Ruby Newman Fine Arts Studio

Carousel Restoration - Horses

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Old Photo The Golden Gate Park Carousel features 62 animals of which 38 are horses. Although horses are not the only carousel animal they are the most popular and well known figure.

Carousel horses are a part of the American heritage. In the early 1900's there were 8 major carving companies producing animals in the U.S. See our Carousel Restoration - History page for more details.


Prancer The pose of the horse determines if it is a Stander, Prancer or Jumper. Standers have 3 or 4 feet on the platform and are stationary. Prancers are also stationary, but only their hind feet are on the platform. Jumpers have all four feet in the air, are always interior animals, and are the only animals that move on the pole as the carousel turns.

The outside row has the most elaborate animals and the most elaborate of them all is the "Lead" animal. Ticket takers use the Lead to mark the start of ticket collection.

Each horse has an elaborately carved "Romance" side that faces outward and a simple side that faces in. The Romance side has a theme with special carvings, often from mythology, fantasy, or folklore.


Here are examples of horses on the Golden Gate Carousel

Painting of carousel figures ©1980 Ruby Newman. Photographs ©1980-1985 Roy King.


Row01

Parrot Horse - Outside Stander with carved parrot. Poster available.

Row02

The Knights Horse. This is the "Lead" horse. Dutch silver leafing and metallic silver paint were used for a shimmering effect.

Row03

The Knights horse before restoration. Legs had dry-rot.   The simple side of the restored Knights horse   Knights Horse head. Poster available.

Row04

Rose Horse - Outside Stander with carved rose on neck, before restoration   Finished Rose Horse. Poster available.

Row05

Ruby Newman painting a horse   Shaping repaired areas   Anton Fuetsch, Wood carver

Row06

Medieval Soldier Horse. Outside Prancer

Row07

Detail of the Medieval Soldier carving, before restoration   Medieval Soldier after filling with industrial marine grade filler, re-carved and sanded.

Row08

Finished closeup of Medieval Soldier. The original glass jewels were missing from the shield, so German glass "jewels" were added.   Working drawing by Ruby Newman

Row09

Jumper with tiger skin   Simple Jumper

Row10

Susan Witka preparing a horse for paint   Detail of hand painted eye   Demonstrating how worn areas are filled and then sculpted

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