The 2007 Augusta Horse & Carriage Parade
The rattle of wooden wagon wheels and clop-clop of horses' hooves were unmistakable signs that Augusta's Horse & Carriage Parade was winding its way through the city's streets on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Close to 100 horse-drawn vehicles and mounted riders pranced west on Broad Street, then made a U-turn and back past the reviewing stand to turn down Eighth and return to the James Brown Arena.
One of the marquee entries was the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, an exact replica of an original coach, drawn by four horses. The coach, built by Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop in South Dakota, weighed between 2,500 and 3,000 pounds. It is usually pulled by a six-horse team in arenas or wide outdoor spaces, but the team is reduced to four horses for parades, where turning corners can be tight.
The Western Horseman Express, a reproduction of an 1880 Abbott Downing hotel coach, was drawn by a team of white horses.
Vehicles ranged from an immaculate, still-in-working-order road oiler to one-person carts. The equines pulling them were equally varied, from Tiny, a 19-hand Percheron, to miniature horses no taller than a man's thigh.
One first-time entrant drawing plenty of attention was Derrer's Haflingers, from Taylorsville, N.C. Six registered Haflinger mares pulled a wagon custom-built by J.W. Schut with gleaming stainless steel corners, eveners and custom graphics. The Derrer family participates in many driving competitions and claimed the 2006 Draft High Point Award.
Elegance was personified by a buggy carrying a "bride" and by two gleaming black hearses pulled by horses wearing dark plumes and driven by men wearing mourning garb.
Several entries paid tribute to the Irish, including a red wagon from Hitching Post Farms decorated with shamrocks and Irish flags as well as the U.S. and South Carolina flags.
Marching bands from Hephzibah and Glenn Hills high schools added music to the festivities.
Whetting interest this year was a carriage and livestock auction held at the Hippodrome all day Friday and on Saturday morning.
In fact, in describing some of the horses being offered, the term for a well-broke, steady animal was, "He's been to church," meaning he had pulled the family buggy and was traffic-wise and unflappable.
Parade participants who came in on Friday and stalled at the Hippodrome enjoyed a barbecue supper Friday night, and many took advantage of the Arts in the Heart of Augusta weekend festival to sample ethnic foods, listen to music and browse the vendors.
Click here for more photos from the 2007 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.