News / Arts & Entertainment

    Retired Racehorse Finds Calling as Abstract Painter

    Metro, a 10-year-old retired bay thoroughbred, stands with owners Ron Krajewski and Wendy Krajewski, Motter's Station Stables, Rocky Ridge, MD, May 2, 2013.
    Metro, a 10-year-old retired bay thoroughbred, stands with owners Ron Krajewski and Wendy Krajewski, Motter's Station Stables, Rocky Ridge, MD, May 2, 2013.
    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.
     
    Metro, a 10-year-old retired bay thoroughbred, wields paintbrush as owner Ron Krajewski looks on, Motter's Station Stables, Rocky Ridge, MD, May 2, 2013.Metro, a 10-year-old retired bay thoroughbred, wields paintbrush as owner Ron Krajewski looks on, Motter's Station Stables, Rocky Ridge, MD, May 2, 2013.
    x
    Metro, a 10-year-old retired bay thoroughbred, wields paintbrush as owner Ron Krajewski looks on, Motter's Station Stables, Rocky Ridge, MD, May 2, 2013.
    Metro, a 10-year-old retired bay thoroughbred, wields paintbrush as owner Ron Krajewski looks on, Motter's Station Stables, Rocky Ridge, MD, May 2, 2013.
    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 cm), sell for $850 at the gallery, he said, and smaller cut-down versions, 5 inches by 7 inches (12.7 x 17.8 cm), are $80.
     
    One of Metro's large paintings sold on eBay for more than $2,000, and bidding for another one on Friday was hovering at $800 with only a few hours to go.
     
    In total, about 40 large and 150 small works have sold, adding up to more than $20,000, Krajewski said.
     
    As the owners say on Metro's website: "Art scholars are not going to have long lengthy discussions trying to decipher the hidden meaning to Metro's paintings. He is a horse."
     
    "It is what it is," they said. "A painting you can hang on your wall and tell all your friends it was painted by a horse."
     
    Typically, horse and owner paint for an hour or two, maybe four times a week, Ron Krajewski said, adding that Metro never seems to get bored with the task.
     
    Metro lives at Motter's Station Stables, near Rocky Ridge, a small town in the rolling hills of northern Maryland. An indoor arena doubles as his studio.
     
    One morning this week, the horse demonstrated his technique — interpreted by Wendy Krajewski — to a visitor.
     
    "He'll roll ... he likes to roll," she said, and within minutes, the horse knelt, lay on his side and began to roll on his back.
     
    Then he got to his feet, walked over to his easel and array of paints and wrapped his muzzle around a paintbrush. Friendly and laid-back, he scarcely fit the stereotype of a high-strung thoroughbred.
     
    A former turf sprinter, considered among the fastest at Saratoga and Belmont Park, Metro won about $300,000 during his racing career, his owners said.
     
    When his knees deteriorated, forcing him off the track, the Krajewskis, who owned a percentage of the horse, adopted Metro with plans to use him for casual trail riding. They also own a quarterhorse and another adopted thoroughbred.
     
    The horse was able to take short trail rides, but eventually his weak knees left him unable to support the weight of a rider, they said.
     
    The Krajewskis donate half of Metro's earnings to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, a charity that seeks homes and rehabilitation for retired racehorses. The owner of Gallery 30 donates a portion of Metro's profits to a local animal shelter.
     
    "We use the rest to pay for his medical bills," Ron Krajewski said. "The special treatment for his knees is very expensive."
     
    Metro suffers from arthritis, cartilitis — or frozen joints — and rapid bone growth, among other health issues.
     
    At first, his prognosis was bleak. If he continued to deteriorate, his owners said, he could die within two or three years. But recent X-rays showed that an experimental bone remodeling treatment had improved one knee, and treatment on another knee will begin this month.
     
    Metro's popularity has gone national. He has appeared on network television and has received endorsement offers, his owners said.
     
    The volume of business offers prompted the Krajewskis to retain an intellectual property attorney.
     
    Their horse, they noted, is oblivious to earnings and acclaim. As long as he has fresh water and hay, some treats and a pasture where he can nibble grass, run and roll in the dirt, Metro is happy, they said.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures