Friday, March 14, 2008

Down from the High Lonesome (p3) Spanish Barb or Cayuse

If I were to create a pony as it actually looked like back in the 1800's, it might not sell, because they were bucket ugly. The photo above is a great example of how dang ugly they could get.
The Western Horse is very seldom portrayed correctly in Hollywood Movies. It's much easier to just hire out modern day Quarter Horses than to actually hire out Spanish Barb and Cayuse Horses. Those were just a few of the horses that roamed the western plains and mountain valleys of the early to late 1800's.
In researching for any western bronze that I do, I never ever use Quarter Horses for most of the periods of history I portray. It means throwing out all you know about modern day horses and changing it to match the confirmation of the older style horses. Modern Quarter Horses wouldn't have survived in the old west. It takes grain to raise the modern horse. The old west horse had to survive on grass and whatever they could forage. They were built for that kind of survival. The modern Quarter Horse would have died from the gases that would have built up in it's stomach from eating just grass and such.
Most westerners called all horses back in the 1800's mustangs. Actually the horses were made up of different breads Cayuses and Spanish Barbs are but a few.
The Spanish Barb has a legacy bequeathed out of the Spanish discovery, exploration and colonization of the New World. Arriving by ship to confront foreign environs, the Spanish Barb horse adapted, endured and survived the epoch of exploration, conquest and colonization, and continued through the age of settlement of the American West. The Spanish Barb was one of America's greatest resources and without the presence of these horses, history would read quite differently today.
One little known horse from that period of American history is the famed Cayuse Indian Pony of the Northwest. Although the settlers called most horses raised by the American Indians "Cayuse ponies", the Cayuse Indian Pony of the Northwest is a distinct breed which originated in the 1800's. Its conformation and its background set it apart from the mustang, Spanish Barb or other wild horses. If you want to see a great rendition of a Cayuse Pony, find a photo of the famous bronze, "End of the Trail" by James Fraser.
Alright that's the history, now I have to determin the breed of horse, and the size of the new clay, "Down from the High Lonesome" (refer to previous entries). I then need to start designing the base on which the two horses and riders will be mounted on, then I create the armature out of copper tubing. I'll leave that to the next entry in this blog. Stay tuned and maybe you'll be making armatures and sculpting a horse of your own. That's why I'm doing this. To educate you as to how much goes into one bronze. It isn't a hap-hazard process. It takes a lot of thinking and researching. Well time to get to it!