“We should have a party,” I said to two of my neighbors a couple of weeks before Halloween. “We’ll dress up a la Dia de los Muertos, have live music, a fire. I’ll paint the horses.”
They laughed. But come October 30, my vision came to fruition. Despite the rain earlier in the day, 50+ humans showed up, most in costume. Another neighbor invited her face-painting friend, so when I looked across the fire on the patio that evening, I saw singing calaveras and flowers, and even a pirate crab.
I started painting the horses in the morning. First I brushed Magic, which he’s used to. Then I let him smell the little tub of white paint. Neither of us liked it much, but we tolerated it in the name of Art.
Once he was decorated on both sides, I took a break. These canvases could bite or kick you! Plus, they move. I needed to keep it simple.
Next was Jetson. I didn’t even have to halter him. He seemed to enjoy being a muse.
Kady was okay, too, despite the fact that she charged me in the pasture the week before. Both she and Cisko got handprints.
I ended up painting four horses: all had spots on one side so they were a cohesive herd; then a heart for Jetson, hands on Kady and Cisko, and Magic’s stars. I painted a heart on my chest so I was part of the tribe. My porch pumpkin sported spots.
I used non-toxic washable tempera paint, as recommended by another horse painter (!). “I buy the big container at Michael’s and cut it with shampoo so it’s easier to hose off,” wrote Melanie, who runs an equestrian therapy program in Atascadero. Evidently the kids like to paint their ponies.
The Polka Dot Herd were a big hit at the party, even after dark. People went down to the corrals with flashlights to see them.
Maybe next year I’ll use glow-in-the-dark paint.