The horses are coming back

Published 9:00 pm Saturday, April 1, 2017

Our Carolina Foothills to launch
2018 Art of the Horse initiative in April

Back in May 2015, Mindy Wiener and Suzanne Strickland had the idea to bring the community’s artists together to create something unique tied in with the equestrian history of the Foothills region.

Strickland and Wiener, with their non-profit marketing organization Our Carolina Foothills, recruited artists to create life-size fiberglass horse sculptures to be placed in Saluda, Tryon, Columbus and Landrum.

Lee Barker, artist, met with Daaryl and David Nelms who bought the fiberglass horse she created named Quilting Bea at Swiftwater Farm in Mill Spring. The Nelms, owners of Swiftwater Farm, said they bought the horse because of the different organizations painted on it and said they are interested in promoting area organizations in the community.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Sixteen decorated horses in three thoroughbred stances went on display around the community from April to September 2016 before being auctioned off at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. These horses turned heads and the project evolved into a scavenger hunt to find the best horse in the area.

Our Carolina Foothills announced in February they are bringing the Art of the Horse back in April 2017 to coincide with the World Equestrian Games  (WEG) coming to TIEC in September 2018. An auction of the 30 horses created during the second initiative is scheduled for October 2018.

According to Wiener, director of Our Carolina Foothills, the theme for the 2018 initiative is “One World, One Vision” and the initiative will kick off on April 14 at TIEC during the Tryon Block House Races Kickoff Cocktail Party. The artists are free to paint and decorate their horses however they wish.

Patty Shedlow, owner of China Farm in Campobello, bought Marie-Christine de Tarragon’s International Directions horse and said she plans to sponsor one of the 30 horses created for the 2018 Art of the Horse initiative.

“This year’s Art of the Horse will offer five different horse stances,” Wiener said. “We have increased the options of horse bodies to reflect the expanded selection of riding disciplines that will be offered in our area during WEG.”

Our Carolina Foothills plans to have 30 horses on display during 2018 from Saluda to Landrum and the surrounding area. According to Carol Browning, volunteer with Our Carolina Foothills, the auction of the horses in 2016’s Art of the Horse initiative yielded more than $83,000. Artists received 25 percent of the proceeds on their horses while Our Carolina Foothills received 75 percent to promote the small towns in the Carolina Foothills through marketing campaigns and events.

To sign up as an artist or
sponsor, contact Wiener at
or visit