Making History. A quarter century of polo and equestrian art
Publication: Polo Player's Edition
Publication Month: December
Publication Year: 2010
Over the past 25 years, we have showcased polo and equestrian art in many different forms. Symbols of our annual themes, from victory and defeat, to romance, strength, grace, beauty and tradition, have been carefully sculpted, painted, drawn and etched by both well and lesser-known artists in a variety of styles.
Equestrian art was first depicted in early cave drawings, and evolved over the centuries, as did the relationship between humans and horses. Artists’ depictions of horses tell as much about these noble animals through the years as the history books do.
Early cave art shows horses as part of the hunt. Once domesticated, horses were modes of transportation, leading chariots and carrying warriors into battle. Later they were used for recreation in sports like polo and racing. They went on to carry equipment, drag plows and pull carriages before machines could perform these tasks. Over the past century horses have become members of the family to some and respected partners to others. What makes equestrian sports so interesting is the special relationship that develops between a horse and its rider.
History involving horses continues to be made today. This year some of our talented artists highlight some of the more recent historic moments in equestrian sports including Juli Kirk’s oil painting of Kentucky Derby winner and Triple Crown hopeful, Barbaro, the racehorse whose career and life was cut short after a tragic injury; Melinda Brewer’s portrait of Califa, the first polo pony
to be cloned; Robert Ewell’s watercolor of 2009 Eclipse Horse of the Year Award winner Rachel Alexander, record holder in several racing categories; Sheona Hamilton-Grant’s graphite sketch of Florestan I, a champion Westphalian Warmblood sire; and Kathi Peters portrait of a foal that was born on Cobra Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, the birthplace of many winning racehorses. Other artists’ renditions go back to earlier years. Rich Roenisch’s bronze immortalizes Tommy
Hitchcock, one of the best polo players in American history, who held a 10-goal rating for almost two decades; Donna Bernstein pays homage to Napoleon Bonaparte’s grey horse; and Charles Wilbourn’s Poona Light Horse is created from a 1900 black and white photo.
These are just a few of the many historic moments involving equines our artists have captured. We hope you enjoy the entire collection, depicted by numerous artists in a range of forms.