L.M. Winter, Steeds of Apollo Study, 1970, Apollo XIII Insignia for Moon Mission
The Spirit of the Horse
Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame- Exhibition June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016
by Rebecca Howard, Collection Manager
The connection between horses and humans stretches into the past perhaps more than 30,000 years. It was then that humans first attempted to capture the spirit of the horse in pigments painted on the walls of caves in Europe and Indonesia. During the Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago, prehistoric horses native to North America, known as Eohippus or the Dawn horse, died out but not before herds of the small mammals migrated across land bridges to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where they thrived. Researchers believe it was there among the steppes that horses were first domesticated. For more than 5,000 years humans have fed, sheltered and selectively bred horses, relying on them for everything from agriculture to warfare.
Returned to North America by Spanish Conquistadors and European immigrants, the horse has played an important role in every aspect of the continent’s modern history. Following the American Revolution, expanding populations and improving roads created a demand for better road horses in the new United States. Bloodlines shaped by New York horsemen provided the answer and the American Standardbred was born. Stamina, speed, and an even temperament made the Standardbred the perfect family horse. The new trotting bred was also exciting to drive and watch, giving rise to a new sport.
It is the enduring connection between the powerful spirit of the horse, drawn into focus by movement that so captures the human heart. The pull of their spirit upon our own has spurred artists for uncounted ages to breath life into pencil, paint and clay renderings honoring their form. Lumen Martin Winter too was captivated by horses and immortalized the spirit of these noble animals in murals, works on paper and in the insignia of the Apollo XIII lunar mission. The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is proud to showcase this selection of Winter’s work.
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.
- Winston Churchill
The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.
- Arabian Proverb
The horse, the horse! The symbol of surging potency and power of movement, of action.
- D.H. Lawrence