There is no better incentive to get things spruced up and projects completed than to throw a party. Fenway Farms never looked as good as our dedication ceremony loomed . . . fresh coats of paint, new display cases for Nanning’s custom tack, new stall doors and our rendition of Gate A at Fenway Park finally adorned the outer walls of the feed room thanks to local handyman, Fred Bahrs. The farm was ready for the big day. On June 23, 2012 with over 130 friends and family in attendance the Nanning 374 Monument was unveiled. Special guests included Ids Hellinga, executive director of the KFPS in the Netherlands and FHANA’s executive director and board members from across North America.
We brought Nanning to Fenway in 2006 and it didn’t take long for him to become the center of attention of the farm as well as northeastern WI. Visitors to the farm, and there were many, were immediately taken with his spectacular presence. Realizing that our time with Nanning was finite, we promised him that we would not let the world forget a horse that so dramatically altered our lives.
Painfully, action to fulfill that promise came well in advance of our expectations. In June, 2010 we lost the patriarch of our farm. To appropriately memorialize Nanning we turned to the very talented sculptor, Lynda Sappington whose previous work captured the spirit of our magnificent horse. To really fulfill that promise we determined the only adequate form it would take would be a life size bronze sculpture.
But what image to use? We turned to the incredible work of Cally Matherly and the multitude of images that she captured the unbridled spirit of our boy. Of all the beautiful images Cally had taken, one stood out. This image, affectionately described as the “War Horse” shot. It was actually Laura Zugzda, an extremely talented graphic designer that originally brought this shot to our attention. Both Laura and Cally saw that this shot captured the spirit, the strength, the power and playfulness of this charismatic horse.
As the original maquette sculpture (one fifth of full size) was completed and moved to the foundry in Oregon, we began the site preparations. Along with local architectural designer Jeff Hibbard and builder John Houlihan we designed a showcase for a magnificent piece of art. The brick wall seating area is in the shape of Nanning’s horseshoe. Integrated into that seating area are three flag poles 374′ high with the flags of the United States, Friesland, native home to the Friesian horse and the flag of the Fenway Foundation for Friesian Horses. Bronze plaques with reliefs sculpted by Lynda Sappington are on two of the pillars highlighting the special features of the monument itself and memorializing all Friesian horses. Also located on the pillars are three custom mosaic images of Nanning by Richard Moss. The monument’s base is cobblestones similar to those used in the roadways in the Netherlands. Impressions of Nanning’s horseshoes are permanently captured in concrete. And finally Nanning’s limestone stall name block is placed below a perpetual light glowing in his memory.
The dedication ceremony began with general farm tours and a meet and greet with all the Fenway horses. Dr. Kathy Fox of the Foundation did an educational presentation of a current Foundation rescued Friesian with neurological issues. Jamie rode Tiger in a dressage demonstration and Anton was presented in long lines followed by the typical photos session that follows each and every Anton performance.
The time had finally come for the unveiling of the monument. With the dramatic theme of Jurassic Park in the background, Nanning 374, Spirit of the Friesian Horse was revealed. While the monument stands in Nanning’s memory, it also memorializes the departure of all the Friesian horses that have left us and look forward to being reunited with their loving guardians.