Friday, December 7, 2012


Mike Moran. See more on Mike's website here

As a child I was lucky enough to have, not one, but TWO horses. A very dear little Basuto pony named Coleford for riding in gymkhanas and a thoroughbred named Chestnut that I preferred to ride when not practicing for gymkhanas. Chestnut was an ex-racehorse whose beauty astounded me. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get to ride a horse of this caliber but when he lost an eye in a pitchfork accident and he could no longer race, a neighbouring farmer bought him (for far less than he was worth). My stepfather rode over to look at him and knew I would love him so he bartered a prize cow for the chestnut which he then presented to me. Oh what a day! 

When my stepfather died my mom sold the farm .... and the horses. I suppose I could have taken up riding at a later stage but I never did. When I found this poem by South African poet Colleen Higgs it evoked in me the poignancy of losing my horses.

Mike Moran. Click to see website here

 MISSING HORSES by Colleen Higgs

My father's hands were big and tanned
the backs covered in dark hair
he was a sportsman
good at polo, golf, squash, darts, tennis
a man with exceptional eye-hand co-ordination
and he could draw horses
from memory

In the second half of his life
he missed horses, everyday,
horses were his inner life
he yearned for horses, to be among them
to ride them
to smell the hot sweat of horse after a polo match
to hold soft leather reins in his hands again

My father only once ever laid a hand on me 
he wasn't given to hidings
he wasn't an affectionate man either, not to me, 
I loved him because I knew
how sad he was about the horses --
my mother made him choose
it's either me or the horses, she said

 Most of you are familiar with Cathy Rose's horses but I just had to include them in this post again.See Cathy's website here. 

 Malen Pierson's found object sculptures are new to me. Have a look at his website here.

Malen Pierson. See website here.

Zoe Rumeau's quirky horses make me smile. See website here.

Zoe Rumeau. See Zoe's work here.

Holly Roberts. I am so enjoying Holly's blog at the moment. See more of Holly's whimsical work here

Nichola Theakston. See more of Nichola's amazing animal sculptures here

Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones are the creators of the life-sized war horse puppet. Read more about them here.

South African duo Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones are the co-founders of  the Handspring Puppet Company. They created the life-sized war horse puppet. To find out more about this amazing puppet, watch the TED talk here.


  1. oh Robyn I love horses too, there is nothing like the sense of shared sense of wonder that happens when exploring the bush on horseback! I saved up all my pocket from the age of 7 to14 to buy my first horse, Stormy. I thought he looked like a Lipizzaner, he was a 15 hand grey and a lot older than the 8 years old he was sold to me as. He taught me dressage and we went well in one day events in the local gymkhanas and small shows til I turned 18. He travelled with me for the wild young hippie years living in share houses on communal farms 'til he was retired to a sheep station as the good quiet horse for the wife of the property owner.

  2. Mo, I'm so glad you shared your horse story. I can picture Stormy well. You obviously have very fond memories of that time in your life.

  3. I saw some of Deborah Butterfield's "Horses" in a street in the middle of NYC back in 2005, you can see her work here-

  4. I thought of Deborah Btterfield's work for this post. Her horses are beautiful!

  5. What an amazing post Robyn...once you have horses, they are in your blood. I havent ridden for about five years now, I sometimes miss the smell and gentle touch of my horse "Bushy". He's retired now (just like me).
    Beautiful post. I am going to check out all of the links now (and probably bookmark a few).

    Jacky xox

  6. Childhood memories of horses... we were blessed with a number of wonderful mares when I was growing up. My dad was friends with a cowboy and they would get drunk and go to the auction! Lucky girls in my family!

    War Horse was a spectacular production - our favorite that we saw in NYC this summer. The puppets were so lifelike, and the set was very artistic. See it if you get a chance!

  7. Ruth, if I get a chance I certainly will see the show though I'm sure to be in tears even if they are only puppets. I loved the sound of the hooves clattering on the stage in the TED talk..... and the way the ears twitched... amazing!

    Jacky, nothing quite like the nudge of a horse's nose in your hand.

  8. Wonderful post. One must not be alive not to love horses! They are the epitome of integrity, and display the best of nature: elegant, strong, proud, gentle, on a grand scale. All shown in such beautiful proportions!

  9. So uncanny you are Robyn! I've been thinking about horses lately--though I've never had one, I adore them. When I was about 8, I took riding lessons but before we could even get on a horse, they made us draw one. (wish I still had that drawing) I think they were rather harsh there and my mom must have pulled me out not long after. Even though I rode later on, my horse dreams went pretty much unassuaged.

    I can't imagine losing or having to give up your own horse. Now I'm off to check your wonderful links :)

  10. Robyn, Wonderful post! I love horses too, I had two growing up also, but had to say goodbye to them when we moved to the city. I have often thought of having another, here in Taos it is possible, but very costly. I do have neighbors who have horses that I don't get to ride, but I do take them carrots from time to time.
    I love Holly Roberts, I first saw her work when I moved to New Mexico.

  11. Although I never went beyond reading the Misty of Chincoteague books in my horse faze, I do love these photos - especially the found objects horses and the puppet. Amazing. Thank you as usual for sharing Robyn!

  12. Thank you again Robyn for a wonder filled post. I am always learning when I visit here. To read more poetry for one.....and to connect and reconnect. I knew Cathy Rose years ago from the Art Fair circuit...and I am blessed to own a small sculpture of it was fun again to visit her site.....and I had no idea Holly lived in New Mexico! All of this is so inspiring...and validating

  13. fantastic, these are spirited pieces and I know some friends that will especially love a link to this.

  14. wow, wow, wow, and wow!! gulped this post down with my coffee this morning and it was delicious!!! xoxo

  15. What great images. Love your story too. thank you.

  16. Horses have been popping up on my horizon lately which is sort of strange being that I have never ridden a horse in my life! Just watched a movie called "The Horse Boy" last week. It was amazing!

    Wonderful work here. I am especially drawn to this first painting.

  17. Such a wonderful collection you have here ! Such inspiring work. I have always been drawn to Horse painting, starting with the wonderful work of Franz Marc and his horses !

  18. I love reading your posts I always can relate. I grew up with horses and would love to have them again. I love the images you put together and look forward to discovery new artist. My favorite this post is Cathy Rose, I totally remember sitting on the horse with the wind in my hair and feeling absolutely happy!

  19. Wow! I enjoyed this log. You bring some interesting things to the attention. Adrian Hohler and Basil Jones were naturally top.

  20. Whatever subject you choose Robyn, you open it up to me. The farmer grew up with working horses and still loves the great big ones today.

  21. delightful post Robyn and many artists (new to me) to explore...Cathy Rose's piece really captures the essence of horses...breathtaking!

    hope digby is doing well! we are in the process of adopting a bull rescue...american bulldog + Pit bull mix..she's a love and we are hoping she will fit with our dog family.

  22. Wonderful grouping! I really love zoe's style, anything with a wheel... and the quiet of Nichola T's head.

    Reading all the comments in addition to your wonderful story sends me into a door opening childhood, makes me want to rush to write of it.

    thank you

  23. You were so lucky to have had your horses for awhile. I wasn't ever so lucky to have my own but my cousins and Grandfather had them. I spent many a summer with them. Ahh the memories this post has evoked. FUN.

  24. Horses are a beautiful animal. When young I was scared of horses, we lived in a house that had stables out the back. I'm not sure where the fear came from! However now as an adult, I have a great admiration for their strength a beauty.

  25. So many stories of the love of horses. They are able to tug on ones heart. I love these art horses and your story. I bet your horses missed you, too.

    As a teenager I would ride all weekend. Now I like to go to the fair and when no one is looking I put my nose in some horses neck and just breathe deeply. The best smell in the world - horse!

  26. Horse intrigue me and scare me at the same time but I feel your loss as though its my own. We have some horses in fields around our home and there's something magical about locking eyes with them, communicating with them even though they have no idea what I'm saying.

  27. Beautiful selection of images Robyn. I had never really understood the beauty of horses until relatively recently when while hiking in Spain I came across a group of wild horses - beautiful and surprisingly friendly and calm. It was a moment I will never forget.

  28. I never had horses as a child but I sorely loved them and play acted that I was a stallion wild and free all of the time.

  29. what a great post, I rode as a child too, and I don't think you ever forget the majesty and power of the horse... I love Zoe Rumeau's work, such whimsy and weight at the same time...

  30. Your blog is more interesting and beautiful. Kisses from Spain.

  31. Each of the horses you've posted here are magnificent. Each one speaks to me, a horse lover who never had one but dreamed as only a child filled with desire can. Lucky you, Robyn.

  32. i'm sure you know of deborah butterworth's horses... these are all new to me, so i will have a wonderful time looking. i, too, am a horse girl. her name was mist, a retired from the track gray thoroughbred mare.

  33. Thanks Robin, you have said it all. Once you have loved horses there is always a connection.

    Deborah, that is unusual.... having to draw the horse before riding lessons even begin. I'm glad you took up riding later.

    Annie C, what a pity it's so costly. .... but I'm glad you at least get to pat and feed treats to the horses nextdoor.

    Heather, I don't think I ever read the Misty of Chincoteague books but I did read everything else I could lay my hands on so much so that the school librarian suggested I broaden my interests to things other than animals.

    Over the Rainbow, I have fun preparing the posts but it's an added joy knowing that people appreciate my blog. Thank you!

    Thanks Shayla

    Jeane, thanks for your enthusiasm :-)

    India, lucky girl! Enjoy!

    Hello Femminismo! glad you enjoyed the post.

    ZenDotStudio, I have loved Mike Moran's sculptures for a while now but I had no idea he painted as well. I was delighted to discover his paintings!

    Michele, yes I remember being very enthusiastic about Franz Marc's horses during my school days.

    Cathy M, for some reason I have been drawn to quirky horses for this post .... they are all delightful aren't they?!

    Wim, Adrian's and Basil's puppets have intrigued me for years.

    Weaver, thank you.

    Lisa, Cathy's horses make me feel like galloping. Digby is doing VERY well (too much energy than he knows what to do with). All the best for your bully adoption. You really deserve a peaceful process.

  34. Mansuetude, what a lovely thought ...I hope you have written down many memories/stories after reading the post.

    Lisa at G, I was very lucky! What a wonderful life! Glad the post has evoked happy memories.

    Kim, Both my husband and my youngest daughter were kicked by horses as kids and they really missed out because of their fear... or rather their worrying about being too close to horses.

    Leslie, they really do tug at the heart don't they?! I'm smiling at the thought of you sniffing the horses neck. I can so see myself doing that.

    Kathryn, your comment had me daydreaming. Indeed there is something very magical about horses.

    Seth, wow... I can imagine being captivated by wild horses especially when coming across them unexpectedly.

    Linda, yes I can remember galloping around the yard on two legs too :-)

    Cat, oh Zoe's quirky horses captivated me the moment I saw them.

    Maria, thank you! xxx

    Carole, I bet you had horse drawings and magazine cuttings taped to your wardrobe door :-)

    Velma, aahhhh I can see Mist in my minds eye. Yes I do know Deborah's amazing horses.

  35. I can't even tell you how much I love horses, and the Colleen Higgs poem really touched me. I rode as a child, abandoning horses for boys in my teens. I came back to them in my 20s and although I have no opportunity to ride for a few years now, they still feature quite regularly in my work, and I obsessively photograph them.
    Thank you so much for sharing these artists…do you know of Tia Calli Borlase and Berlinde de Bruckeyre's work, btw?

  36. Such a nice collection of horses! I see someone else has mentioned my favorite horse artist - Deborah Butterfield. Love her sculptures, too.