The clacking of hooves and the shrill sounds of Christmas carols echoed in the chilly Saturday afternoon air.
At Sargent Equestrian Center on East Sargent Road, roughly 150 people’s voices could be heard growing louder as carriage after carriage began approaching the barn, led by horses of every shape and size.
The carriage ride, consisting of families, friends and clients of the stables that are headed by Jeanne Williams, lasted 1 mile and consisted of 13 carriages.
The first carriage of the pack was led by six Laurelvale Clydesdales and had roughly 20 people on board.
“This is something Christmasy that everyone can enjoy,” said Margot Guis, who works at the center. “I mean, who really sings Christmas carols while on a carriage ride with their family? Not many.”
People not only brought their children Saturday, they also brought their pets, as the carriage rides seemed to be an all-out family affair.
While children sipped soup after returning from the carriage ride, labradors, Saint Bernards and even chihuahuas sauntered around the stables, mingling with each other and with the horses.
Addy, a 5-month-old German sheperd/border collie mix, barked playfully at Rex, one of Williams’ Saint Bernards, who looked briefly over at the puppy before strolling into a crowd of young children, hoping for a head pat or a belly rub.
And even though Williams’ dogs were used to the company of both the horses and the people, those who were experiencing the event for the first time were clearly excited to be so up close and personal with all of the animals.
Cheyann Rumsey, of Stockton, was experiencing her first carriage ride with friends, and said even though she had family who rode horses, Saturday’s event was something new and fun.
“I love the horses, even though it is pretty cold out here,” she said. “This whole thing is really pretty great.”
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.