Each summer, the Northwest Peruvian Horse Club holds their Championship Show at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, WA. It is always a treat to attend, as this is one of the friendliest groups of horse people you will ever meet. Everyone is happy to share the history of the breed, answer questions about the tack the horses are shown in, and pose their horses for pictures.
The Peruvian Horse was developed within Peru using a trio of foundation breeds. From the NAPHA website: The Spanish Jennet gave its even temperament and smooth ambling gait, the African Barb contributed great energy, strength and stamina while the Andalusian imparted its excellent conformation, action, proud carriage and beauty to the new breed.
Peruvian Pasos have a smooth, ground-eating gait that is appreciated for both its style and comfort. As I have seen visiting the show, the horses have friendly, engaging personalities and love interacting with “their” people and strangers alike. I can’t wait to start painting some of these beauties! The painting at the top of the page is one of my first watercolors of a Peruvian gelding ready for the show ring.
For me, drawing horses goes back to the early days of “pencil + paper + horse photo = happy place.”
Recently, as I’ve become more serious about painting horses, I’ve been drawing and live sketching a lot more. Working from photos is a great way to practice shading and to learn the structure of the horse.
Live sketching is an exercise in speed and observation. Horses almost never stand still, especially at a show, so I’m looking to capture shape, posture and mood.
Some shows are open and friendly about barn access, so more time can be spent on a single sketch. I look for horses that are calm and not concerned with observation. As prey animals, horses can get agitated about being watched closely, especially when confined to a stall.
I always pay attention to body language when I start sketching. If a horse fidgets, shifts weight back & forth, continually looks at me or starts pacing, I’ll move to another stall. Even with calm subjects, I make sure not to stare too long, and will look down and around frequently.
Every sketch outing is a great learning experience, and continues to build observation skills and my knowledge of equine anatomy and moods.
Like most people, I have a like/dislike relationship with Facebook. One of the things I like is the random discovery of interesting stories through other peoples’ feeds.
In this case, Bernice Ende and her Norwegian Fjords, Essie and Spirit, who are at the tail end of an 8,000 mile ride around the country. Check out her fascinating story on her blog: www.endeofthetrail.com/blog
The photo shows Bernice and her horses in Padilla Bay, the westernmost point of their ride.