This intro is the same as my previous “Women’s History Month” posts, so for those of you that read those, you might want to skip down a bit to "From our first sight..."
In these days of over analyzing everything, I’m going to begin my post today by saying that when I all someone a “Horse Girl” it’s the biggest compliment I can give. So there. In my universe, “horse girls” are bad-ass women of any age, from 8 to 80 and many times several years either side of that span.
March is Women’s History Month and as I’ve typed that I think my eyes rolled back in my head because confining the celebration of women’s contributions to history to 30 days seems a little skimpy to say the least. However, while the subject of women through history can fill much more than 30 days of content, I’m happy to jump on the bandwagon and shall pursue my usual theme of “anything about horses” and celebrate “horse girls through history”.
I think you shall see that throughout time, “horse girls” are the leaders of the pack in defying conventions. But do equestrian pursuits create these strong, adventuresome women or do these females let nothing stand between them and satisfying their craving for the company of these powerful animals? Bit of both?
From our first sight of the statue of Simon Bolivar in Central Park (that would have been in 2016 when we were there for the Arabian World Cup at the Central Park Horse Show), I’ve wanted to learn more about the artist. About the creators of all three of the equestrian statues that stand at the Artists Gate, because they are magnificent. When I came to learn that two of the three were by female artists I was even more intrigued.
That was how I first came to learn the name Sally James Farnham, a self-taught artist mentored by the famous Frederick Remington. A woman who is largely unknown, despite the fact that during her day she was one of the leading lights figures of her day and created the largest equestrian statue in the United States at that time. To date I haven’t been able to determine if that distinction is true today, but even so Sally Farnham was a leader and a woman who just got on with what inspired her.
I had found tantalizing glimpses from online research that indicated that Sally was quite a horsewoman and recently, I was able to finally put her story into more focus when I bought “The Art of Being an Artist—Sally James Farnham, American Sculptor” by Peter Hassrick. Published in 2005 by the Frederic Remington Art Museum, it’s the first monograph of her work and the quote I've included on the image above is from this book and attributed as a quote to a Los Angeles reporter in 1923. But prior to finding this book I have Michael P. Reed— Director of the Sally James Farnham Catalogue Raissone Project—to thank for answering my every query about the amazing Sally Farnham.