How It All Started
Cholla was born in the Spring of
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.
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 4th 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,
Virginia City, Nevada - Wildlife Protection
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