Public Art Project “Art of the Horse” gets the Western Carolinas Geared Up for the World Equestrian Games

Our Carolina Foothills has recruited regional artists to transform 30 life-sized horses into works of art.

Our Carolina Foothills, a Western Carolina-based nonprofit, has resurrected and expanded a 2016 public art program, Art of the Horse, in celebration of the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C. this September. Art of the Horse installs 30 life-sized horses in various stances, each sponsored by local nonprofits, businesses and individuals who then choose an artist to bring them to life. The art installations will remain on display until they are auctioned off in October and November to benefit Our Carolina Foothills.

The artists, both amateur and professional, are given absolute free reign to use their skills and talents to interpret the beauty of the horse. Some artists used sculpture or welding. Others stuck to paint. Some were avant-garde, others more traditional. With a wide range of different artists and aesthetics, each installment of Art of the Horse is uniquely worth a visit. And who knows? You might even discover a hidden gem on your adventure.

And that’s exactly what Director of Our Carolina Foothills says of the goal of the project: “What we try to do is lead people to places they otherwise might not.” The organization hopes that the project will attract WEG spectators to destinations they may not have even known existed.

The ELYSIAN team certainly is thrilled to have such a momentous event happening right in our own backyard. “Dreamer,” one of these beautiful horses was unveiled just blocks from the ELYSIAN headquarters i n June. Painted by 88-year-old professional sculptor (and former owner/operator of Country Pines Riding School), Lalage Warrington, “Dreamer” features a fairly minimalist landscape “from the mountains to the sea.” She says, “I love horses, and I like them to be free.”

Here are just a few of our favorite horses that have been revealed so far:

Sponsor: South State Bank ・ Artist: Lalage Warrington

“From mountains to the sea, born to be free, DREAMER stands with his feet in the ocean. The sand of the low country grows into green valleys, open meadows and lush mountain pastures. DREAMER cavorts in his mind, with visions of a herd of his own running wild. His head is “in the clouds” as his mail and tail represent the dark thunder clouds necessary for this to happen.”

In the Spotlight
Sponsors: Dr & Mrs. Thomas R. Cadier and Lawrence Wassong ・ Artist: Laurie Sullivan

“The 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games held at TIEC places the entire foothills area ‘In the Spotlight.’ This design shows all eight disciplines being featured, each one carrying its own spotlight within a golden circle. The disciplines are all different, and they all bring a variety of dedicated fans and spectators to support and cheer them on. The overall background of a dark bay horse with flashy white points provides a dramatic backdrop for the golden circles further allowing the individual equestrian sport to shine.”

Princess Royale
Sponsor: Spartanburg Memorial Airport ・ Artist: Linda Castren

“Princess Royale is my adaptation of the iconic carousel horses that were hand-painted by immigrant craftsmen in the early part of the 20th century. I combined a few design elements such as pin-striping, fleur-de-lis and cascades of fish scale armor with my own style to create an updated version. I also chose shiny metallic paints to add a majestic jeweled effect and to create a feeling of royalty. My horse celebrates the timeless art and joy of riding a carousel horse.”

Peace Keeper
Donated to Foothills Humane Society ・ Artist: Gigi Dover

“Inspired by the rich history of the Catawba Indians in the upstate of SC, “Chief” brings on his back the peach tree with blossoms, bee balm and yellow jasmine flowers, accompanied by hummingbirds and a honeybee. He carries a deer-skin rug, beaded in turquoise with imagery of the Catawba river, which supplied the mud that they used to make their famous pottery. His neck piece has an image resembling Chief Haigler of the Catawba Tribe. Two barred owl feathers are woven into the headpiece. Wild turkey feathers and beads are braided into his mane and tail. Each hoof carries the symbol of the river. He has four symbols on his back; they represent love (flower), friendship (crossed arrows), constant (sun), and everlasting happiness (thunderbird).”


For more information on Art of the Horse, visit
Visit to explore ticket options for the World Equestrian Games.


Descriptions of art taken from


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