Western Swing - Life-size bronze
The rhythm and beauty of a working cow horse in action is a joy to behold. This athletic and graceful partnership is the result of lots of training time, commitment, and trust. These deep relational aspects moved me to choose a dancing motif as the name, "Western Swing".
My dad, Lowell, introduced me to all of this as he and Ranger worked cattle on our ranch so adroitly many years ago. He was a horseman and Ranger was a spirited quarter horse. Years later I witnessed another amazing equine relationship in downtown Portland . Pookie pulled our carriage skillfully through heavy traffic responding only to the voice commands of her driver. They were a delightful combo.
In developing research material for this sculpture I set up a modeling photo shoot at the "Drag-N-Fly" ranch. Trainer Wes Chappell put Drago through a whole range of cutting and reining exercises alone and with a yearling cow. Then I asked Wes how his prized horse would perform without a bridle. He easily brought Drago to a classic sliding stop using only knee pressure as a signal. This beautiful bay stallion is "listening" so intently to Wes that a steel bar in his mouth is not needed.
If only I were that tractable and in tune with our heavenly "trainer".
"...they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck, that they might not hear and receive instruction".
"...O that my people would listen to me."