War horse sculptures for new ‘village’ built on site of former horse hospital

  • Artist Amy Goodman is working on her biggest project yet – to create three life-size horses for a developer on a new estate in Berkshire.

    Developers Crest Nicholson has commissioned the works to remember the history of the site, which was once home to a horse hospital during WW1.

    Each of the horses symbolises the past, present and future of equestrianism in the Berkshire area.

    “I have had a very clear vision from the very start of a rearing Cleveland Bay gunner from WW1, stocky and muscular, yet magnificent. He will be rearing against the sky on a mound, with a retaining gabion wall that would be akin to the wall of a trench,” said Amy.

    The horse won’t have any tack on, but his hogged mane and docked tail will be enough to show his role as a warhorse.

    Goodman has called him Icarus after the Cleveland Bay stallion standing at Cholderton Farm who inspired her, although her version won’t be entire.

    Across from the trench, following the edge of the road so it can be viewed easily by passing traffic, will be a sports horse mare galloping away towards her yearling, who is just ahead of her.

    One of the youngsters at the Catherston Stud, home of Jennie Loriston-Clarke was the model for the yearling sculpture.

    Poppy seeds are being sown on the ground around the horses to remember their role in WW1.

    The site was once home to the Arborfield Garrison, which was originally established as an equine hospital and veterinary centre for the Remount Depot in 1904.

    In recognition of the thousands of horses that passed through the centre, the developers are looking at turning the stables, which are situated on the new community village green, into a café, museum, craft workshops or other useful building as part of the project.

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    “We were keen to celebrate the vital role the horse has played throughout military history, and so the ‘War Horse’ was identified as the theme for the artist commission,” said Samantha Bryans, development director at Crest Nicholson Regeneration.

    “We also wanted to ensure that there was reference to the modern day domestic horse and active equine community local to Arborfield, which is why the three sculptures Amy is producing are a perfect fit for our brief,” she added.

    The sculptures are currently being moulded and cast for the unveiling in September.

    “We may be able to have Icarus at the unveiling, which would be amazing. The owners have suggested he comes along,” said Ms Goodman.

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