Monday, May 10, 2010

Touching Greatness in a Special Way

Sometimes platitudes of greatness are thrown around to easily. In horse racing this is often the case. We talk of greatness often prematurely, and are disappointed when our hopes for a race horse don't pan out.

Luckily, I am able through my volunteering as the "Artistic Director" for the Equine Expression paintings done for CERF (California Equine Retirement Foundation in Winchester, CA) to spend my time in a unique way and give back while touching true greatness in a very special way. I have the enviable task of creating artwork with notable horses at the race track. Through the "masterpieces" created by name race horses; they (the race horses) touch those that purchase their artwork, and in turn support the retired race horses at CERF.

Equine Expressions are made using non toxic paints, some encouragement through treats, and a knowing eye when enough is enough. I work to secure the artists with the horsemen at the track, asking for a donation of the talents of their horses. The painting sessions, include pictures taken during the painting, a clipping of their tail or mane and the satisfaction of spending time around horses that mean so much to so many.

This past year I was able to paint with Lookin At Lucky, who is currently on the Triple Crown trail for the Bob Baffert barn. Other stars that offered their talents were Misremembered winner of the Big Cap at Santa Anita, and Richard's Kid who won the Pacific Classic. Evita Argentina, the multiple winning race mare for John Sadler was a willing subject, and Bluesthestandard, formerly claimed by Kristin Mulhull at the end of his racing career, painted for us before being permanently retired to Old Friends in Kentucky.

Others that lent their talents were M One Rifle, Silver Swallow, Kinsale King who went on to win in Dubai, the recently retired (again) Lava Man, The Pamplemousse, Bertrando, Tribal Rule, The Tin Man, Grazen, Springhouse and the recently departed, Hyperbaric.

Not all greatness is on the race track. Commissioned paintings were completed for owner of their horses that think they are very special even without winning on the track. Commission artwork can be arranged throughout California. Your horse does not have to be an accomplished race horse; any breed can paint and support CERF!

New arrivals off the track to CERF joined in the painting circle, Top This and That, in particular gifted a former police officer struggling with ALS a portrait of his work to cheer him as he works everyday to fight his disease.

Some of the retired race horses at CERF that have painted are Debonair Joe, Truly A Judge, Sigfreto, and Unfurl The Flag. A resident horse at CERF is available most anytime to paint a commissioned painting.

Yes, greatness is a word thrown around easily, but the above mentioned talented thoroughbreds and their generous connections show there are times when the word is right on target.

To learn more about CERF and Equine Expressions visit their website at

(PHOTOS top to bottom): Lookin At Lucky, Bluesthestandard, Evita Argentina, and Top This And That

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