Austin landscape architect Homer L. Fry was hired to develop drawings for the landscape of the base. His plan included using native plants from nearby pastures to give the overall scene a more realistic look. Fry donated much of his work to the college and only took minimal payment for his plans.
Buck Winn was obviously invested in this project, as he noted that he had found some cliff grass during a trip to Louisiana and brought some back to plant around the statue. [This may have been some sort of muhly grass, such as Gulf Coast Muhly.]
Fry and Winn were somewhat ahead of their time in using native plants in the landscaping. "Progressive" landscaping trends in the last century introduced exotic ornamental plants that often required more water and had little to no benefit for local wildlife. Even if he didn't intentionally use xeriscaping techniques, Fry selected "water wise" plants that provided a food source for birds and other pollinators. In addition to cliff grass, the base of the Fighting Stallions incorporated other native species including cactus (probably a type of prickly pear), agarita, and at least one variety of yucca.
In April 1952, President Flowers wrote to the Huntingtons [transcription] to let them know the statue was in place and landscaping was in progress.
We have been bringing in native shrubs which we are planning around the base of the statue and in and around the large boulders which form the base. For plant material we are using cactus, agarita, cliff grass, yucca, and other forms of plant life native to this region.
In the same letter, Dr. Flowers envisioned what the Quad was to become more than half a century later with the installation of the Vaquero statue in 2013.
I am mailing you a copy of the design for the Esplanade leading from the Main Building to the statue. We are developing the area so that this Esplanade will be a thing of beauty when it is finished ... I think you will agree that with The Fighting Stallions at one end of the Esplanade, and with some sort of a decorative arrangement at the other end immediately in front of the Main Building, this will be truly an impressive area.
Archer Huntington replied [transcription] that he and Anna were "delighted" by Dr. Flowers' update on the statue's base and the plans for the Esplanade. They wanted to make the trip to San Marcos to see the statue in place, but Archer's health prevented travel.