Today is Ladies Day at Royal Ascot and all the talk is of elegant outfits and outrageous hats. Also known as Gold Cup Day, it is arguably the biggest day on the British social and sporting calendar.
Last year, Mrs Mackie and I attended with friends and thoroughly enjoyed the glitz and glamour. It is always quite fun watching the Royal procession and celebrity-spotting. And of course, I do like to have a little flutter. However, Ascot for me is always all about the horses!
There is something awe-inspiring about watching those magnificent animals in prime condition come thundering past in the races. It is utterly exhilarating. There is so much power and physicality on show. I keep saying it, but one day I’d like to sculpt a horse at full gallop!
When Royal Ascot comes around each year, I am reminded of making many of my horse sculptures.
When I was sculpting the Goodman’s Fields Horses, I was able to really get to grips with the anatomy of some exceptional horses. The Irish Cob is a typically strong breed that was used as a general workhorse in London in the nineteenth century. I found a handsome one locally near my studio in Oxfordshire to model for my Goodman’s Irish Cob in Water.
The Goodman’s Two Horses Running Together were based on a Thoroughbred from Paul Webber Racing and a Thoroughbred/Shire from David Tatlow. In this sculpture, I wanted to translate young spirited horses running loose and free through London. The Thoroughbred/Shire is bucking and the Thoroughbred is in more of a racing stance.
Goodman’s Mare is based on a European warm blood horse. When looking for a well-proportioned mare to study, I visited a horse called Pinkerton. Pinkerton visited my studio on several occasions where I was able to observe, photograph, video, take measurements and sculpt from life. I worked this way for all the Goodman’s horse sculptures.
To sculpt the spirited Goodman’s Arab Stallion I studied Sambist, a racing stallion originally from Russia. Sambist had won all five classic races, including the Russian Derby and St. Leger. My Goodman’s Andalusian Stallion shows another proud breed. This sculpture shows the Andalusian as the epitome of horse strength and pride, its head down in defiance. And last year, it was on display at Royal Ascot in the middle of the racecourse!