These days, the horse is commonly thought of
in terms of power and strength. Even now -- years after the dawning of
the industrial age -- we still measure an engine or a motor in terms of
But for me, the horse has always more appropriately
symbolized freedom -- the ability to ride far away across rivers and
wide open stretches of land. It's the mythology of the Great American
West perpetuated by the television and movie screens of my baby-boomer
youth. The mythology of the Wild Wild west as the Final Frontier. The
mythology of horse and man joined at the saddle, single-handedly fighting
against the rapidly encroaching spread of so-called civilization. The
mythology of riding off into the sunset, into tomorrow, into a better
These horses have served their time.
Although bound for years by steel frames and
springs, they have helped suburban children escape from the stifling
land of rec rooms and tidy, trimmed lawns. In the children's imaginations,
these horses have been ridden for miles and miles to dark, secret caverns,
towering mountain peaks and lonely nighttime campfires. These horses have
stories to tell.
And so, I have set these horses free.
They have been collected from friends and neighbors, purchased
at garage sales and thrift shops. Some of them have been worn and battered almost
beyond recognition. Some were ready for the garbage heap. Others, treated
with care and respect, looked almost new, as though they hadn't quite
yet run their final journey.
They have all been painted white and now hang in the woods, flying up over
the ridge and through the trees.
When the installation opened in August of '96, there were
six horses in the formation. In the next weeks, two more were added, but the Northeast
winter weather eventually proved to be more fearsome than expected.
When the Spring of '97 rolled around on the calendar, there were only
two horses left hanging in the trees.
Undaunted, the old horses were repaired, re-painted and re-hung, with new additions
joining them as they came to me throughout the summer. By the time that
the second annual installation opening party took place in August, 1997,
there were 13 horses in the herd, and their hooves continue to thunder
through the sky.
The Breeder's Club: Extra special thanks to those who have kept the
herd growing thanks to their generous donations: Dennis Herbert, Dana
Rudolph, Dale Metzger, Michael Eck, Greg Bell, Gerry Glenn.