Friday, August 29, 2014

Bob Wills and the headless horse

A number of years ago I was was out driving around photographing near my home town when I came across a strange sight of a man with a headless horse on the back of his pickup truck.  I was curious and pulled in to talk with him and hopefully make a photograph.  His name was Bob Wills and he acquired this horse a few months earlier and was planning on storing it in an old one room school house he owned. He said I showed up at the right time because he needed help getting the horse off of his truck.  The horse had cast iron legs and was quite heavy.  After we got the horse off the truck I asked if I could get a picture of him with the horse in the doorway before we moved it inside.  He was happy for my help and accepted my request.  I setup my large view camera and made a couple of exposures.  I asked him how did the horse lose it's head and if he had it.  The story he told me was that the horse originally came from  Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua,N.Y. ( now a NYS park), and that he bought the horse without the head at an auction.  He said he contacted the original owners and discovered that they still had the head to the horse but were not willing to give it up.  They were hoping he would give up the horse to them.  Years later I went by the old school house. stopped and looked inside to see the headless horse still standing there covered in dust. It was apparent the horse and it's head were probably never going to be reunited.