The third annual Festival of the Horse is officially over, and it just keeps getting better and better. Each year more events are added, more equestrian clinicians present workshops, and more people show up who are either equestrians themselves – or who simply love the power, majesty and beauty of this four-legged creature.
I’ve always loved horses, but have never been in an environment where I could be around them all the time – until our move to Mackinac Island. Now I see more horses everyday than I do dogs, and instead of waning, my fascination with them increases daily.
This week is all about the horse – every size, every shape, every color. Riding horses, driving horses, pet horses. There’s something for every kind of horse lover, and I hope you enjoy these writings as much as I enjoyed covering the events.
Today is about the carriages that horses pull. Unfortunately, my knowledge of carriages is almost nonexistent, so the photos are going to pretty much have to speak for themselves. Each one is lovely, and the horses pulling them are no less than splendid. Where carriage information was available, I’ve included it, and I’ll name the driver and horse(s) if I know them. Otherwise, the caption will be blank. Thanks to The Mackinac Island Town Crier for quoted information.
A thousand thanks to Mary Stancik from the Grand Hotel for these beautiful shots. Enjoy!
Grand Marshal of the parade was "Gracie Irish, riding in the Grand Hotel's 1904 vis-a-vis". Ben Mosley is driving a team of matched Hackneys. Look at those legs - all four in perfect sync!
David Levy, in a "superlight wagonette", is being pulled by the Levy family Friesian, Lars.
Michelle and Randy Stuck and their family. Pulling their carriage is Todd Z, one of their four Friesians. This is one of three photos in this group that is mine. My camera was still having issues at this point.
Ann Levy, driving her Paint, Image. "Ann's carriage is a 1910 Meadowbrook."
Don Eckhardt, "who with wife Lisa was in charge of the parade", is driving two Friesians. Another of my photos.
Seymour, a Jack burro, pulls a cart driven by owner/trainer Cady Ness-Smith. I LOVED this little guy. Seymour was adopted in 1999 as part of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program. He travels the United States as the program's advocate. He is trained in carriage driving (pleasure, distance & other) single and pair, English pleasure and parades, and has won a gazillion national awards. My favorite thing about him though is that he is a Delta Certified Therapy Animal - just like BEAR!
A carriage from Jack's Livery Stable, pulled by everyone's favorite Belgian, Bud.
Lisa Brock, driving her Friesian/Paint cross, Ringo.
I believe this is one of the private livery's wedding carriages.
Another awesome pair of Hackneys!
The 2011 Lilac Queen and Princess were riding in this buggy. Again, these look like Grand Hackneys, but I'm not sure.
Taz and Skip, two Standardbreds, owned and driven by island veterinarian, Dr. Al Sibinic.
A Grand Hotel omnibus, being pulled by two of the Grand Percherons.
This photo is mine also and shows Miwok, a mustang adopted through the BLM program. She is also a national award winner and has worked as a Therapeutic Riding/Driving Horse. Miwok has the distinction of being the only mustang to be quiet enough to handle the added distraction of a portable ventilator and oxygen tank set up for a disabled trail rider. Pretty awesome!
The parade this year was probably twice as long as last year’s, with around 20 entries (apologies to those we missed photographing) – and the drivers and riders were all in period clothing. It was totally awesome to watch – talk about taking you back in time! Even better is that most of the folks above are island summer residents, and they hitch up their horses to their carriages and go out for pleasure rides quite often. If you’re visiting, you might just see them on the roads through the woods or near the fort or on the bluffs. It’s always a special “added attraction” to an island visit.
Tomorrow – the Breed Show!