The monument by artist and sculptor David Govedare is not yet finished.
The wild horses that run this ridge overlooking the Columbia River are not of flesh and blood.
They’re symbolic, life-size representations from artist and sculptor David Govedare.
He’s a “visual storyteller of the Northwest, expressing the things that have impacted me.”
These horses are of steel, each weighing about 1,000 pounds.
Govedare says they’re “a contemporary story that came out of my heart of sharing the image of the positivity of creation.”
The sculpture known as the Wild Horses Monument is actually titled Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies. It’s about 130 miles east of Seattle on Interstate 90.
Though created for the Washington State Centennial in 1989, the sculpture remains unfinished.
The horses were to be leaving a 36-foot-tall, 12-ton steel basket, tipped up.
The basket is “Grandfather” and represents the “Great Spirit.”
The artist says “horses were the engine of economy, of war, of everything.”
The artist, from Chewelah, took his idea to a Grant County committee and then the State Department of Transportation.
He took officials to the site and five days later heard there was approval for its siting on public land.
“I missed all the barbed wire,” he said, referring to typical bureaucracy.
Through private funding he accomplished much of the sculpture — minus the basket and a couple more horses — for about $65,000.
He says it’s likely the most observed sculpture in the state, even if only seen from car windows passing below.
Those who climb the rough, steep path a few hundred feet to the ridge will find solid, galloping figures, rusted by design, able to withstand strong winds and rain.
Govedare says, “it’s a sense of freedom, the idea of running free, (the horses) choose to go where they want to go.”
To finish the sculpture he estimates would take about $500,000.
It’s an industrial challenge and a fundraising challenge.
Govedare, 66, says, “I just figure as I get older and become in that place where my time on the planet is no longer way, way off in the distance, this is an endeavor to finish what it is I started.”