At the Peruvian Paso horse show


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.

Peruvian Paso Orgullo Del Peru waiting for a cookie

Peruvian Paso Orgullo Del Peru learning tricks

Peruvian Paso Orgullo Del Peru shaking off the sand

Peruvian Paso looking for treats

Peruvian Paso ready for the show ring

Sketching horses

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.

Learning how the different parts & pieces connect is invaluable.
Learning how the different parts & pieces connect is invaluable.

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.

Outside the arena before a class, when everyone is waiting...
Outside the arena before a class, when everyone is waiting…
Quick gesture studies - no chance for details here!
Quick gesture studies – no chance for details here!

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.

It's always a good sign when a horse can't keep his eyes open.
It’s always a good sign when a horse can’t keep his eyes open. (This is Cowboy again.)

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.

OKW Berlyn, hanging out between classes.
OKW Berlyn, hanging out between classes.

Every sketch outing is a great learning experience, and continues to build observation skills and my knowledge of equine anatomy and moods.

Found lots of relaxed horses at the Region 5 Arabian Show.
Took a tan journal with a pencil, black UniBall and white GellyRoll pens to the Region 5 Arabian Horse Show.
Not all horses like shows...some of them get pretty testy...
Not all horses like shows…some of them get pretty testy…

Bernice Ende – Lady Long Rider

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:

The photo shows Bernice and her horses in Padilla Bay, the westernmost point of their ride.