Horses have played a massive role in human history and the known history of horses in Britain dates back as far as 700000 BC as remains found in Suffolk have been dated to this time. Humans used to hunt them but as we travel forward through history we see that at around 2500 BC we were utilising the horses great strength for pulling vehicles. By the time of the Roman invasion in Britain, tribes would assemble huge armies containing thousands of chariots. Horses have held a fascination for us for as long as we can remember, with their beauty and grace. They have been war horses, farming horses, modes of transportation before cars and also great companions.
Over three hundred years ago, thoroughbred horses were introduced to the West from the Middle East and changed the sport of horse racing forever. There are only a few names that are easily recalled though and these were the special racing horses that seemed to be blessed with even more speed and power. Some racing horses were simply great.
In the Victorian era, one of the most famous race horses was called Flying Fox. He only raced for two years because he didn’t have the best temperament but during these two years he totally dominated and went unbeaten. He was three years old when he started racing and won the Triple Crown, the Eclipse Stakes and Princess of Wales’ Stakes. He also sired the later US Triple Crown winner, Coaltown.
Seabiscuit is a name that we all recognise. He was descended from the famous Man O’ War race horse but seemed not to have any of that horse’s speed or passion when it came to racing. The first 17 races were pretty disastrous and he lost all of them, most of them in last place. He was sold on to another trainer who decided not to give up on him. Tom Smith tried some new methods of training and Seabiscuit went on to become the most dominant race horse in the US. His finest hour was in a race against favourite War Admiral whom he defeated by four lengths and won the US Horse of the Year Award.
Horses have inspired artists as much as sports enthusiasts as they are fascinating animals to recreate. They have such graceful lines, flowing manes but also a huge amount of muscle power. To immortalise these giants of history, bronze sculptures are the perfect way of capturing the spirit of a horse. This is a stunning and grand way to remember a grand horse. For Bronze animal sculptures, visit http://www.gillparker.com/. This artist has recreated, among others, the famous race horse Eclipse. Eclipse was the greatest racehorse of the 1700’s, when the sport was very different to that which we see today. He won every race in his 18 race career and this is where the famous line ‘the rest were nowhere’ originated, such was his dominance. He is remembered, both in beautiful bronze artwork and in the naming of many races.
Probably the most well known horse of all time is Red Rum. During the 1970’s he became a superstar in the UK. He was born with a bone disease that was incurable and yet he still went on to win the Grand National three times! In 1977, he became the only horse in history to win back the title. He never suffered a fall and lived to be 30 years of age. What a hero!
Sea the Stars is our current star in the racing world. He won the 2009 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, Group 1 Eclipse Stakes, International Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes. In his last race, he also won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomph and became the first horse in history to win the treble. What an incredible horse!