Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Old Polish Horse

In my previous post I cited a statement made by a Frenchman Dupont about winged hussars and their beautiful horses. These horses were not for show or parade but for war, actually their stamina, strength, bravery and soundness essential to the winged hussar's battlefield performance.
During the existence of Old Poland (1569-1795) aka Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth there were plenty many horses in these lands that today constitute Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, some parts of western Russia, Latvia, and parts of Romania. Polish equine historians - especially Witold Pruski - talk about so called Polish Horse developed during the 16th century and extinguished during the Napoleonic Wars. Whether this particular horse was one breed or a type still remains an unanswered questions while other European equine historians talk about their own equine breeds and their development, eg. preeminent Spanish horse historian Juan P. Altamirano writes in his books, articles and on his website that the first modern breed of horses - la Pura Rasa Espanola - was begun in Spain, with a royal decree issued by his royal majesty king Felipe II, that led to development of this breed around late 1570s. http://www.jcaltamirano.com/artespanol.htm
There aren't that many images of the old Polish Horses that have survived wars and burnings of Old Poland lands. Usually 3 or four are listed - and they are from the 18th century, sadly past the heyday of winged hussaria.
I have done some drawings of the winged hussar horses - eg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Panskie_oko_konia_tuczy1.jpg

I am working on some horse illustrations for my friend Radek Sikora - for his book - 'Na skrzydlach husarii'-
I started sketching this horse Sunday, and perhaps I will use this sketch :) although it will need saddle, shabraque, wings attached to the saddle etc. Soon I will post some more progress sketches.
to be continued

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