Are Metro’s paintings Art?

Whenever Metro gets featured in print, like he did recently in the New York Times, I always make the mistake of reading the comments. And regret it when I do.

Sure, we get the usual Mr. Ed and Wilbur comments, and the usual “I am exploiting Metro for profit” comments. I can let all those roll off my back.

But the comments that seem to get under my skin, are the “What an animal creates can’t be considered art”, “he has no vision or concept of what he is doing”.

This is true, he doesn’t…at least I don’t think so.


Metro paints for the joy of painting. He enjoys stroking that brush on the canvas.

But he also isn’t doing it on his own. He has a little help. I am the one with the vision, the concept.

I choose the colors, and determine when the painting is finished. Even though I don’t have a lot of control over how Metro uses that brush once I give it to him, he still relies on my guidance if he is going to get that brush full of paint in his mouth.

Artists use all kinds of new ways to apply paint to canvas. They throw buckets of it into fans or jet engines, and let the wind apply the paint. They fill balloons full of paint, and hurl them through the air to explode on a canvas.

And they all get to call it art. But we aren’t allowed too, because Metro is a horse.

I am doing the same thing. Except, instead of a fan or jet engine between me and the canvas, there is a thousand pound horse.

Metro also applies paint the way most artists only wish they could. Thick, textured, random organic shapes.

Several books have been written about the subject. “How to loosen up your paintings”. Every artist strives to paint loosely, they may even call that loose style “painterly”.

I have found the secret to paint loosely…. Let a horse apply the strokes for you.


I have always avoided calling Metro’s paintings art, because I know how artists think. They don’t want a horse to be called an artist. Especially one that sells a lot more paintings than they do.

While they where the badge of “Starving Artist” proudly, Metro is perfectly happy getting 3 squares and a ½ bale daily.




Well I am going to say it now, I consider Metro’s paintings art.

I guarantee, if I wasn’t signing Metro’s name to it and taking the credit all for myself, it would be called art. And it looks better than a lot of paintings I have seen. But I have tried to paint abstracts on my own, and they don’t look half as good as when Metro applies the strokes. So I am more than happy to let Metro take all the credit.

I consider it art, even if it is just for the teamwork that is involved when we create a painting. Metro likes to argue about everything, and we have butted heads on many subjects. But when we are creating a painting, the silent communication we have together is an art. We get into a rhythm, and it is like a dance we do. Anticipating each other moves, and flowing together as one.

Many expert riders feel this with a well trained horse, the “Be One with the Horse” concept. I feel the same with Metro. It just so happens I am at “one” with Metro when we are painting.

But Metro doesn’t care about the critics or the attention. Well I take that back, he cares about the attention…  alot. He has an ego the size of a horse, and is the biggest showboat I have ever met.

But the critics, he would just tell to kiss him right under his tail.



14 thoughts on “Are Metro’s paintings Art?”

  1. Hooray for you! You and Metro are artist partners. Like two halves of one brain, you need each other for your creations. He is spontaneity/innocence and you are analysis/experience…… together you make a great team! And yes……it is art, great collaborative art! I’m waiting for a painting with the colors I love…….I just missed getting the original “Secret Garden”!

    Forget the critics, continue the art!

  2. In my opinion…once you consider the source of the negative input..who are they to say what others enjoy and consider artistic pleasure to the eye. Actually if I were Metro…I would tell them they can kiss their own shiny tail.

  3. Ignore the haters! I’ve seen elephants paint pictures of elephants in Thailand. Who are we humans to say that animals don’t know what they’re doing? Metro’s paintings are beautiful. That you’re doing this for such a good cause makes them all the more special.

  4. The downside of the internet is that it gives a forum to folks who live a lifestyle of criticism and put-down. Hopefully some day they will all join a single chat room where they can diss each other all they want and leave the rest of us to enjoy ourselves in peace. Go Metro! Go Ron!

    1. I’ve seen that too–although it is human related. Not sure why haters bother others so much. Wish they’d go hate on each other.

      This horse is exceptional. Maybe cause he was the first I saw paint but his ability to paint certainly outdoes me.

  5. What Metro does is absolutely art. I see things in his paintings when I look at them, like the way I do when I look at clouds. I have even seen horse’s heads. He may not draw still life or have intricate details and designs but I definitely do believe he knows what he’s doing. And he does it well! I would rather look at Metro’s paintings than Jackson Pollacks or Monet’s because I can use my imagination to think what he was thinking when he painted it. He has captured quite an audience and deserves praise and peppermint. Long live Metro. If and when Metro decides he no longer wants to paint, I am sure he will, with his obstinate personality, let you know.

  6. Congrats on the NYT piece! I just got to read that and some of the comments.
    Don’t worry about naysayers and skeptics. And regardless of whether artists consider his work ART, I think it’s wonderful that you have this shared hobby with your horse. He obviously enjoys holding things in his mouth and brushing at the canvas. I had a Thoroughbred who was very mouthy. He loved flipping the nearby halter off the peg it was hanging on (as he stretched his head and neck out the door). One day he picked up my entire plastic brush container and shook it and I think he was laughing as I had to pick up my brushes and re-organize them again. If only I knew to give him a paintbrush, I could have perhaps given him a more positive outlet. 🙂
    Keep up the good work of keeping Metro busy and helping former racehorses!

  7. I have 4 minis that Metro painted and love them. My grandkids are amazed that “nana” has artwork on her walls painted by a very talented artist.. Of course it’s art.. A free spirit that lets his emotions play out on canvas.. Keep up the good work for the retired racehorses that need some comfort in their retirement.

  8. I’m not sure that Metro isn’t expressing thought and feeling: I am struck by the powerful sense of motion and speed in his paintings; sometimes I have the sense of part of a horse’s body in them. And why not? Speed was central to his existence for many years. Its part of who he is and even more, part of who he was. Yes, I know this is called anthropomorphism, but domesticated animals do the same with us. We have much more in common than many people are willing to admit.

    Thank you for all you’ve done for him and other horses.

  9. Way to go! Metro is an artist. As a matter of fact his artwork is much better than these so called artists. He has pure joy in painting. Wish I had one of his paintings.

  10. Well they taught some elephants how to paint! And they are VERY good! But I think Metro has improved since I first saw some of his work.

    Like Zenyatta (who seems totally self aware)I think Metro is becoming more and more aware of painting and what it is he does. He may not “understand” human that part of the funds go to help other horses but I think on some horse level he is aware.

    I want too look at different things to buy. I think supporting Metro and his friends is a fantastic way to show another side of what the horse can do!

  11. It is lovely art. I bought his California Chrome collaborative painting with you and I never buy art. This is special because we don’t know exactly what Metro is thinking. He is happy. He is doing well. He is doing better than I am! Thank you for taking him on and developing ohm into the artist he is. Beautiful story. I would love to meet him someday.

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