Fifth-grader makes giant horse for school parade

By Snowy Sabel, age 11

I made a giant Morgan horse for my fifth-grade state float project at Corte Madera School in Portola Valley.

Each year, as part of the study of U.S. history, fifth-graders at Corde Madera participate in a float-making project and a parade, held in the school's parking lot.

Each fifth-grader is assigned a state and asked to make a float for it. My state was Vermont. Since I like animals, I decided that I wanted my float to be an animal.

Making giant things is always more fun, so I decided to build a giant horse, a Morgan horse, which is Vermont's state animal. My float was 14 feet high and 18 feet long!

I designed and scaled a drawing of the horse, so that I would know how long to make the wooden pieces in the frame of the horse. I built two separate frame halves and attached them together to make a whole frame.

The next step was the chicken wire, so that it would take the shape of a real horse. This took me more time than making the frame, but in the end it looked great.

I tried to paper-mache the horse, but the horse was too big, and the paper became too heavy and fell off. After some family brainstorming, we came up with the idea of wrapping the entire horse in masking tape. This worked, but took a long time.

Next came the spray paint, and a mane and tail made from strips of brown painter's paper.

The horse was done, but the job was not. I still needed to move the horse to school. Adding a frame and wheels helped, but I still had to transport it five miles to school, down a long winding hill. This presented a whole new challenge.

There were approximately 80 floats in the parade, held on May 16. Most of the floats were pulled on red wagons or tricycles.

Next year, the school plans to reinforce new scale parameters, as the organizers were not expecting the size of my horse.

Editor's note: Snowy's mom Jane Leibowitz says: "Snowy completely conceived, designed and drove this project. She worked on every part of the process. She did get help from her dad, Joeseph Sabel, with some hard-to-reach things and when using the table saw, and as an extra pair of hands for holding things up. Both of her parents and a friendly neighbor helped to 'drive' the horse down the hill between two cars down the hill to school."


Like this comment
Posted by Carolyn D
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Wow, that is the coolest things I've seen in a while. So imaginative. I hope the school does not go overboard on its new scale parameters. Give room for the kids to think big, please!

Where's the horse now? Would be fun to see.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Coming soon: Fire Oak & Barley in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 2,969 views

Meditation Before Medication for Better Mental Health
By Chandrama Anderson | 11 comments | 1,813 views

The Saddle Room – A True Friend of Kids
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,801 views

The Four E's--Pope Francis and the Middle Class
By Steve Levy | 2 comments | 667 views