"In this painting... 'Smokey' - I worked from inspiration received while reading Will James' great novel - 'Smoky the Cowhorse.'
"What I am showing is a ranch cowboy training a range-born, future cowpony. Now to some, a bucking horse is just another 'bucking horse,' but to a cowboy, it is a whole lot more. The style and heart of these ol' ponies register and file away in a cowboy's think tank as he is working with them. Much can be learned about a horse as you train and bring these colts along to reach their potential.
"Rodeo bronc riding has its roots on the ranch. But, rodeo bronc riding is a long way from its roots. The rodeo bronc rider is judged for an 8 second ride. He has to be spurring high above the point of the shoulder on the first jump out of the chutes - then he has to exhibit his ability to ride these ol' outlaws by spurring from shoulder to cantle board using one bronc rein.
"The ranch cowboy can and generally does use two reins along with a hackamore on the colt. Where the rodeo hand uses just a halter, the ranch cowboy is not required to spur his bronc. There also is no time limit on breaking the ranch horse - 'Ride till he quits-'
"I've been there... rode both kinds - but now at my age, I'm far and away happier just to paint'em and think back."
- Chuck DeHaan