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By Ed Moreth 

Artist starts on second metal horse


Ed Moreth

HORSING AROUND – Kenton Pies looks to see if a bent pencil rod would properly form around the nostril of the metal horse he is constructing.

by Ed Moreth

Kenton Pies is not being discouraged by critical comments of his steel horse on the Plains greenway and he's almost a third of the way through his second horse.

But that doesn't mean he didn't listen and evaluate the criticism, which mostly centered around the thickness of the neck. In defense of his work, he said horses have different proportions and has dozens of photographs to illustrate his point, including some that display a thick neck, like on his prototype steed. Nevertheless, he's already made adjustments on his number two horse, such as thinning the neck by about six inches.

"I wanted to make this one closer to the average horse," said the 86-year-old Pies, who plans to have five steel horses in the "Wild Horse Plains" herd on the west end of the town's greenway, where his first horse was placed in December. He started on the project in September of 2017.

He began on the second horse in January and works on it two or three hours each day in a former horse stall on his property about three miles east of Plains. The legs will be positioned different, the neck and face are thinner, the mouth will be slightly open, and the horse will be brown with a black main and tail.

With helpful comments from a Belgrade artist who has built metal horses, Pies is also constructing the internal structure of the second horse differently. He's using more pencil rods for the general skeleton form and will do the majority of one half of the horse before starting on the other side. In addition, he's using thinner sheet metal and more roofing screws instead of welding in many spots. He's also building the horse around the five-foot pedestal. He installed the pedestal much later on the first one and had to cut holes in the horse in order to weld it on the inside.

"I'm learning from the mistakes I made on the first one and I'm tweaking as I go," said Pies, who believes he'll have the next two done by autumn. The third one will be a rearing horse and one of the last two will be a colt.

Pies is looking for volunteer assistance in making the horses. The late Bill Curry helped him a great deal with the first horse, but he passed away on Christmas day. Andy Gonzalez of Plains has assisted with some of the welding on the second horse, but with a fulltime job, his time is limited.

The project began as a moneymaker, but has turned into a nonprofit venture, said Pies, who is also looking for financial assistance in the form of donations for the project. "I think it'll be great for the town. "I'm hoping people will travel to Plains just to see the horses, and if they do, they'll probably spend money in our stores," said Pies. He has received some donations and has an account called "Wild Horses of Plains" at Rocky Mountain Bank, but he has also spent about $2,000 of his own money for materials on the first horse.

Cd'A Metals of Coeur d'Alene, where Pies bought materials for the first horse, donated about 200 pounds of sheet metal, which Pies believes will be enough for second and third horse. "I might not be able to finish the other two unless I get some donations," he said. Anyone interested in donating money or labor can contact Pies at 826-7788.


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