“War Horse” in our state and for our time
100 years after the outbreak of the First World War in Europe, that compelling drama is re-created with great impact in the internationally known play "War Horse”, an experience that still resonates and touches the heart. Here in CT “The First Company Governor’s Horse Guard” is the living embodiment of “War Horse” for our time and in our own state.
This week I was thrilled to install a companion art display at the Promenade Gallery at The Bushnell, the premiere theater in Connecticut. This original exhibition makes the connection between the story of the play (set in England and France) and links it to the ongoing history of the cavalry in this country in a personal way.
Growing up in Australia, I knew the proud tradition of our own Light Horse Brigade and other mounted regiments that served in WWI. Over a million horses were involved, including 182,000 from the US and 136,000 from my homeland. At the conclusion of the conflict 200 returned to America but only 1 returned to Australian shores. I would touch the statue of Sandy near my last home in Canberra and feel the loss of these beautiful creatures. At Cambridge University I studied poetry of that era and the profound words of those writers still haunts me. Now I have this opportunity to combine my love of photography and drama at the historic Bushnell Theater in a companion exhibition to this world class theatrical experience “War Horse”.
As a resident of Avon, CT for 7 years, I wanted to know more about the stories that lay behind the white fences of the First Company Governor’s Horse Guard. I knew it was the oldest continually serving cavalry unit in this country formed by veterans of the American Revolution. During the course of its 235 year history the Troop evolved from more than ceremonial duties to serving role with distinction in this country, in Europe and even in Asia-Pacific.
I was intrigued to understand what attracts people to the cavalry in this modern era and how those proud traditions continue. I have been privileged to be permitted access to follow the recruits as they learn military history and procedure, learn how to care for the horses and to ride like a soldier even though most had no prior riding experience. Through my lens I have seen a genuine respect develop between the recruits, with the Troop and, of course, with the horses themselves.
I hope you are touched by the play and by my images. I am thrilled to be able to show a small selection of images as this photo essay continues to unfold and deepen through the seasons. If you wish to purchase an image of the horses, a generous donation from each sale of the Horses series will be gifted back to the “Friends of The First Company Governor’s Horse Guards” to contribute to the care of their horses and also to The Bushnell to enable it to continue to bring excellent cultural experiences to our community.
For information about the Horse Guards, please visit www.ctfirsthorse.org or call 860 673 3525. Spring Recruiting campaign commences soon. To purchase the art please call me on + 1 860 796 6244.. I invite you to follow this photographic journey which is simply an introduction to a much larger documentary project “Guarding Tradition: Past, Present and Future of the Governor’s Horse Guards”. It's going to be a great ride!