(2002 – )
Owned by Anita McGill Gerami
Inducted: 2023


For many visitors to New York City's storied Central Park, a leisurely carriage tour is the perfect way to take in the area's sights and learn about its rich history. With his sharply turned-out driver, polished carriage, and gleaming coat, Puzzle became an unofficial Central Park Ambassador. Puzzle was a stand-out among the members of the treasured urban carriage horses who annually provide both tourists and city residents with hundreds of thousands of human-equine interactions. Carriage drivers report that many of their passengers profess a love of horses and talk about their own horses back home. The tour within Manhattans' most famous park is something they will always remember.

A Spotted Draft, Puzzle's stature and his boldly patterned coat cut a striking figure among the sea of chestnuts and bays - and for close to a decade, he was one of the most photographed carriage horses in New York City. His image appeared in both print and digital media, sometimes in the forefront but also in the background - a beautiful and elegant element of the landscape. His carriage was also the setting for many wedding proposals, all set with a Manhattan backdrop.

Puzzle represented the magic of a purpose bred work horse in a city that is renowned worldwide for its landmarks and special events. Puzzle was a member of a truly unique population of urban horses, who provide exposure to a dwindling breed of horse, the Draft. Draft breeds being known as gentle giants, Puzzle was calm and majestic as well as striking for his size, demeanor, and gentle presence. The Spotted Draft breed has a range of height and weight. Puzzle was 16 hands high with a huge head and neck and an adorable round shape and approached the standard draft horse weight of 1700 pounds.

Puzzle was (and still is) owned by Anita McGill Gerami, whose family operated Chateau Stables on West 48th Street, just a few blocks from Times Square, until 2017. There, she offered riding lessons and pony rides during the summer months, as well as a therapeutic riding program. In winter, Puzzle and the other stable's residents starred in an Open House Christmas party, complete with Santa, which many local children enjoyed. A few times a year, as mandated by NYC Rental Horse law, Puzzle and his friends --including Diego the miniature donkey, who brayed whenever Puzzle came home--returned to Gerami's Pennsylvania farm, which is where he lives today.

During his working years, in addition to carriage rides, Puzzle was also ridden by tourists along Central Park's historic bridle paths, habitually ignoring the joggers, barking dogs and baby strollers that have become increasingly frequent there. Puzzle was so dependable that beginner riders enjoyed the scenery on the bridle path from his back, which includes a stroll along the park's famous Reservoir in the north section. And for people with minimal horse experience, Puzzle offered a rare opportunity to get up close to a massive, beautiful equine giant, in an urban setting.

Gerami was quite particular about the conditions in which Puzzle was asked to work; he never was ridden or driven after dark, and if it looked like rain, Puzzle usually stayed home. Though he is now mostly retired, he still does a few country carriage rides during the holiday season -just to be sure he doesn't put on too much weight.

Central Park itself is an attraction, but Puzzle deserves to be called an ambassador himself, as he exemplified the well cared for NYC equine icon. His presence delighted visitors and helped many to have an equine experience that they might otherwise never have had. Seeing a handsome healthy Draft horse in an urban setting is another way to expose people to the beauty of horses and to promote the human-animal bond.