Veryl Goodnight, Equine Sculptor and Bison lover.

A very nice reader sent a few photos to my inbox this week.  She said that she had been to Kentucky Horse Park and had taken these photos especially for Norma.  (Norma is my donkey.)

I was quite touched.

Norma, however, completely dismissed the lovely gesture here and instead asked me, ” Why did they get my name wrong on the plaque?”  Figures.  That’s a donkey for you.

Anyway, as I studied the photos (with hot donkey breath over my shoulder), I decided to find out a little more about the sculptor, Veryl Goodnight.


The photo that started it all...

Another view


Obviously, one has to have reached some sort of celebrity to have a sculpture in Kentucky Horse Park.  I figured the artist of this donkey sculpture, Veryl Goodnight, probably had a beautiful and secluded spread somewhere of her choosing, with life-sized sculptures in the gardens, a fabulous, light brightened studio and most likely, our paths would never cross.

Betting with myself, as I often do, I decided to peruse her website to see if my hunch was correct.

I was.  Sort-of.  I mean, the setting pictured on the website is gorgeous and dreamy.  Her studio is large and bright.   There are sculptures everywhere (and in many galleries and installations).

But, I was wrong on the “paths would never cross” part.  You see, Veryl is way more available and approachable than you’d think…

Let me explain.  When I went to the website, sure, there were pages and pages of lovely bronze work and paintings.  But, there were actually more pages about Veryl herself and the animals that inspire her.  That got me reading…


The one-legged gosling Veryl saved and then later sculpted


Whenever I see a sculpture, I wonder what inspired the artist to create that particular form.  In Veryl’s case, I found that her own animal adventures inspired many of her art pieces.

For example, she rescued a one-legged goose and sculpted him.  (She says he loved to pose in her studio.)

Calamity was a coyote she helped raise who not only inspired a sculpture, but an original poem.


And, with all of the equine sculptures on the website, you knew there had to be an inspirational family horse.  There was.  His name was Matt Dillon and he has been the subject of at least 4 of her famous and sold-out works.


Inspired by her horse, Matt Dillon

But my favorite story is the one about the bison…

Baby Charlie


I noticed that Veryl had several bison – not buffalo – sculptures.  (I now know that Buffalo are from Asia and Bison herald from North America.)

For me, what was really interesting was that she and her husband, Roger, raised a bison from infancy!  I loved that! And the photos of this furry beast are so unbelievable in their size juxtaposition!  He was a pet, for sure, but he was HUGE.  A dearly loved, GIGANTIC pet named ‘Charlie’.

Tragically, Charlie had an accident that put him in a sling for a month at Colorado State University – and he never quite recovered.  Charlie cast himself and he didn’t make it.

I’ve attached the entire story because I found it touching.

Bison story


Bison story



Charlie loved his Dad



So, here is the approachable part…  She teaches workshops in her own studio in Mancos, Colorado!  If you are a lover of sculpture and have the talent, here is the info:



Click to go to the Workshop webpage

Veryl’s studio, where the classes are held.  Everyone looks very pleased!  And, right outside is your live model – her Belgian horse.  Fun!

A photo from a previous workshop


Sometimes famous artists seem so untouchable…  When I started this venture today, I only had a photo of a donkey statue from Kentucky Horse Park…  I never knew that through a few clicks, I would find out that the artist is an animal lover whose life has had ups and downs just like you and me.  And then, the most fun shocker, anyone could take a class taught by her!

That is the kind of stuff that makes me feel connected to everyone in some 6 Degrees of Separation way…  I mean, I don’t think Brad Pitt or Meryl Streep are going to hold a class for me to attend, but I’m reassured to know that many seemingly unapproachable artists express themselves from places deep in their hearts, just like the rest of us.  And, in some cases – like Veryl – they have a desire to share.


The artist and her muse.



HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!



Champ and Alaqua Animal Refuge.

Please help them make sure Champ doesn’t go back to his original owner.





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

3 comments have been posted...

  1. Maggie

    Great post. Speaking of donkeys, please email me. I have pictures for you and I don’t guess I saved your email addy.

  2. Linda Horn

    I opened this from your last post. Veryl is certainly a talented sculptor. Miss Norma may be miffed, but a couple of those special treats should take her mind off the perceived “insult”. Love the Buff pix!

    Would you please send me a link to the post that had the milk-feeding device for the donkey? I went back through several pages of “Handy Tips”, but didn’t find it. A friend found an abandoned 4-DAY-OLD wild foal, and it might help with the 4 hour feedings!


Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *