In Lebanon, Ohio the Antique Horse Drawn Carriage Parade has become one of the most anticipated Christmas celebrations. People travel afar to see this time honored tradition.
The unique Christmas parade features more than 100 antique horse-drawn carriages parading through the streets of beautiful historic downtown Lebanon.
Each year, hundreds of horses and thousands of local Lebanon, Ohio residents prepare for the coming of Christmas.
As night falls, historic buildings and candle-lit streets provide the perfect backdrop for this parade.
People of all ages line Lebanon’s charming downtown streets, candles in hand, anxiously awaiting the first of 100 horse-drawn antique carriages to pass by.
Held every year on the first Saturday in December, this Christmas parade has become one of the most unique and beautiful holiday celebrations in the Midwest.
Source: Examiner News
Photos: Warren County, Ohio
Easter morning, 1900. New York City’s Fifth Avenue
(Courtesy of the National Archives)
New York circa 1900. “A Fifth Avenue stage.”
New York City circa 1908
Circa 1910 “Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street, New York.”
( horses and motorcars)
Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives
The world famous Shire horses of Thwaites Brewery
are back in harness.
Thwaites, the oldest surviving brewery in Lancashire, England started brewing in 1807 and are celebrating over 200 glorious years.
The British brewery has decided to go back to using horses for deliveries within a few kilometres of its brewery.
The giant shire horses used for promotional work for the Daniel Thwaites brewery are back in harness in Blackburn and delivering ale to local pubs.
“We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” said the brewery’s transport operations manager Emma Green.
“It is great to see the Shires out again on the roads around town.”
Horses have not been used in the delivery of beer by the brewery for five years. The Thwaites horses have spent the last few years winning awards on the show circuit and doing promotional work.
Their public appearances will continue, but the company hope the shires will also be able to do their day jobs in between.
“We are aiming to get them out delivering within a mile or two’s radius of the stables when we can fit it in to their busy schedule,” says Emma.
“Deliveries by horse-drawn dray finished about five years ago when we moved distribution off-site.”
Thwaites ended horse deliveries in the 1920s when the company switched to motor transport. They were reintroduced in 1960′s.
It was a decision that has become a major landmark for the Brewery as the fame of the Thwaites Shires has spread throughout the country, embodying the traditional values that are such an important part of the company’s heritage.
The brewery has even more reasons to be proud of its horses. They swept the board at the recent National Shire Horse Spring Show, taking four titles and six trophies.
THE world-famous Thwaites Shire Horses emerged triumphant at another prestigious national competition….to win plaudits from none other than HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip made the official presentation when the Thwaites’ team took the top honours at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
The Thwaites horses, Classic, Royal, Daniel and Star, were voted outright winners in the heavy horse class at the event staged to honour the 100th anniversary of the British Food and Beverage Industry.
The success followed hot on the heels of Thwaites being named Champions of England at the National Shire Horse Spring Show in Peterborough – for the fourth time in six years.
After winning the four-horse Team Class, Thwaites’ stable stars went on to claim the overall Heavy Horse Turnout Championship.
The shire horses are kept very busy and are in great demand at shows, carnivals and promotional events all over the country. They can be seen regularly in the town centre delivering to pubs and exercising in addition to their busy schedule.
Link: About the Thwaites Shire Horses
Video: Thwaites Shire Horses
Minnesota Sesquicentennial Wagon Train
The first weekend of May, Minnesota began the kickoff celebration of their historic past with the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train.
In all, about 85 people, on horseback and in covered wagons, buggies, surreys and one stagecoach are taking a week long, 100 mile journey, which will end Sunday at the State Capitol.
The arrival of the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train at the State Capitol is the linchpin for the kickoff for the state’s 150th birthday celebration.
The travelers started with two stuck wheels, a willful mule, a handful of skittish horses and a thrown rider. That was all before noon.
A “green” horse three times took his driver off-road. A mule seeking his pasturemate took off, throwing his rider in the tall ditch grass.
When the group circled at noon, wagon master Olson was philosophical. I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow,” he said Monday. “The first day’s always an adjustment.”
Among the group were Pete Karpe who came from his farm in St. Francis, bringing his Percheron draft horses Trixie and Dixie, as well as his son, Mark, a capable, horse-mad 14-year-old.
Susan Longling, of Farmington, a confessed wagon-train addict, brought her Prince to pull the surrey she’d converted from her grandfather’s dairy (and bootleg liquor) cart.
As a strong sun broke through the crisp morning air, wagon master Jon Olson shouted, “Wagons, ho!” and the caravan rattled across the fairgrounds, onto the road.
Karpe had some trouble at the start, when the rig he drove became stuck in the mud. But once on the road, Dixie and Trixie easily caught pace with the group, their shod hooves ringing on the asphalt.
Townsfolk lined the streets of Cannon Falls, gathering before homes and shops to smile, wave and snap pictures. A group of elementary kids held a hand-lettered sign: “Happy Birthday, Minnesota!”
This was “Americana” at its best!
The caravan continued, past bare fields and stands of cedar and elm.
Clay Christian the logistics man, said “We’ve got it easy”. “We’ve got county roads to go down, bridges to go across, no cliffs to take the wagons apart and lower ‘em down.”
The covered wagon is an icon of the American frontier. Still, in the 1850s, most arrived by water, via Mississippi steamboat.
From there, with the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the Mississippi behind them, settlers fanned out, often in wagons, all over the state.
The covered wagon was like the 19th century sport-utility vehicle, said Matt Anderson, a curator for the Minnesota Historical Society who specializes in transportation artifacts.
And contrary to the archetype, wagons weren’t meant for people. Usually, they were packed with luggage or cargo.
“Anybody who could walk, I’m sure did,” Anderson said.
Although the rigs at camp are more or less authentic, it’s hard to ignore some of the comforts of today: coolers, lawn chairs, RVs, digital cameras and the occasional chiming cell phone.
In spite of unexpected events along the way, when the ride was completed it was said that “A bad day doing this is still better than a good day doing anything else.”
Re-written from news sources:
In Touch With The Past
Transylvania, a well-preserved twilight zone of European history -a unique place in time – is about to slip away.
The land that now lives in relative obscurity still remains closely connected to a medieval atmosphere with architecture treasures, history and a spirit worthy of preservation and protection.
It is a world away from the ravages of progress that too often has become the accepted way of life for the rest of the world.
In southern Transylvania, a high plateau of wooded hills and valleys shielded by the Carpathian mountains, where Saxon settlers and their descendants have farmed, traded and fought to preserve their land and traditions for more than 800 years, life continues on as long ago.
With horse-drawn carriages and donkey carts rocking along the rutted roads and their drivers wearing handlebar moustaches and floppy felt hats, it has become a time capsule for the Europe that was … over a century or more ago.
Great Britian’s Prince Charles wrote “The area represents a lost past for most of us – a past in which villages were intimately linked to their landscape.”
Not much happens in these villages. Depending on the season, most people are in the fields tilling or harvesting small plots of hay, oats and potatoes with horse-drawn implements handed down through generations.
The most common form of transport is the horse and cart, designed to carry crops, logs, people, sheep, tools, and anything else that needs to be moved.
However, time is changing for Romania. Life is taking a dramatic jolt to the tranquility and link to the past.
With Romania’s entry into the EU earlier this year, these village and communities now face monumental challenges and changes.
In hamlets where women still draw water from wells and shepherds guard their flocks by night from wolves, there is confusion and concern over impending rules and regulations that threaten their livelihoods.
Romania’s seven-year construction plan for the national motorway network means the Government needs to claim large sections of land, cutting through what has been unchanged for centuries.
Around 12.8 billion Euro is scheduled for investments in road infrastructure in the next seven years with 4 major highways crossing through the heart of Romania.
Authorities have issued laws banning horse-drawn carts from main roads in a disastrous attempt to bring the country into line with European Union laws.
Consequently, horses which for centuries have pulled wooden carts along the city’s streets or worked in the fields are now being abandoned by their owners.
The horses and their owners have become victims of a poorly conceived and politically derived path of progress. And in the wake is the destruction of a hallowed way of life in Romania.
With a sense of preservation, plans could have been derived where both progress and the protection of the past could have dwelled together.
That is, unfortunately, not the blueprint for the future of Romania.
No one person knows about this enevitable devastation to land and lifestyle better than British Engineer and Equestrian, Julian Ross, owner and operator of the Stefan cel Mare, the longest-established equestrian centre in Romania.
Often quoted in various news media on the subject, Mr. Ross states that the police have been too quick to blame animals for the high accident statistics.
As he clarifies, “The ban was slipped in stealthily,” he said. “There are some villages where farmers cannot legally get to their fields any more.”
Not only was this lifestyle pretty to look at, it was the ideal method of transport and no danger to anyone in the quiet lanes of the village.
The problem is that Romania’s horses and carts, adorned as they often are with bells and lace, are not just picturesque, they are a crucial way of life for many in the countryside.
Julian Ross maintains a blogsite known as The Transylvanian Horseman.
It is a must read for all those interested in a country and lifestyle whose touch with history is running out of time.
For those who would like a personal trip by horseback through the historic beauties and serenity of Romania, check this website for Stefan cel Mare.
For those viewing Romania from home, enjoy these photographs taken by Julian Ross and remember this place and this time.
Photos posted by permission.
Vintage Central Park
New York City
Link: Classic Christmas Ad ~ Miller Brewery
Nate Bowers of Bowers Farm
Fort Collins, CO
Skijoring, or ski driving, is a winter sport that originates in Scandinavia, where it has been practiced for centuries. Laplander’s skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer.
In the mid 1950′s, skijoring found its way to North America, where ranchers attached a long rope to the saddle horn of a horse that was ridden at high speeds down a long straight-away.
Skijoring with horses usually involves two people and one horse. One person rides the horse while the skier is towed behind. The rider determines the pace and route for the skijoring adventure, while the skier attempts to hold on.
Skijoring involves towing a skier behind horses or dogs. In addition to being a rapid way to get around, it is also a competitive winter sport in some parts of the United States, particularly the Northwest and Midwest.
Especially with horses, skijoring is sometimes classified as an extreme sport because of the high rate of speed and potential danger involved. Skijoring is also a great deal of fun when carried out safely.
Some horse skijoring competitions integrate jumps and extreme skiing maneuvers in addition to conventional skijoring. Horses used for skijoring tend to be extremely agile and quick, and breeds such as the American Quarterhorse are favored for the sport.
Currently, the sport of equestrian skijoring has become a highly specialized competitive sport, where competitors must navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometime spear rings.
Competitive skijoring competitions are currently taking place in over 5 states in the USA, and in several countries worldwide.
In 1999, after several follow-up meetings, the North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA) was developed. For the first time in history, equestrian skijoring became a sanctioned sport!
For some exciting, competitive Skijoring, watch the video of
Skiing in the Streets: Leadville’s Offbeat Winter Sport.
Video: Competitive Skijoring in Leadville.,Colorado
Link: More information on Leadville, Colorado Skijoring
Link: National Association of Skijoring in America