Wild About Horses

By local contributor
William Thompson

From the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show to the Parada del Sol Parade and Rodeo, Scottsdale is a dream destination for horse enthusiasts.

But did you know that the city’s acclaimed public art collection has champion steeds of its own? Saddle up and let’s ride! Here’s a roundup of some local showstoppers.


WATER MARK – INDIAN BEND WASH


Haddad|Drugan’s massive artwork is a marvel of engineering and imagination. Clad in shiny aluminum, five jumbo-sized equine gargoyles stand watch along the road and adjacent flood-control greenbelt. During periodic deluges, water spouts from each horse’s mouth. (The critters also gush holiday spirit from Thanksgiving to New Year’s when they’re decked out with festive wreaths!)
 


HORSESHOE FALLS – MARSHALL WAY & INDIAN SCHOOL ROAD


Michael Maglich’s quirky urban oasis invites lucky passersby to kick back on its roomy horseshoe-shaped bench, surrounded by totem-like stacks of – you guessed it – more horseshoes! Fogging misters make it the ideal spot to cool off.
 


JACK KNIFE – MARSHALL WAY & MAIN STREET


Rising from a traffic circle in the heart of the Old Town gallery district, Ed Mell’s bronze cowboy astride a bucking bronco was modeled after Scottsdale’s official city seal. With his minimalist, geometric style, the artist imbues this classic emblem of the Old West with a contemporary vibe.
 


PASSING THE LEGACY – SCOTTSDALE WATERFRONT


Long before Amazon Prime, the Pony Express offered the quickest deliveries in the land! Each year, the Hashknife Pony Express recreates this legendary run, delivering letters by horseback some 200 miles across Arizona to Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Celebrating this tradition, Herb Mignery’s bronze “Passing the Legacy” portrays an original Pony Express rider handing off the mail to his modern counterpart.
 


IMPULSION – WESTWORLD OF SCOTTSDALE


This premier equestrian event center is home to the city’s newest – and tallest – monument to horse power. Towering 24 feet, Jeff Zischke’s dynamic, abstracted horse built from stainless steel tubes sparkles at night with LED lighting.

These public art pieces aren’t the only nods to Scottsdale’s Western heritage that you’ll find alive and thriving today. Be sure to check out Scottsdale’s Western Week, which takes place every February and includes popular events like the Parada del Sol Parade.