Britain has Stonehenge, a ring of large stones that inspire wonder over the culture and ingenuity of the ancient world. 21st century America has Ponyhenge, a ring of plastic mall ponies and rocking horses that inspire wonder over why, exactly, these objects have been placed in a ritualistic circle in the farming town of Lincoln, Massachusetts.
Though gazing upon the mysteries of Ponyhenge may lead visitors toward imagining the enigmatic spirituality of some unknown rural horse cult, Atlas Obscura has published an article that gets to the actually very mundane, swishy-tailed bottom of the story. Ponyhenge was created by local couple Jimmy Pingeon and Elizabeth Graver, who started the whole thing by putting the very first pony out in 2010 because one of their kids wasn’t using it “and they thought other kids might like to ride it, too.” After that, neighbors began adding their own plastic, metal, and wooden horses and ponies to a growing collection, and the curious attraction was formed.
Pingeon regularly swaps out the most beat-up horses, “encourages visitors to take horses from the field for their families” to spare him trips to the dump for the most tired of the collection, and he basically just keeps tending to the herd because he likes seeing how much people enjoy it.
Ponyhenge draws visitors who Pingeon believes either come out “to see this creepy horse graveyard in Lincoln” or “to see these cute rocking horses in Lincoln.” Either way, the site is popular enough that its drawn people who have used the spot as a venue for weddings, tourism, and, as Pingeon mentions, a place to maintain a sense of community during a year of pandemic isolation.
As long as the ponies don’t suddenly lurch to life one night, creaking their way through the fields of Lincoln and staring their unknowable horsey stares into the population’s windows, it seems like Ponyhenge is a net good.
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