I have a small cake decorating busy I run out of my home.
If you are a novice baker, I would suggest you not get too carried away with the small details. Go for a more "basic" cake and the results will be far more stellar, I promise.
This cake on the wilton website would be my suggestion to a novice baker. http://www.wilton.com/idea/Enchanted-Carousel This one suggests to use gum paste for the decor and the horses. I would say to find the animals you want...and it can be any animals and do what is called a "frozen butter cream transfer". Instead of butter cream frosting, use candy melts. If you take your time, your figures will look terrific. And making them out of the candy melts will make them look a bit more like "real" shiny carosel figures and the will stand out against the cake. It will look more 3-D.
Here's a great video on the butter cream transfer.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV2DZDuv9XA When I use candy melts, I don't always outline in black like suggested here.
Whatever you decide to do, your daughter will absolutely love. Good luck!