Here's the story of their design process & artist information.
14th Series ~ 2009 Summer

Native Essence Pony (Resin)
Native Americans are masters at the use of color to convey spiritual significance. Vibrant colors bring traditional designs, symbols and costumes alive with special meaning. North, for example, is designated as yellow, because the evening in winter is yellow. West is blue for the Pacific Ocean. South, the region of summer, is red, while East is white, signifying the dawn. An artist who has developed a national reputation for her unique use of electrically charged colors, Maria Ryan has combined her distinctive palette with the imagery of "fetish bears" – believed to represent strength, courage and good luck – in a design that embodies the essence of Native Art.
For 30 years Maria Ryan worked hard to establish a style uniquely her own, and the list of accomplishments and awards she received for her art along the way is extensive. Her paintings have been exhibited in art galleries both here and abroad, and she was featured in the book, "Wildlife Art: 60 contemporary Masters and their Work." Over the past six years, her stunning original designs for The Trail of Painted Ponies have enhanced her reputation.

Twilight Fairy Pony (Resin)
For as long as stories have been told, fairies have captured the imagination of people fascinated by these whimsical creatures. Often depicted as beautiful, young and sometimes winged women of small stature who are as delightful as they are mysterious (and who usually appear at twilight), fairies have the power to magically assume different animal forms. This incredible ability has inspired many creative and artistic interpretations. In the hands of this talented California artist, we discover this entrancing "Fairy Pony."
As a young girl, Kathy Post dreamed of doing something special with her art; yet, she grew up in an era where people told her art was a hobby, not a job that would support her. So it remained a hobby for many years, during which she experimented in different mediums. It was in 2005 that, quite by accident, she discovered the world of Rubber Stamp art and, over the past four years, she has developed her art into a cottage industry, creating gorgeous designs and manufacturing them into Rubber Stamp art. The moral to her story? "Always keep the dream alive and, when you least expect it, in an unplanned and odd way, it will come true.”

Zuni Silver Pony (Resin)
This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: The Zuni Tribe of New Mexico is known for its elaborate jewelry and superb silverwork, inlaid with hand-carved precious and semi-precious stones (turquoise, jet, coral and mother of pearl) that represent animals and spirits and are said to have mystical significance. Working with designs found on old Zuni silver jewelry, this artist incorporated images of Rainbow Man – the Zuni symbol of the supreme Kachina spirit of harmony and healing – the Thunderbird and a Dragonfly, onto a Pony, endowing it with the power to master the unpredictable forces normally beyond our control. One of the most versatile and talented artists in the Official Trail of Painted Pony Artist stable, Lynn Bean spends her summers in Oregon and her winters in southern Nevada, creating magical artwork, which she sells in galleries and at art festivals across the country.

Crow Fair Pony (Resin)
This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: Every August since 1904, Crow Agency, Montana has held a fair designed to celebrate and preserve early Crow culture and customs. A summer destination for Native Americans from all over North America, it features a parade, rodeo, relay races, Native dancing, contests and colorful exhibitions of beadwork. American flags fly high above the teepee poles in honor of Crow soldiers who served in the American military. For over 100 years, this artist’s family has lived as ranchers on the Crow Reservation, giving authority and authenticity to her artistic tribute to the Crow Fair.
Artist Sonja Caywood was privileged to have grown up ranching the old-fashioned way – with a mess wagon, tents, teepees and a rope corral in the Bighorn Mountains on the Crow Indian reservation. Living so closely tied to land steeped in the history and spirit of the Cowboy and Native culture turned her into an artist at an early age. The love of that land inspires much of her art today. "I want my art to engage the viewer to stop and take in the beauty around us in this quickly changing place and time, to identify with our landscape in this slice of soon-to-be history. Keep”

Keeper of the Sacred Fire (Resin)
This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: The Potawatomi Indians were a peaceful tribe known as the "Fire Nation" because, before the arrival of Europeans, they maintained the Council Fire once shared by other tribes living on the shores of the Great Lakes. Relying on canoes, they fished, gathered rice, hunted deer and were known for their elaborate flower and scroll designs on mat and basket weavings. Their history took a tragic turn with their forced relocation to the Indian Territories in Kansas and Oklahoma in 1838. "Keeper of the Sacred Fire" is a powerful and moving tribute to the enduring spirit of the Potawatomi, created by an artist who grew up along what came to be known as one of the Trail of Tears.
Cheryl A. Harris, who currently works from her studio in Covington, Indiana, exemplifies artistic versatility. She has a degree in Visual Art & Design which prepared her for work as a technical product illustrator. For 14 years, she served as an art director for an advertising and marketing firm, where her responsibilities included art direction, design, illustration and product supervision of advertising and marketing materials for a variety of clientele, including local and national accounts. Adding to her commercial portfolio, she has also pursued a successful career in the fine-art field, painting and drawing and creating large-scale murals. A participant in numerous juried fine-art festivals, with a variety of gallery exhibitions to her credit, she has donated her talent to numerous charitable causes and auctions.

Spirit of the Seasons (Resin)
This Painted Pony is part of The Tribal Collection. It honors authentic Native American arts and heritage: Artist Caroline Carpio is a Pueblo native and an award-winning potter who adds unique twists to the shapes and designs of her pottery. Wanting to honor the horse for its ability to live in harmony with nature, she adorned her Pony with embossed designs that symbolize the natural forces a horse endures during the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Artfully accompanied by a traditional Native American pot decorated with a Kiva step pattern, this elegant Painted Pony captures the magic of the original Masterwork, which was one of the Heard Museum Guild 50th Anniversary Painted Ponies benefitting the American Indian Student Art Endowment.
Caroline lives in the Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico "because it keeps me connected with my native language and culture." Her studio is surrounded by fields, where she can hear the mourning doves coo and watch the grass sway on a breezy day. She loves quietness; as the saying goes, "Quietness awakens the soul." There are many heroes in her life. First and foremost are her ancestors, the elders, traditional people and tribal leaders who are committed to keeping their culture alive. Self-employed artists are also her heroes because she knows how much work, dedication, self-discipline and sacrifice goes into making a business of one's art.

Dream Horse (Ceramic)
“When I was a child I, read every horse book I could find," writes Janee Hughes, a multi-talented artist from the Pacific Northwest. "My imagination soared with visions of magnificent steeds, each one faster, stronger and more beautiful than the last. This Pony depicts today's children, who still read the same wonderful stories." Recently, The Trail of Painted Ponies held a short-story contest, inviting collectors to compose a tribute to the Pony that most inspired them. The winner was so moved by "Dream Horse" that she wrote, "Even today, you can still find me lying in the grass reading horse stories and dreaming of horses galloping through my pasture."
Janee Hughes has been painting and drawing all her life; but 31 years of teaching art left her little time for her own work. Since retiring in 1997, she has been able to do more painting and exhibiting. Her work usually is realistic and involves animals, especially horses. As a lifelong rider, horses are her favorite subject matter. Janee has also done work involving carousel animals. She has sold cartoons to newspapers and catalogs. She has combined her art with writing to produce several children’s books. And, through her Painted Ponies, she continues to amaze the world with her demonstrations of how diverse a canvas the horse can be.

Thunder Horse (Ceramic)
"When my grandson was young, he would become scared whenever there were thunderstorms," says Florida artist Barbara Brown. "To calm him, I told him the Native American story of the Thunder Horse, and how he would descend from the sky to the mountain tops, and how the tramping of his hooves caused thunder, lightning and then the rain that made the crops and grass and trees grow and be happy. After that, whenever he heard thunder he would smile and say, 'Grandma, there's the Thunder Horse.' I painted this Pony for him."
Barbara Brown calls herself a "self-taught artist" because she never attended formal art classes. But she has always loved painting Native American images and wildlife, usually on natural surfaces such as wood, bone, feathers, antler, leather and gourds. If you have ever attended powwows and art shows in North Florida, you no doubt have admired her artwork.