SWANDIPITY stands for an uncompromising commitment to excellence, honesty and integrity.
Swan-dip-ity : A state of being in which fortunate discoveries happen accidentally in ART
The wild horses of Corolla have been a part of my life for 38 years and I now share with you my inspirations from those creatures that roam wild and free. Please respect my copyright...Debra Rothrock.
This mare wiggles her withers mastering the art of flirtation along the coastline of the Northern Outer Banks of NC. This photoshoot opportunity was in May, 2018 in the Corolla 4x4, home of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs. These mustangs are one of the oldest and rarest strains left in the world.
Corolla Wild Horse foals of North Carolina usually arrive in the springtime but not always. The mare finds a secluded place in the wild to give birth in privacy, all on her own, with no intervention or help.
Image is from a cool November month in 2015. The lighting was perfect to enhance the light on their thickening winter coats. It must have been late afternoon, judging by the cool tones of the shade on the sand dunes. The Corolla Spanish Mustangs have survived 500 years on the native grasses found on this barrier island. The Currituck Outer Banks is paradise enriched by God with these horses.
June (2016) brings with it wild flowers which are a treat for the Currituck wild horses. No carrots, apples or sweets for them, these are not on the Corolla menu because they could cause deadly colic for the horses. When visiting this special place, one must respect the way of life of the free roaming mustangs.
In April 2015, this colt still has his cold weather coat. It is thick and dense...just want to put your fingers through it. The new grasses are starting to sprout and the Colonial Spanish Mustangs start to sew their wild oats.
May (in this case 2017) starts the mating season for The Colonial Spanish Mustangs on the Currituck Outer Banks. Stallions challenge each other for mating rights and often steal mares from their neighbors harems. It is an exciting time of year and a time when you must be extra vigilant about staying 50 feet away from the horses.
"Grabbing a Bite With Josh"
In July 2016, I captured Josh and his mom back towards the maritime forest in Swan Beach, NC. Josh is no longer a newborn but lives with his mother for about a year. He still nurses from her. His distinctive white marking on his forehead is a "tag" to tell him apart from the other wild horses. There are around 120 mustangs at any given time. One method used to keep these numbers is shooting the mother mares with contraceptive darts.
"Blowing in the Wind"
The distinctive white markings on the horses forehead is often what distinguishes them from the others in pack. This horse is fondly known as "Snowcone" for that very reason. Afternoon shady cool tones on the dunes and windy breezes define this day in November 2015 when I photographed this beauty.
Named "Winter Coat" for a reason: it was January, 2015 when I found this guy in his winter coat ready to brave the winter winds. The horses seem quite comfortable until it gets so cold that icicles form on their chinny chin chin.
"Grass is Greener Underhoof"
September, (2016 for this event) is when the grasses start turning a little brown in the Carolina Southern heat. The wild equines look for the remaining green grass to satisfy their food requirement which is insatiable. When the winter months approach they will start eating more to store for the sparse season to come.
William is a Corolla Wild Horse that had to leave the beach soon after he was born in 2015 and be moved to the Wild Horse Farm on the Currituck mainland. He was born with a kidney problem and needed urgent care. Once a horse leaves the Currituck Outer Banks beach, they can not return to the beach for fear of introducing foreign germs. He is now living in Virginia.
Mares are the high commodity item in May, (2017 for this image). Stallions want rights to mate and continue their bloodline. The Spanish Mustangs of the Corolla 4x4 are very territorial. Imagine a long strip of barrier island...where 100-120 wild horses live. Now imagine a piano keyboard...each key (about one mile wide) is the area where each band of horses live. Mating season is the exception on the bands boundaries...stallions steal mares and regretfully share mares...often resulting in stand-offs on the beach.
December 2014 dates "Dark Eyes" photography composition. The late afternoon sun sparkled on his shiny coat and rendered a rainbow of colors.
"Josh and Mom"
Taken with my Nikon zoom lens in August 2015, this Corolla mare is bonding with her colt fondly known as Josh. The colts name is actually "Joaquin" in the Colonial Spanish Mustang tradition. They were in my backyard at the time at my cottage called Swandipity in the Currituck Outer Banks 4x4. I have kept the name Swandipity which I now use in relationship with my ART. SWANDPITY: a state of being with apparent aptitude for making fortunate discoveries happen accidentally in ART.
"A Good Chew"
The photo that I painted from was taken January 2015. In the winter months the mustangs grow a warmer coat to keep them protected against the cold Atlantic winds. They survive on native grasses, branches and berries. This mare is having "A Good Chew" on Sea Oats that grow on the frontal dune that guard the narrow barrier island.
"Shooting the Breeze"
You can see that even in the freezing temperatures of January, (2015) the equines have to "make do" with the dried sea oats on the frontal dune where the temperatures can get down to the single digits. The Corolla Wild Horses have survived on their own for 500 years in this environment...no one feeds them or gives them water. They are a hardy breed of mustang.
She doesn't have a given name but she is Snowcone's mother and Lucy's grandmother. Three generations of Wildlife in Swan Beach. Photographed October, 2010.
"Trotting in the Wind I"
April, 2016 was the "birth of this painting"...a composition was formed. This Spanish Mustang enjoying the wind in his mane as he traverses the sandy shores of the Corolla 4x4 in the Outer Banks, NC. There is also "Trotting in the Wind II" to try another color way.
"Trotting in the Wind II"
April, 2016 was the "birth of this painting"...a composition was formed. This Spanish Mustang enjoying the wind in his mane as he traverses the sandy shores of the Corolla 4x4 in the Outer Banks, NC.
This photo of "Star" was taken March, 2008. Star was a horse that liked going into the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I have known other horses that have done the same...it always amazes me. On days when there is a west wind that brings the flies, the horses flock to the shoreline to get some relief from the southern heat and horse flies. Great days to head out with my camera and zoom lens.
"Snowcone and filly Lucy"
October (2011 in this photo) is the nicest time of the year in the Currituck 4x4. The tourists have gone home and the weather and ocean water is still nice. there's a quiet peacefulness. There are no paved roads in this 11 miles stretch of the beach so the Corolla Wild Horses can run wild and free...no horse shoes!
These bright eyes were snapshot November, 2018. Zuzu was three months old then and has become the source of much joy for my husband Steve and myself. She is smart, funny and aims to please everyday. Her chocolate brown color is A-typical and we just love it.
Pet Portrait - If you have a quality photo of your pet/horse... send it to me to paint. 50% up front and the rest when you order a print. Priced according to size...see my other prints.
December, 2018 soon after my husband Steve and I moved to the Boston area, we visited the site of the home of my Great(10) Grandfather Thomas SAWIN in Sherborn, MA. To our surprise, it had been taken down (to be moved elsewhere). Bob now lives on the many acres that served Sherborn as the first sawmill.
"Black Stallion and His Mare"
In the Corolla Outer Banks when the wind is out of the west, you can find the mustangs along the shoreline escaping the horse flies that come in on that wind. The picture that I used for inspiration was taken in May 2012, during the prime mating season.
NON-PROFIT BOOK - Corolla Wild Horse Paintings
BLURB publishing offers volume discounts...great for cottage guest gifts. Buy 10-19 get 30% off and buy 19+ get 40% off your order. The price is my cost on Blurb so you double save! USE 20/20 VISION... get ready for the 2020 rental season! I document the Corolla Wild Horses through my paintings and ventures like this non-profit book so that they may live wild and free. The "Corolla Wild Horse Paintings" book may be purchased in three sizes: 7"x7", 10"x8", 12"x12".
PURCHASE AT: https://www.blurb.com/my/account/profile
Everyone loves Raymond. He is a 20 something year old mule living among the Colonial Spanish Mustangs on the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Everyone loves Raymond. He is a 20 something year old mule living among the Colonial Spanish Mustangs on the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina. 12"x12" 65 images, book for sale $69.10
Hello everyone. There’s been some misinformation circulating about Raymond and the decisions we’ve made about his care. I wanted to communicate some facts that I hope will help you understand why we are taking the actions we are with him, and help you explain to others who might question it too.
Raymond suffers from a condition called laminitis. You can learn a lot about it here: https://www.acvs.org/large-animal/laminitis-horses To make a long story short, the bone of the leg separates from the hoof wall and eventually punctures through the hoof wall as it rotates down. It is incredibly painful for the horse. Laminitis is fatal, but it can often be managed in a controlled setting by feeding the animal a strict diet (which includes limiting the amount of grass the horse eats), regular, specialized hoof trimming, and medication to help lessen pain, inflammation, and discomfort.
It was last year when Raymond began displaying signs of advanced laminitis, and this is what led us to the decision to intervene and care for his hooves for the first time in his life. Under the advice of the veterinarian, we agreed to trim them and see if it made a difference. If so, we would leave him in the wild for as long as he was comfortable. If not, we would have to consider removal or euthanasia. Raymond was anesthetized in the field, and we examined each hoof and trimmed them under the guidance of our vet. We noted that Raymond’s feet were in terrible structural shape. The bone structure in his legs had changed, and it’s highly likely that Raymond experiences pain in other parts of his body due to the imbalance. The hooves all contained multiple abscesses, which we cleaned out and treated. We weren’t able to completely balance Raymond’s hooves but we did trim a lot of excess hoof off and stabilized them as much as possible under the circumstances. Doing a procedure like this in the field, while the horse is laying on its side, is incredibly complicated, dangerous, and limited on time.
Raymond recovered from the anesthesia and disappeared into the woods. I saw him a couple weeks later and was pleased to find him sound and in good shape. However, by the spring his feet had grown out and begun curling at the toes again. This growth rate was more rapid than what we’d seen in the past, and we considered intervening before the season started. However, Raymond remained sound so we just continued to watch him closely and hope that he would make it through the summer without needing a trim (anesthetizing is dangerous and the heat makes it even more risky, and recovery during tourist/breeding season would be stressful for him).
A month ago, after the hurricane and the rain that fell in the days after and flooded Swan Beach, Raymond, Acorn/Ringo, and seven mares made their way south and began to breach the fence into Corolla every night. They were traveling down the pavement for several miles a day, which was incredibly hard on Raymond’s feet and legs. After about 2 weeks of their nightly journeys Raymond began to show signs of discomfort and lameness. Many of you noticed this and reported it to me. Not only was he pounding down the road twice a day, he was grazing on lawns filled with sugary grass that exacerbated his condition. The night before we removed him I observed Raymond in the classic “rocking horse” stance, which is indicative of a horse that is in heightened pain from a laminitic episode. He was also having trouble keeping up with the other horses. Sunday morning, he was agitated and would not go back to the 4x4 with the other horses, choosing instead to stand in one place. Based on what I know of Raymond’s normal behavior, and what we learned from trimming his feet last year, we made the decision to remove Raymond from the wild so that his feet could be properly trimmed and we could manage his laminitis in a controlled setting. Our vet examined him on October 2, and together we developed a plan for getting Raymond’s laminitis under control. The first step was to get him on a healthy diet of hay and vitamins, along with several medications to help with inflammation and pain. He is also standing on a bed of very deep sand, which helps support the soles of his feet and stabilize any rotation that might have occurred. Raymond has x-rays scheduled for early next week so that we can develop a plan for trimming his feet based on the skeletal structure of his hooves and legs as well as take into account any other conditions that may be present due to state of his hooves.
Raymond will have to be treated for laminitis for the rest of his life. It’s not something that goes away; just something that can be managed with proper care. Due to his advanced age, Raymond simply cannot continue to manage on his own. When we trimmed him last year we knew this point would come, we just couldn’t predict the exact timing. Twenty years of growth has done its damage and it is now time for us to intervene and keep Raymond comfortable. He is settling into the farm incredibly well, already on a schedule and recognizing his caregivers. He enjoys being scratched on his face, will give kisses, has let us put a halter on and off him, and is curious about daily activity in the barn. We’re in the process of constructing a pasture that is safe for him, based on recommendations from experts in wild equid husbandry. Mules are notoriously difficult to keep fenced in, regardless of their domestication level. This is one of the sources we’ve based our design on, and has lots of good information about wild equid husbandry: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5302324de4b07a6f6407cbb5/t/5b7b70bbaa4a9971fd1aca47/1534816450459/AZA+Equid+TAG+Husbandry+Guidelines+2001.pdf
We have treated Raymond in exactly the same way we would treat any of the mustangs. There is a protocol for removal and treatment that is followed for every horse - or mule. Our vet agrees that Raymond’s quality of life would have continued to deteriorate if he remained in the wild. He is showing absolutely no signs of captivity depression, has not been at all aggressive towards humans, and has fallen comfortably into a routine at the farm. I understand the sentiment to keep Raymond wild, but that would have been a death sentence for him. We are unable to return Raymond to the wild for the same reasons we couldn’t return Amadeo, Ducky, or any of the other horses; he could introduce disease to the unvaccinated herd, he is already acclimated to being fed several times a day, and his health and well-being would suffer greatly without medical support. Removal is the absolute last option for us, and we do not take it lightly. That’s why the other eight escapee horses are still on the beach, even though they continue to get out into Corolla every night. We will exhaust every single option we have to keep them wild before resorting to removal. Luckily (unlike Raymond) they are all in good health for the time being.
I hope this helps you better understand Raymond’s condition and the circumstances that led us to removing him to the rehab farm. I’m attaching the written report from our vet for you to see as well. If you have any questions at all, I am always available to talk, and I would appreciate it if you would help us spread the correct information about Raymond. Between our own expertise and the research and advice of other professionals in the field, we will make sure that Raymond spends the rest of his days comfortable, safe, and enriched.
Thanks so much for all of your support over the past couple of weeks. I will continue to keep you posted on the status of the fence repairs and our wayward mustangs.