‘Past, present and future’: life-sized equine sculptures honour fallen horses of World War I

  • Three life-size horse sculptures created in honour of the fallen horses of World War I have been unveiled.

    The statues, titled Icarus, Sports Horse Mare and Youngster, were commissioned by housebuilder Crest Nicholson for the company’s Aborfield Green site in Wokingham to commemorate the “rich history” of the site, which was previously a remount depot and horse hospital, supplying the military with horses for operational use from 1904.

    Sculptor Amy Goodman started work on the life-size iron resin statues in 2018, and following Covid-related delays, they were unveiled on 11 June in a ceremony attended by the mayor of Wokingham borough, local dignitaries and special guests from the community.

    “This was a very wonderful and challenging commission for Crest Nicholson. It honours the fallen horses of World War One, most of whom did not return home,” said Amy.

    “I wanted it to be as historically accurate as possible and was able to base one of my sculptures on a Cleveland Bay stallion at Cholderton Farm, which was just five minutes from my studio. I created the rearing light draught Icarus war horse sculpture, with a hogged mane and short tail and the branding on his quarters and hooves inscribed with the date 1918, to serve as a reminder of his history.”

    Amy added that as a reference to the recreational riding of today she sculpted a sports horse mare, and a yearling, ahead of Icarus to represent “past, present and future”.

    “I had a very intense five and a half months doing the clay work on my own, but this was a dream commission for me, and I relish working at this scale. I wanted to capture ‘life’ in the horses, so I modelled the clay intuitively using fast movements and texture, and we finished the sculptures using iron-rust patina which is exceptionally vibrant and should complement the green of the beautiful surrounding landscape,” she said.

    “A special mention must go to Andrew Ryman, Gabi, Rosie, and the rest of the brilliant team at Ryman & Leader Sculpture Castings, who moulded and cast this project, and whose endless enthusiasm is brilliant.”

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    Crest Nicholson director of sales and marketing David Hynda said the company was pleased to celebrate the unveiling of the “striking” sculptures.

    “Arborfield Green has been developed in line with Crest Nicholson’s garden village concept, which aims to create community-minded homes surrounded by green open space,” he said.

    “This public art is located next to a new bridleway being created and for years to come will act as a reminder to the community of the rich military history of the site.”

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