Sunday, June 28, 2009
Ride Those Horsies!
Horsin' Around in Fairbury by Eric Colclasure of The Bugle
On page 5 of the Friday, April 11 (2008) edition of The Bugle, we asked
“What’s the story?” and included a photo of several carousel horses
found in a farm on the south side of Route 24, just west of Fairbury.
Thanks to our readership, we were able to get the story straight from
the horse’s mouth.
Bob Wenger, a semi-retired farmer who lives in Fairbury, actually
started the carousel horse herd unintentionally. Over 25 years ago
he put a plastic rocking horse atop a breather tile line (used for a farm
drainage) to mark it. Wenger explained, “The wife nearly took it out
cultivating because I just had a steel post stuck in it." Breather tiles
stick straight up in the field and often become difficult to see when
the crops grow tall.
Wenger got the first horse from the city trash collectors at
Fairbury. That horse hasn’t ridden alone, though. In all, up to 31
carousel horses have appeared in the field; about a dozen or so
remain now. Wenger said, “I’ve had to get rid of quite a few of them
this year—last winter’s harsh weather conditions were really bad on
Although many people say it’s raining cats and dogs during the
spring season, Wenger might claim carousel horses fall from the sky,
or so it seems. Many drivers have noticed the horses off Hwy. 24,
and have simply decided to donate their horses to the farm. “Some
people just drop them off at the road, and then I’ve got to put a post
out and put them in the field.”
With a few exceptions, Wenger doesn’t know where the horses
come from. While he has received horses from as far away as Dallas,
Texas, his favorite story comes from Lafayette, Indiana. “I got that
one in February 2005,” he said. “The donators had come back April
17 and wrote a story on the horse’s mane, like the horse was telling
it. He was a kid’s play horse, and they had been in Indiana for 55
years. It said he never had a name, but he was a Hoosier and the folks
were moving to Maine and they left him for me to take care of."