Good Horsekeeping

Cast Iron "Grazing Horse" Bookends with Original Polychrome (LEO Design)


I raised horses as a kid.  I belonged to 4-H—"The Comancheros"—on the island of Kauai. Through the program, I learned important lessons about horsemanship, responsibility, sportsmanship, and competition.  Each day, after school, I had to bid farewell to my friends and head-out to the pasture to ride and care for my horse.  Seven days a week.  Exercising, grooming, feeding and watering (our pasture land had no plumbing—I had to bring water in numerous 5 gallon canisters).  Every couple of months, we had a horseshow which required three or four days of preparation and competition. On occasion, the routine was drudgery; much, much more often, it was incredibly fulfilling.  There is an extraordinary relationship which forms between a person and his horse—something one might not understand unless he has had the good fortune of truly knowing a horse.

One of the "commandments" passed-down to me was "Never let your horse eat with a bit in his mouth."  Horses are naturally curious and hungry.  If one stops for long—and especially if one dismounts—a horse may try to graze.  Eating with a bit in his mouth could cause choking (or so we were taught).

So, when I found the bookends, shown above, I nearly did not buy them.  The sculptor has shown the horse grazing while still wearing his bridle!  I was not interested in perpetuating poor horse-keeping practices.  But the painted coloration—so handsomely executed, in such rich shades—was compelling to me (and won-out).  Furthermore . . . I love horses.

These bookends are cast iron and still retain much of their original polychrome.  Although the horse is grazing—with a bit!—it is a handsome, well modeled equine.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248