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Horses to parade through W.Va. town

December 11, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Suzie Binns rode in the Parade of Horses through downtown Charles Town, W.Va., during the first six years of the equine holiday event. The holiday-on-hoof procession, started by local horse enthusiast Betsy Wells, will reach its eighth annual installment Sunday, Dec. 14.

Binns started helping out last year and has continued in 2003. Binns, who plans to ride one of her horses and carry the flag at the front of the parade, expects more than the 150 horses who paraded through the town's business district and residential streets last year.

Although Binns expects some entry forms to be filed as late as Sunday, she already knows of several large groups that will participate. There are people (and horses) coming from Berryville, Va., Gaithersburg, Md., and Maryland's Eastern Shore.

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The parade is open to individual horses and riders, stables and clubs as well as horse- and mule-drawn wagons and carriages. Prizes will be awarded in several categories including miniature horse, horse and rider, horse, mule and wagon and the most Christmas spirit.

Among the large groups planning to participate is Saddle Pals Guys and Gals Drill Team. About nine of the Mount Airy, Md.-based club's dozen members will be performing precision routines along the parade route. Patty Haworth of Fairplay, who joined the group a couple of years ago, says the horses will be decorated - wearing reindeer antlers.

Do the horses mind parading?

The parade is all horses - no marching bands, no fire engines.

Most of the horses "think" it's a big old trail ride, so they're somewhat relaxeded, Binns says.

"Everybody has a real good time."

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