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Teen Teaches Ex-Racehorse To Paint: “He Loves Being An Artist.”

A teenage girl helps a horse paint with his mouth.

Tuff the horse used to go for the gold, but now he chooses his colors based on self-expression. That’s because Saskatchewan teenager Ella Wall has been teaching him to paint. The 17-year-old says that the horse loves to pick out his own hues — in fact, he insists on it! His abstract artwork has been going for $25 to $60 per painting, which is used to pay for his upkeep. When the teen teaches this horse to paint, she’s not just having him create art that she dictates, but allowing him to make creative choices as well!

Ella has a unique method for encouraging Tuff’s creativity on canvas. First, she starts by offering him different colors to work with.

“If he touches it with his nose, I take that as a yes,” said the teenage girl, according to CBC.

A teenage girl helps a horse paint with his mouth.
Video screengrab from CBC News

Next, Ella puts some of the chosen shade onto the canvas and covers it with plastic. Since Tuff paints with his nose and mouth, it’s important to make sure he doesn’t end up snacking on his art supplies! However, he still gets a treat out of the deal: Ella slathers the plastic with camelina oil, which is both tasty and good for the horse’s joints.

“Now, if I get the paint bottles out of my locker, he gets excited,” said Ella. “He knows that he gets to paint. He loves being an artist.”

A selection of colorful abstract paintings created by a horse.
Video screengrab from CBC News

Before an injury forced him to retire, Tuff used to be a racehorse. Now, he lives at horseback-riding school Road to Serenity Farm. He can be quite temperamental, but he enjoys a very special bond with Ella. Tuff’s owner, Breanna Dielschneider, says that the girl “became Tuff’s person.” In turn, the horse has been extremely beneficial to the teenager as she struggles with Tourette syndrome. The process of teaching the horse to paint has been beneficial to Tuff and the teen as well!

A teenage girl and a former racehorse have a special connection.
Video screengrab from CBC News

“Sometimes with Ella’s Tourette, she’s unable to speak and so Tuff allows her to speak again,” said Breanna, adding, “It’s such a great relationship, a great connection, and they’re just there for each other.”

Watch as this teen teaches this talented horse to paint in the video below.


Tuff is not your regular horse. The Kentucky-born thoroughbred paints with his 17-year-old rider, Ella Wall. He was brought in to Borden, Sask., five years ago after an injury ended his racing career. So far, Tuff has painted three dozen pieces which sell at between $25 and $60. (Video: Travis Reddaway/CBC, Pratyush Dayal/CBC; Editing: Priya Bhat/CBC) #horses #animals #painting #art #artwork #sask #cbc #cbcnews

♬ original sound – CBC Saskatchewan

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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