The Storied Horse

By Suzannah Peckham
February 2016

Manlius Pebble Hill has many cherished traditions, from competing in the snow, to shouting the “Twelve Days of Christmas” during assembly to caroling through the halls beside Mrs. Gregory and returning alumni.

Then there are quieter traditions we have forgotten about such as the big, blue story horse that’s back on display in front of the library.

The horse, part of MPH’s landscape since 2002, was put away in 2014 during construction of the new library and only recently came out of storage.

The fiberglass horse, called “The Horse of Our Van­ishing Landscape,” was painted by former Chair of the Fine Arts Department Linda Salter, who was asked by former headmaster Baxter Ball to paint the horse as part of a local fundraiser called “Horses on Parade.”

The massive horse is blue and green with scenes of horses from literature and history, such as the Trojan Horse and Pegasus, as well as depictions of the farm and cavalry from the school’s own history.

Salter said Ball, who died in 2011, raised the money

for MPH to purchase the blank horse. MPH was the only school in Central New York to participate in the fundraiser, which meant the horse had to be spectacular, she said.

Salter, who retired from MPH in 2014, used paints that could withstand elements if the horse was displayed outside. It took Salter three weeks to paint it. The horse has lived in many places around the MPH campus, from the front of campus along the road to inside the main lobby.

At one point, the horse was hoisted onto the roof by a few seniors for their parting prank. The story is that they dragged the green picnic table located behind the school around to the side of the Breezeway, climbed on top of it, and used ropes to hoist the horse onto the roof.

Salter said she’s glad the horse is back on display and in the library.

“Mr. Ball and I had agreed that it would be in the new library when it was built,” she said, “because even then, he was dreaming of building a new library.”