LAKE WORTH BEACH - Jake, the 15-foot horse that watches over the beach town disappeared five days ago.
Not to worry. It’s only so he could be festooned in "Lake Worth Beach flair."
The horse was taken down from its perch on the roof of the Elegant Lady Dressmaker last week so that he could be decorated, said Ariana Peters, owner of Peters Realty and the site. Jake has sat atop the building overlooking Dixie Highway for around 50 years.
Local artist Maria Paz trimmed Jake with Lily Pulitzer-esque pink roses honoring the dressmaking shop below, Peters said. She hopes to make the re-vamping a tradition.
Peters said she planned to put Jake back up Thursday, but the arrival of Hurricane Dorian will delay the move. Until then, residents will wait to wave hello to Jake, including the owner of the Elegant Lady Dressmaker, Olga Salazar.
The horse was a product of the former site of McLelland’s Saddlery, a homemade saddle business shop that stood at 317 North Dixie Highway for nearly 60 years.
Peters had the idea of a makeover and Salazar told her "don’t send me any pictures. I want to be surprised."
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When Peters’ father called to tell Salazar the horse would be removed for a bit, she joked, "Is he going to have real hair?
Salazar said what the horse really needs is a cowboy.
When Salazar moved her store from the downtown seven months ago, she didn’t even have to provide her customers with a number or address to reach the store.
"I just said ’it’s where the horse is.’"
Jake’s absence has confused customers new and old, Salazar said.
"Even people who were already customers here, they said ’oh I got lost because I didn’t see the horse.’"
Salazar said she looks forward to Jake’s return. She loves having him around.
"If they take the horse away, I won’t be happy."