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NOTES: Tourist brochures paint a picture of Pryor Mountain region almost too lovely
for words. And, indeed, this wild horse country, on the border of Montana and Wyoming is both a spectacular and a challenging land. Crow and Shoshone once rode though this area on their way to hunt buffalo on the Plains.
Here, on the south slope of East Pryor Mountain overlooking the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming, lies the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, encompassing almost 47,000 acres devoted to the nationâ€™s first wild horse refuge. Unique, wild mustangs of Spanish ancestry have occupied the many ridges and ravines of this rugged and mysterious country for, some say, close to a hundred years. Approximately 120 to 140 of these rare mustangs roam free, from the Pryorâ€™s high meadows down to the juniper-covered foothills, from the desert-like badlands to the valley floorâ€™s green fields. Mustangs, mule deer, elk, black bear and bighorn sheep all share the delights and hazards of living in this harsh and secluded environment.
The Pryor Mountain mustangs are generally referred to as primitive-type horses. All as small, standing twelve to fourteen hands and some have the coats of dun and grulla generally regarded as the color of the primitive-type breed. Only the dun and grulla mustangs and occasionally a bay or chestnut are characterized by primitive markings - dorsal, zebra and with stripes, dark-rimmed ears and other unique markings. The Pryor Mountain mustangs, so characteristic of Spanish colonial horses, also possess a sloping croup, long tapering muscles, a deep body and convex head with fine crescent-shaped nostrils. Genetically unique, Pryor Mountain horses are historically and culturally important, worthy of preservation.
Mustangs are not vanishing but the territory allotted to support them is. Remarkably fecund, mustangs simply do not have enough land to support their growing numbers. Despite inclement weather, poor roughage and semi-desert terrain, each yearâ€™s new foal crop can increase a herd up to twenty percent. To keep the numbers in check, twenty to forty animals are separated from the Pryor Mountain herd each March at the Bureau of Land Managementâ€™s (BLM) Britton Springs Corral..
Lithograph by Judy Larson
is signed by the artist and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Judy Larson bio
Judy Larson always knew she was going to be an artist. She was surrounded by them as a child, and was particularly inspired by her father, a professional illustrator. Judy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Art from Pacific Union College in Northern California, then spent the next 17 years as a commercial artist, illustrator and art director. In 1988, influenced by her love of nature and animals, Judy devoted her time to wildlife art. Her primary focus in each of her paintings is the animal, with the horse as a recurring subject. Her unique approach to her work is through the use of scratch board--a technique that can render magnificent detail but one requiring infinite patience. Scratch board, an old, but little used medium, consists of a smooth, thin surface of hardened China clay applied to a board. The subject is then painted solidly with black India ink to create a silhouette. Now the exacting work begins, engraving the image into the surface of the artwork. While many artists use steel nibs or engraving tools, Judy prefers to work with X-acto blades, changing them ever few minutes to produce as fine a line as possible. Once the subject has been totally scratched, it is a finished black and white illustration, ready for the artist to add color. The methods of adding color are diverse. Judy prefers a combination of airbrush, gouache or acrylics for finishing, with frequent rescratching for detail. Scratch board is a demanding medium, one that Judy has used masterfully in developing her unique approach to wildlife art.