Mustangs of Las Colinas

The Mustangs of Las Colinas are the world’s largest equestrian sculpture. The bronze sculpture symbolizes the free spirited people of Texas with its majestic herd of nine larger-than-life mustangs. The herd, which ranges from a fierce stallion to a frightened colt, traverse a flowing stream cut through the granite plaza at William’s Square in Las Colinas, Texas. At the horse’s feet water splashes adding to the authentic look, and at night, lights accent the work.

In 1976 the William’s Plaza designer, Ben Carpenter, described the proposed project to Robert Glen, best known for his African wildlife sculptures. There was to be a pink granite field across which would traverse a herd of mustangs. The sculptures were to be viewed from all directions, and would be sided on three sides by tall buildings.

Glen studied Mustangs extensively before beginning the actual sculpting. He traveled to Spain to see mustangs that had not been altered by excessive interbreeding with other kinds of horses, and he studied bisected horses to learn more about their musculatures and skeletal structures.

Back in his Nairobi studio, the sculpting process included the creation of some 47 model sized horses, ultimately resulting in the completed herd in miniature. Then plasticine intermediate models were created at half the size of a real mustang to get precision in dimensions and measurements, then cast in fiberglass.

Finally, after carefully checking each detail of the half sized models, each of the nine was individually shipped to a foundry in England. There, a complicated and painstaking process of recreating them at one and a half times the size of real mustangs was undertaken. The individual horses were cast in sections which were expertly rejoined after they were formed.

An involved process of shipment to the United States ensued and the horses finally arrived in Las Colinas where their installation was carefully overseen by Robert Glen.
The Mustangs Of Las Colinas have become beloved by residents of Dallas and the surrounding areas. There are concerts held on the plaza, and an annual fireworks presentation across the canal beyond.

The panoramic artwork was completed over the course of seven years. The horses are accessible and touching is encouraged (although riding is not!) Several years ago, one of the colts was toppled and Glen was called in to repair the work. In spite of the disrespect of whomever did the damage, Glen said that this work was intended to be touched.
Indeed, much of the charm of the Mustangs comes from walking among them, and running your hands across their surfaces. There is a feeling of communication with them as you share their space. The piece was commissioned as a means of remembering the frontier lands that once made up the now urban area.



2 responses to “Mustangs of Las Colinas

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Mustangs of Las Colinas | laud8 -landscape architecture+urban design --·

  2. Is there a link to the Landscape Architecture Magazines article from 1986 (I think) about how the fountain nozzles were hammered to create the look of splashes?

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