The full-sized, brightly painted fiberglass horse called “TR” — The Realtor — was stationed outside Roohan Realty at 519 Broadway for three years.
But the “art” horse, which was commissioned in 2007 along with 33 others, was vandalized and damaged four times, including twice by people caught on Roohan’s video surveillance camera.
In one case, three well-dressed people — two men in suits and a woman in a party dress — tried to ride the horse as the cameras caught the late-night action.
Police studied the videotape but were never able to make an arrest in that November 2008 vandalism case that damaged the horse’s fiberglass legs and pulled it from its cement base near the sidewalk.
“We are keeping it inside now,” said Thomas Roohan, president of Roohan Realty.
He said it was damaged again last fall and again had to be carefully repaired by his friends at Upstate Auto Body on Route 9 in Wilton and Bonacio Steel Fabrication in Saratoga Springs.
He said these businesses never took any money for the repairs.
“They were all mad it got broken again,” Roohan said. “They did a beautiful job [restoring the horse.]”
In another vandalism case, a fiberglass horse with mosaic tiles on it called “Giddy Up” was damaged in June 2007 in front of Bonacio Construction’s building at 92 East Ave. This horse was repaired and remains outside at the corner of East and Excelsior avenues.
At least half of the 34 “Horses Saratoga Style 2007,” a project of the then-Saratoga County Arts Council (now called Saratoga Arts Inc.) can still be seen outdoors and indoors in downtown Saratoga Springs and other parts of the city.
One or two of the horses are also on display in Schuylerville.
“We had two waves of the project,” said Joel Reed, executive director of Saratoga Arts Inc. He said more than 25 painted and otherwise specially decorated horses (some using pieces of mirror, others bottle caps) were created in 2002. Another 34 horses were commissioned in 2007.
When the horses were placed around the city in 2002, a vandal uprooted one from along Broadway and it ended up in the Kayaderosseras Creek. In this case the offender was prosecuted. Two men, including a Skidmore College student, were prosecuted for removing and damaging horses in 2002. In the case of the Skidmore student, he took only half of a horse from a storefront on Broadway. A cab driver spotted him carting it away and police were notified, according to a Daily Gazette story of 2002.
“We still hear people asking about them,” Reed said. They ask if they can still have one made or where they can obtain a blank fiberglass horse.
“It was a great project. We were happy to have done it,” Reed said.
But no more Horses Saratoga Style are planned for this year.
Reed said Saratoga Arts Inc, with headquarters in the art center at the corner of Broadway and Spring Street, is concentrating on a sculpture that is being made from steel from the World Trade Center and will be unveiled on Sept. 11 in front of the Saratoga Springs City Center.
Saratoga Arts has also taken over the coordination and planning for First Night Saratoga.
“We will focus on those primary projects,” Reed said.
When Horses, Saratoga Style was conducted in 2007, the artists chosen for the horse creations were selected by a panel of prominent local art advocates from a list of applicants. Each artist was paid $1,000 for their work.