My Five Last Horses
“First, Anarchist, height sixteen and a half hands the best I ever rode a bold, clever, un- assuming and well-mannered horse, with a calm outlook on life. All jumps came alike to him, and he never gave me a fall. Bred in Normandy, schooled by a Saumur instructor, he was jumping more than six feet in French competitions as a four-year-old.
…Then Rufus, fifteen and a half hands, a strong, healthy brute, a chestnut with a white blaze and a head and crest like an Arab stallion one of the best. Cheena next, my wife’s old friend and companion. Sweet, kindly, long-suffering Cheena, with large ears, a kind eye and a beautiful forelock and mane. I love her. Then come two half-sisters, Winter Rose and Cherrybounce.
Dear Cheena, a Bay Hunter. 1943.
I bred these two from a Red Prince mare that my wife used to hunt in the Whaddon. The first, a lovely dark brown mare.
…Anyhow, I’ve ridden her and used her as a model since she was foaled sixteen years ago, and she has more quality and beauty than many of the swell winners I’ve painted.
Her half-sister, Cherrybounce, goes back on her sire’s side to Fowling-piece. A year younger than Rose, a big, upstanding bay, sixteen and a half hands, with a white star on her forehead, a strong back and loin, thick, curly mane and tail, and good constitution. She’s what you call a goer, and takes some holding; the best over a gate I’ve ever ridden.
…As one of many models, Cherrybounce has helped to run the show.
These five horses, with one called The Lizard, lent out, are all I have left of seventeen when war began. The rest are over the Styx now, but not enjoying a happier life, for they were happy with me. They could even choose their own paddocks.”
Sir Alfred Munnings, An Artist’s Life, 1950.