Power, grace, beauty, nobility, strength, and freedom: all are attributes embodied by The Horse. Well before written language and in all cultures, humans have been fascinated with horses, assigning them a special place in their cultural narrative.
Throughout history, horses have been revered as symbols of wealth, power, and status. Every major civilization saw the horse as a herald of the spoils of war, of victory, longevity, and triumph.
The horse has long been revered by Native American tribes, signifying mobility, stamina, and strength. In addition, the horse represented loyalty, love, and devotion, and was a sign of mutual respect. It is believed that a person can inherit some of an animal’s virtues by wearing an image of it. That is one reason why this noble creature has always played an important role in Ben Nighthorse’s jewelry designs. As he says, “I have always liked horses for their emotion, strength, and dignity.” Ben and his wife Linda are champion Quarter Horse trainers; this personal experience provides him with insight and understanding as he creates his newest equine designs.
Acclaimed Crow artist Kevin Red Star, fully captures the essence of his culture, providing a visual history and authentic insights into the “Horse People.” It has been said that the Crow posses a mythical connection with the horse. Red Star shares, “I hear from the Ancient Ones, the horse has always been with the plains people. They were essential to life; for hunting and scouting, for guarding and moving camp. Everyone was connected to the horse. The warrior, the lookout, the young ones, and the old ones.” Intertwining his Indian culture with a contemporary perspective, Red Star brings this harmonious relationship, based on honor and reverence, to life in his paintings.
Perceiving mankind’s enduring relationship with equine, either tangible or idealistic, sculptor Star Liana York focuses on that shared and personal enthusiasm in her work. In her words, “Watching wild Mustangs, their strength and sense of self-preservation, I often think of how man throughout history interacted with these wild creatures. It was a journey for both the horse and the human, where respect had to be given and earned. That relationship has not changed with time.”
A quote that Star often thinks of as she continues on her own equine journey is from American poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, well-expressing man’s ongoing love of the horse, “The essential joy of being with horses is that it puts you in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.”