Welcoming the Holiday Season with Horses! Equine pageantry and equestrian fun at the Old Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade in Lexington, Michigan.
by Karen Braschayko
The first of the 141 equines in Lexington, Michigan's Christmas parade.
Sleigh bells and horses bolster the magic of our winter holidays. These icons are a legacy from the time when sleighs were useful transportation in snow-covered climates and horses were vital partners in our lives. The village of Lexington, Michigan, has initiated a holiday tradition to recall these picturesque images from the past, gather the community, and provide an enjoyable event for all ages.
A Gypsy Vanner and elfish rider were crowd favorites.
Lexington, on Michigan’s east coast, hosted the Old Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade in early December to launch the holiday season. With 141 equines and many riders who had come from hours away, the parade assembled the regional horse-loving community. More people lined up to watch the parade than number the entire population of Lexington, explained Fred Marengo of the rescue facility Happy Horse Ranch. He and his wife Susan organized the event with the help of several volunteers.
A very patient horse was dressed as Santa, complete with hat and beard.
"It’s a good tribute to Christmas and to the horse," said Marengo.
Decorated carts and buggies added to the festive mood.
Many people spent numerous hours crafting costumes for themselves and for their horses. Each participant received a ribbon, and there were awards for best decorated and best group costumes. The crowd was eager to see elves, angels, a unicorn, children dressed as reindeer, and even a horse dressed as Santa. Sparkly garland, bright holly, wreaths, jingle bells, shiny ribbons, twinkling lights, brilliant flowers and green hoof polish created a festive mood.
The parade included several heart-melting miniature horses and a miniature donkey.
Horses of many shapes and colors made the parade interesting. From adorable miniature horses and donkeys to Paints, Clydesdales, Quarter Horses, a crowd-dazzling Friesian, and one of the most unique Appaloosas I’ve ever seen, all equine types were welcome. Driving horses also made the parade special with ornamented carts, buggies and a wagon carrying a Christmas tree.
Angels, carts and Clydesdales added fun and variety to the parade.
Besides raising the cheer of the crowd, participants could also feel good knowing they were supporting horses in need. Registration fees and further donations raised around $700 for the Michigan Hay Bank, which helps owners feed their horses in hard times. Marengo explained that hay prices have more than tripled in his area, and hay is even hard to find. These donations reminded the crowd about neglected horses and raised awareness for how high hay prices have affected equine owners and rescues.
Many people remarked about this gorgeous Friesian and the rider's handmade costume.
This was the parade’s second year, so the organizers were able to build on last year's experience. They made route longer, and they assigned six staging areas to accommodate the many horse trailers. They hope the event grows and that they’ll need even more next year. The volunteer crew had been working since October, Marengo said, "But it's worth it to see kids light up, and it's a great way to kick off Christmas."
Colorful costumes included this donkey, right, with his handlers dressed as Christmas trees.
Standing in the crowd, I was surrounded by excited children of all ages. We greeted the holiday season with loved ones, carols, pageantry, and most wonderfully – horses.
A unicorn, right, caught the attention of many children.
Learn more about Lexington, Michigan, and the Old Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade at lexingtonmichigan.org. Contact Fred Marengo at fredmarengo.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Braschayko is a freelance writer and horse lover who lives in Michigan.
Topics: American Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, Appaloosas, breeds, Clydesdale, Clydesdales, draft horses, drafts, equestrian events, equestrian fair, equestrian fairs, equestrian festival, equestrian festivals, equine event, equine fair, equine festival, equine rescue, exhibitions, Fred Marengo, Friesian, Gypsy Vanner, holidays, horse breeds, horse costumes, horse fair, horse fairs, horse festivals, horse parade, horse rescue, Lexington Old Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade, Michigan, Michigan Hay Bank, miniature horse, Paint horse, Paints, parade, Pinto, Quarter Horses, rare horse breeds
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