It used to be that the culmination of a sculptor's career was his chance to do full-sized horses in bronze. Since Roman times, every Tsar, Archduke and Admiral has placed himself on a horse on a pedestal. It's a meme, I guess. Just something you have to do when you control the lives of millions. Here are a few examples. There is a great slideshow of similar sculptures here.
Although I had heard of this pair, I would not have been able to pick them out of a lineup of any 3 horses. I was amazed when my buddy Bart riffled through a stack of horse images I'd downloaded and picked out a couple of Big Ben. It was my first bit of understanding what the equestrian world might look like. Still, not knowing what I didn't know, I forged ahead, hanging out with horses, sketching, studying, oblivious to the idea that some artists spend a career just studying equine physiolology.
The challenge, as I saw it, was the pose. The townspeople of Perth wanted Big Ben in full flight over a jump. This meant making a tonne of bronze fly. And a 'horse on a stick' was not going to fly.
A photo was available, one that caught Big Ben and Ian mid-flight over a jump, just what I needed to get a really accurate model for scaling all parts of the project. It's a very mechanical process at this point. Any deviation from the photo was going to be 'not Big Ben'. I was indebited to photographer Shawn Hamilton for supplying this photo. I would have been lost without it.