Rex: The Carousel Horse That Became a Town’s Icon

Hey, horse lovers and history buffs! If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing more exciting than when these two passions intersect.

Let me take you on a little journey to Rexburg, Idaho, where a carousel horse’s tale has captured my heart and imagination.

This beloved artifact, now bearing the name Rex, has a fascinating history, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Our friend Rex’s story starts nearly a century ago, born from the skilled hands of the Stillman Company in 1926.

Originally, he was part of a traveling carousel, meandering throughout Utah before settling in Rexburg in 1952.

Rexburg folks decided that their 4th of July celebration needed some spice, so they raised $5,500 to purchase the carousel, thus cementing Rex’s place in local history.

As we often mention in our community, a horse, even a carousel, can be a place’s soul, much like I described in “The Carousel Horse: An Equine Journey” (Jones, 2022).

Now, Rex resides in the Museum of Rexburg, a perfect setting for this charming piece of the past.

There’s a bit of mystery about when Rex arrived at the museum – it could have been as early as the 1980s, or perhaps even earlier.

It’s these mysteries that make our equine histories so tantalizing.

Not every carousel horse has a name, but Rexburg’s community decided their horse deserved one. In May 2023, the museum sparked a fun naming contest.

They proposed five names: Charley, Matilda, Teton, Rex, and Cassandra.

It reminds me of a story I shared in “Name that Horse: A Story of Community Connection” (Jones, 2022), showing the strong bond between horses and their communities.

The contest quickly became the talk of the town, with folks excited to contribute their vote.

In the end, Rex claimed his title by just two votes and was officially named during a lively block party.

This event demonstrates the beautiful relationship between equine artifacts and the community, a theme I frequently emphasize on our blog.

If you ever find yourself in Rexburg, I highly recommend visiting Rex at the Museum of Rexburg, located in the basement of the Rexburg Tabernacle.

Our carousel friend, Rex, standing there in all his wooden glory, is a testament to the town’s rich history and the enduring appeal of carousels.

Who knows, maybe Rex’s story might even inspire your next equine adventure!


1. Wilson B. Carousel horse grazing in Rexburg museum now has a name [Internet]. Local News 8. 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 5]. Available from:

Emily Donoho
Emily Donoho

Emily is a native of Colorado, currently living in Glasgow, Scotland, working as a freelance writer. She is a long-time horsewoman, having started riding at the age of 6, then competing in dressage around Colorado and Massachusetts, where she finished her undergraduate degree in psychology.

Following a move to the UK and a PhD, she worked for a few years as a freelance horse trainer in Central Scotland. She’s interested in holistic horsemanship, fostering better communication and understanding between horses and humans, riding with lightness and softness, and she’s forever seeking out the newest research into equine behavior and psychology. When not writing, she can be found at the barn with her two equine partners, Foinavon, an ex-feral Highland pony, and Hermosa, a young Andalusian.
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