MISSOULA- You may have noticed the carousel at Caras Park has been closed this week, but folks have been busy behind the scenes while the popular attraction is closed for maintenance.
You see, taking care of a horse is a lot of work- even if it's made out of wood.
"There are all these little crevices and cracks, little tiny, tiny places that the dirt gets into," painter Margaret Caraway explained.
Missoula's carousel is closed for the next few weeks as volunteers work to spruce the ponies up.
"Keeping them looking good is a good responsibility and I've enjoyed it," carver and painter Carol Hall added.
The volunteers say that the more time they spend with the horses, the closer they feel to them.
"You get to know them very, very well and you get very invested in their future," Caraway told us.
And some volunteers are rather protective of their ponies. "I'm not going to let any kids kick him anymore," Hall added.
Some other volunteers are just excited to get the ponies back in use.
"You get a little kid in here who's never been in here and his face, or hers, their eyes just get huge and they just love coming in and seeing all the animals and racing for the horses," observed painter and carver Renda Greene.
Every animal at the carousel is hand carved and hand painted but one of the favorite animals isn't even a pony at all. It's a dragon. "The dragon is one of the favorites," Greene said.
"I probably like the dragon the best," added Caraway.
"It seems like everyone always wants to ride the dragon," Hall concluded.
Regardless of personal favorites, the amount of work needed to fix up every pony shows since all of them are well-loved and well used.
A Carousel for Missoula will open back up to the public on January 21st.