Retired From the Racetrack, Horse Finds Second Career as a Painter

Metro the Painting Racehorse with his work. Photo: courtesy Metro's official website.

It’s heartwarming story: an elite-level racer is sidelined by injury, begins painting, and finds a second career as a successful artist. There is, however a twist: this retired athlete is actually a racehorse.

After four and a half years running the track, Metro Meteor’s knees gave out, and a series of operations cut short a promising career. Luckily, he was adopted by former Air Force staff sergeant Ron Krajewski and his wife Wendy, who had a three percent share of in Metro’s ownership during the horse’s racing days.

A self-taught artist and animal portraitist, Krajewski decided to pass along his skills to Metro. “I figured if he couldn’t be a horse, maybe I can teach him what I do,” he told the New York Times. The horse took to it quickly, and has since sold out gallery shows and appeared on the Today show.

Now, the 11-year old horse paints every day, working on to eight canvases at a time. Each work takes four days, because Metro only does one color a day, building up layers that won’t smear together. Krajewski calls the horse a “temperamental” artist; Metro’s strong brush strokes have been known to tear canvases and break paintbrushes.

Krajewski sells Metro’s work to pay for veterinary care and to benefit the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. He also recently set up a licensing agreement for the horse. Dream Green USA is producing tote bags ($79.99), pillows ($69.99), and wall art ($299) based on Metro’s paintings.

While it’s hard to say what Metro’s career aspirations might be, Krajewski has big plans: “My dream is to see Jennifer Lawrence on the red carpet and they ask her what her dress is, and she says, ‘Christian Dior’ and they ask what the bag is, and she says, ‘It’s a Metro.’”

Metro isn’t alone in his field. Justin the Artistic Horse is quite the celebrity in Indiana, offering painting demonstrations at the Hoosier Horse Fair & Expo and decorating local restaurants with his abstract canvases.

Collectors should take note. We may not see another Triple Crown winner any time soon, but the next artist equestrian just might be in the field during Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

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