Facts Horse

Get Info on Horses..Pictures and Videos

    You are here: Home > General > Quarter Horse | Horse Fever’s Quarter Horse Damaged

Quarter Horse | Horse Fever’s Quarter Horse Damaged

Posted By: JR

Easily more than half of its approximately 1,200 actual U.S. quarters have been pried off the Horse Fever II artwork on Ocala’s downtown square right across the street from the Sushi Bistro.

And Horse Fever officials with the Marion Cultural Alliance want whoever’s picking on the poor pony to just stop it.

“We’ve been told that if the value (of the artwork) is more than $3,000, it’s a felony to deface that item,” Horse Fever co-chairman Laurie Zink said Wednesday. “And I want people to know that if any of the horses are defaced intentionally there will be repercussions. We’re not in the business of wanting to slap felony charges against people, but … “

The sponsorship fee for each horse was in excess of $5,000, essentially putting their value above the $3,000 mark.

“We’ve given the community these horses,” she said. “They need to be respected.”

Within days, she said, the horse will be removed from the square for repairs. After its paint is retouched, Zink added, the real quarters will be replaced “with those plastic quarters we used to play with.”

The horse, which Zink has nicknamed “Pocket Change,” will then be returned to the square for the remainder of the Horse Fever exhibition – despite suggestions that it be put on display indoors somewhere, much like Celebration and Jazz at the MCA’s headquarters in the Brick City Center for the Arts a block away on Broadway Street.

“We want the public to have access 24 hours a day,” Zink said. “Our goal is not to lock them up somewhere.”

Quarter Horse, created by West Port High School fine arts instructor Gene Hotaling, features quarter images of varying sizes. When unveiled two weeks ago on the downtown square, it also sported about $300 worth of quarters, including one from each of the 50 states.

Hotaling’s pony is one of 27 Horse Fever II horses on display around Marion County until March in a rerun of the successful public art project 10 years ago. Most of the horses are painted, although two are covered with photographs.

Today, only pale blotches remain where quarters were, like some kind of spotted skin condition. Quarters are missing from a bridle made of the coins, and also from the horse’s mane and legs. A screwdriver or knife used to pry off coins mark the proud horse’s chest.

Someone even gouged coins from the stallion’s, ahem, private collection.

A small plaque on the horse’s stand urges: “Help this last a lifetime. Do not sit, lean, ride or climb.” It doesn’t say anything about leaving the quarters alone.

“It is disappointing, but I’m going to repair it,” Hotaling said. “It’ll be as good as new. Artistically speaking, once you make something, you as the artist lose control of it. It’s just too bad this has happened.”

He said he affixed the quarters using an industrial-strength epoxy adhesive. Hotaling also noted it’s the paint that’s coming away from the surface of the horse; the adhesive is likely still on the purloined quarters.

“Look’s like it’s about picked clean,” quipped Century Link repairman Dale Nichols as he walked past the horse Wednesday. “It was probably done in the wee hours of the night. It kind of makes you wonder what goes on out here then.”

Quarter Horse is not the first MCA horse that’s been damaged, said Terry Miller, the alliance’s administrative assistant. Jazz, a part of an intermediary project called Horse Fever – in Motion, had one ear ripped off, Miller said, and its rear was damaged.

Also in the past, there was a problem with people getting onto the original Horse Fever horses on display in the square, mainly for pictures. Those five now stand in protective fenced enclosures.

“It’s a shame people don’t look at these statues as a work of art,” Miller said. “Michaelangelo maybe, but modern artists they don’t.”

Ardie Heape discovered that the horse was defaced last week after lunch at Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill, and wrote a letter to the Star-Banner editor that was published Wednesday.

“It just broke my heart,” she said Wednesday. “I’m afraid it’s too late for that poor horse.”

“It’s disgusting,” another woman was overheard saying as she walked past Quarter Horse Wednesday afternoon. “Why would anybody do that?”

It’s a good question; U.S. coinage out in the open, mostly unprotected. All it takes is a willingness to pry off what you need – or can.

“We had a feeling this might happen,” Zink said. But the horse’s sponsor, the Live Oak Foundation, really wanted Quarter Horse to spend its time on the square, she added, despite concerns that current economic conditions might result in damage to the horse.

It is disappointing, said Lori Doperalski, the liaison between the Live Oak Foundation and Horse Fever. “We wanted to do this for the community, but you take a chance. Fortunately, there’s a solution; we’re happy about that.”

Contact Rick Allen at rick.allen@starbanner.com.

    Filed Under: General Tagged with

Recommend Related Products
Digg it       Save to Del.icio.us       Subscribe to My RSS feed      
Add this to:

 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

Leave a Reply