Archive for Shirley Gentry

Horus the Horse Concludes

Posted in Art, Special Events, World Equestrian Games with tags , , , on June 25, 2010 by martimu

By special WegWag corresdpondent and Horse Mania artist: Shirley Gentry

Thursday, June 17, 2010. Horus limps in and joins the herd.

Yesterday evening Charlie and I were chatting with Lexington neighbors when I had an “OMG” moment. A nail with a huge head protruded from my truck tire. Call AAA. Drop the horse trailer, turn the truck around so the tire will be accessible for the technician. Try and find the tools to release the spare tire from under the truck. They are gone, probably left behind in some shop, who knows where or when. Fortunately, the tech can release the spare with Charlie’s truck tools. Crisis averted. Spare tire in place, we re-hitch the trailer. Good to go. We think.

Horse Mania Horse

Horus joins the club

This morning we took off for the shop to collect Horus. The truck is pulling to the right and making all sorts of scary, scraping sounds. We get there with all four wheels still on the truck, and still pulling the horse trailer. Horus is going to LexArts this morning if I have to call a tow truck or Sallee Horse Vans, or both. For those of you from outside the Lexington area, we have a selection of horse van companies only a phone call away that will pick up and transport your horse. It is sort of like calling a horse taxi, or in our case, limo. Luckily neither service is needed. Hmm…a horse van. That would be traveling in style. We have been told that the bed of a pickup is standard Horse Mania transportation.

At the shop we admire the latest evolution of Horus, shining like a Corvette at a car show. His clear coat gleams, highlighting the decorative colors and black base. He is beautiful. I am happy.

Horus is removed from his plywood stand and mummy-wrapped in his horse clothing for the last time, loaded, chocked, cross-tied, lashed in, and we set out for delivery. Charlie drives this leg of the journey so he can evaluate the pulling and horrible truck noises. He agrees. We have a problem. We decide to get the flat tire repaired and replace the spare after Horus is delivered. We limp and squeal into LexArts parking lot at Lorillard Lofts.

Horus is unloaded, and carried into the building to join his herd-mates. We undress him and I towel the dust off his black hooves and body. Immediately he is moved into the photo shot setup for his publicity picture. Smile, Horus! It will go into a commemorative book with photos of all the other horses. He is then carried off to meet the herd.

In another room rest dozens of completed horses, lined up side by side, several lengths deep. Wow! They are all so different and interesting, but we can’t really get a good look at them as they are packed in as tightly as cars in a Manhattan parking garage. Horus takes his place. I will see him, and his buddies, again next week for a preview party.

Horus with Dignataries

Horus Poses with Dignataries

We leave and head for the tire shop. Horus, “Egyptian Treasure”, has been delivered, and is safe.

Thursday, June 24: Party on, Horus!

This evening was the preview party for all Horse Mania horses, their sponsors, and their artists. All the horses are lined up in the corridors of Lorillard Lofts. They are just amazing! The range of color, design and decoration techniques reflect the wide variety of each individual artist’s creative vision. Besides the full size horses, there are a number of fiberglass foals that have been decorated by local schools. They are just super too.

I have come prepared, and rag off the dust and fingerprints from Horus’ shiny coat. Years spent on horse sales top-off crews die hard. We admire the other horses, and visit with friends and the other artists and partygoers. Charlie inspects the horses carefully for blemishes and flaws in their fiberglass factory finish. Horus is pronounced superior in this respect. It is interesting to hear the comments about the horses. At one point logistics of the installation on July 15 are being discussed. Rumor has it the horses will have their hooves nailed to the wooden bed of a tobacco wagon for transport. Charlie guides me away from the conversation before I dial a horse van company for Horus.

We meet Horus’ sponsors! Adam Kegley and Deborah Holland Tudor represent Frost, Brown, Todd LLC, Attorneys. Adam is also a member of LexArt’s Board of Directors. Unlike the other artists, who exhibit a high level of professional composure, I am thrilled and excited to be part of Horse Mania, and thank Adam and Deborah several times. Without the sponsorship of benefactors like Frost, Brown, Todd LLC, there would be no Horus, aka “Egyptian Treasure”, or any of the other horses.

Check out photos of the “Horse Mania 2010” horses on Facebook under that title, or the LexArts web site,, for more information. Follow the Horse Mania 2010 links; the foals are on the Horse Play link.


Horus the Horse Part 3

Posted in Art, Special Events, World Equestrian Games with tags , , , on June 16, 2010 by martimu

Horse Mania Art Project

By Shirley Gentry – special to WegWag!

Black Horse

Horus gleams at Fortune Collision & Paint Centre. Wow! What a difference! He is ready for surface decoration.

Monday, June 7.  Nick calls Charlie from the body shop. Horus’ spa treatment is taking longer than anticipated. He will have to ask some of his co-workers to help with the sanding. Charlie authorizes the expense.

We can pick up Horus Thursday morning, not Wednesday. I call my part-time employer, the Paris Stockyard, and tell them I will not be able to work the cattle sale on Thursday.

Tuesday, June 8.   Time to start creating the Horus Hostel, his next temporary home. This is the front hall of our home, where he will be painted. The first step is to remove the lint, pet hair, mud, Charlie’s tools and my costume making materials. So, how much of that can there be? What do you mean there is an air compressor and laundry basket of sequins by your front door? Well, I have made 10 costumes in the past three months, we have two (constantly shedding) dogs and two cats, and after a year of occasional construction, a repair on the front porch was recently completed. The front hall has been a receptacle for all related tools and construction/sewing materials. Swiffer? That’s for city girls. We farm women consider a ShopVac to be a house cleaning necessity.

Wednesday, June 9.  Free Horus!

I am ready to implode. I want my horse! There are photos of other artist’s completed horses in print, and today I visited another horse near completion. I have yet to take the first brush stoke.

The Eye of Horus is upon you. Yep. That is what that particular decoration is really called. It was a protective device in ancient Egypt. The marking on his forehead is an Ankh, and is the symbol of life. The paint job is a work in progress. Charlie suggests I create an explanation of Horus’ Egyptian symbols and their significance.

To make today a productive day, I purchase more, higher quality, acrylic paint. A trip to the Kentucky Horse Park’s new exhibit, “A Gift from the Desert” shows a few artifacts from Egypt on display. None of the really interesting bits shaped like snakes or horses are from Egypt, though. I spend several hours looking at books with pictures of ancient Egyptian artwork and horse equipment. The design is already established, and has been since January. The photos help keep me focused (and quiet.) Horse Mania? Can’t say much more about the Horse part, but your Maniac, er, Mania, is right here.

At 8:40 pm Nick texts Charlie from the body shop and includes photos of Horus’ gleaming black hide. We can pick him up in the morning. The stress level in our home diminishes significantly.

Thursday, June 10: Horus is beautiful! He shines and sparkles, his re-worked fiberglass body is blemish free, at least to my untrained eye. Previously he had raggedy hoof walls, looking like he had missed his last three farrier appointments while living in a rocky pasture. No more. He is a far better horse for the time spent at the body shop. Estimating Nick’s professional contributions at 35 hours, his boss, Todd, praises the work he has done on Horus, and donates the paint used in his finish. I am thrilled! The men at Fortune Collision who helped Nick will be satisfied if I pick up the tab for their lunch. Everyone has been very generous and supportive of this project. It is just great, and much appreciated.

Nick shows me how to sand Horus’ entire body before painting. I cringe at the prospect of marring his brilliant black hide, but it must be done. The entire surface must be roughed up so that the final clear coat and painted surface decoration will adhere to the black base coat. Load up the trailer, home we go, and install Horus in our version of the “paint booth”, the front hall.

Horus is sanded twice and wiped down after each treatment, which Charlie thinks is funny. You have to start somewhere, so Horus tries on a horse costume which allows me to get an idea of where the design details will lie. The painting begins. At some point I realize that I have made Horus one of my horse costumes, it is just created in paint rather than fabric (and sequins.)

Saturday, June 12.  I wake up at 4:00 am, dreaming about painting. I get up and continue to do just that. Later, I request a two-day extension on delivery date from Tony Aros at LexArt. It will be granted. During Horus’ stay, my life consists solely of painting, and husband and animal care.

Monday, June 14, 2010. The surface decoration is complete. Horus is spending the evening letting his paint cure. I estimate about 45 to 50 hours spent painting since Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow he ships back to the body shop for his clear coat.

Late breaking news: due to the construction currently in progress in downtown Lexington, the Horse Mania installation has been delayed until July 14.

Horus the Horse Part 2

Posted in Art, Special Events, World Equestrian Games with tags , , , on June 16, 2010 by martimu

By Horse Mania Artist – Shirley Gentry – Special to WegWag!

Tuesday, June 1. Horus heads for the body shop and a black base coat of paint.

Charlie Gentry, Nick Gentry and Nick’s boss help unload Horus at Fortune Collision, Nicholasville, Kentucky. Politically, the boss gets the trainer’s spot at Horus’ hip, while Charlie considers loading all Horus’ clothing and padding back into the trailer.

Actually this journey began Monday night when I hauled Horus in the trailer to a residential neighborhood in Lexington to spend the night. Two neighbors approached me about the wisdom of keeping a (live) horse in an enclosed trailer overnight in front of the house. Fortunately the concerned individuals addressed this situation to me personally, and no one called the Sheriff or Humane Society. It is always good to know that people are concerned about animal welfare, whatever the species.

Horus, narrowly escaping seizure by animal control, arrived at Fortune Collision in Nicholasville, Kentucky Tuesday morning following the Memorial Day holiday. You know, it’s located at the Old Dragstrip. For those of you not from the Bluegrass area, said dragstrip has been gone for decades, replaced by an industrial park. But if you ask any local person for directions, that is exactly where they will send you.

Charlie’s son, Nick Gentry, works at the body shop and has taken an interest in Horus’ future. Nick’s specialty is painting cars. Horus was removed from the trailer, padding removed, his front feet bolted to a board (it’s that stability thing again), and carried inside for evaluation, and hopefully a quick coat of black paint so the decoration can begin. The June 15 deadline for project completion looms large.

Frowning, Nick scraped his fingernail over a “soft spot” on Horus’ white-primed fiberglass body, peeling away the primer. Skin disease? Rain rot fungus? Ringworm? Bad Bondo? Whatever it is, there are several “soft spots” that could potentially erode under the rigors of constant outdoor life, taking away with it Horus’ surface decoration. Not a good thing. As Nick pointed out, if the factory surface finish isn’t sticking to the horse, neither will any paint we apply.

We take our leave, Horus now in the hands of those that know fiberglass.

Wednesday, June 2.  Nick has spent eleven hours cleaning up Horus and re-fiberglassing his body. And more to go.

Friday, June 4. Visiting day at the body shop.

Nick inspects Horus’ “skin disease” on his back, easily scratching away the factory supplied primer.

Horus shows definite signs of Nick’s attention. The 6” scur that marred his face is gone, as are other factory rough spots. Gone are most of the primer and the “soft spots” on his left side, and some from the right. In its place is green patching compound and by his hooves a partially depleted box of sandpaper. Nick points out the improved smoothness of Horus’ body and increased definition of his features and musculature. As the “Egyptian Treasure” design is a smooth sleek look, this will enhance his finished product, and the body work is much appreciated. I point out the time constraints of the project, especially the June 15 due date. Horus needs to have his body work completed, be re-primed, sanded, painted black, sanded, turned over to me for decoration, and then returned to the body shop for a clear coat. We agree that the initial two-month timeline originally established for the project is a reasonable one. Eighteen days to create a finished painted horse stinks. Horus will spend the weekend at the shop, and I consider the wisdom of the artists who are covering their horses’ surfaces with various textured products.

Saturday, June 5. I travel to Frankfort, Kentucky for a centennial celebration of the Kentucky State Capital Building with Kentucky Horse Park employees and horses. They will represent Daniel and Rebecca Boone, wearing two costumes I have made. Actually I don’t think Rebecca spent much time texting on her IPhone while on horseback, and Daniel, portrayed by Sarah, was a man, but you go with what you got. They were much photographed and the horses petted, and people knew who the riders were representing, which is a good thing if you make costumes. We wisely loaded the horses and left well before the ten-cannon salute took place.

Earlier in the week, I took nine costumes to Central Kentucky Riding for Hope for photos with program horses and students in preparation for their annual fundraising gala. It was good to have these things behind me so that I can give Horus my full attention when he comes home for painting.

Sunday, June 06, 2010 Horus has my full attention. Panic sets in. Charlie calls Nick, who is spending his Sunday at the shop, working on Horus, rather than with his family. I can pick up Horus on Wednesday, which should give me four days to paint him, provided I do not go to my job at the Paris Stockyard on Thursday; three days if I do. He will have to go in for his clear coat on Monday, June 14. And the clock continues to tick….

Horus, the Horse Mania Horse

Posted in Art, Special Events, World Equestrian Games with tags , , , on June 16, 2010 by martimu

By Horse Mania Artist Shirley Gentry – Special to WegWag!

Friday, May 28, 2010: This afternoon Charlie and I were able to pick up Horus, the life size fiberglass horse model I will be painting for the LexArts public art project in Lexington, Kentucky. His name, “Horus”, comes from the ancient Egyptian painted designs he will bear upon completion. Horus was an important god in the Egyptian culture, and was known for his spirit of order and stability, which are badly needed in this household at the moment. The proper name for the painted statue is “Egyptian Treasure”.

Horse Mania Horse

At the LexArts pickup point, Horus is mummy-wrapped in protective horse clothing for the next leg of his journey.

We were supposed to pick up the statue on Monday, April 12. I was excited, packed and ready to go. The afternoon before pickup I received a phone call from Tony Aros of LexArts, telling me not all the horses had been received from the manufacturer, and that mine would be available at a later date. After almost seven weeks of telling myself that there is nothing to do but accept things I cannot change, breathing deeply, and grinding my teeth to stumps as I slept, the phone call came. It was time to pick up Horus at Lorillard Lofts on Price Avenue in Lexington.

Seven weeks ago I had considered various shipping options to transport Horus. The obvious one was to put the fiberglass horse into our two-horse

trailer. Since the statue is molded with an extended forefoot and tail flowing out behind, he is too long to fit standing in a single stall. The center partition would need to be removed, and Horus would have to ride at a slant, diagonally, across the trailer, lacking the support of the center divider to provide stability. The divider had previously been removed to accommodate the claustrophobic nature of my mare, Lily, who apparently agrees with studies of equine behavior that state horses naturally prefer to riding in trailers on a diagonal slant, rather than facing straight forward. Lily can lean on a wall or spread her legs and to brace herself while traveling. Horus can not.

horse mania horse picture 2

Horus Loaded like he'd been doing it his whole life

Four bales of hay were put in the trailer to chock Horus into place. Then I added a halter and lead ropes to crosstie his head at the manger and installed

some pieces of baling twine along the trailer wall so I could add some ropes around his body, tie them to the trailer wall and stabilize his top-heavy form to prevent shifting and possibly snapping a leg. Protective padding of the statue seemed prudent, and heaven knows there are plenty of available materials in the barn. I added a soft fleece body blanket, a heavier padded nylon blanket, a set of four fur-lined shipping boot that protect his legs from

hoof to well over his hocks and knees, race track blinkers to protect his eyes, and a padded hood that covers his neck and most of his face. Rumors to the contrary, I did not pack a hay net or poll protector, correctly assuming Horus would neither be hungry nor rear up in the trailer. The broom was already in the trailer, but we did not need it.

At the appointed hour, 1:00 Friday, May 28, husband Charlie and I pulled the trailer into the Lorillard Lofts parking lot. Four artists were there to pick up our horses, following the signing of our contracts. The others put their horses into the beds of pickups, legs poking out, and one was strapped to a flat-bed truck.

Tony helped us remove the horse from the warehouse shipping bay, handling him with the degree of expertise practice brings. Our plans for loading Horus were complicated somewhat by the fact that Charlie recently dislocated his shoulder and is wearing a sling and arm immobilizer. Horus stood well for the blanketing and boots, and gave us no trouble loading, but did need to take advantage of all the extra space the diagonal slant load gave.  His extended forefoot went all the way to the front of the stall space, and his tail to the door. Hay bales, ropes, crossties were all put in place, the doors shut and away we went.

The original plan was for Horus’ next stop to be at the body shop for a black base coat. Due to the Friday afternoon pickup, his appointment is scheduled for next week. With the three-day weekend, I decided that he would layover at our farm, rather than sit in the parking lot of the body shop. The plan is to take him in on Tuesday, June 1. Horus is supposed to be returned to LexArts on June 15, and needs another trip to the body shop for a clear coat before that. And the clock is ticking….

Horus shipped to the farm well, and is awaiting his appointment at the body shop for a black base coat.

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