Once a well-known racehorse, Metro Meteor, owned by Ron and Wendy Krajewski, took on an unusual new career once his racing days were over: painting.
Bone chips in his knees ended his racing career, and rehabilitation, medication and custom shoes couldn't stop his knee joints from beginning to fuse. Complete closure of the knee joint would mean that Metro would not be able to move at all.
This dire prognosis meant a limited time with his owners, who were looking for a creative way to spend time with the horse they had grown to love. Ron and Wendy noticed that Metro was mouthy and liked to pick things up, as well as shake his head up and down when he wanted attention. An artist himself, Ron decided to see if Metro would be willing to hold a paintbrush in his mouth.
He began Metro's training by giving him treats every time he touched his nose to a canvas, then progressed to having Metro moving the brush up and down on the canvas. Once the horse got the hang of painting, Ron put Metro's painting on display, selling four of them in the first week they were available for viewing.
Metro's style of painting has been compared to Jackson Pollock, a painter famous for his “splatter and drip” technique. By 2014, there were 150 people on a waiting list for his works.
The proceeds from the paintings have gone into a fund for an experimental treatment for Metro's knees: Tildren, injected directly into his knee joint. The treatments have been successful; X-rays a few months after the treatment show that the bone growth has receded, adding years to Metro's life.
Metro paints about two days a week in a stable close to Ron and Wendy's home. Ron chooses the colors and loads the paintbrush, and Metro takes it from there, painting left to right; they work on three or four canvases at once during a 20-minute session.
Watch Metro paint.
Metro truly loves to paint. While it is unclear just how much Metro can see of his paintings (horses have a blind spot directly in front of their noses), Metro enjoys painting regardless.
Metro's art sells for between $50 and $500. Half of Metro's earnings are donated to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, which rehabs, retrains and rehomes retired racehorses.
“We have different sizes that vary in price from $50 to $500. We're selling one or two a week,” Ron says.
Read more at BBC News.
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