The Trail of the Painted Ponies began in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2001 as a public art project for the promotion of cultural tourism, featuring the art community of the Southwest. One of its purposes was to raise money for worthwhile philanthropic organizations.

Wendy Wells-Bailey writes:
“When I was asked by Delstar Corporation to do a painted pony for Phoenix, Arizona Sky Harbor Airport, I had no idea what I would do or the incredible journey it would lead me to. I keep a large, too large, portfolio of every sketch I make. It was to this “file” that I looked to for an inspiration for this pony. At last I came across a group of drawings I was planning to use for a painting. However, as so often happens in my life, adventure had called and instead of painting I found myself touring the vast desert of the Colorado Plateau. So there they lay, almost forgotten as I roamed the plateaus of the Colorado River. At first glance I knew they were perfect. In true Phoenix spirit the sketches rose again in a new form, this time for the world to share but that’s going ahead of myself. I had to first figure out how to turn a one dimensional sketch into a three dimensional object, the pony. I started by altering the original pony with resin, making its mane go the “wrong” way and changing its tail.

“As always when I work with resin as a sculpture medium I immediately find myself up to my elbows in goo! The results however were wonderful, now a new challenge presented itself. Where do I start to paint? Logically, I asked the Pony and of course her answer was to start with her eyes. Once I had her eyes painted the rest of the painting just fell into place. Thanks to the amazing success of the Phoenix Pony I have had the pleasure of traveling all over North America with personal appearances, and TV interviews. I have met the most wonderful people, horse enthusiasts and art collectors. I hope you will enjoy owning this Pony as much as I enjoyed creating it.”