Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Midweek in my Town.

The Beast Rises Again.
This was the heading in our local rag this week.
Our unique town clock, which stands outside City Hall is quite a landmark.

The clock , already a fair size , with a swinging pendulum, is mounted by a large mechanical horse. An apt landmark for Maple Ridge, which is also known as The Horse Capital of Canada. (Though I am sure there are other communities with more horses, but that's another post).

Upon the hour and the half hour, the clock chimes and the horse slowly rises up onto its back legs. It is quite a sight to see, and it draws a lot of spectators. Delighting young and old alike. I never tire of watching this aluminum equine rear up to its full height. For the fascinating legend of the beast, click HERE for a link to the story on the municipal web site. It's an entertaining story, well worth your time. Heck, those of you with kids may even want to share it with them. There's a thought... A beastly bedtime story from Maple Ridge!

The beast fell motionless in 2004 after the commodore 64 operating system crashed. The clock creator had since passed away and hadn't left any blueprints. So it took a long time for the repair company to reprogram the horse and to basically rebuild the internal mechanisms. So now he is on the go again, greeting passers by with his robotic feats.

Sadly , another article this week, detailed the death of yet another horse on our roads. Unfortunately, not all motorists afford our saddled friends the courtesy of a slow wide berth when passing. I don't know if it is ignorance or mere stupidity. But a young girls horse was clipped by a truck trailer and the animal had to be put down, luckily the rider was unharmed. But how upsetting must it be to see your horse suffer such a traumatic ending?

These photos were taken in 2004. This was a planned ride in protest at city hall. Dozens of riders paraded up town and marched on city hall. They called the mayor out to demanded better enforcement of the bylaws which require safe passing of a horse and rider by motor vehicles. This protest was staged after a lovely old horse was killed on the same road in the same way by a fast moving large truck. Its rider was badly injured and is lucky to be alive. The city put up a few more signs which alert motorists to expect horses on our roads and to pass slow and wide.

Apparently, that has done little good.


Dick said...

And here I thought summer had come to the north country from looking at the clothing worn by the people in your photos! Then you tell me they were taken in 2004 and I'd guess probably not in March. At least we know summer isn't too far away now.

mom said...

Hi susan, glad that the horse has been restored, it is really a wonderful landmark and entertaining to both young and old.

Keep up your interesting 'midweek' information and pics.

deni said...

That must be a sight to behold.

That is sad news about that horse dying, they have the same problem in PA in the Amish areas, there have been numerous deaths by vehicles hitting horse drawn carriages.

David said...

Now that is unique. Thanks for the history lesson. I do love horses and need some on our farm.

No_Newz said...

It is very sad. I can't imagine seeing an animal go through something like that. I hope the city does more than signs in the future.
Lois Lane

carol said...

Hey did you know a couple of years ago, the horse had a loose foot, and it fell to the ground. A passerbyer found it, and thought he had found a piece of scrap metal, he then took it to the recycling depot (next to the pole place). Only when an employee at the recycling center, returned the foot, after reading an article in the local paper advertising for the return of this lost foot, did it get put back where it belonged. Cheers,

Bobbie said...

I'm glad to see that the fellow who clipped the horse with his truck has turned himself in. Anyone who drives up in that area should know that there are horses on the road.

I still think the horse on the clock looks like a Mattel toy! But I'm glad they finally got it fixed.

Enjoy the great weather we've been having.

Curtis said...

Very interesting story, thanks for sharing it with us. Now that's a neat clock. People in cars never seem to care about anything or anybody on the side of the road anymore.

Jona said...

I'm worried this may sound daft, but do people still use horses as a mode of travel, like I would a car? Because that's what I'm thinking after the pictures, and if so, I'm in awe! How wonderful! Horses only ever go on the road to get somewhere here, like for a ride on the beach. And because most aren't too used to the roads all drivers have to be VERY careful (we even turn off our car radios and hush the kids as we crawl around them). Such a shame to read that some people are so thoughtless!

Love your clock! We have some stupid giant steamclock, which broke down so often they made it electric, but that kind of defeated the purpose, as there was no theme behind it, other than it was the second largest steam clock in the world! Much rather watch yours :o)