Only in Portland, man. Only in Portland. It’s part of a community effort called The Horse Project.
In September 2005, Woodstock resident Scott Wayne Indiana tied his first plastic toy horse to a horse ring (once used to tether actual horses) located in the Pearl District. Of his attempt to draw attention to the rings and celebrate Portland’s history, Indiana said: “I loved the rings, and felt that people just weren’t noticing them. This was an attempt to shake people out of their routines and get them to notice their surroundings.”
Since then, the Horse Project has gained momentum and participation; horses can be found tied to rings throughout the city, especially in east Portland. The installations have sparked interaction with residents, who have left hay, lassoes, riders, saddles, water, wool blankets and other “treats” for the horses. Horses are often defaced or go missing.
The Horse Project has an official website, which encourages participation and offers instructions for tethering. The project accepts donations and volunteer support. Participants considered selling kits for consumers interested in tethering horses. One Portland resident has reportedly installed more than 150 horses. Horses are the most frequent animal to be tied to rings, but pigs, dolls and other animals have also appeared throughout the city. [Source: Wikimedia Creative Commons]