They were the sports cars and Rolls Royce of the carriage set. Horses stepping high as they trotted head held high, tail arched, carrying the young blades and their paramours, the rich and famous, through the streets of cobbled stones.
Brasses polished to glint in the sun, carriage spic and span and horse's coats shining bright.
Gents and Ladies dressed in finery, out for a breath of air or going to an afternoon soiree, they trotted along in open sulkies.
It was another age of genteel elegance, now replayed in show rings for a modern audience.
Matted and framed 'High Stepper' and 'The Painted Horse' from the'Art of the Working Horse'series.
The image behind this pen and wash study of a high stepping Arabian harness horse is another image I captured during a visit to the United States some years ago. I was visiting a big Arabian horse show in Scottsdale, Arizona, with a group of fellow Aussies. Whilst most of my travelling companions were watching the halter classes, my friend and I haunted the performance rings. One of the disciplines I wanted to see were the "English Classes" including the "Park Class". Park is a gaited movement peculiar to the States and I'd not had the privileged of seeing a gaited horse other than on the screen. The horse moves in a high stepping trot front and back and it said to be quite a comfortable ride.
The harness classes featured horses moving with this same high action, much like our hackney horses in Australia. The classes were exciting to watch and the competitors very elegant. Musical tracks played over the loud speaker to pump the crowd and there was much cheering and clapping as the horses made their rounds.