Fundraising group needs $24K to restore horse tamer statue

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A community group raising funds to restore the horse tamer statue, which was removed from the courtyard at Roslyn High School in 2012,  took in $100,000 to complete the project and put the statue back in front of the school.

But after finishing the fundraising in 2015, the president of the Friends of the Horse Tamer group, Barbara Silverman Berke, went back to the firm North Shore Architectural Stone only to find that the restoration would cost $50,000 more than the firm originally quoted.

“I naively thought this fundraising would be an easy task,” Berke said. “We have to keep moving forward. We can’t give up.”

The organization has since raised $26,028, putting it $23,972 short of the new goal.

Hugh Tanchuck, an owner of North Shore Architectural Stone, told fundraisers from the start that the project could cost between $100,000 and $150,000, he told Newsday.

In the past five years, he said to Newsday, “Everything went up.”

The statue was one of two that stood in the west garden of Clarence and Katherine Mackay’s 648-acre Gold Coast-era Harbor Hill estate, and was put in front of Roslyn High School in the 1950s, where it stood until its removal due to deterioration five years ago.

The other horse statue remained on the Mackay property until 2010, when former residents Bruce and Melissa Shulman sold their home and donated the statue to the Town of North Hempstead. After a three-year renovation process, it was erected in Gerry Park, where it stands today.

Berke founded Friends of the Horse Tamer in 2012, when the Roslyn school district put out a plea asking individuals to raise money for the restoration and reinstatement of the second statue, Berke said.

“It’s an iconic symbol,” said Berke, who graduated from Roslyn High School in 1969. “I saw it every day as I attended school. It was prominently located and quite majestic.”

The group launched a website and offered to inscribe the names of donors on bricks that will surround the monument, Berke said.

Individual gifts have ranged from $10 to $10,000, and have arrived from all around the country and as far away as Australia. In addition, Nassau County has pledged $25,000 in funding for this project.

“We will get some small donations but we need help from big donors if we’re going to get” to $150,000, Berke said.

The horse tamer was created as a replica of the Chevaux de Marly statutes in France, depicting a pair of horses on hind legs being corralled by trainers.

“It was a part of our growing up,” she said. “We have to do this.”

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