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Osmington’s White Horse is made into a unicorn by pranksters
MOTORISTS had to do a double take when Osmington’s famous White Horse became a unicorn.
The striking monument, which is at the centre of a restoration project to restore it to its former glory, acquired a crude ‘horn’ overnight in an act blamed on pranksters.
It is not the first time the 200-year-old White Horse, which carries King George III, has undergone an image change.
Fortunately no permanent damage was caused and the offending horn, made of plastic sheeting, was removed.
But it turned a few heads of drivers on their way to work yesterday morning.
John Hayes, from Dorset County Council’s Countryside Ranger Service said: “It was a plastic sheet which had been pegged down as a bit of a prank giving the horse a unicorn appearance.
“The landowner removed it when it was discovered in the morning.
“We’re confident it was a light-hearted prank but people should bear in mind the White Horse is a scheduled ancient monument.”
The council is working with other bodies to put the horse back to its original position in time for the 2012 Olympics.
The Osmington White Horse Restor-ation Group has spent a year researching how the figure, which was created in honour of George III in the early 19th century, has changed over time. Volunteers have been helping with the restoration work, the first phase of which involved removing stone scalpings into builders’ bags on the steep hillside, while a Sea King helicopter from the Royal Navy helped with collection.
The scalpings, or limestone chips, had been spread on the figure by the Challenge Anneka TV programme in 1989.
TV presenter Anneka Rice apologised for the horse’s deterioration after the failed attempt to revamp the figure.
Historical accounts differ as to whether the horse was ever a perfect white.
John Hayes said: “We’re in the middle of cutting out the profile of the horse and have three legs and a tail to go.
“We will continue with that work next week.
“The plan is to return the figure to its original state as it was in 1808 and make it as historically accurate as we can.
“Last year we recovered 160 tonnes of stone scalpings which Anneka Rice put on.
“It should be showing the chalk bedrock underneath.”