As a small child, watching her grandfather’s draft horses work on the farm left a lasting impression on Cheryl Cathcart.
The Corrales, N.M. artist has combined her love of horses and photography and the result is an amazing collection of images that capture the power and grace of the animals.
The exhibit features 32 large photographs of horses in New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, France, Italy and Portugal. Cathcart began to focus her photography on horses about six years ago. Why horses?
“The hugest of eyes can be soulfully gentle or wildly inflamed,” she said. “The exquisite body conformation reveals muscled velvet and steel. Their sociable nature is heart-warming both with each other and with us.”
This observant connection to horses happened for Cathcart at a young age.
“My first impressions of horses were created by Dolly and George, my grandfather’s two gigantic bay and grey draft horses,” she recalled. “They are engraved in my memory from age three or four. On a hot summer afternoon in southern Iowa, my father lifted me into a huge farm wagon, and then held me up so I could see over the sides of the wagon. Decades later, the surge of power I felt as he handed me the reins remains a tactile memory in my fingers, as much as it is a visual image decades. To my amazement, the horses walked on, towing the old wagon full of corn when barely urged. Later I would learn that the high intelligence of a horse is no guarantee of a willingness to co-operate or obey.”
The images in the exhibition include sturdy working horses, elegant riding horses in Europe and America, the feral Mustangs of the Rockies, and the rare small sturdy horse breed (called Sorraia) from the Iberian Peninsula. These latter horses gave rise to the Mustangs of our western United States, when the Spanish brought their horses with them to the New World.