The 2005 Edition of The Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade Is Relegated to the History Books!
May 14th dawned bright and clear in Augusta, encouraging spectators to turn out in record numbers to see the Parade as it made its way thru downtown. Sunny skies and balmy temperatures added to the festive atmosphere, as did the glorious procession of more than 65 horse, mule, donkey, pony, oxen and goat drawn vehicle entries! Mounted riders were also out in full force bringing the total number of parade entries to well over one hundred.
The first horse-drawn entry was the Western Horseman Express coach, featuring Parade Chairman, Billy Morris, driving four standardbred horses to a reproduction of an 1880 Abbott Downing hotel coach. Dignitaries who rode on the coach were Ret. Speaker of the Georgia House, Jack Connell; Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, Tommy Irvin; South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, Hugh E. Weathers and Marshal Steve Smith.
Trying to mention all the Parade highlights would take volumes, but one of the most impressive mounted entries was a group called the Foothills Indian Horse Club. This Club is dedicated to promoting the American Indian Horse, and is the largest of its kind in the U.S. Several of the riders wore traditional Native American dress and one even rode pulling a litter.
New to this year's Parade were our "floats". There were seven floats in all, and the concept was for local businesses and civic groups to put their imaginations and decorating skills to work. The Float Decorating Party on Friday evening saw all seven teams hard at work using crepe paper, balloons, and many other imaginative items, including a canoe, to create floats that were then pulled by mule teams.
One of the most popular vehicles with the spectator's was the Ice Wagon. Before there were refrigerators and freezers the ice man and his wagon delivered ice to homes on a regular basis so that perishable food items would stay cold in the "ice box." This entry was a fine example of an antique ice wagon, part of the Morris collection. The Belgian Brabants pulling our ice wagon were courtesy of Tommy Flowers of Blackville, SC.
On many levels, the entry with Olin Jackson of Lugoff, SC managing the lines is worth mentioning. Olin is considered one of the driving forces - pardon the pun - behind the very active group known as the South Carolina Donkey and Mule Association. Olin was accompanied by the good folks from Horsecity.com. Horsecity filmed this year's Parade and will be featuring it in an upcoming edition of Horsecity.com TV, which will air on the RFD-TV network. As they say, watch your local listings for the date and time!
One of the most unusual entries was certainly Maverick the longhorn steer. Owned by Don Baxley of Jackson, SC and ridden under-saddle by his wife, Maverick is a veteran of many parades and personal appearances.
Something you don't see everyday is a yoke of Hereford/Short Horn cross steers pulling an ox cart. Sparky and Lion wore a head yoke and pads strapped to their horns, a common method of yoking cattle in Nova Scotia, where these oxen came from. At home now in Red Springs, NC, these steers work at various types of farm tasks. In the Fall, they even turn a cane mill, used to squeeze sorghum cane. Thanks to owners Patti and Hank Redfield for sharing these wonderful animals with us.
It seemed like the ground was shaking under our feet as "A Touch of Ear" came into view. Eight blonde sorrel Belgian cross draft mules weighing over 2,000 pounds each, makes this the largest hitch of its kind in the country. Owned and driven by J Mack Bohn of Cyril, OK, the "blondes" as he affectionately calls them, are busy touring the U.S. and wowing admirers everywhere they perform.
Our next entry was so unique we don't quite know where to begin in telling you about him. Eduardo Discoli, who is an Argentinean, has spent the past 3 years making a horseback journey from Buenos Aires, Argentina to New York. Yes, you read this correctly, Eduardo rode on horseback from Buenos Aires to Augusta. Once he reaches New York, he will fly with his horses to Spain and journey towards North Africa. The idea behind this adventure is to pay homage to the Latin American horse by taking it back to its origins. Eduardo is truly an adventurer dedicated to reaching his goal and we're so glad his route brought him to Augusta and that he could join us for the Parade. God speed Eduardo!
The Parade featured big mules, and even bigger mules, but this was a first for us . . . a mini mule! Harvey Beaty joined us all the way from Gastonia NC with his mini put to an easy entry cart.
And right behind him was Eddie Roseboro, also of Gastonia, NC, who certainly earned the award for the most unusual hitch. Eddie was driving his pair of Nubian goats put to a special goat cart. The kids loved it!
A Park Pheaton, a Spindleback Runabout, a Chuck Wagon, a Prarie Schooner, a 16ft. hay wagon, and so many more unusual vehicles brought appreciative cheers and applause from the spectators along the two mile parade route. Horses and mules of every size, breed and color also made their way down Broad Street to the oohs and aahs of young and old alike.
However, even after so many impressive entries, we had one more surprise in store for the audience. The world-renowned Heinz Hitch of magnificent black Percherons came all the way from Pennsylvania to join us in Augusta. They were put to a red 150-year-old wagon reminiscent of the 100 original horse-drawn grocery wagons used by the H.J. Heinz Company around the turn of the century.
The Victorian Village,located on the Augusta Common was also a fun and interesting place to be on the 14th. Free pony rides, a strolling barber shop quartet, as well as a variety of food vendors and other's selling their wares made for a great family gathering place.
If you weren't able to join us this year, please put us on the calendar for 2006. We hear from those who attended the Parade that they are already talking about coming back next year. Sign up today for our Parade Newsletter so you won't miss any of the excitement as we start planning for the 15th Annual Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade!
Click here for more photos from the 2005 parade.
The Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade • 725 Broad St. Augusta, GA 30901 • Tel (706) 828-4323 • Fax (706) 823-3447All photos courtesy of Jeff Barnes, Todd Bennett and Robert Corley.