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A Carousel of Stories

The community of Roseneath, Ont., rallied together to save a local treasure, some by adopting horses from their treasured carousel. Suzanne Atkinson’s telling of the carousel’s story can be found in the August/September issue, but here are a few extra anecdotes from families who were part of the restoration project.

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The Roseneath Carousel Restored

The Roseneath Carousel Restored

The story of Arts and Battles, a horse sponsored by Gordon and Marion Sherwin and Family

Photo: Suzanne Atkinson’s family horse “Old Bill,” whose tale you can read in the August/September issue.

When the Roseneath Carousel Committee was looking for sponsorships for the carousel horses, our family saw an opportunity to honour one of the race horses that had provided us with heartbreaks and pleasures. Bred, raised and trained by my father, Gord Sherwin, Arts and Battles was a standardbred race horse and a family pet. In horse racing terms, he had a big heart and bad tendons.

As a young horse he showed lots of speed but his tendons failed him again and again, but, never one to say die, my dad kept at it. He tried several therapies and rubs for the weak tendons and was rewarded with sporadic success at Kawartha Downs in Peterborough and occasionally at the big league tracks in Toronto.  However, by late 1977, old age had caught up with Arts and Battles and word on the back stretch was ‘He couldn’t beat a fat man to a salad bar.‘ His fortunes were soon to change.

Peterborough trainer Doug Hie was taking a string of horses to Florida for the winter and wanted to try Arts and Battles in the sunny south. Florida agreed with Arts and Battles. More accurately, swimming agreed with him. Instead of pounding around the track for training, Doug swam him in a swimming pool.  Swimming strengthened him physically and spared the tendons.

Arts and Battles responded immediately, winning his first race at Pompano Park and then another, another and another. Back home in Ontario, the family waited each week for a call from Doug, and each week brought word of another win.  Arts and Battles was on a streak. Fourteen starts, 13 wins with one disqualification for literally running over other horses and drivers who had conspired to pen him in. Arts and Battles’ will to win that race was so big not even the driver could prevent him from busting out of the pack.

On his 15th start he was beaten. He had risen through the ranks to be racing with some of the best hoses at Pompano Park. He finished a close second. When Doug Hie paraded him back past the grandstand, horse and driver were greeted with a standing ovation from the fans that had come regularly during the winter to watch Arts and Battles.

Arts and Battles’ trials and tribulations endeared him to the Sherwin family.  The family takes great pleasure in knowing his memory lives on at the Roseneath Carousel.

By Jay Sherwin

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Walter the lead horse

Walter the lead horse

The Gallagher family adopted Walter, the lead horse on the Roseneath Carousel.  He has been beautifully restored and, with his head held high, he seems to be calling words of encouragement to the other horses. This is very symbolic to our family, as it was my late husband, Allan, who took the lead in saving the Roseneath Carousel.

The Fairboard had been approached to sell the carousel ride and Allan could not see this historic carousel leave our community. He stepped forward and offered to head a committee to examine the interest in and possibility of raising funds for the restoration. He approached his own family first and we all agreed that we wanted the carousel to stay. We would adopt the first horse for a sum of $5000. He then persuaded five other prominent families in the community to adopt horses on the carousel. With this support and many other families coming forward, we were able to convince the Fairboard that we had the support and means to proceed with the restoration.

Being involved in the restoration was so exciting for Allan and me, as each horse had its limbs replaced and paint restored to its original splendour, we could see the project coming to fruition. It was hard to imagine that such a beautiful carousel almost left our community forever. The decision was made that families would choose their horse in the order that the adoption agreements were signed. All of the horses were so beautiful that the choice was very difficult.  The Gallagher family believed that our horse should be the lead one. We named our horse Walter after Allan’s late father, who was a former Fairboard member. Allan’s mother felt that he would have been proud to have the horse carry his name.

Walter continues to lead the other horses forward. Our generation, our children’s generation, and now our grandchildren have all rode on Walter. He is part of our family now, and the Roseneath Carousel holds an important part in all of our hearts. Lead on Walter into the future!

By Dale Gallagher

Photo: Dale Gallagher on her adopted horse named Walter.

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Riding on Sandy's Dream

Riding on Sandy’s Dream

My love affair with the Roseneath Carousel began some 60 plus years ago. It was a real treat for a young farm girl to go to Roseneath Fair and, of course, be drawn to the music and twirling horses on the merry go round. If you were lucky enough to be in the right place in line you could ride on one of the horses in the outside row and you would smile and wave at all the envious on-lookers as you galloped up and down on your own magical steed.

Then the years flew by, farm life was left behind and eventually I returned to run a business just a mile away.  Allan Gallagher became the heart and soul behind doing something about this carousel that had fallen into disrepair over the years and had become no longer viably insurable. I questioned him regarding progress almost to the point of harassment. When a committee was formed to begin the process of restoration, I willingly agreed to become a member. First we had to convince two thirds of the community that we wanted to restore, not sell, and not just let it sit. Many meetings were held but our dedicated members had only one thought. It was WE CAN DO THIS!

An adoption plan was put in place to raise the funds. We received written backing from surrounding communities and three agreements to adopt horses from the Gallagher, Atkinson and Lloyd families. One golden coloured horse became a turning point in our fundraising. We could now show prospective adoptees that all the horses could look this magnificent. Who wouldn’t be proud to say they had adopted one of these beautiful horses?

The day finally arrived when the restoration was complete and many slow walking trips were made around and around, oohing and ahhing over our now museum-quality restored horses, two boats and the Heart of Roseneath Wurlitzer organ.

Next came the extra special grand re-opening, and the adoptees, in the order they had signed up, chose and named their horse. What an extraordinary moment in time this became for me. Being third on the list meant I should have more than one choice in mind. The lead horse was chosen by the Gallaghers and to me that was only right. If it hadn’t been for Allan’s dedication, determination and leadership, this restoration probably wouldn’t have happened. The Atkinsons made their choice and that originally restored, radiant golden sand colored horse was available. Restored horse #112 became Sandy’s Dream because: He was the first horse restored and key to a lot of adoptions; my maiden name is Sandercock and nickname Sandy; I had a dream as a child to ride on and on, on the merry go round and our home is named Dreams. I dedicated Sandy’s Dream to the Sandercock and Lloyd families past, present and future.

Each time I see Sandy’s Dream and all its stable mates, my heart lightens and I am thankful that this crown jewel was able to be saved, thanks to the inspiration and dedication involved, to once again be a highlight for this community.

By Helen Lloyd

Photo: Helen Lloyd on her restored carousel horse Sandy’s Dream.

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Remembering Chief

Remembering Chief

Roseneath has always been very proud to own and operate the Carousel. It has always been a community focal point, from those persons that kept it running to the families that gathered annually at Roseneath fair to have a ride on those majestic horses.

Our family became involved with the restoration committee, helping with fundraising and other activities that required helping hands. Members of our family have moved to other provinces, but when we were asked if we were interested in adopting a horse, all of us readily agreed.

Mom was to decide on which horse to adopt. She chose the mighty black steed on the outside and called him “Chief.” We all asked her why she wanted to call the black horse Chief and she told us that his name came from a horse she had when she was a little girl. Chief was a black Clydesdale with a white Blaze on his face. Mom was lifted onto the horse by her dad and would have rides on this gentle animal. He was her best friend.

The Roseneath Carousel is a community meeting place, a landmark. No matter how old or young you are Chief would love to put a smile on your face.

By Jodie Surerus

Photo: Jodie’s niece, Emily Surerus, riding on Chief.