Facebook at this address.
Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mustang A Day Challenge goes Video A Day For February!

Painting the Horses of the Owyhee Complex

Artist Linda L. Martin started off 2013 with a powerful project of depicting the Horses of  the Owyhee Complex Gather in Nevada through graphite, watercolors and oils. Nevada. There was a BLM management round up held there in December and January. With the help of BLM photography she was able to capture a number of unique qualities in these wild horses that sets them apart from other herds in different management areas.  Signed Reproductions will be available on Etsy Beginning February 11th. 
Working Mustangs Series:

Ms Martin began a series of graphite drawings on January 27th depicting the versatility and usefulness of  Mustangs that  had been adopted and trained. This will be an ongoing series through the Month of February as the reference photography comes in. Drawings will be posted on the Mustang A Day challenge Blog as they are completed, however will not be on consecutive days due to a full February Schedule of commissions and break off projects.

The first prints of these will be available on the Mustang A Day Challenge Etsy Store Beginning on February 5th, 2013. And also on the Wild Horse And Burro Association Auction Barn on Facebook. A portion of the proceeds from the auction sales will go to the new Association program to help promote adoption and on going education and support of  adopted mustangs and their owners.

Mustang A Day Challenge Online Video Project.

A number of break off projects are developing from the Mustang A Day Challenge. The long awaited Video project began on February 1st. The Video project will be a Video a Day project produced and released on Youtube. You can view the daily video’s here.

Videos will vary in length from 30 second show casespots to 3 minute educational shots. Mixed in the story lines for the educational videos will be selected representations by photographers who have contributed to the Mustang A Day Challenge project since 2010.  The show case videos will present paintings that have been featured in the Challenge project along with purchase information. The longer educational Videos will tell stories of Actual horses in the wild and the stories of some of the adopted horses to show people some of the aspects of herd dynamics and range life.

Opportunity to participate in the Mustang A Day Challenge Project:
If you are interested in helping to promote the challenge and its activities please contact  LindaLMartin at Please write  MADCProject Participation  in the subject line.