A former military site in Britain is being turned into a residential development, but its history as a horse hospital is being marked with a series of special war horse sculptures.
Work at the site of a garrison at Arborfield, Berkshire, is well under way, with some phases of a massive housing development by Crest Nicholson already completed.
Three equine sculptures created by Amy Goodman will greet residents and visitors at Arborfield Green, celebrating the history of the site as a horse hospital and base for the army equine vets. During the First World War, thousands of horses passed through the centre, established for the Remount Depot in 1904 at a veterinary centre.
Thirty years later, Arborfield Green was transformed into the Army Technical School for boys and became known as Arborfield Garrison. The Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers also called Arborfield Green home until 2016.
Crest Nicholson is also restoring the site’s two remaining stable blocks, including the The Horse Infirmary Stables, a listed scheduled monument, which will form the focal point for the village meadow and bridleway.
The life-sized pieces are titled ‘Youngster’, ‘Sports Horse Mare’ and ‘Icarus’. They are expected to be unveiled in September.
“I have had a very clear vision from the very start of a rearing Cleveland Bay gunner from the First World War, stocky and muscular, yet magnificent. Rearing against the sky on a mound, with a retaining gabion wall that would be akin to the wall of a trench, Goodman said.
“His hogged mane and docked tail, a subtle indication of his history, without the need for tack and the ammunition of war.
“Across from the trench following the edge of the road so they can be viewed well by passing traffic, a sports horse mare will be galloping away towards her yearling who will be just ahead of her. Past, present, and future in an equine installation.”