Wild Horses

The horses had a great view from their position up the hill: snow-covered mountains and lake.

The horses had a great view from their position up the hill: snow-covered mountains and lake.

The headline can be misleading as it is quite obvious that the horses are not wild, but I really like the idea of wild horses and the freedom they represent – running around with wind in your mane (trivia: did you know that the bows of violins, violas, and cellos are strung with horsehair?). According to Wikipedia, wild horses are almost extinct in this world and there’s only a very few that still lives on the Mongolian steppes.

Actually these horses (I’m definitely not an expert on the field, so please correct me if I am wrong) are not even horses, but some kind of ponies. Shetland ponies perhaps? Actually they seem to tall to be shetlandsponies, but perhaps Icelandic horses? (Would be great if some horse whispering, expert reader could help clear this up). Anyway, like I mentioned in one of my posts on Friday, we went on a small trip this weekend and these photos were shot during our weekend at the Norwegian countryside.

To me this photo has several layers to it and it shows a small drama (of course you can click the image for a larger version):

The first thing one notices is the barking dog who, apparently, is busy chasing the horses. Then there’s the youngster in the herd –  the foal. I think it’s fascinating to see how all the older ones protect the youngest, it kind of captures the survival instinct, and at the same time love & care (in the wild, horses take care of their foals until another foal comes along. First then the mother chase away the older and takes care of the younger foal). In the background, next to the lodge, there’s another dog. You can’t tell if he’s barking or not, but I can assure you that he did!
The third “layer” is the fence in the foreground – the fence confines the space and thus restricts the freedom of these “wild horses”.

By looking at the dogs one might get the impression that they are amusing themselves with horse chasing, but it seemed to me that what they were really trying to do was to warn about the two strangers (that would be us) and that the dogs intention was not to chase the horses – the horses getting scared was just an unintentional result of their actions.

The horse as art
According to the book “Kunstens Verden” (see source material), the horse has been a favorite scene ever since the prehistoric art. The tribes from Asia Minor who went into Mesopotamia were horsemen, and both the Hittites and Assyrians left representations that revealed both love and intimate knowledge of the horse.

One of these nomadic people, the mysterious Hyksos, had the honor of having introduced the horse into Egypt, and thereby created the condition for the stunning pictures of horses that have been preserved from the New Kingdom (the Egyptian Empire).

Horseracing with two- and four-in-hand chariots was a widespread sport in Greece and the Roman Empire (Wikipedia: In ancient Rome and other ancient Mediterranean countries a biga was a two-horse chariot, a triga used three horses and a quadriga was drawn by four horses abreast).

The horse also occupies a place in the Greco-Roman mythology. The sun – Helios – runs across the sky in a golden chariot drawn by four snow-white horses.
One day the son of the sun – Faëton – borrowed the quadriga and drove so wildly that the rivers dried and the woods caught fire. The horses were not accustomed to him.

“Epsom Derby” by Jean Louis Théodore Géricault. Photo: Wikimedia commons. Public domain.

Later, emperors and kings have been depicted mounted on horses, both in statues and paintings. In the Romantic period the horse was a symbol of life’s spontaneous beauty and power.

According to my source Gericault nurtured a passion for horses in such a way that we can almost speak of portraits of horses, but his Epsom Derby is far from realistic: no horse lifts all four feet off the ground simultaneously when galloping, let alone extend them horizontally into the air like in this picture.

Whistlejacket by George Stubbs. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Edgar Degas continued this line in his pictures from the race track, and the horse has retained its position as a prime motive in modern art. In Picassos “Guernica” he lets the horse express the senseless suffering of war.

But, a painter that my source doesn’t mention,which in my opinion is the artist that best depicts horses, must be the British painter George Stubbs (25 August 1724 – 10 July 1806). He had a passion for anatomy, art and horses and you can really tell by looking at the details in his paintings. The guy spent 18 months of his life dissecting horses together with his wife! No wonder he got the details right!

The horses had a great view from their position up the hill: snow-covered mountains and lake.

The horses had a great view from their position: snow-covered mountains and a lake.

Wild Horses – by the Rolling Stones:
Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady, you know HOW I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn’t drag me away

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you’ve decided to show me the same
But no sweet, vain exits or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn’t drag me away

I know I dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom, but I don’t have much time
Faith has been broken, tears must be cried
Let’s do some living after love dies
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we’ll ride them some day

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we’ll ride them some day

“Kunstens Verden”, Kunstens Verdens A.S Forlag, Oslo 1958
Wikipedia: George Stubbs. Jean Louis Théodore Géricault. Horse.

7 thoughts on “Wild Horses

  1. Pingback: Ville Hester « Cardinal Guzman

  2. Dear Guzman
    The horses are indeed icelandic horses and it is a nice family-group you have caught with your camera. The dog you can see on the top of the hill is allso from Iceland, (its name is Frøya). The dogs and the horses give eachother some excitement on eventless days. But you are right: The dogs give warnings to a wide audience, and the horses are “on nett” with the dogs.
    I like The Stones and their “Wild horses”.Haren Souza allso has a song called Wild horses……Wery nice. If you have spotify, you will find it there 🙂

  3. Good to hear that I was right about the breed of the horses. Frøya is a good name for a Dog/God (a small semi-palindrome there). For those readers who are not into Norse mythology, here’s a quote from wiki:

    “In Norse mythology, Freyja (Old Norse the “Lady”) is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death.”

    Yes, I love Karen Souzas version. I’ve heard it on the brilliant album called “Bossa’n’Stones”, where different artists interpret Rolling Stones (there’s also “Bossa’n’Roses” & “Bossa’n’Marley” for those interested – all good albums in my opinion).

    There’s a lot of versions of Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”:
    – Karen Souzas version is also on YouTube for those who doesn’t have Spotify.
    – Alicia Keys also has a version with Adam Levine. It’s from Keys’ acoustic show called Unplugged (from MTV Unplugged?). I like her piano take on the song, plus she has a great voice & she’s eye-candy as well, but I don’t like Adam Levine’s vocals.
    – Mazzy Star has a really nice version.

  4. Whoa Cardinal, great post. Love to see wild horses only I never get to except in the movies! One of my favorites is “Man from Snowy River”. Also, the Rolling Stones’ tune is a favorite of mine as well! Margie

    • Thanks Reb. Lovely horses at your photo too.
      I passed by the race tracks last Saturday and there was a race, so I took some photos. Maybe I’ll post them later.

Share your opinion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.