During the summer months, visitors will find a colorful herd of horses adorning the streets of downtown Ogden. These life-size painted horses display a wide array of designs, from patriotic stars to local views.
On display from June to September, the fiberglass horse statues are part of an art extravaganza called “Trail to Pioneer Days,” put on by Ogden Pioneer Days. Most of the horses are found on Historic 25th street, but they can also be found in other parts of downtown, including near the Solomon Center and by Union Station. All horses are facing toward the Ogden Pioneer Stadium, where Ogden Pioneer Days originated.
“It just adds a sense of beauty to our community,” said Gena Blonquist-Black, Ogden Pioneer Days vice chair of special events, hospitality and opening ceremonies. “It adds a flare of western heritage to our already neat Ogden City.”
This year the collection includes 50 horses. Blonquist-Black said new ones are added as the organization gets new sponsors. The sponsors then get to choose local artists to paint the horses and work on designs with them. Some of these artists have been Weber State University alumni.
Since the horses are made out of fiberglass, they are subject to damage from moving, storage, natural elements and being out on display to the public. Because of this, Blonquist-Black said that Ray Ellis, the director of Trail to Pioneer Days, dutifully makes sure the horses are maintained, cleaned and repaired every year, calling back artists to repair or redo paintings as needed.
Blonquist-Black has seen many families taking pictures by the horses and says the herd is loved by both tourists and the local community alike. Every year these horses excite many people and help bring the community together.
“That’s just something unique to Ogden City that other cities don’t have,” she said. “And I just think it’s unique, it’s creative and it’s just a way for artists and sponsors to express their creative sides.”