Back in 1808, near the height of King George III's popularity, a
monument to him was unveiled in Osmington, England. A figure of the king
upon his horse was carved into the limestone of a hillside by soldiers
under the direction of James Hamilton, a local architect. This year some
pranksters climbed the hill to give the horse a red nose,a la Rudolph,
and the king a Santa hat.
The carving was done in Osmington because it was an area that King George frequently rode through on this way to visit friends in Weymouth. Over the years a few legends have grown around the figure. One says that the king hated the figure because it depicted him riding away from the town instead of towards it. The same tale also claims that one of the men behind the carving was so embarrassed by the whole thing that he took his own life. This is unlikely since King George never saw the carving due to his declining health and mental state.
This isn't the first time that the figure has taken on a new guise. It has also been changed to zebra, a pink donkey, and a unicorn.
The Osmington White Horse Restoration Group has been working on restoring the figure after years of weathering. A botched restoration attempt in 1989 had caused further deterioration after spreading limestone chips over it.
Locals are far from offended by the prank. They are enjoying the view and find that it fills them with Christmas cheer.