“A horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse of course, that is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed,” is how the old TV jingle goes.
Well, there’s one horse in Duncan that is certainly getting talked about, and that, of course, is artist John Perfors’ creation.
This fine, full-sized animal stares out watchfully from beside his owner’s home at Silver Park trailer park, just south of the Cowichan River, and when he catches your eye, he never seems to let go.
“People always say: ‘He’s looking right at me!’” laughed Perfors when he introduced us to Bronson, named after the famous tough guy actor.
“I added this little gate so it looks more realistic,” he said as he walked around behind Bronson for a picture.
“I’ve never made anything like this before,” he said, standing with his hands on the horse’s back. “But I really like it.”
Perfors came to the Cowichan Valley from the United States, where he lived in both Florida and Oklahoma, but he has also lived in Calgary and, originally, Holland.
Even though he lived in agricultural areas, he was never a farmer. He worked on ships, traveling the world, before spending 30 years in Calgary. Then he moved to Oklahoma, where his son was a sheriff.
But he’s always loved cowboys and dreamed of a piece of land. And, for more than a year, Perfors said, he’s been dreaming of making a horse.
“But I didn’t know how to do it. Nobody could help me. I didn’t know anybody who did anything like that. So, I started making a skeleton out of two by fours and metal. Then, I had to find out what I could put around it so the cement will stick,” he said.
Yes, the horse is covered in cement, 10 bags of it, at 55 pounds each, although “so much of it got on the ground you can’t use it any more,” he chuckled.
“I tried everything, even the screen you use for your doors. But that didn’t work. It was too stiff. Finally, I ended up with burlap, and little bit by little bit, I built up the cement. Everything was okay on his top and on his back, but on his belly, what was I supposed to do to make it stay up?
“But, I liked doing it. I worked six weeks. I was up in the morning early every day, and worked until six in the evening and finally I could see it was coming.
“The fun part was the painting. I like painting,” he said.
At last, the horse was complete.
“Then I couldn’t believe it. I had people walk by or drive by, and they all looked. For the first couple of weeks I had people stop and they let the grandchildren come and were taking pictures.”
He made the chickens later.
“Little kids? They all run to the chickens, and they play with them. They don’t care so much for the horse but they like the chickens. One day, I just made a rooster and a couple of chickens. I just hate to sit around and do nothing.”