Bruce Museum

Greenwich, CT

(203) 869-0376


The Thoroughbred: Born to Run and Jump

May 1, l999 - August 29, 1999


The Thoroughbred: Born to Run and Jump documents the history and evolution of the Thoroughbred horse as a specific breed of sport horse from its early origins in Britain to the American Thoroughbred of today. The exhibition is sponsored by J.P. Morgan and a Greenwich patron and is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Mellon Evans.

The athletic traits of speed, stamina, and agility combined with natural grace and beauty have made the Thoroughbred the breed of choice for a variety of equine disciplines. In order to illustrate the versatility of the Thoroughbred The Thoroughbred: Born to Run and Jump will explore the equine disciplines of racing, both flat and steeplechase, show hunters and jumpers, and polo.

The exhibition features paintings, drawings, and sculptures of some of the greatest equine athletes and equestrians of each sport. Some of the artists whose works are on display include Pieter Tillemans, Edward Troye, Alfred Munnings, Henry Stull, Frederic Remington, and Jean Bowman along with contemporary artists Anthony Alonso, Richard Stone Reeves, Kathleen Friedenberg, Werner Rentsch, Jan Woods and others.

Exploring the development and uses of the Thoroughbred provides an interesting facet to a very broad subject of the horse, and it acknowledges a topic not previously presented in a museum exhibition format. Visitors will experience not only a succinct history of the Thoroughbred in America but also a better understanding of the extraordinary partnerships between horse and rider.

An accompanying catalog serves as a supplement to The Thoroughbred: Born to Run and Jump and contains a collection of essays that discuss the various aspects of the Thoroughbred breed. William C. Steinkraus authors the first article providing a brief history of the Thoroughbred as it relates to each of the disciplines covered in the exhibition. Mr. Steinkraus is the immediate past chairman of the Federation Equestre International (FEI) World Cup Committee and has been associated with the United States Equestrian Team for over 45 years as rider, captain, president, chairman of the board and now as chairman emeritus. He was a five-time Olympic Games participant as a rider for the United States Equestrian Team. His Olympic medals include: a Team Show Jumping bronze medal in 1952 at Helsinki, Finland; a Team silver in 1960 at Rome, Italy; the gold medal in Individual Show Jumping in 1969 at Mexico City, Mexico; and a Team silver in 1972 at Munich, West Germany.

Liza Dennehy contributes a short article on judging show hunters. Ms. Dennehy is an American Horse Shows Association R-rated Hunter - Jumper Judge, and judges competitions throughout North America. She has been a horsewoman virtually her entire life. Her father, Wilson Dennehy, is an eminent judge and trainer, and her mother, Sandy, is a champion hunter rider.

Marianne Smith, Curator of Natural Sciences at the Bruce Museum, presents an essay on the natural history of the horse and the Thoroughbred in particular. A biologist by training, Mrs. Smith takes a look at the horse through the eyes of a natural scientist providing insightful analysis of equine evolution and behavior for both riders and spectators of horse sports alike. Mrs. Smith, along with Curatorial Assistant, Cynthia Ehlinger, served as co-curators of the exhibition Horse Play.

Images from top to bottom (click on thumbnail images to enlarge them):Henry Stull (1851-1913), The Belmont Stakes 1896, 1897, oil on canvas, courtesy of New York Racing Association, Inc.; Charles Ridgeway Knight (1874-1953), Prehistoric Horse, plaster cast, Bruce Museum collection; The Byerly Turk, colored lithograph, published by Fores, London, based on a painting by John Wootton, courtesy of Cross Gate Gallery; Frederic Remington (1861-1909), Steeplechase at Cedarhurst, c. 1885, grisaille, oil on wood, 22 x 27 3/4 inches, courtesy of National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Read more about the Bruce Museum in Resource Library .

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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