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24th National Pike Festival wagon train attracts horse lover

May 19, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • The 24th annual Wagon Train, part of the National Pike Festival, travels through downtown Clear Spring Saturday morning heading toward Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

When she was 8 years old, Danielle Ruck wanted a miniature pony, “but mom and dad said ‘no.’”

On Saturday at City Park in Hagerstown, the Greencastle, Pa., girl, now 17, was content just to watch the horses in the 24th National Pike Festival wagon train.

She no longer wants to own one.

“Too much work,” Ruck said when asked if she still wanted a horse. “No where to keep it.”

Ruck joined her aunt, Carolyn Barton of Hagerstown, and other relatives in the park for the wagon train’s annual visit.

The weekend ride from Clear Spring to Boonsboro commemorates the commonly used 18th- and 19th-century route between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains, which helped Washington County play a key role in developing the western lands of the growing nation.

Barton said she knows the entire route, but has no interest in joining the wagon train herself.

The only time she recalled riding a horse was when she rode a pony at Braddock Heights in Frederick County, Md.

Admittedly a “city girl,” Louise Hade of Hagerstown recalled her own childhood horseback riding experience “back in the day” at Girl Scout camp.

“We like to come see the horses and the whole heritage of it,” said Hade, who has taken her now-teenage daughter, Karen, to see the wagon train for many years.

“It’s a nice day to come out to the park and enjoy the weather ... and do some people watching,” Hade said smiling.

The wagon train arrived at City Park more than 30 minutes later than scheduled and departed about 3:15 p.m. for Funkstown, where the group will camp overnight in the community park.

Mckenna Galvin of Hagerstown was riding Cash, a 5-year-old white and brown paint, Saturday.

This year was her fourth wagon train.

“I love riding horses and my friends do it, so it’s a good way to see them,” Galvin said.

Carl Layton of Woodbine, Md., was being pulled by a team of work mules, Ruby and Jill, that he still uses for farming.

“We make this trip every year,” Layton said.

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