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Horse of a Different Color


This blue roan is definitely a horse of a different color. I was struck by the intense blue color of this cross-draft horse in a herd of about 40 horses, being the only blue roan in the herd. I thought he would make a wonderful painting, showing off his blue roan hide.

A blue roan horse is a rare color. It is said to be quite difficult to breed for, as the conditions must be in perfect alignment in regards to the parent’s coloring. In order to have a roan, the horse must have black legs, a genetically black body, and “roaning”. While it is the black body that gives darkness to the horse, the roan gene gives the “ticking” of white hairs throughout the body, that gives the illusion of the horse being a “blue roan.” In any event, I loved this horse’s demeanor. He was a member of the bucking stock of horses and bulls owned by the famous rodeo contractor, Harry Vold, who was often referred to as the “Duke of the Chutes”.


The horse’s actual name was “Blue Valley”. He earned his wings, so to speak, as a member of the prestigious National Finals Rodeo. When that career was over, Blue Valley was loaned out to the New Mexico State University rodeo department, so that students could sharpen their riding skills by competing nationally with other universities that sponsor programs regarding development of rodeo skills.


Now, a little bit of trivia about the famous, legendary, and late Harry Vold. He passed at the age of 93 in March 2017. The reason I bring this up is he had more than 6 decades of sheer passion for rodeos and treating animals and people with respect. He always rode into rodeo rings over the years on a black horse. The last time he rode into the arena was 2015. Mr. Vold was one of only two people whose animals were used at every National Finals Rodeo since it’s inception. He always said, “a good bucking horse has to have the heart and disposition to want to buck.”


I did get to see Blue Valley show off his bucking skills during practice sessions. I went into the horse pasture many times over the years, and walked up to him and gave him carrots, which he would gently take, as well as to love on him. He was a gentle soul who knew his job and obviously earned his keep. It was an honor to paint Blue Valley.