Meet  the Herd



Abby is a horse inspired by a champion.

This gleaming bay mare with the tightly braided mane appears primped and polished for a turn in the show ring, just like her award-winning namesake.


Sponsor Gerry Koonce named this horse after one her own show horses. The true "Abby" was a crowd-pleaser who loved the spotlight.


American Flyer

American Flyer is a sleek, prancing stallion, gray as smoke curling from an old-fashioned locomotive. This horse offers a nostalgic tribute to the bygone days. When the Charnholm family of Salem decided to sponsor a carousel horse, they wanted a steed that captured the fun-loving spirit of A. C. Gilbert, the great Salem-born creator of the original toy erector set and beloved American Flyer model trains.

American Flyer reflects the enduring power of childhood imagination. 



There is a simple, ebony elegance to Bondo - the stallion designed with power in mind. In the world of automotive repair, "Bondo" is a fixative, the trademark body filler that holds things together and an essential to sponsor Martin Cable's profession.


In designing the horse, he wanted a strong steed with simple trappings. His wife, Truddy, wanted something loving and fanciful.


They compromised on this powerful black stallion designed with sentiment and symbolism in mind.  



Back arched and hooves flying, Bucky lives up to his name - as big and boisterous a carousel as you'll ever find. With tongue-in-cheek humor and a dash of Wild West imagination, sponsors Bill and Gail Bonniksen have created a spirited bucking bronco filled with fun and family memories.

It's no accident that this lively young pinto sports a shining gold tooth in his noticeably buck-toothed grin. Bill is a dentist!


Cloud Walker

Prancing along - proud head tossed back, chin thrust skyward - Cloud Walker seems caught in the moment of joyful abandon. Feathers and mane tangle in the wind, creating a portrait of unharnessed freedom.


This is the second horse to be carved for the Salem Carousel, and the old-fashioned Indian pony was inspired by the acclaimed C.W. Parker style of carousel carvings. 


The General

It takes strength to be a leader. A steady vision, a strong heart. Even as carousel carvers were crafting the features of a valiant white mount that would carry an American flag, the horse had already earned a name - The General.

The military ranking only seemed right for the horse that would lead Salem's Riverfront Carousel, and a fitting tribute to the energetic woman, Hazel Patton, who led the community campaign to make it happen.



Sure of foot, steady of eye, the spirit of a real horse rides with Goldie - a carousel horse ready to step out with the Oregon Mounted Posse.From her ceremonial trappings to her traditional western saddle, Goldie is inspired by a man who loved horses and a horse with a sense of duty, a sweetly spirited sorrel once owned by Carmen Smith's stepfather, Van Wieder.

In the 1940s, when Van and his wife, Margaret, owned and operated Wieder's Salem Laundry, he had served as a member of the Governor's Guard and Oregon Mounted Posse, a group of horse enthusiasts who appeared at parades and ceremonies. Goldie was his partner, the mare that Van rode during those appearances. 



Evergreen boughs herald the arrival of Christmas, from their spicy scent to the cheery branches of greenery that trumpet festive days just ahead. As a carousel horse, Happy Holidays sends a similar greeting.

With fluttering ribbons and rich, red poinsettias, jolly bits of greenery and jingle bells, this palomino appears only during the Yuletide, among a handful of reserve seasonal horses who ride the carousel at specially appointed times each year.



Sometimes we discover our heroes in simple places - a field, a barn, a home, a heart. 

Growing up, Ann Allen found her own heroes as close as the family farm, in the life's labor of her Swedish grandfather and the brawny, stouthearted Belgian draft horses who helped work his land.

Instead of a saddle, Hero wears a traditional collar, complete with gleaming brass hames that await his traces for a day in the fields. Sturdy and amiable, with an equal mix of power, grace and the strength to serve others - that's what makes a true Hero.



There's romance to Kate, the pretty mare who bears a bounty of flowers, a quilted saddle blanket, and a sweet love story. When Frank Schomus decided to adopt a carousel horse as a tribute to his late wife, Mary Catherine, he asked that the design be filled with small reminders of her. From the tidy bouquets of her favorite flowers, to a saddle blanket quilted in delicate hues, the horse would warr beloved reminders of his wife, who died in 1996 after 51 years of marriage. 



Look upon Liberty and you'll find a steady strength. A deep integrity radiates from the creamy horse with patriotic trappings - a tribute to the love of family, the love of country, and an abiding love of horses. Jodee Howard and her sister, Heidi Howard Graves, adopted Liberty in honor of their parents, the late Gail and Helen Marie Howard. Horses have long been a part of the Howard family heritage, and both women knew that a carousel horse was something their parents would have loved as a memorial.



Winged unicorns aren't thought to be native to the Willamette Valley. But that didn't stop the Salem Riverfront Carousel's Board of Directors from dreaming one up. With a little "Magic" you see anything is possible. Here is a carousel horse like no other - a powerful creature with feather, iridescent wings, a coiled horn, and the ability to conjure up fantastic daydreams of high-flying adventure. With a horse like this, the sky's the limit. Magic reminds us to keep our dreams alive and our horizons wide open. He is a carousel horse who refuses to be earthbound. 


Maudie Ann

She's a wee bit of a carousel horse, intended to appeal to the smallest of riders. But to Parviz and Maudie Samiee, who've adopted this tiny pinto, helping little ones is second nature. They have a habit of acting with their hearts, taking in dogs, cats, fish, birds, and quite often, people. The Salem couple had already raised five children when they adopted four little girls from China. When Maudie's mother was battling cancer, they insisted she come to live with them. When a child's friend left home, they took him in. When a beloved private school hit upon hard times, they adopted it, financing the operations for the past 18 years. Salem's Riverfront Carousel project was launched while the Samiees were in China adopting their fourth child. They later learned that a foal would be offered for adoption at an auction: Maudie felt it was a small miracle. "The Carousel is a gift to the children of Salem," Maudie explained. "It will provide a place for families to do something wonderful together. It should create much joy."



"Make new friends, but keep the old: one is silver and the other gold..." The words have been sung over hundreds of Western campfires, a tune that reminds us of the latest value of friends. As a child, on of Kim Arbuckle's closest friends was of the four-legged variety - a handsome palomino trail horse called Nugget. It seemed as if the Arbuckle family, of Salem, always had horses. Nugget was considered a family horse.  The original Nugget was worth his wait in gold to the Arbuckle children. His carousel namesake offers visitors a peek into the paste - the adventure of a spirited Wester trail ride, the sentiment of childhood remembrance. In this way, Nugget will always be a treasure.


Razzle Dazzle

All glitter and festive grandeur, Razzle Dazzle is the master of merriment, a real party animal looking for a good time. It wasn't hard to find inspiration for a name. "Razzle Dazzle" had been the name of Lorraine Dye's gift shop, a well-known emporium of fun and good humor. Not it becomes the name of a carousel horse, who lives for the laughter of children... and grown-up children as well. Razzle Dazzle is a celebration just waiting to happen.


Ruby Rose

She may be a "reserve" horse, but don't be fooled. There's nothing reserved about this sweet, stylish rosebud of a filly. Her pale palomino coat is accented with a garland of roses - gorgeous crimson blossoms that circle her neck and adorn her saddle. Keeping with the color scheme, bright red cherries dance along the hem of her pastel saddle blanket. A glistening "ruby" adorns her bridle.


Seahorse Dawn

Arabian horses are bred for endurance, built to negotiate tough desert terrain and unrelenting heat. But they're loved for their handsome features - fine-boned faces that could have been sculpted by an artist's fingers. Strength and beauty meet in Seahorse Dawn, a ghostly silver-gray carousel mount inspired by a real stallion and a true champion.  



There is a Native American belief that anyone who rides a horse displaying the markings of a "Medicine Hat" will find spiritual protection. That's why you see a distinctive splash of brown about the head and ears of this Indian paint pony - a spry young horse whose design was inspired by love for a child. Bruce and Gloria Sexton, of Woodburn, adopted Sonshine in honor of their oldest grandson, Joshua, proving that perfect love has nothing to do with having a perfect body. Joshua was born with severe cerebral palsy. Though he'll never be able to walk and talk, he's given his family gifts of acceptance and unqualified love. Joshua's likeness is captured in a crest on Sonshine's chest. 



A celestial steed indeed. Stardust looks as if she could be at home in the heavens, carrying a theme of sun and stars in her fanciful saddle and colorful trappings. But there is more than meets the eye to this cosmic mare. Stardust is also an example of a community partnership in education. This horse was designed by Alicia Sykes, a Salem high school student at the time who followed her imagination to create a bright, fun-loving filling "that should appeal to kids," she predicted. 


Tropical Breeze

The warmth of the South Pacific islands radiates in the sunny trappings of Tropical Breeze. Seashells, starfish and lush, exotic blossoms adorn this cheery mount, a seaside theme inspired by the shores that grace Oregon and Hawaii. Beaches in both states carry special meaning for Bernard and Selma Brown, who make their home in Oregon, but have long enjoyed the tropical climes of Hawaii. In fact, Maui has become a natural gathering place for their entire family. Though Oregon may be famed for its fog and winter rain, Tropical Breeze offers carousel riders a trip to the islands in sunny style. With this horse, the seahorse is always a short ride away - as close as your own imagination.


West Wind

Carousels have the power to captivate - just as Frankye White. Known as "The Carousel Lady" at Salemtowne Retirement Community, Frankye never misses a chance to ride a carousel. So when friends described a remarkable carousel they had seen in Montana, Frankye was determined to help bring the same miracle to Salem. West Wind is a pale, creamy dapple carved with strong, detailed features. Note the delicate craftsmanship along the face, veins that seem to bulge with unseen energy, and a made tousled and tossed. When it came to name their horse, Salemtowne residents held a contest and cast their votes. The winning entry was submitted by Hazel Clark, who was met by a strong westerly breeze as she was leaving the carousel painting studio one day. West Wind it was - a horse designed by seniors for the young at heart.



Although this horse doesn't occupy a place of prominence on the carousel platform, Ambassador is one of our most visible faces as he travels around the state, making appearances across our local communities, a sort of "spokeshorse". The four-footed dignitary carries the very spirit of Salem's Riverfront Carousel. A carving of the carousel itself is depicted on his saddle blanket and "tools of the trade" are shown on the opposite side.

With a posture both stately and proud, Ambassador is a tangible symbol of dedication.


Big Sky

Big Sky is a free spirit, a horse without borders. Pieces of Oregon and Montana mingle in this lively trotter whose creation is a heartfelt tribute to shared dreams and the powerful bond of friendship.

Inspiration for Salem's Carousel stems back to a community carousel in Missoula, Montana - the first fully hand-carved carousel to be built in the US since the 1930s. 

Big Sky symbolizes the past, the future and the shared dreams, energy and love of the four sponsors who friendship bonded together to bring this gift to our community. 



With fluttering ribbons and dainty flowers, Billiebom looks as if she just stepped off of a birthday cake - a sweet confection of a carousel horse.

That was what Billie Thomas had in mind when she adopted a horse - a simple, sweetly old-fashioned prancer that recalled the charming carousel from her own childhood days. She was inspired by the antique horses she had always admired. 

Ribbons and a softly pleated saddle blanket lend a decidedly feminine touch. Bunnies nestled amid flower blossoms behind the saddle, and a blanket of childhood memories carry thoughts of springtime.


Brown Beauty

With a flash of medieval finery, Brown Beauty charges out of the mists of time.


This leaping chestnut stallion seems ready for battle - or at least a turn on the royal parade grounds.


His bejeweled body armor includes an ornamental breastplate, spiked helmet and a jaunty feather plume. Bright purple, mauve and gold tones lend a find, regal air to his protective trappings.


The Mule

Mules have a stubborn streak, but a sense of humor? Meet Francis, the carousel mule who greets the world with a wide, braying grim and a mischievous wink. Volunteer carver Frank Schomus had already sponsored Kate, a carousel horse memorializing his wife, Mary Catherine, when we was struck with a wonderfully impish idea: why not adopt a second carousel horse, someone to ride as a side-by-side companion to Kate?

Frank playfully mused that Francis ought to be winking at Kate, "the prettiest filly on the carousel" and this has become our most favorite love story here at Salem's Riverfront Carousel.


G. J.

There's determination in the stride of G.J., a carousel horse who knows exactly where he's going. Caught at a full gallop, headed into the future carrying symbols of Oregon's abundance - in some ways, this chestnut stallion may be the perfect metaphor for

Salem's Riverfront Carousel.



"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people..."

Glad Tidings celebrates the true spirit of the season, a horse inspired by faith and fellowship - the love of family, the joy of warm Christmas memories.

Master carver Dave Walker's siblings and their children adopted this horse in memory of Dave's parents. whose home represented the heart of many memorable family celebrations, especially at Christmastime.



With horses, love is an investment of faith. It's said that a horse will absorb every ounce of care that it's shown, be it a gentle touch or kind word. Though the gratitude returned isn't measured in words, you know the love it there. Such is the case with the original Heather, a special little girl with profound multiple disabilities who came into the life of Caren Jackson many years ago. Sweet but silent, Heather would never be able to hear, never find a way to form the words to express her own thoughts. It was through Heather that Caren came to realize that the language of love doesn't always require words. With that in mind, she chose to sponsor a carousel horse in honor of heather, a little girl whose life has blessed people in unexpected ways.



As quick and spirited as winds that scour the Scottish moors, Highland Laddie is ready to ride - eager to bound through pastures tufted with sage, sedge grass and purple heather. His ears are cocked to catch the sounds of wee beasties that may cross his path. In his eyes, a shining hint of mischief.

As his name suggests, Laddie is a carousel horse with a true Scottish pedigree, bearing emblems that honor the sponsor's family heritage, whose father emigrated from Scotland to Fort Vancouver in 1842.



Jazz is a horse of a different color - a carousel zebra who'll never have a problem standing out in the herd. Though zebra stripes may seem unusual on a carousel, Jazz actually borrows from a historic tradition of placing wild animals and circus creatures, also called "menagerie figures" on amusement rides - a trend popularized by renowned carousel builder Gustav Dentzel in the late 1800s. In fact, it was a photograph of a turn-of-the-century carousel zebra that first caught Jan Gassner's eye, then captured her imagination.


Legal Tender

First Security Bank put its money on a horse that will never win a purse, but is guaranteed to return thousands of smiles. Legal Tender sports the bank's traditional corporate colors - scarlet and maroon - in its fancy trappings, which include a fringed bridle and saddle blanket, a tassel that dangles upon his forehead, and a grand fleur-de-lis, a stylized, three-petaled representation of an iris blossom. A saddlebag stuffed with money was added as a final touch of whimsy.


Little Joe

He's only a baby, really - a tiny foal in a sea of stallions. But to smalls the toddlers and tiny riders who might be intimidated by lights, music and motion - the idea of a scaled-down carousel horse is surely a perfect fit. The vision was simple: a gentle colt that could "ride" alongside one of the carousel's stationary wagons, allowing a child's parent to sit beside him or her to offer a steady hand or gentle encouragement.


Morning Glory

As a carver, Dave Walker knows he's succeeded when he creates a horse that people want to touch. Int hat way, Morning Glory is a true artist's horse - the only mount on Salem's Riverfront Carousel to bear Walker's signature carving style, a chipped surface that creates a distinctive textured stage for the play of light upon wood. In recognition of their time and talents, the Carousel Foundation Board enthusiastically support the adoption of a horse to honor Dave and Sandy Walker's artistic leadership, inviting them both to design it. 



To live in Oregon is to understand rain, to know how the state's natural beauty flourishes due to months of moisture. Raindancer offers a good-natured tribute to Oregon's famed soggy seasons, as well as a recognition of the beauty and the bounty ushered in by those unrelenting rains. Adopted by Jacquie Gossack, of Silverton, Raindancer's name was inspired by a suggestion from her granddaughter, Vanessa. In fact, family plays a central role in the symbolism of this proud pony. Jacque has six children, and each are represented in symbols scattered Raindancer's trappings.



It was an impossible dream, of course - Don Quixote's curious gift for seeing his broken-down old nag as a strong, noble stallion. But all the world loves a dreamer. Just as Bob & Sue Morrison and Bob & Sandie Pattison. For these two couples, the grandiose dreams of the gallant, self-made hero, Don Quixote, have long been a shared delight. Though they briefly flirted with the idea of crafting a comical, brown-down carousel horse, the couples decided to honor Quixote's unique vision, designing a horse fit for a nobleman. If the Salem carousel was a dream in the making, Rosinante is yet one more piece of it. For it was the magic of a dreamer that turned an old hag into a noble steed, the magic of dreamers that brought a carousel to life.


Peace Pony

The first horse carried peace. As the original horse to be carved, Salem Peace Pony rode forward with an astonishing dream - the hope that a carousel could unite a community. This small, classic pony would lead the way for all others on Salem's Riverfront Carousel. With the first tentative chisel strikes, a horse finally gave form to what had once been only a heartfelt wish. 


Sarah Jane

Her soft, dappled coat suggests the shimmering play of light upon water. On her back, a fluted seashell serves as a saddle. A horse inspired by earth and sea, that's Sarah Jane. Whether living in California or Oregon, the West Cost has become home to Bill and Iris Sea, whose family name and history are reflected in the design of this lively mare. Though their adopted horse was already under construction, the Seas personalized her. Iris carved the cluster of grapes that ride on Sarah Jane's shoulder to recognize their sone Kevin, a CPA with a degree in winemaking. Daughter Cynthia, a family psychologist, is represented by her birthstone, a ruby that twinkles in Sarah Jane's bridle.​



Everyone knows that a snickerdoodle is a treat - a happy reminder of childhood and all the sweet silliness that goes with it. When Darrell and Penny Rybloom decided to adopt a carousel horse, they had only one idea in mind for the design. They wanted a horse with a friendly, carefree personality, one that captured the joy they saw reflected in their own grandchildren. Meet Snickerdoodle, a whimsical mount who knows how to have fund. Look closely enough and you just might catch him in a full-fledged horse laugh.


Spring Char

Spring is the season that makes horses frolic - whether chasing a warm wind or rolling in new grass. The gaiety of spring is celebrated in Spring Charm, a playful horse who bears signs of the season, from hearts and flowers to sweet little birds. Like the flowers that she carries, this dark beauty keeps a strictly seasonal appearance, "running" on Salem's Riverfront Carousel each year exclusively during the spring months. About the time you see her real-life counterparts frisking about fields and pastures, you'll know that it's time for Spring Charm to step out. 



Legend has it that when dragons roar, their cries rumble through the sky like thunder. The imaginative power of such fables is the creative seed for Thunder, a carousel horse inspired by the fantastic realm of childhood dreams.

From the beginning, the Salem Riverfront Carousel board had set aside two horses that would be designed by schoolchildren - one to represent an elementary school, another to honor a secondary school. 

At the 1999 Salem Art Fair, students from throughout the city were given a chance to vote on a name for this mystical mount. Inspired by the legend of the dragon's roar, "Thunder" was a favorite. In keeping with the scholastic theme, Thunder's primary carvers all shared a background of working in education.


Woodland's Crusader

Their plea arrived in childish scrawl, penciled on a scrap of paper in thick, crooked letters: "Make one that looks like a knight..." It was only a suggestion, offered after a child had watched Everett demonstrate carousel carving techniques at the Salem Art Fair. But it captured a yearning. As fate would have it, the horse that Everett and Damaris "Dee" would adopt is a majestic medieval mount that any knight in shining armor would feel proud to ride.




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