Retired racehorse finds calling as abstract painter

Fri May 3, 2013 2:02pm EDT
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By Jeffrey B. Roth

ROCKY RIDGE, Maryland (Reuters) - The horse is an American icon. It races gracefully, performs heavy farm tasks, can do tricks and, if television is to be believed, may even talk. But only one is an accomplished painter.

Metro Meteor, a 10-year-old thoroughbred bay in rural Maryland, is enjoying singular success. Within just months of applying his first brush stroke to paper, he is juggling requests for public appearances, weighing endorsement offers and earning thousands of dollars for his work.

Slowed by bad knees, the racehorse was retired in 2009 and adopted by Ron and Wendy Krajewski. Unable to ride the crippled horse, Ron, a local artist, decided to teach the horse to paint in order to spend more time with him.

Elephants are known to paint with their trunks, he reasoned, and Metro did tend to bob his head a lot while in his stall.

The paintings caught on, and success ensued. Metro is now the best-selling artist at Gallery 30, a small shop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which started selling his work four months ago.

Metro's paintings feature colorful, sweeping brushstrokes, complete with specks of sawdust - not surprising as the horse paints by swinging his head, a paintbrush clenched in his teeth.

"For his large paintings, there is a waiting list of 120," said Ron Krajewski in an interview this week.

The larger acrylics, 20 inches by 20 inches (51 x 51 cms), sell for $850 at the gallery, he said, and smaller cut-down versions, 5 inches by 7 inches (12.7 x 17.8 cms), are $80.   Continued...

Metro, a 10-year-old retired bay thoroughbred horse stands with owners Ron Krajewski and Wendy Krajewski (R) and one of his paintings at Motter's Station Stables in Rocky Ridge, Maryland May 2, 2013. Since giving up the track, Metro has begun a successful painting career that has netted about $20,000 in four months. REUTERS/Jeffrey B. Roth