When my husband David and I were in London a few weeks ago I could not help but notice how many statues there were with various Kings and military leaders on handsome mounts in many places in the center of the city. Richard the Lionheart astride a powerful steed just outside the Houses of Parliament. He ruled from 1189 – 1199. What would he make of all the Brexit turmoil going on inside the House now? Well seeing as his sword was bent during WWII by a German bomb he might well think getting out of the EU was a good idea. Who knows? But there he is encased in his armour and sword held high. Horse with open mouth, arched neck and flowing mane ready to charge forward into battle.
Just up the road in Whitehall Earl Haig is a commanding figure on a tall plinth just outside the Horse Guards astride a powerful horse.
Not far off on the other side of Horse Guards in the Parade stands Lord Wolesley K.P. G.C.B.O.M. G.C.M.G. ( I have no idea what all those initials are. If you know please leave a comment below) Clearly this was an important man in the military. The plaque tells us that he was the Commander in Chief of the British Army from 1859-1900. And….this is pretty amazing….the statue is cast from the metal of the guns that were taken in his campaigns. That sends a message doesn’t it? Don’t mess with the British Army or we’ll melt your guns and turn them into horse statues.
On the other side of Green Park there is Hyde Park Corner and the Wellington Arch and a statue of Wellington. This is a fairly modest little statue for someone as famous as the Duke of Wellington. But he is riding a very noble steed.
And then there is the Wellington Arch. Well that is pretty epic stuff. The four horse Chariot of War has the winged Goddess of Victory descending upon it. These horses are wild creatures indeed and threaten all sorts of fury and tempest.
Well this is all very interesting but what is my point? My point is that all of these monuments have horses that indicate the power and the might and the superiority of the riders and the people they represent. Here is Victory! Here is Power! Do not defy us or you will perish! I may be going a bit too far but the horse can give the impression of all that. Let’s face it do we see any monuments with modern Generals popping their heads out of an armoured tank? Or even worse a Humvee? No, we do not. And how impressive would it be if we did? Not very. The horse is what gives these statues stature and importance. Horse Power!