Wild-horse group hosts art auction | NevadaAppeal.com

Wild-horse group hosts art auction

Karl Horeis
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Lorenzo Ghiglieri's bronze sculpture 'Airborne' will be auctioned during the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association auction on Saturday. Below, Jan Mickelson gives a yearling a sponge bath. Eight yearlings will also be auctioned off.

To raise money for its winter feeding program for wild horses in the Virginia Highlands, the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association will host an art auction Saturday at a ranch north of Virginia City.

Members of the association take turns driving hay and alfalfa to feeding areas in the mountains. The feeding program is state-approved and intended to keep horses in the foothills and away from homes and traffic. It is generally illegal for people to feed or harass wild horses.

“Like everything, the price of alfalfa has gone up so we really need help raising money this year,” said Sherry O’Mahony, president of the association.

Among items to be auctioned Saturday will be three pieces by Oregon artist Lorenzo Ghiglieri.

“Mikhail Gorbachev has a a piece of his, President Reagan accepted an eagle bronze for the White House, and Pope John Paul II accepted a Ghiglieri sculpture for the Vatican,” O’Mahony said. “So he’s a quite a famous artist, and we’re very honored that he donated these items to us.”

The Ghiglieri pieces will include a bronze sculpture of a mother and foal called “Airborne.” Its estimated worth is $29,000. A Ghiglieri lithograph called “A Moment of Surprise,” showing an elk and a bear in a mountain setting, is appraised at $5,500. A Ghiglieri-designed, 17-inch strand of salt-water Akoya pearls is appraised at $2,000.

Other art to be auctioned includes a print by Donna Johanson of Sweden of a pinto horse running with a bald eagle in the background. There will also be a turquoise necklace, a saddle and, of course, horses auctioned.

Three mustangs taken from the Virginia Range in the Highlands then trained by Warm Springs Prison inmates in Carson City will be offered.

“We’ve watched these horses since they were born,” said O’Mahony.

Six yearling fillies captured on the range three months ago will also be available. They have been gentled and lead-rope trained.

“At this point, we’re working on picking up feet,” said O’Mahony.

Playing guitar and singing during lunch will be Richard Elloyan, who performed on Lacy J. Dalton’s 1999 release “Wild Horse Crossing.”

A pork rib barbecue lunch will be available for $15, and a bar will serve beer and wine.

While most of the funds raised Saturday will go to the winter-feeding program, the Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association is involved in other projects.

“We work with the Department of Agriculture, and we’ve got a birth- control program for the horses that we just started this year,” said O’Mahony.

Her group gives injections which stop mares from reproducing for three to five years. It recently got a “portable squeeze chute,” a tight corral which holds horses still so medical work can be done. During the summer, the group also has a horse-watering program.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.