10 famous Western horse sculptures
We've listed the most beautiful, interesting, and significant equine sculptures across the West.
Veryl Goodnight with University of Texas-Pan American president Dr. Miguel A. Nevarez at the unveiling of The Bronc on campus
Crazy Horse This sculpture-in-progress is a full-scale depiction of legendary Lakota warrior Crazy Horse on horseback. Originally commissioned by an organization of American Indian tribes and begun by Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziólkowski 61 years ago, the mountain monument is being built into the Black Hills of South Dakota at the Crazy Horse Memorial.
The Bronc A commission installed in 2002 at the University of Texas-Pan American campus in Edinburgh in South Texas, Veryl Goodnight's 11-foot realist bronze The Bronc is 25 percent bigger than life-size. Goodnight chose a Spanish Mustang stallion as her model because that breed most closely resembles the original horses the Spaniards brought to America.
The Buffalo Signal Frederic Remington's The Buffalo Signal had only one original casting, which resides at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Made in 1902 for French Dev¬ereux, a young boy whose family had befriended Reming¬ton on a trip out west when they invited the artist to share their railway car, it represents an Indian scout waving a buffalo robe to signal the beginning of the hunt. Remington broke the mold in front of the boy to show there would never be another.
Free Spirits at Noisy Water Dave McGary's monumental bronze of eight horses running through a landscape is installed at The Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico. Stretching 225 feet, it depicts seven American breeds — Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, Paint mare with foal, Arabian, Morgan, and Saddlebred.
Mustangs at Las Colinas Portraying a group of nine larger-than-life-size wild mustangs running across a granite stream, this sculpture by Robert Glen — which is located in an urban plaza in Irving, Texas — represents the drive and initiative of Texas pioneers. One of the largest equestrian sculptures in the world, it extends 400 feet through a watercourse that splashes at the feet of the running mustangs.
Deborah Butterfield's Untitled Bronze Horse at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno
XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest Ten years in the making, John Sherrill Houser's historical sculpture of Spanish explorer Don Juan de O"ate atop a rearing horse stands 36 feet high, weighs more than 20 tons, and has caused a controversy just as gargantuan. The statue, which sits outside the airport in El Paso, Texas, was designed to represent the period of Spanish settlement in the Southwest, but the colonial governor's brutal treatment of American Indians sullied the commemoration to the point that it is now simply known rather anonymously as The Equestrian.
Untitled Bronze Horse Installed in front of the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno in 2003, Deborah Butterfield's mount seems as if it's constructed of sticks, but it's actually a bronze casting of a wood original that was burned out of the mold during construction. Butterfield is renowned for her horse sculptures made of bronze, mud, clay, twigs, and found metal.
Arabian Horse Statue and Fountain In the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, this fountain and bronze statue by Bob Parks is mounted in a prominent traffic circle. Parks, who owned an art gallery in town for 30 years, created the anatomically correct piece with five Arabian horses as models. It is one of the artist's 300-plus bronzes, some of which are owned by the Saudi royal family. For more statues-while-shopping, notice — trust us, you'll notice — Vic Payne's monumental works in front of the Cabela's stores in Texas (two), Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
End of the Trail by James Earle Fraser at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City
End of the Trail This enduring representation of an American Indian slumped on horseback symbolizes the doomed fate of the Native people during westward expansion. Sculptor James Earle Fraser (1876–1953), who also sculpted the images on the buffalo nickel, created it for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. War shortages prevented him from casting it in bronze, and the original plaster sculpture sat deteriorating in Visalia, California, until it was rescued and restored by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, where it now stands in the entryway.
Dash for Cash Equine sculptor and cutting-horse trainer Jim Reno (1929–2008) created this life-size realist bronze of the racehorse Dash for Cash to honor the stallion that made $507,689 during his career in the '70s. Elected World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse in 1976 and 1977, Dash for Cash sired 827 winners, including the No. 4 all-time leading sire by earnings — First Down Dash — and is the grandfather of the No. 1 sire, Shazoom. See it at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum in Amarillo, Texas.
Photography courtesy the collection of Nevada Museum of Art, funds provided in part by the Reno Arts and Culture Commission, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Okla.