How It All Started
Cholla was born in the Spring of 1985.
He started painting in the Spring of 2004.
Cholla, named after the infamous cactus, was born in Nevada in 1985 from a Mustang stallion and a Quarter Horse mare. He is 15.2 hands and 1,200 Lbs., a copper buckskin with black mane and tail complete with a dorsal stripe down his back. His legs have ancient horizontal zebra-like stripes.
Cholla wasn't gelded until he was 18 months old and was broke the old fashioned way, with ropes and force, a method called "sacking out." This is where the cowboys halter the horse, then tie ropes on each limb, trip the horse to the ground and tie him off so he is fully restrained. The horse fights until completely traumatized and exhausted. At that point, the cowboys rub sacks of flour up and down the horse's body. This is supposed to make the horse submissive towards man, it will work with many horses, but it didn't work for Cholla. What it did for Cholla was to teach him not to trust man and his ropes. His intelligence was much greater than their exhausting attempts to manipulate his mind. Cholla, now has deep scars on his hind legs at the fetlocks from their efforts.
Renee acquired Cholla just before his fifth birthday. Renee is not a horse trainer or an artist. She is a trained ballerina. Cholla is the first and only horse Renee has ever owned . Cholla followed her instantly, and their relationship together began. It has taken years for Renee to gain his trust, and he is still quite the wild thing with a mind of his own.
It was Renee's husband, Robert, who gave her the idea to teach Cholla to paint. Renee would paint the corral fences each year, and Cholla would follow every step of the way and watch with great curiosity. Cholla has always loved to hold things in his teeth, so Renee decided to see if Cholla would paint on paper. She chose water colors for Cholla's medium, and on April 29, 2004, she tacked a piece of water color paper to the fence and stroked the artist's brush across the paper. She held the brush out to him, he took it in his teeth and his painting career began.
Renee got him a big sturdy easel and Cholla made the transition to the easel without hesitation. Only Cholla applies the paint to his creations. No one moves or rotates the paper or easel. Cholla's art speaks for itself. His art is recognized worldwide and is collected in the U.S. in both original and giclee formats.
In September of 2005, The Art Newspaper International ranked Cholla the 4 th highest selling animal artist in the world.
Renee has Donated Cholla's Art
in Original and or Fine Art Giclee Print Formats,
to the following Fund Raising Efforts:
Lights Camera Auction Public Television - KNPB Reno, NV
Virginia City, Nevada - Wildlife Protection Association
Humans Enriching Animals Lives - HEAL New York
Kid's & Horses Adaptive Riding - Minden, Nevada
Wild Horse and Burro Exposition - Reno, Nevada
Humane Society Truckee-Tahoe, California
Shakespeare Animal Fund - Reno, Nevada
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
Day of the Horse - Aneheim, California
Barbaro Fund for Laminitis Research
Paws at the Park - Reno, Nevada