Rescue Horse Learns to Paint Colorful Masterpieces Thanks to a Carrot on a Brush

Blue always loved picking things up with his mouth, so his owner taught him a special new skill

<p>Erika Tully</p> Blue the painting horse

Erika Tully

Blue the painting horse

Erika Tully noticed that her horse, Blue, loved grabbing things with his mouth.

"Horses aren't usually nipey, or bitey," says Tully, 57, of Carolina Beach, North Carolina. "They don't try to bite, but that's how they pick up things. And he's a horse that will pick up a hose if it's in the water trough. If you're walking by with a broom, he'll try to grab the broomstick."

Tully adopted the 21-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred, a former race horse, three years ago.

"He melts my heart," she says.

Tully herself is an artist who creates works using pieces of neck ties, and she ultimately wondered if her horse shared her artistic talents. So last fall, she taped a paintbrush to a carrot and held up a canvas.

"It was almost as if he just knew that he needed to put a few strokes on," she says. Every so often, she's break the carrot off, and he'd eat it while she changed paint colors for him.

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<p>Erika Tully</p> Blue the painting horse

Erika Tully

Blue the painting horse

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"Eventually, it's like he didn't even think about the carrot, he was just thinking about the painting," she adds of his process now. "Sometimes we paint five days in a row."

She displays his artwork at her business, Neapolitan Wine Shop, and sells his paintings online at her website, Eclectic Dandelion.

"We're running out of paintings," she says. "He's been selling a lot."

To date, Blue has sold about one-dozen works — and each picture comes with a photo of him painting.

"In his paintings, there's always pieces of dirt and pieces of his hair because he'll drop the brush sometimes," she says. So buyers "don't just get paint — they get a little collage too."

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He loves painting even more than riding, Tully says.

"He starts nickering when he sees me because he thinks he's going to go painting," she shares. "It makes everybody in the barn smile!"

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