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28 years you couldn’t leave or return to Belvedere or Tiburon
without passing a swaybacked horse named Blackie standing in
a field that became known as Blackie's Pasture. Today, thanks
to a wonderful gift by the family of Gordon Strawbridge, Tiburon's
first mayor, a life-size bronze sculpture of Blackie stands in
the pasture, visible to all who drive by. Created by the noted
Bay Area artist, Albert Guibara, it was erected in June 1995
thanks to the Tiburon Peninsula Foundation. It’s a reminder of
Tiburon's past, a link with earlier times, and a cherished memory
older residents share with newcomers.
The Story of Blackie
Blackie was a cavalry horse in his youth, having been stabled
at the Presidio. In spring the cavalry would saddle up their
horses, ride to Yosemite National Park, and patrol the park all
summer. When winter arrived they returned to the Presidio. After
being retired from the Army, Blackie became a cutting horse at
rodeos, and when he was 12 years old was retired to a private
pasture at the corner of Tiburon Boulevard and Trestle Glen Road—what’s
now known as Blackie’s Pasture. His owner, Anthony Connell, visited
him daily, as did children and adults alike who could be seen
feeding Blackie carrots, sugar, and hay at all times of the day.
To those who lived in the area, Blackie was Tiburon’s horse,
a friendly steed who belonged to everyone. In spite of his age
and swaybacked condition, many people felt he still exhibited
a military air and pride that came from having been a great horse
in his early years.
It was a sad day when Blackie collapsed on February 27, 1966.
The Marin County Health Department approved his burial in the
pasture where to this day his grave is marked by a simple cross
and a memorial plaque made possible by contributions from concerned
citizens of the Peninsula. Blackie lived for 40 years, which
is unusual for a horse. It was love that sustained him, the love
he received from old-timers and newcomers alike.
About the Artist
in Los Angeles in 1944, Albert Guibara spent most of his adult
working life in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began sculpting
at the age of 24 and, from the start, his subject matter was
as diverse as one could possibly imagine. Restless with simply
repeating a single image in the same way, he has consistently
stretched his talent into uncharted areas of creation to produce
a body of work that effectively defines his artistic versatility.
Albert Guibara lives in Burlingame, California, with his wife
and three children. You can learn more about the artist here.