Collector's Guide - Native American Ponies Theme
Here you will find invaluable information regarding The Trail of Painted Ponies figurines. To begin select the Pony you would like more information about. Then you will be taken to a page for each Pony that features the image and story of the Painted Pony along with the release date, artist's name, size, material and retirement date.
Remember to take a look at the Ponies by Theme pages where you will find all of your favorite Painted Ponies according to their style.
Happy Collecting and Happy Trails!
Anasazi Spirit Horse
|Anasazi Spirit Horse|
Pony Story: The intricate black-and-white designs found on Anasazi pottery at Chaco Canyon, which reflect the timeless character of ancient cultures, are the inspiration behind this astounding work of art. Of French and Spanish descent, Robert has also added new dimensions to the art of gourd painting, for which he is respected and collected worldwide. A versatile artist, his horizons are constantly expanding, making him one of the most exciting talents working today.
Item #: 1583
Pony Story: Native Americans believed that the bond between horse and rider was sacred. These two spirits became one. “Blood Brothers” pays tribute to this eternal devotion as a loyal war pony respectfully bows at the grave of his fallen rider…his friend…his Blood Brother. Even at the end of life, these bonds of loyalty and love could never be broken.
Pony Story: A gifted writer and painter, this Cherokee artist wanted her Pony to stand not only as a work of art, but an "expression of healing and support for those in need in our community." Adorned with a tribal sash made of leather, shells and beads, decorated with individual handprints of children, Mary worked overtime to complete this "vision and personal prayer" before passing to the other side in the summer of 2003.
Item #: 1547
Carries the Spirit
|Carries the Spirit|
Pony Story: Carries the Spirit is standing tall and proud on its hind legs, as if stepping to the beat of a drum at a powwow. This rearing white stallion has caught the spirit of the two Native dancers in dazzling regalia, who spin and leap dramatically, fringe and feather blowing like grass in the wind. Powwows are tribal gatherings where Native people sing, dance, socialize and honor traditional values, and reflect important aspects of Native American society.
Item #: 4018361
Pony Story: Cathy Smith is a historian and scholar of the American West. She is also an authentic costumer who has worked on such films as Dancing with Wolves and All the Pretty Horses. Her original Pony was adorned with a Crow woman's Horse Trappings Outfit, circa 1870s. The keyhole-shaped ornament on the forehead was a classic Crow design, the beaded rosette surrounded with horsehair tassels and wrapped in dyed cotton string. Made to carry a short buffalo lance or captured cavalry sword, the case was fashioned out of buffalo rawhide painted with natural earth pigments. Outfits similar to this are still paraded today at the Crow Fair in Crow Agency.
Item #: 12255
Cheyenne Painted Rawhide
|Cheyenne Painted Rawhide|
Pony Story: An appreciation of all earthly and spiritual gifts in the Native American culture and traditions led this gifted Montana artist to create a Painted Pony that honored an authentic Native art form not widely known. After thoroughly researching the Cheyenne woman's tradition of painting abstract designs of spiritual significance on dressed, buffalo hides, Liz conceived of a Painted Pony design that, in the words of a tribal elder, "is a beauty and has won my heart." The original Cheyenne Rawhide Pony was selected as Best of Show by Southwest Art magazine in the Native Art of Horse Painting competition.
Item #: 12242
Pony Story: “Dog Soldiers” were the military elite within the Cheyenne culture on the Northern Plains during the mid-1850s, when their homelands were besieged by fortune seekers and homesteaders. Respected as well as feared, these warriors were sworn to protect their people at all costs. To cover the retreat of a companion or village under attack, the bravest among them would stay behind and stake themselves to the ground with a “dog sash” secured to a lance, remaining there until death if necessary.
Pony Story: Multi-talented Oregon artist Lynn Bean, who also created Fetish Pony, wanted to adorn an Appaloosa horse with traditional Native symbols of power, spirit and strength, rendered in different media. Using hand-tooled copper foil, leather, feathers and beads to form lightning bolts on the neck (signifying speed) and a handprint on the hindquarters (signifying ownership), she has given birth to an original vision of beauty and wonder appropriately titled Copper Enchantment.
Item #: 12244
Pony Story: History books describe Crazy Horse as a respected war leader who fought against the U.S. government in an effort to preserve the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life. He was that and much more. As a young man he had a vivid dream of a horseback rider, with lightning zigzagging down his cheek and a turquoise earring in one ear, who looked up to see a red-backed hawk fly overhead. When he related the dream to his medicine man father, Crazy Horse was told he would achieve future greatness in battle. A lifetime of victories on the battlefield followed, culminating with his triumph over George Armstrong Custer at Little Bighorn. No photographs of Crazy Horse exist, but with this Pony C J Wells, a Native "artist warrior" herself, has given him a high-voltage interpretation. C J lives and exhibits her large paintings in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and also shows in The Trail Gallery in Carefree, Arizona.
Crow Fair Pony
|Crow Fair Pony|
Pony Story: This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: Every August since 1904, Crow Agency, Montana, has held a fair designed to celebrate and preserve early Crow culture and customs. A summer destination for Native Americans from all over North America, it features a parade, rodeo, relay races, Native dancing, contests and colorful exhibitions of beadwork. American flags fly high above the teepee poles in honor of Crow soldiers who served in the American military. For over 100 years, this artist's family has lived as ranchers on the Crow Reservation, giving authority and authenticity to her artistic tribute to the Crow Fair. Artist Sonja Caywood was privileged to have grown up ranching the old-fashioned way ? with a mess wagon, tents, teepees and a rope corral in the Bighorn Mountains on the Crow Indian reservation. Living so closely tied to land steeped in the history and spirit of the Cowboy and Native culture turned her into an artist at an early age. The love of that land inspires much of her art today. "I want my art to engage the viewer to stop and take in the beauty around us in this quickly changing place and time, to identify with our landscape in this slice of soon-to-be history."
Item #: 12302
Crow Warrior's Pride
|Crow Warrior's Pride|
Pony Story: Once a nomadic tribe that roamed what is now Montana and Wyoming, the way of life for the Crow Indian Tribe changed dramatically with the acquisition of the horse. Young men, instructed in horsemanship at an early age, grew into warriors who inspired awe among other tribes for their amazing feats on horseback. An Oklahoma artist who has studied Plains Indians extensively created this tribute to the way the Crow also dressed their horses with more display than many other tribes, incorporating quill embroidery, beadwork, pendants, braided rawhide and the carving arts into their equine regalia.
Dances with Hooves
|Dances with Hooves|
Pony Story: This Santa Fe fold artist is known for paintings and sculpture that blend Native American and aboriginal styles with a contemporary art sensibility. Ty has blanketed his Pony with intricate petroglyph and pictograph designs that seem to float on a rock-like background. "The initial impact is of a textual nature, but upon closer viewing, if one focuses on each design element as a vignette, as a picture all its own, there is much more for the viewer to explore."
Item #: 1539
Pony Story: "My best designs come to me when I am quiet," says Colorado artist Ross Lampshire, perhaps best known as a rodeo photographer and potter. "An idea or image enters my mind almost as a whisper... and fast takes on a life of its own." Inspired by written accounts of Sitting Bull's dreams prior to battle, Ross had his own dream one night of Sitting Bull silhouetted against a full moon with clouds parting, as if in search of a vision. Working in a stylized manner, Ross has created a dramatic, powerful and flowing design that honors this famous Sioux Chief.
Item #: 12233
Pony Story: Drawing on his Cherokee heritage, this Arizona artist, whose large, spiritually powerful portraits of Native American warriors are coveted by museums, has created a visual interpretation of the traditional tale of the Dreamwalker. It is a story about a medicine man who is told in a vision that "the discovery of power will come through the ways of animals." Shortly thereafter, he sets out on a trek across the Great Plains to the East, where Illumination lives. He carries a pipe with him, has many encounters and draws on the powers of a medicine wheel. Near the end of his journey he is greeted by a White Stallion, who tells him the secret of "true power" is compassion, caring and sharing one's gift with others. Ben lives in Sedona, Arizona. The original Masterwork of Dreamwalker was selected as a finalist in the Native Art of Horse Painting national competition.
Earth, Wind & Fire
|Earth, Wind & Fire|
Pony Story: Read this Cherokee artist's resume and you will understand why he is listed in Who's Who in American Art. A Vietnam veteran whose personal philosophy is "Everything is an experiment. That goes for life, for art and for painting a Pony," Bill adorned one side of his Pony with a portrait of a Plains Indian warrior, and the other with a serene Pueblo scene. Asked for his inspiration for Earth, Wind, Fire, he wrote, "From the Great Spirit and Mother Earth, All things are made."
Item #: 1545
Pony Story: The Fancy Dance evolved from the early Plains tribe's war and victory dances. It is an energetic style of dance, usually performed by younger men who spin, twist and make quick steps and fast turns. Their outfits are traditionally composed of lots of bright colors, metallic beads, sequins and ribbons which create a flashy display. They have two bustles, a head roach and intricately beaded headband... all of which are faithfully and stunningly recreated on a spirited, snorting horse that is caught up in the excitement of the drumbeat. This unique creation by a Virginia artist won The People's Choice Award in the national competition, The Native Art of Horse Painting.
Item #: 12247
Fancy Dancer - Large 9 inch
|Fancy Dancer - Large 9 inch|
Pony Story: The Fancy Dance evolved from the early Plains tribe’s war and victory dances. It is an energetic style of dance, usually performed by younger men who spin, twist, and make quick steps and fast turns. Their outfits are traditionally composed of lots of bright colors, metallic beads, sequins and ribbons which create a flashy display. They have two bustles, a head roach and intricately beaded headband… all of which are faithfully and stunningly recreated on a spirited, snorting horse that is caught up in the excitement of the drum beat. This unique creation by a Virginia artist won The People’s Choice Award in the national competition, “The Native Art of Horse Painting.”
Item #: 12389
Pony Story: To Native Americans, a fetish is any object that possesses "spirit power." They believe that when the object is treated with respect, the spirit that resides within can bring its owner good luck, good health and a harmonious life. With this in mid, Oregon painter Lynn Bean created an extraordinary Fetish Pony, on which the spirit images of different horses seem to emerge from inside a sandstone carving of a host horse, who wears a "power pack" of feathers, beads and shells on its back.
Item #: 12221
Pony Story: A Mohican Indian from northern Wisconsin, Bill has long been one of the most admired figures in the Native American music arena. His album Ghost Dance brought him Artist and Album of the Year at the 2000 Native American Music Awards. As talented a painted as he is a songwriter, Bill dug deep within his music and his art to create a spiritual memorial to the massacre at Wounded Knee. With the words to Ghost Dance written on the horse beside the portrait of a warrior who fought the White Man but is able to overcome bitterness with faith in a better tomorrow, Bill has created a powerful and original artwork.
Item #: 1544
Gift from the Sky
|Gift from the Sky|
Pony Story: Fallen feathers have often been perceived as gifts from the sky that arrive unexpectedly, but not without purpose. Often they are interpreted as reminders that angels are near...as signs from the universe representing freedom and flight...as souvenirs left behind after looking at things from a high perspective. With this in mind, the artist created a "Gift from the Sky" intended to be a gift with the power to help us "take wing" on the right path in life.
Pony Story: As a young boy growing up on the Hopi mesas of Northern Arizona, Buddy would accompany his grandfather, a Hopi war chief, as he made his rounds on the back of a donkey checking on the corn fields and herding sheep. Years later, when he developed into a multi-talented artist collected by enthusiasts from around the world, Buddy would credit his grandfather's gift for storytelling with the imagery of Kachina figures, corn maidens, and lightning storms that found its way into his cottonwood carvings, his mystical oil paintings and his fabulous Painted Pony.
Item #: 1589
Guardian of Sunset's Gate
|Guardian of Sunset's Gate|
Pony Story: As night falls, evil looms. Sunset is the time of day when Indian maidens, children and their horses are at highest risk of being stolen by warriors from other tribes. It is a dangerous time when braves with keen senses take responsibility for the protection of their people, and along with their ever-alert horses, become watchmen of the night… guardians of sunset’s gate.
Pony Story: Deer and wolves that speak to man, arrows that carry prayers, serpents that bring rain ? are all real in the Huichol Indian belief system. The Huichol live in the Sierra Madre Mountains of central Mexico; and for centuries, these spiritual people have been beading decorative items to use as offerings to the gods. Their world is rich in symbolism and imagination and they encode their spiritual knowledge through their art. The Trail of Painted Ponies was honored when a Huichol couple agreed to create an original Pony intricately beaded with images that represent life and enlightenment.
Item #: 12230
Pony Story: Hopi Indians live in stark, desert conditions on three mesas in Northeastern Arizona. Hopi "kachinas" are stylized religious icons carved from cottonwood roots and painted to represent the masked spirits from Hopi mythology. The inspiration for Hopi Maidens is the ceremony that is held each year in which Hopi maidens and tribesmen dressed as kachinas dance and sing to bring rain for the upcoming harvest. Writes the artist, "One side has a woman's feel with 3 Hopi maidens and a Corn Kachina. The other side has 3 male kachina figures with the Sun Kachina. On the base is the beautiful Butterfly Kachina. I wanted to fill the pony with Hopi inspirations for long life, love, health and strength."
Horse of the Rising Sun
|Horse of the Rising Sun|
Pony Story: An acclaimed Native artist from the Jemez Pueblo, in New Mexico, George Toya describes his work as “part fantasy, part reality, and filled with narrative awaiting discovery.” His Painted Pony depicts, on one side, the night with the stars, constellations, shooting star, and moon, with the North Star at the center “so we never lose our way.” On the other side he presents the day with different life forms, images and colors that represent beauty, and the sun at the center “without which life is not possible.”
Horse With No Name
|Horse With No Name|
Pony Story: A story is told about a riderless Appaloosa, flamboyantly painted with symbols that portray a warrior's bravery during battle, wandering the prairie as if in search of his master. According to this tale, the horse would never let anyone else ride him, though many tried. The lightning bolt on his face, the sun on his shoulder, the circle around his eye, the handprint on his flank and the feathers in his mane and tail marked him as a horse with powerful medicine. And so he was allowed to roam the plains freely... eventually to be memorialized by New Mexico artist Loran Creech.
Item #: 12229
Pony Story: An agricultural people, the Hopi have sustained themselves for millennia in the Northern Arizona desert without the benefit of rivers or streams. The Hopi way is to work hard, pray, sing, take part in ceremonies and create images they believe will summon help from spirit beings. This Hopi artist has incorporated a variety of traditional Hopi symbols into his design, all of which revolve around rain and moisture, and a successful harvest. Butterfly maidens are believed to help pollinate crops. Nothing could grow without the sun. Dragonflies are signs of a natural spring. Buddy Tubinaghtewa is a nationally renowned kachina carver and painter who grew up on Hopi Mesa. His original Grandfather's Journey was crafted into a figurine.
Item #: 12266
Pony Story: Kachinas are stylized religious icons, meticulously carved from cottonwood roots and painted to represent figures from Hopi mythology. They often wear masks of animals, plants, stars, warriors and clowns. They are the focus of ceremonies and rituals in which they relay the wishes of the Hopi people to the gods ? for more rain, a plentiful harvest, good health. In an effort to create a Painted Pony with mystical powers of its own, this colorist from Idaho has adorned her Pony with the designs and symbols of traditional kachina masks, including, on the left side, the Sun Kachina mask, and on the right, the Messenger of the Gods mask. This Idaho artist has established a national reputation for her brilliant interpretations of wildlife and Native American imagery.
Item #: 12279
Keeper of the Sacred Fire
|Keeper of the Sacred Fire|
Pony Story: This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: The Potawatomi Indians were a peaceful tribe known as the Fire Nation because, before the arrival of Europeans, they maintained the Council Fire once shared by other tribes living on the shores of the Great Lakes. Relying on canoes, they fished, gathered rice, hunted deer; they were also known for their elaborate flower and scroll designs on mat and basket weavings. Their history took a tragic turn with their forced relocation to the Indian Territories in Kansas and Oklahoma in 1838. Keeper of the Sacred Fire is a powerful and moving tribute to the enduring spirit of the Potawatomi, created by an artist who grew up along what came to be known as one of the Trail of Tears. Cheryl A. Harris, who currently works from her studio in Covington, Indiana, exemplifies artistic versatility. She has a degree in Visual Art & Design which prepared her for work as a technical product illustrator. For 14 years, she served as an art director for an advertising and marketing firm, where her responsibilities included art direction, design, illustration and product supervision of advertising and marketing materials for a variety of clientele, including local and national accounts. Adding to her commercial portfolio, she has also pursued a successful career in the fine-art field, painting and drawing and creating large-scale murals. A participant in numerous juried fine-art festivals, with a variety of gallery exhibitions to her credit, she has donated her talent to numerous charitable causes and auctions.
Item #: 12301
Pony Story: A sacred figure to Native tribes in the Southwest, the image of Kokopelli, a dancing hunchback playing a flute, appears most frequently in pottery and petroglyphs. A universal minstrel or music spirit who continues to fascinate people, even in our modern technological age, he is given a charming, contemporary interpretation by Joel Nakamura, an Asian-American artist known for his deep knowledge of tribal art and mythology.
Item #: 1508
Legend of the Plains
|Legend of the Plains|
Pony Story: In addition to painting symbols on a horse's body intended to empower, honor and protect in times of war, some Plains Indians would fabulously dress up a prized pony with feathers, fringe, quills and more on ceremonial occasions intended to celebrate peace. A story is told about one gold-and-white spotted pony whose natural colors were so striking that no paint was added; rather, it was adorned with prayer feathers tied to its mane and tail, and it carried a shield with crossed arrows symbolizing friendship and harmony. The details that decorate Legend of the Plains give it the beauty, mystery and power of a "peace pony."
Lightning Bolt Colt
|Lightning Bolt Colt|
Pony Story: In Lakota Sioux mythology, the horse is a Thunder Being, who brings storms to Mother Earth. With storms come rain and change. With this in mind, Choctaw artist Dyanne Strongbow imagined a thunderstorm centered in the horse's hindquarters, breaking up as it moved toward his head into the sunny skies of a new day.
Item #: 1461
Pony Story: There were few things of more value to the Western Plains Indian Warrior than his horse. Although the duties expected of his horse often differed, depending on whether they were going forth with arrows to hunt for bison or wage war with enemies, his Pony was his fearless partner. Often, before entering battle or pursuing a herd of buffalo, a warrior would honor and protect his horse by dressing and painting him with power symbols. The designs on Little Brave have prepared him for the challenge of the day.
Love As Strong As A Horse
|Love As Strong As A Horse|
Pony Story: "It was a Cherokee tradition for each family to make and hang a mask in the house for power and protection, to keep in good luck and keep out the bad," says Cherokee artist Jesse Hummingbird, whose paintings of brightly colored, geometric faces have become his signature. "The two couples represent different seasons of life ? spring and fall ? and are my way of inspiring people to find soul mates with whom they can discover both the strength and beauty of love."
Item #: 1595
Pony Story: Pottery is one of the oldest art forms in the Native American culture, and each tribe has a style that is traditionally its own. Today, however, tribal potters borrow or copy designs and techniques from each other. Drawing on the diverse animal and geographic patterns found on many authentic pots, Linda, a Delaware Indian living in Las Vegas, has painted her Many Tribes Pony wrapped in the traditional and contemporary ceramic designs of many tribes.
Item #: 12228
Pony Story: Recognized by Southwest Art magazine as one of the top 30 artists featured in their 30 years of publication, Santa Fe sculptor Star Liana York is as well known for her detailed and sensitive renderings of Native Peoples as her gift for capturing the spirit of the horse in three-dimension. With Medicine Horse, she has combined her love and knowledge of people with special relationships to animals by creating a Plains Indian ceremonial horse dressed with a collection of personal objects believed to give the horse's owner power: shields, a lance, a bow, a pipe and assorted amulets and talismans.
Item #: 1549
Pony Story: Native Americans are masters at the use of color to convey spiritual significance. Vibrant colors bring traditional designs, symbols and costumes alive with special meaning. North, for example, is designated as yellow, because the evening in winter is yellow. West is blue for the Pacific Ocean. South, the region of summer, is red, while East is white, signifying the dawn. An artist who has developed a national reputation for her unique use of electrically charged colors, Maria Ryan has combined her distinctive palette with the imagery of "fetish bears" ? believed to represent strength, courage and good luck ? in a design that embodies the essence of Native Art. For 30 years Maria Ryan worked hard to establish a style uniquely her own, and the list of accomplishments and awards she received for her art along the way is extensive. Her paintings have been exhibited in art galleries both here and abroad, and she was featured in the book, Wildlife Art: 60 contemporary Masters and their Work. Over the past six years, her stunning original designs for The Trail of Painted Ponies have enhanced her reputation.
Item #: 12305
Native Jewel Pony
|Native Jewel Pony|
Pony Story: Adornment ? jewelry of silver and turquoise, beadwork and ceremonial regalia ? is a defining element and recognized hallmark of cultural expression for North American Indians. Maria Ryan, an accomplished artist and designer from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, has been winning awards and pleasing collectors around the world for decades. Her research into the meanings and symbolism behind the designs used in classic Southwestern jewelry, coupled with a fearless artistic style that leads her to experiment with different materials to achieve special effects in her art, resulted in this stunning tribute to the Native American love of jewelry.
Item #: 12243
Native People's Pony
|Native People's Pony|
Pony Story: "As an artist, I have always had this vision of different cultures around the world coming together sharing their beliefs, customs, blending as one on this small planet we call Mother Earth," says Frank Salcido, a Navajo from the Standing House Clan, living in Portland, Oregon. With both sides of his Pony's face represented by Aztec and Mayan warriors, adorned with tribal figures from an Australian Aborigine to an African Masai woman, Frank has fulfilled his artistic mission of using positive themes to contemporarily showcase traditional lifestyles.
Item #: 12224
Navajo Black Beauty
|Navajo Black Beauty|
Pony Story: As well as for their famous rugs, Navajo weavers are known for their beautiful, pictorial basket weavings. Many illustrate themes and tell stories that preserve Navajo history. Barbara Duzan, an Arizona artist who has distinguished herself internationally with her one-of-a-kind beaded animals, wanted to pay special tribute to this unique tribal tradition by beading a Pony that carried "Man Placing the Stars," a Navajo creation myth, on one side of her Navajo Black BeautyPony and "Sun's Journey through the Sky" on the other. Each design is rendered in the Navajo basket weaver's style.
Item #: 12254
Navajo Blanket Pony
|Navajo Blanket Pony|
Pony Story: After receiving a degree from the Boston Museum School of Fine Art, New Englander Barbara Tomasko Quimby moved to Wagon Mound, New Mexico, where she fell in love with the native cultures and people of the West. Admiring the artistry displayed by Navajo women weaving fabulous blankets with thread on loom, she was moved to create this tribute, incorporating the color and design "of day and night, of deserts flat and mountain height."
Item #: 1464
Navajo Sand Painter
|Navajo Sand Painter|
Pony Story: According to the Navajo religion, the Universe is perfectly balanced and everything in it walks in beauty. There are times, however, when this balance is upset and harmony must be restored. Navajo Sand Painter depicts these ceremonies involving prayers, songs and sand paintings featuring sacred Navajo symbols carefully drawn with colorful sands by powerful Medicine Men. Mother Earth rejoices.
Pony Story: Lynn Bean is an artist nationally acclaimed for the way she experiments with different materials in her paintings. And so it was that, after a trek to a remote canyon in the Southwest where she was impressed by the thoughtful use prehistoric "cave painters" made of rough rock walls, turning them into textured and sculptural canvases on which they carved images of horses, she decided to create a Painted Pony that captured not only the spirit, but the look of these ancient equine petroglyphs.
Item #: 12290
Pony Story: Crow Indians were renowned for colorful bead work and distinctive geometric compositions. They believed that sophisticated color schemes combined with triangular shapes projected sacred power and life. Yellow stood for the place of the sun’s rising. Rose for the early morning glow. Blue represented the sky. Astride a Pony like “Regalia,” a Crow Indian would have been a strikingly powerful presence as he rode across the open plains.
Reunion of the Family of Man
|Reunion of the Family of Man|
Pony Story: Artist Cal Peacock's painted tin "Medicine Horses" have been displayed in such prestigious venues as the Smithsonian Museum. But she considers Reunion of the Family of Man the "king of the herd." Intricately covered with amazingly detailed imagery and symbols that express empathy and compassion toward our fellow man, and carrying a medicine bundle stocked with bird feathers, Cal's gorgeous Pony is an expression of the importance of soulfully connecting with Nature.
Item #: 12208
Ride the North Country
|Ride the North Country |
Pony Story: The arctic region is more than snow and freezing water. It is also home to a variety of wildlife found nowhere else on earth, wildlife like polar bears and arctic wolves. “Ride the North Country” gives us another way of experiencing this rugged but fascinating place that is unlike any other on the planet.
Rites of Passage
|Rites of Passage|
Pony Story: There are many sacred seasons of our lives, marking important periods of growth and change. One of the most joyous is the journey from childhood to adulthood. Rites of Passage tells the sacred story of girls becoming knowledgeable young women and boys evolving into responsible young men through powerful First Nation colors and symbols. This horse, or Sacred Dog, carries the hopes and dreams of all young people as they travel through life. Green represents growth on this journey of color... blue symbolizes holiness and orange marks the beginning and ending of these sacred transitions in life. The four butterflies represent the Creator and the four stages of life for women. The warrior's footsteps are symbolized by four horse tracks as young men learn about their responsibilities. The Tree of Life stands for the past, present and future generations.
Pony Story: Rolling Thunder hearkens back to a time of big skies and fierce storms, of thundering herds of bison large enough to shake the earth beyond the horizon, and of Plains Indians and their spirited, sure-footed and courageous horses trained to carry bow-bearing braves through the stampeding confusion of a bison hunt. Only an artist who has called Oklahoma home her entire life, and who has seen with her own eyes the way darkening skies can be splintered with lightning bolts that seem to outline a rumbling "sky herd" of buffalo, could have created this masterful homage to the "buffalo ponies." This small-town Oklahoma artist is a big-time talent with a range of subject matter that is truly all-American.
Item #: 12277
Running with the Ancestors
|Running with the Ancestors|
Pony Story: "The inspiration for this Pony comes from prehistoric imagery found on European cave walls, where the grand drawings of horses were both magical and beautiful," says this painter, gallery director and teacher who founded the 5,000 Flowers Project, a national commemoration of 9/11 for healing and harmony through art. Just as contemporary horses echo the drawings of Stone Age artists, so does Carole feel she is linked to Paleolithic artists. "They are my ancestors of creativity and self-expression."
Item #: 12210
Runs the Bitterroot
|Runs the Bitterroot|
Pony Story: The Native Americans' admiration for the horse took many forms. A favored horse dressed for ceremony or war would often be adorned with striking regalia, as well as painted. The beauty and mystery of the Indian horse mask as the emblem of a warrior Pony is captured with great power by an Oklahoma historian/artist in this masterful tribute to Chief Joseph. The legendary leader of the Nez Perce, who is credited with the successful breeding of the Appaloosa, is remembered for his principled resistance to the forced removal of the Nez Perce from their Idaho homelands. Chief Joseph's surrender speech, in which he said "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever," immortalized him in American history and popular culture. What this gifted Oklahoma artist may lack in formal training he more than makes up for with his rich and detailed knowledge of the American West, and an extraordinary talent for authentically capturing its history in both art and craft.
Item #: 12280
Pony Story: Seeking a new way of rendering the inseparable relationship between the Indian and his horse, this full-blooded Seminole artist – whose great-grandfather made the long walk on "The Trail of Tears" when the Seminole tribe was forced to move from the Florida Everglades to the Indian Territories of Oklahoma – turned the distinctive white markings of a Paint Horse into ghostlike portraits of his grandfather, animal spirits and iconic images of Plains Indian warriors.
Sacred Reflections of Time
|Sacred Reflections of Time|
Pony Story: In her artistic creations, this Arkansas artist of Cherokee descent (her Indian name is Silver Fox) strives to capture the Native American's respect for the sacredness and beauty of Mother Earth, the colorful legends handed down from generation to generation, and the love and close bond that was shared with the horse. "(Sacred Reflections of Time) is my Spirit Horse and Peace Pony. She carries an Eagle on her shield, a Buffalo on her Pipe and bag, a Coyote on her quiver and a Bear Paw on the smaller drum. These are the Guardians of the four major directions, and they are also great teachers."
Item #: 12253
Pony Story: The Hopi believe that when their elders pass on, they continue to exist among the clouds, where they protectively watch over their descendants. Wendy, a graduate of the London School of Fine Art who feels her spirit dwells in the deserts, mesas and canyons of the Southwest, has taken this belief to new heights ? literally ? imagining a Pony stampeding across the sky on a glorious journey, collecting the faces of the ancestors and becoming one with the Cloud People.
Item #: 1509
Sounds of Thunder
|Sounds of Thunder|
Pony Story: This Painted Pony represents both the male and female lifestyle of the Plains Indian people, as rendered by the acclaimed Cherokee father-and-daughter artists, Bill and Traci Rabbit. On Side 1, Bill depicts the ultimate warrior ? his profile accompanied by symbols that tell the dramatic story of his many victories. On Side 2, Traci depicts the grace, strength and determination of women in Native society ? a sun radiating healing beams, her dress signifying her skill at beading and design, a buffalo hunt in the background relating the importance of both the buffalo and the horse to Native Americans.
Item #: 12240
Spirit of the Chief
|Spirit of the Chief|
Pony Story: Traditionally, the Chief was the greatest warrior in the tribe, and he was easy to recognize because he wore a grand eagle-feather headdress, with each feather representing a special deed or brave action. Frequently, before battle or a hunt, the Chief would adorn his prize pony with eagle feathers that reflected power, prestige and accomplishments in the belief they strengthened its spirit. Spirit of the Chief imagines the personal spirit-horse of a great Chief.
Spirit of the Seasons
|Spirit of the Seasons|
Pony Story: This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: Artist Caroline Carpio is a Pueblo native and an award-winning potter who adds unique twists to the shapes and designs of her pottery. Wanting to honor the horse for its ability to live in harmony with nature, she adorned her Pony with embossed designs that symbolize the natural forces a horse endures during the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Artfully accompanied by a traditional Native American pot decorated with a with a Kiva step pattern, this elegant Painted Pony captures the magic of the original Masterwork, which was one of the Heard Museum Guild 50th Anniversary Painted Ponies benefiting the American Indian Student Art Endowment.
Item #: 12300
Spirit War Pony
|Spirit War Pony|
Pony Story: The Santa Fe artist Tavlos is credited with originating the famous howling coyote imagery that became the trademark of Southwest art in the '80s. Known for his bold colors and vivid designs, he took a pop-art approach to the Native American tradition of painting their war horses, giving his Pony a turquoise coat and decorating it with dazzling accents.
Item #: 1462
Spirits of the Four Directions
|Spirits of the Four Directions|
Pony Story: Within the spiritual teachings of Native Americans, the Medicine Wheel symbolizes the sacred circle of life. It has four basic directions, each associated with a different color, each represented by an animal spirit guide and each offering its own lessons. North is white and is represented by the buffalo, whose gift is wisdom. East is yellow and is represented by the eagle, whose gift is illumination. South is red and is represented by the wolf, whose gift is adaptability. West is black and is represented by the bear, whose gift is strength. Rich with symbolism, Spirits of the Four Directions offers another way of looking at the world, and giving meaning to our lives.
Spirits of the Northwest
|Spirits of the Northwest|
Pony Story: Animals are important to the Northwest Native cultures. Using bold colors and designs based on the Haida and Tlingit styles of art, Laurie Holman, who lives and teaches art in Alaska, presents us with various animal totems featured in traditional Alaska stories: the Raven, Grizzly Bear, Salmon, Eagle and Whale. "I wanted them to cover the entire Pony, like a puzzle, with all the pieces telling the great story of life, death and rebirth."
Pony Story: The inspiration for Squash Blossom comes from the artist’s admiration of the beautiful, hand-hammered silver-and-turquoise jewelry made by Navajo silversmiths, and the fine textiles created by Navajo weavers. Incorporating both of these highly sought-after trade items into this gorgeous design – a squash blossom pendant for the breast plate, a traditional, banded, Navajo Chief’s Blanket draped over the Pony’s back – she has created an iconic equestrian tribute to the Dineh, as the Navajo call themselves.
Squash Blossom Ornament
|Squash Blossom Ornament|
Pony Story: The inspiration for Squash Blossom comes from the artist's admiration of the beautiful, hand-hammered silver-and-turquoise jewelry made by Navajo silversmiths, and the fine textiles created by Navajo weavers. Incorporating both of these highly sought-after trade items into this gorgeous design - a squash blossom pendant for the breast plate, a traditional, banded, Navajo Chief's Blanket draped over the Pony's back - she has created an iconic equestrian tribute to the Dineh, as the Navajo call themselves.
Stands in Beauty
|Stands in Beauty|
Pony Story: There is a Navajo healing ceremony that bears the name "Beautyway." The term cannot be precisely translated. Its meaning has to do with being in harmony with all things, all people, all animals; and when you recognize the beauty in your surroundings, that success, well being and happiness will come your way. Stands in Beauty reminds us that beauty is everywhere, if we take the time to look around us
Pony Story: The Sun Dance was the most spectacular and important religious ceremony of the Plains Indians of the 19th century. It was designed to bring renewal ? the spiritual rebirth of its participants, harmony between all living beings, and the return of the all-important buffalo. Incorporating many of the sacred materials and symbolic elements of the Sun Dance ceremony into her design ? a sage noseband, pictograph horses traveling from each of the four sacred directions, a white buffalo skull, a war bonnet sun graphic ? this Montana graphic artist has created a Pony that represents the essence of the Sun Dance: renewal and balance, and the reaffirmation of relationships between people and nature. For thirty years this versatile Minnesota artist made a living as an illustrator and graphic artist, before expanding to include oil painting, woodcarving and Pony painting.
Item #: 12278
Pony Story: Born to a family of artists and craftsmen from the Tesuque Pueblo in New Mexico, Tom (a tribal policeman) wanted to incorporate some of the traditional images that have been handed down from generation to generation, into a design that was contemporary in feeling and rich with symbolism. To do this, he combined various animal abstractions with geometric patterns. The sash represents good fortune. The blanket honors the horse as a bold and strong being. The eagle is a symbol of prosperity. The handprint stands for the loving touch of all creation.
Item #: 1546
The Grey Ghost
|The Grey Ghost|
Pony Story: A little known Native American legend tells of a mighty stallion, recognizable by its grey and black coat and red and white adornments, that sometimes appears galloping across the western skies as a warning of turbulent weather ahead. The story crosses tribal lines, as plains warriors would search for “the grey ghost” before planning an attack, and pueblo farmers would plant or harvest in accordance with a sighting. Although ominous in its presence, this mystical pony was believed to have prevented catastrophes and spared many lives.
Pony Story: "Of all the animals, the horse is the best friend of the Indian, for without it he could not go on long journeys. A horse is the Indian's most valuable piece of property. If an Indian wishes to gain something, he promises his horse that if the horse will help him he will paint it with native dyes, so that all may see that help and protection have come to him through the aid of his horse."
Pony Story: In certain Plains Indian tribes, there was a special tribal figure who spoke to and for the horses. He was believed to possess supernatural powers and called The Magician. As rendered by Taos artist Andersen Kee, who was born on the Navajo Reservation and whose mother was a weaver and father a silversmith, The Magician is releasing a herd of multi-colored spirit Ponies from the inside of his elkskin robe and then gathering them on the backside.
Item #: 12222
The Night's Watch
|The Night's Watch|
Pony Story: Not only did the horse give a tribe increased mobility, it could also be a "guardian of the night," alerting members to the presence of dangerous, nocturnal predators. The approach of bears and wolves in search of prey would often evoke snorting, kicking and rearing, which would wake sleeping men, women and children. With this in mind, this Phoenix, Arizona artist imagined a Painted Pony as a talisman whose powers were told by native depictions of the wolf and bear etched into the hair on his sides, and would constitute a protective force against night attacks from anything at any time.
Pony Story: "When my grandson was young, he would become scared whenever there were thunderstorms," says Florida artist Barbara Brown. "To calm him, I told him the Native American story of the Thunder Horse, and how he would descend from the sky to the mountain tops, and how the tramping of his hooves caused thunder, lightning and then the rain that made the crops and grass and trees grow and be happy. After that, whenever he heard thunder he would smile and say, 'Grandma, there's the Thunder Horse.' I painted this Pony for him." Barbara Brown calls herself a "self-taught artist" because she never attended formal art classes. But she has always loved painting Native American images and wildlife, usually on natural surfaces such as wood, bone, feathers, antler, leather and gourds. If you have ever attended powwows and art shows in North Florida, you no doubt have admired her artwork.
Item #: 12298
Pony Story: Award-winning artist Joel Nakamura is known for his unique style ? a blend of folk art and sophisticated iconography ? and for his ability to convey stories in an intricate and engaging manner. Joel chose the Thunderbird myth for his Pony because "It was said that a young warrior who was both brave and fast enough to ride his horse under the Thunderbird's great shadow would gain sacred spiritual powers." Joel's paintings have illustrated articles in publications as divers as Time and Playboy, and his illustrations were featured in the opening and closing programs of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Item #: 1582
Trail of Tears
|Trail of Tears|
Pony Story: A dramatic and moving followup to the bestselling Wounded Knee, Trail of Tears respectfully remembers one of the saddest episodes in American and Native American history: the forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians from their Tribal Lands in Oklahoma during the brutal winter of 1838. This Painted Pony represents the struggle of the Cherokee people who were made to march more than a thousand miles under the worst possible conditions. There were many losses during this long march, it is said that a beautiful Cherokee Rose grew wherever a tear had fallen, in remembrance of those who were lost. Somehow the Cherokee managed to survive the cold and the snow, their dignity intact, in the belief there were better days to come.
Trail of Tears Ornament
|Trail of Tears Ornament|
Pony Story: A dramatic and moving follow-up to the bestselling “Wounded Knee,” “Trail of Tears’ respectfully remembers one of the saddest episodes in American and Native American history: the forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians from their Tribal Lands to Oklahoma during the brutal winter of 1838. This Painted Pony represents the struggle of the Cherokee people who were made to march more than a thousand miles under the worst possible conditions. There were many losses during this long march, it is said that a beautiful Cherokee Rose grew wherever a tear had fallen, in remembrance of those who were lost. Somehow the Cherokee managed to survive the cold and the snow, their dignity intact, in the belief there were better days to come.
Pony Story: Legend tells of spotted horses that blazed trails throughout the American West. They were the constant companions of the Nez Perce, expert hunters and trackers who traveled with the seasons. Their journeys are reflected in the distinctive blanket pattern of their beloved Appaloosas. Together, they rode into history as brave Trailblazers.
Pony Story: Warriors from tribes across the Plains often wore feathers that were marked and painted in ways that told of their accomplishments in battle. In this fashion they would sometimes intimidate opponents who would be scared off after "reading" the stories related on the feathers. But sometimes they would also become the target of warriors who sought encounters with powerful opponents as a way of gaining personal power. With Tribal Paint, Iowa artist Vickie Knepper-Adrian, creator of the heartbreaking collectible, Wounded Knee, continues to use Painted Ponies to relate interesting and little-known stories about Plains Indian life.
Item #: 12294
Pony Story: It was not solely for his grand vision ? combining imagery of the early Spanish explorers who brought the horse to American five centuries ago, with representations of the Native tribes whose culture was radically changed by the horse ? that this former fashion photographer turned pop artist received the award for the most ambitious Pony. To give his artwork monumental impact, Georges Monfils covered it with over a million and a half tiny Indian seed beads, applied one at a time! So impressive was the outcome, which took the artist over 1,400 hours to complete, that it was nominated for the Guinness Book of World Records.
Item #: 1468
Pony Story: On a barren, windswept hill in eastern Montana there stands a tall obelisk inscribed with the names of the 268 men of the 7th Cavalry who lost their lives on June 26, 1876, in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Custer's Last Stand is remembered by most Americans as a shocking defeat for the United States 7th Cavalry. However, for Native Americans, it is remembered as the last chapter in the Native American struggle to preserve and defend their homeland and traditional way of life. There has been no equivalent memorial for Native Americans' heroic sacrifice, until now. This gives War Cry its power and poignancy.
Pony Story: Native Americans felt a kinship with all animals, but held eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey in especially high esteem because their vision, swiftness and fearless courage typified the qualities a warrior needed to be successful. The golden eagle, often referred to by Plains Indians as the "war eagle" because of its willingness to go after game larger than itself - fox, coyote, sheep - was believed to be the most powerful of all creatures in the animal kingdom, which is why its feathers were incorporated into the headdresses and war bonnets worn by chiefs as they rode into battle.
Pony Story: Powerful magic was passed on to a warrior during the application of war paint to a horse in preparation for a forthcoming battle, and the handprint symbol was believed to channel strength and energy to the wearer, as well as to intimidate enemies. Also, a woman who saw hand symbols on the horse of her warrior would be filled with pride because it meant that he had shown courage and dominance in battle, and feel safe knowing that she would be able to look to such a man for protection. “War Paint” was inspired by an archival photograph of a decorated war pony.
Pony Story: This Comanche Pony was the "Lord of the Plains," renowned for his legendary fighting spirit and fearlessness in the face of battle. His name is War Pony. He is boldly painted and decorated for battle with thunder and lightning bolts for added speed and endurance, red coup marks to intimidate the enemy and a single red hand print signifying an important victory. The two small dragonflies represent hope and renewal, while scarlet ribbons and eagle feathers flutter from his mane and tail. With a war shield, Indian lance and buffalo robe saddle, War Pony protects his beloved warrior in battle, proving again and again that he has the courageous heart of a protector and a war horse.
Item #: 1452
Pony Story: A special bond existed between a warrior and his horse. They communicated on the most intimate and subtle levels. A whispered word, the squeeze of a leg or a shift in body position could often determine the outcome of a hunt or fight. As the Apsaalooke Chief Plenty Coups is quoted as saying, "My horse fights with me and fasts with me, because if he is to carry me in battle he must know my heart and I must know his or we shall never become brothers." A warrior also often painted his favorite war pony with the same pattern and colors he used for his own face and body, letting everyone know that they were as one, in heart and soul; that they were Warrior Brothers.
Pony Story: Growing up on a Colorado horse ranch across the valley from her Cherokee grandfather, this artist was immersed at an early age in both Indian art and culture and the riding life. Painting horses and Indian symbols on leather helped pay for her college tuition. It also inspired her to create a Pony whose power lies in the graphically creative arrangement of assorted spiritual symbols. "I wanted to include the Spirits that guide and protect us, and every one I've painted has 'good medicine.'"
Item #: 12252
Pony Story: Often referred to as one of the most imaginative and compelling ceramists of his generation, Virgil lives and works at the Cochiti Pueblo. He is known as much for taking traditional art forms in cutting-edge directions, as collaborative clothing ventures with New York fashion designer Donna Karan. Tattooed with traditional pottery designs before it was strapped down in black leather and silver spikes, this dramatic re-interpretation of Black Beauty has a mystique, a sensuality and a power that is vintage Virgil Ortiz.
Item #: 1510
Pony Story: "Woodland Hunter came to me through research and study of the Northern Plains tribes," says Kevin Kilhoffer, a native of western Oklahoma who studies, draws and paints the American West. "I found records of a Franciscan missionary stationed at a fur trade fort dating back to 1836, and in his notes he described a Teton Sioux warrior who rode into the fort wearing a magnificent war shirt adorned with scalps and wonderful art work decorating his horse." Incorporating markings that tell of deeds, wisdom, wealth and bravery, and outfitting his Pony with a shield, weapons, saddle and bags for transporting food, Kevin has created an astounding and historically accurate tribute to that Plains Indian warrior.
Item #: 12220
Pony Story: On the frozen banks of Wounded Knee Creek, Lakota Chief Big Foot and his followers huddled together, hungry and exhausted. Driven off their lands, they surrendered and were surrounded by the U.S. 7th Calvary that had been ordered to peacefully escort them to a reservation. There was tension in the air. Troops feared the Sioux and the powerful Ghost Dances that spread through the Dakotas as the Indians frantically danced and prayed for the return of their way of life. A single shot rang out from a Calvary gun and chaos erupted. When the smoke cleared, peaceful Chief Big Foot and all of the Lakota lay dead in the snow. As the sun set on South Dakota, a single Native pony wandered the frozen plains in search of his beloved people who would dance no more. This Iowa artist postponed a career in the arts to raise a family, but has found her passion for painting rekindled with The Trail of Painted Ponies. Wounded Knee won first place in the Paint Your Own Pony contest held at the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, Kentucky, in July of 2007.
Item #: 12276
Pony Story: It began with a solar eclipse on January 1, 1889: A Paiute medicine man named Wovoka had a vision that turned into a movement known as the Ghost Dance. Wovoka's dream centered on a ceremony he believed would reunite the living with the loved ones in the ghost world, replenish the buffalo, and ultimately restore the world to its original beauty. In his memory, and as a tribute to this important chapter in American Indian history, Devon Archer, a Virginia artist, has created a Painted Pony inspired by the colors and symbols that can be found on the traditional Ghost Dance shirts and dresses.
Item #: 12293
Pony Story: The Zuni Indians of New Mexico have inhabited the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona for over 1,000 years. Their pueblo was the first stop on the infamous search for the "Seven Cities of Cibola" by the Spanish in 1539. Among the rich traditions the Zuni are known for is pottery making. Zuni pots are distinguishable from the pottery of other pueblos by 1) material (Zuni potters dig their own clay); 2) design (the surface of their pots is usually a reddish color superbly decorated with fine lines and complicated geometric patterns created with white paint); and 3) shape (in addition to spherical bowls, Zuni pots were sometimes shaped like animals). Zuni Mare was respectfully inspired by the traditions of ancient as well as contemporary Zuni artisans.
Zuni Silver Pony
|Zuni Silver Pony|
Pony Story: This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: The Zuni Tribe of New Mexico is known for its elaborate jewelry and superb silverwork, inlaid with hand-carved precious and semi-precious stones (turquoise, jet, coral and mother of pearl) that represent animals and spirits and are said to have mystical significance. Working with designs found on old Zuni silver jewelry, this artist incorporated images of Rainbow Man ? the Zuni symbol of the supreme Kachina spirit of harmony and healing ? the Thunderbird and a dragonfly, onto a Pony, endowing it with the power to master the unpredictable forces normally beyond our control. One of the most versatile and talented artists in the Official Trail of Painted Ponies artist stable, Lynn Bean spends her summers in Oregon and her winters in southern Nevada, creating magical artwork, which she sells in galleries and at art festivals across the country.
Item #: 12303
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