The Long Riders' Guild

Long Rider Artist Tours USA


In 2013 Katie Cooper rode her mule, Sir Walter, from Mississippi to Arizona.


A talented artist whose paintings have been shown nationwide, after the conclusion of their journey Katie painted Ending/Beginning which depicts the shadows of her and Sir Walter riding across the Arizona desert. But Katie wasn’t the first Long Rider artist.

The lure of the open road has always attracted equestrian travellers of all sorts. For example in 1885 Dr. Gordon Stables designed his fabulous “land yacht”, the Wanderer. Known as the “gentleman gypsy,” the Scottish doctor travelled with his coachman and a violin-playing valet. As Stables explored a still-idyllic England, he painted “jolly olde England,” where the villagers were hospitable, the children charming and the blacksmiths competent.

In 1964 Long Rider artist Bill Holt set off from Yorkshire with his horse, Trigger. The duo travelled 9,000 miles through Europe. Holt and Trigger maintained a legendary bond that touched people’s hearts. An Italian princess had jewels set in one of Trigger’s old shoes. When they rode into London the likeable duo were guests of the Queen of England. Bill supported himself by selling his paintings. He is seen here, with Trigger looking on, painting in Rome.

Following in the hoof prints of Stables and Holt, in September Katie Cooper began an artistic odyssey across America. Roughly following her route from Arizona, back towards Mississippi, Katie has just finished painting her way across the country.  She wrote to the Guild to share her experiences:


“It turned out what people most responded to and enjoyed was not the art, or the art-wagon, or the videos, or the workshops, although many appreciated all those things. It was simply the existence of the project itself in the midst of all the collective trauma and isolation.


Over and over again, in even the briefest of encounters, I would hear "Oh, it's so good to meet someone who's not depressed, who is still enjoying life! You made my day!" or "I'm so happy to have met you, you give me hope!" or "You just keep doing what you're doing, and God bless. We need your good cheer."


At first I was dumbfounded. But after a few weeks, as I grew to realize what was happening, I turned it around and began making a point of greeting everyone I came in contact with in as personal a way as I could - the clerk at the gas station, the camp security guy, the laundry attendant - a smile and a question about their job, a friendly joke, an admiring comment.


Who would've thought just enjoying what I was doing would have such an effect on others?”





For more information about the Mule Art Wagon Project, please contact Katie direct.

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