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Friday, July 19, 2024

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You Won’t Believe Who Painted This $250 Painting Auctioned Off to Help Special Needs Children

by James Coulter

Several paintings were auctioned off during the inaugural Boots and Buckles Festival hosted in Bartow last Saturday. A new art piece was even painted at the event for everyone to see. So awe-struck was the crowd that the painting was auctioned off and sold for $250.

And the most surprising part? This painting was created by a horse!

Yes, that’s correct! This fundraiser for young people with special needs featured art pieces painted by horses. One horse, Hemingway, even helped create a new painting.

At the event, volunteers poured paint onto a canvas, then concealed it in plastic wrap and poured molasses on top of it.

Hemingway then hungrily licked the molasses off, pushing the paint across the canvas in various random patterns. His masterpiece, its paint still wet, was then auctioned off and sold for $250.

Hemingway, affectionately as Hemi, is a 24-year-old Belgian/Quarter horse that was formerly a fox hunter before arriving at his new home at Rockin W Ranch. As his bio states: “He is a gentle giant with an adorable mustache that gets real gooed up with molasses when he paints.”

Several other horse-made paintings, which were created by other horses and showcased as “Sweet Slobbers”, were sold at the fundraiser. Other activities that day included arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, live music, and photo ops with a “real” unicorn and fairy princess.

Proceeds went toward Heart for H.E.R.O.E.S. (Horses Empowering Riders and Others), which is a non-profit associated with Rocking W. Ranch. The organization teaches special needs children horseback riding and even supports them in the Special Olympics.

Currently, they have 30 young athletes in their Special Olympics team, along with 12 horses, with hopes to have up to 15. Proceeds from this year’s inaugural fundraiser will go toward scholarships for potential students who cannot afford lessons.

Originally, the event was going to be hosted at the Rockin W Ranch. However, the ranch was flooded ten days before the event, forcing its organizers to host it at the Bartow Horse Arena instead.

“It has been great,” said Sarah Frederick. “It managed to meet our expectations, even after we had to move, but I think in years coming we will expand and this place will be hopping every year. Our future expectations are to have a full-blown riding program and a facility. We are working to get a facility for Hearts for Heroes, and the skies are the limits for our future.”

To learn more about Hearts For H.E.R.O.E.S., visit their website at: https://www.aheartforheros.org/

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Staff Reporter

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