Years ago, I saw the image at left (a brilliant painting by artist Pam Wildermuth ) and printed out a copy, because I was so in love with the horse portrayed. He was my ideal vaquero horse, the horse of my dreams. I kept that image close to hand, studying it often. Meditating on it. Dreaming it.
A year or so later, researching the origins of California's horses, I found a picture on the internet of a dark, almost black, stallion in Utah. His body conformation was perfect. His presence was magnificent. His color, grullo (or black dun) was exotic and true to the history of Old California's famous horse herds.
I contacted the stallion's owners and asked if they had any colts by that stallion for sale. The answer was no, but they anticipated a birth in the spring. "If it's a boy, I want him!" I said. Didn't matter his color, I just knew I wanted a colt by that stallion.
Come April (2004) a colt was born, and I made arrangements to purchase and fetch him from Utah.
Three years later, I posed that colt (who I named Vaquero Gold) and took a picture which I hope gives some idea of how close I have come to my ideal vaquero horse. He even rubbed a matching bald spot in his mane! (dang his ornery hide)
My colt doesn't quite personify the attitude displayed by the horse in the painting (which might be a good thing) although if truth were known, if I'd intruded on Vaquero Gold during mealtime, the photo might have looked a whole lot closer to the painting (VG does not appreciate interruptions to his dining pleasure). Also, if I'd really wanted to make the comparison complete, I wouldn't have brushed his hair and made him look so purdy.
Not to mention that VG is still a kid, while the horse in Pam's painting is mature.