EQUINE VIP talks with by Susan Ashbrooke If you find yourself traveling West to the beach town of Santa Barbara, don’t miss a visit to The Carriage & Western Art Museum. The museum is located a short walk from the beach and has a collection of over 40 horse-drawn carriages made between 1850 – 1911. The collection also includes one-of-a-kind silver saddles, equestrian tack and western art. We spoke to Tom Peterson, Vice President and Curator about the museum. Tom Peterson You are so passionate about the museum’s collection, tell us what you do for the museum? In the beginning, I was invited to join the board but when an opportunity came along to catalog the collection in a computer database, I got excited! It was a chance for me to gather information and learn where everything came from. We had a donated wagon called the “Wilson Jump” but no one knew where the name came from. One day a woman came to the museum and mentioned her Mother and Father had donated a wagon. Her last name was “Wilson” so I knew how the wagon got its name! She was able to give me information about how her parents had purchased it from a movie in Los Angeles and where it had been restored. Some items of your collection have been owned by famous names. Yes – we have a saddles originally owned by Will Rogers, Clark Cable and the Cisco Kid. What pieces are a “must see”? There are quite a few! We have many pieces of equestrian tack made by the silversmith Bohlin and a Loomis saddle made around 1880. There is a Henderson fire truck that is a very rare and valuable ($150,000) item. Another must see is the Joe De Yong diorama. It was made in 1932 for Silsby Spalding’s tack room. It took him 1500 hours just to build the Stagecoach. How do some of these items find their way to the museum? Most have been privately owned and later donated or loaned to the museum. We also host a cowboy appraisal road show each year with experts. We’ve discovered spurs worth $10-12 thousand dollars and a saddle valued at $170,000. For more information about the museum: www.carriagemuseum.org 44 Issue 6 • 2015 www.PerformanceHorseDigest.com