Thursday, July 4, 2019

(Model and Book) Horses On Parade

The Fourth of July always makes me think about parades. And when I think about parades, I naturally think about parades with horses in them.  Those are the best kind, especially when you're a kid.

One of my favorite children's horse book series has always been the four "Windy Foot" books, by Frances Frost, illustrated by Lee Townsend. It tells the adventures of Toby Clark and his Shetland Pony, Windy Foot, in rural Vermont. The stories are set back in the day when horses and cars still shared the road.

The final book in the series is called Fireworks for Windy Foot. In it, Toby learns more about what it means to be an American (in that not-so-long-ago day when life seemed less complicated), and Windy Foot gets to participate in the local Fourth of July parade. Toby's younger brother Johnny portrays Yankee Doodle "riding on a pony" in the celebration.

(Since I practically had the "Windy Foot" books memorized, I donated my copies to the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library at Cal Poly Pomona, so more people can enjoy them.)

Another children's horse book with a parade is Marguerite Henry's Justin Morgan Had a Horse.  Wesley Dennis' illustration of the great progenitor of the Morgan horse breed on parade is familiar to all fans of the book.

There's a model horse connection to horses in parades that dates back to the 1950s when these horse books were so popular.  Some of the ceramic Hagen-Renaker model horses on my shelves were designed by Maureen Love, after real horses that participated in parades all over Southern California throughout the year.

The most familiar parade horses are American Saddlebred stallion King Cortez and his sons, Golden Son Cortez and Golden Don Cortez.  They were popular entries in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and took part in many other Southern California parades throughout the year with their owners, the Specht family.

Look at those silver saddles.  King Cortez (on the right, I think) was quite tall, 17.2 hands high, which helps explain how he was able to carry all that weight.

I imagine it would have been problematic to try to re-create those long, long manes and tails in ceramic! Here are examples of all three Hagen-Renaker horses: left to right, "Don Cortez" in black, "King Cortez" in palomino, and "Sun Cortez" in white.  

The earlier, Monrovia-era version of "Sun Cortez" does have a rather long mane.

And you can see the similarities in the face of the real King Cortez, and the H-R of the same name.

Another parade horse that inspired a Hagen-Renaker figurine was the Morgan stallion Lippitt Morman.  His last owner, Merle Little, lived in Monrovia, California, not far from the Hagen-Renaker factory at the time.

Lippitt Morman is on the far right of this photo of the Little family, who were looking forward to participating in the 1949 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Photo from the December 1948 issue of Morgan Horse magazine.

This photograph shows a Hagen-Renaker "Lippet" (the company misspelled the name) on display at the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library's exhibit on the history of Hagen-Renaker, next to a reproduction of one of Maureen Love's pastel drawings of him.

They may not have had model horses created in their image, but these horses helped carry the flag at BreyerFest in July 2018.  Maybe we'll see them, or their friends, in Lexington at BreyerFest next week!



Here's Kristina Lucas Francis' blog post about Sun Cortez:

Here's Dawn Sinkovich's blog post about Maureen Love and Lippitt Morman, with many, many more photos:

The Vermont Historical Society website has a page on author Frances Mary Frost:

The Rancho Santa Fe, California Historical Society has a short biography of Marguerite Henry you may not have seen before:

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