Chincoteague Carousel

Not only a classic ride, but a work of art, the carousel has fascinated me since I was a horse-obsessed kid. This one works its magic at the Chincoteague Firemen’s Carnival during Pony Penning each July. If you are Marguerite Henry impaired, that’s the last great wild horse roundup in the east. The carousel offers the not saltwater cowboy a chance to release their inner horseman. Most carousels have a variety of colors on their painted ponies: these are all “white”… but “what color is George Washington’s white horse” is a more complex question than you thought. These might really be greys and perlinos and cremellos and champagnes and buttermilk buckskins and smokey creams…

(Above photos and video by me… horse color reference below, commandeered from the web).

This is probably a modern reproduction of the classic style carousel, horses molded, not carved. The dark chocolate maned horse on the right is the same as the hot chocolate maned horse four pics up (blue night background, magenta bridle, green breastband). They’re wonderful, done in a fairly classic style. Sometimes the horses would have bits in their mouths and leather reins attached, as well as stirrups on leather straps for the riders’ feet. I always thought it was ridiculous to hang onto the pole, I wanted real reins!

This carousel was no doubt painted for a simple consistent color scheme, so variations of “white” horses. Real white horses are quite rare. What you are looking at when you think you see a white horse is likely an aged grey. Or it might be one of the many dilutes created by cream, dun, champagne and pearl genes.

Most horses with dark manes and tails also have dark legs, think Siamese cat. This is one place the carousel departed from reality.

Here’s a nice example of a dapple grey carousel horse… in a few years this horse would turn white, if he was real.

Image result for classic carousel horse images

The points (mane, tail, legs) on greys are sometimes darker.

Some of our Chincoteague carousel horses could be perlino: that happens when two cream genes affect bay…

Image result for perlino horse color

The skin, visible around the muzzle, is pale, eyes are sometimes lighter.

Image result for perlino horse color

Two dilution genes (cream and pearl here) also give this buckskin green eyes…

Green eye in a buckskin pearl horse

Your white horse might be sporting two cream genes over chestnut… aka… cremello…

Image result for cremello horse

Or it might be two cream genes over black… smokey cream…

Image result for smoky cream

Or it might be a champagne…

Image result for champagne horse

Image result for champagne horse

Image result for champagne horse

Or you could have a combination of dun/champagne genes…

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or cream/champagne…

Image result for champagne horse

or just one cream gene on bay might get you a buttermilk buckskin instead of the usual golden one…

Image result for buttermilk buckskin

The dun gene gets you zebra stripes on the legs, dorsal and transverse stripes… usually darker, but this one is quite light…

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Either way, the carousel is a fun bit of classic art, with its roots in medieval horsemanship skills. It’s popcorn and cotton candy and bright lights in the dark and circus music.

And if you’re on Chincoteague, ginormous fried oyster sandwiches and wild pony roundups.



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