12th Series Design Meanings and Style

Bitterroot - retired

Artist Kevin 's (also made Woodland Hunter)

The Native Americans’ admiration for the horse took many forms. A favored horse dressed for ceremony or war would often be adorned with striking regalia, as well as painted. The beauty and mystery of the Indian horse mask as the emblem of a warrior Pony is captured with great power by an Oklahoma historian/artist in this masterful tribute to Chief Joseph. The legendary leader of the Nez Perce, who is credited with the successful breeding of the Appaloosa, is remembered for his principled resistance to the forced removal of the Nez Perce from their Idaho homelands. Chief Joseph’s surrender speech, in which he said "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever," immortalized him in American history and popular culture.


Rolling Thunder
Artist: Aloma Wolfington

"Rolling Thunder" hearkens back to a time of big skies and fierce storms, of thundering herds of bison large enough to shake the earth beyond the horizon, and of Plains Indians and their spirited, sure-footed, courageous horses trained to carry bow-bearing braves through the stampeding confusion of a bison hunt. Only an artist who has called Oklahoma home her entire life, who has seen with her own eyes the way darkening skies can be splintered with lightning bolts that seem to outline a rumbling "sky herd" of buffalo, could have created this masterful homage to the "buffalo ponies."

This small-town Oklahoma artist is a big-time talent with a subject matter range that is all-American.


Artist: Maria Ryan

Kachinas are stylized religious icons, meticulously carved from cottonwood roots and painted to represent figures from Hopi mythology. They often wear masks of animals, plants, stars, warriors and clowns. They are the focus of ceremonies and rituals in which they relay the wishes of the Hopi people to the gods – for more rain, a plentiful harvest, good health. In an effort to create a Painted Pony with mystical powers of its own, this colorist from Idaho has adorned her Pony with the designs and symbols of traditional kachina masks, including, on the left side, the "Sun Kachina" mask, and on the right, the “Messenger of the Gods” mask.

This Idaho artist has established a national reputation for her brilliant interpretations of wildlife and Native American imagery.

Maria Ryan (also made Native Jewel, Boot Camp, Penguin Pony and Poinsettia)


Sundancer - retired
Artist: Joyce Kennedy

The Sun Dance was the most spectacular and important religious ceremony of the Plains Indians of the 19th century. It was designed to bring renewal – the spiritual rebirth of its participants, harmony between all living beings, and the return of the all-important buffalo. Incorporating many of the sacred materials and symbolic elements of the Sun Dance ceremony into her design – a sage noseband, pictograph horses traveling from each of the four sacred directions, a white buffalo skull, a war bonnet sun graphic – this Montana graphic artist has created a Pony that represents the essence of the Sun Dance: renewal and balance, and the reaffirmation of relationships between people and nature.

For thirty years this versatile Minnesota artist made a living as an illustrator and graphic artist, before expanding to include oil painting, woodcarving, and Pony painting.


For Spacious Skies
Artist: Janet Snyder

"Some of the most famous memorials, monuments and landmarks in our country inspired my Pony," says the artist, a full-time graphic designer at the University of Illinois. While acknowledging that Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Iwo Jima Memorial can only be appreciated when experienced in person, she wanted her Pony to be a kind of road trip across America… on horseback. The original "For Spacious Skies" was the People’s Choice Award Winner of the national “America the Beautiful” competition.

A full-time graphic designer at the University of Illinois, Janet complements her professional career designing posters, flyers and advertisements with wonderfully rendered commissions of animals, mainly dogs and horses.


Bunkhouse Bronco - retired
Artist: Lynn Bean

The original bunkhouse was a rough, simple building, often fashioned from the wood boards torn off old barns that provided sleeping quarters for ranch hands. Horse tack, wagon wheels and cow skulls were frequently tacked to weathered planks on the outside, while western hats and ropes hung on the inside walls. Adding cozy ambience, the whole place would smell of coffee brewing in an enamel pot on a wood burning stove. Working these classic, cowboy touches into a fabulous Painted Pony design, this gifted Oregon artist has created an old-timey yet timeless tribute to our Western heritage.

Based in the Pacific Northwest, Lynn is primarily a wildlife artist whose unique painting techniques and finely detailed multi-media artworks are prized by collectors across the country.

Lynn Bean (also made Fetish, Copper Enchat, Gingerbread)


Wounded Knee
Artist: Vickie Knepper

On the frozen banks of Wounded Knee Creek, Lakota Chief Big Foot and his followers huddled together, hungry and exhausted. Driven off their lands, they surrendered and were surrounded by the U.S. 7th Calvary that had been ordered to peacefully escort them to a reservation. There was tension in the air. Troops feared the Sioux and the powerful Ghost Dances that spread through the Dakotas as the Indians frantically danced and prayed for the return of their way of life. A single shot rang out from a Calvary gun and chaos erupted. When the smoke cleared, peaceful Chief Big Foot and all of the Lakota lay dead in the snow. As the sun set on South Dakota, a single Native pony wandered the frozen plains in search of his beloved people that would dance no more.

This Iowa artist postponed a career in the arts to raise a family, but has found her passion for painting rekindled with The Trail of Painted Ponies. "Wounded Knee" won first place in the Paint Your Own Pony contest held at the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, Kentucky in July of 2007.


Stagecoach Pony - retired
Artist: Johanna Enrique

Relive the days of overland stagecoach travel in the Old West with a Painted Pony that captures a dramatic and symbolic moment in frontier history! Throughout most of the 1800s, stagecoaches were a primary means of transportation across the American West. They hauled passengers, mail and freight over vast, treeless plains, jagged mountain passes, scorching deserts, and rivers cursed with quicksand. To capture the iconic character of the stagecoach, this artist – formerly with National Geographic Magazine’s Art Division - imagined a horse-drawn stagecoach running from danger – attacking Indians or outlaw robbers – down a dusty trail, silhouetted against a sunset sky

All her life this young Canadian artist wanted to work in the art field, an ambition that was fulfilled when she was hired as an illustrator for National Geographic Magazine.

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