The King and his Horse is a stone statue located in the Sabatini Gardens, a part of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain. They were opened to the public by King Juan Carlos I in 1978 and honor the name of Francesco Sabatin, an Italian architect of the 18th century who designed, among other works the royal stables, which were previously located at this site.
The layout of the Sabatini Gardens is influenced by French landscape design and is based on strongly symmetrical patterns. The gardens are adorned with numerous statues of Spanish kings which were not originally intended to grace the gardens, but were moved there due to a lack of space in the Palacio Real.
Although the Gardens are named after the eighteenth-century Italian architect Francesco Sabatini, the royal enclosure was designed by another landscape architect. Sabatini died in 1797 and the gardens’ construction began in 1931.
The gardens are one of the few landmarks in Madrid whose name refers not to their creator, but to the creator of something that stood in its place before. They are also filled with contradictions of sorts: the statues were actually never meant to be placed in the garden and they are named after an architect who didn’t build it.