And with that, another masterpiece is created by Nick, a 22-year old Appaloosa-Clydesdale mix at Danada Equestrian Center.
“He was originally a carriage horse on Mackinac Island, and two women purchased him and brought him to the area, in 2004 they donated him to the Equestrian Center,” said Margaret Gitter, Equestrian Assistant at Danada Equestrian Center.
Trained using a clicker and treats, Nick first picked up a paintbrush last spring.
Gitter explains, “Slowly we introduced him to a paintbrush and had him touch the handle, and I would click and give him a treat and little by little we’d have him put it in his mouth and then he’d put his head down and once he started making broad strokes we clicked, gave him a treat and he kind of caught on that that behavior’s that we wanted.”
While the process may seem complicated, Nick was a quick study.
“Initially it was probably within two weeks that he started making some stroke marks. And gradually the more we worked with him, the more strokes he started making,” said Gitter.
Before retiring two years ago, Nick gave riding lessons and led the Equine Drill Team for nine years. But now his new hobby is keeping him busy.
“I think horses in their retirement, any stimulation is good, I think he enjoys pleasing people, and naturally enjoys getting treats, so this gives him a lot more attention,” said Gitter.
And profit, as his art is for sale year round at the center.
“Anyone can come into the office at the Danada Equestrian Center and purchase a Nick painting, they range from $5 to $50,” said Gitter.
Now that’s a deal, straight from the horses mouth.
All proceeds from Nick’s paintings go back to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, who owns the Equestrian Center.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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