Update: Osmington White Ho..ho.. horse gets a Santa hat

Dorset Echo: FESTIVE: The White Horse gets a Santa hat. Picture by Finnbarr Webster FESTIVE: The White Horse gets a Santa hat. Picture by Finnbarr Webster

IT’S not been meddled with furlong time.

But now pranksters keen on adding a bit of Christmas cheer have done a festive makeover on the iconic Osmington White Ho..ho..horse.

New additions to the famous chalk monument near Weymouth have been turning the heads of drivers along the A353.

In a move to lift the spirits, the figure on the horse has been given a Santa hat and the animal figure has acquired a red nose in the style of Rudolph the reindeer.

It’s not the first time pranksters have tampered with the monument.

Over the years it has become a zebra, a pink donkey to promote Weymouth Carnival 2008, and in 2011 a crude ‘horn’ was added to make it appear like a unicorn.

Earlier this year, computer trickery was used to produce a promotional image based on the White Horse to mark Condor Ferries’ return to Weymouth.

Among those spotting the festive accessories on Friday morning was Rupert Haighton of Preston who did a double take as he drove to work.

So impressed was he with the new addition that he returned home to get his camera.

“It certainly brought a smile to my face and has put me in a festive mood,” said Mr Haighton.

A new public viewpoint off the A353 was unveiled earlier this year, marking the final stages of a four-year project to restore the Osmington White Horse. It came a year after a visit from Princess Anne who praised the voluntary community effort to restore the eroded and weather-beaten monument.

The work followed research by the Osmington White Horse Restoration Group into how the monument has changed over time.

Part of the restoration project to restore the horse to its former glory involved removing limestone chips which had been spread on the figure as part of an attempt to restore it by the Challenge Anneka programme in 1989.

TV presenter Anneka Rice later apologised for the attempt, which was blamed for the monument’s deterioration.

Historical accounts differ as to whether the horse was ever a perfect white.


Tribute to the king

THE White Horse commemorates George III’s association with Weymouth.

It was cut by soldiers under the direction of James Hamilton, a well-known local architect.

Completed in 1808, it depicts the king riding in the countryside, one of his famous pastimes.

His favourite charger was Adonis, a Hanoverian Cream, which he would ride across the Ridgeway to see friends.

A local tale claims the king was offended by the carving, because it shows him riding away from the town rather than towards it.

It is also claimed one of the men behind the scheme was so embarrassed that he killed himself and was buried on the site. However, there is no truth in the tale as George III never saw the finished chalk figure.

Comments (1)

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8:11pm Fri 20 Dec 13

The Yardy says...

IT’S not been meddled with furlong time.

Have the proof readers been overdoing the festive spirit?
IT’S not been meddled with furlong time. Have the proof readers been overdoing the festive spirit? The Yardy

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