Horses gallop into Prospect Park for equine parade

Riders: Members of Boots & Saddles Productions ride in Prospect Park during the Horse Parade on June 29.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Brooklynites hoofed it over to Prospect Park for an equestrian parade on June 29, which featured a procession of gallant steeds trotting through the park, along with performances from horseback entertainers and pony rides for children.

“It was terrific,” said Alison Clarke of the New York State Horse Council. “It was a really good thing for the community. Everyone who saw it stopped in the street and admired it.”

Order up: Alexander Scott mans the grill during the Horse Parade, serving up hotdogs and hamburgers to guests at the horse parade.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

The council — a nonprofit advocacy group designed to preserve horse culture — is working with local horse enthusiast John Quadrozzi Jr. to revitalize the rutty bridal trails lining Brooklyn’s Backyard.

“We want to improve the general condition in the park, where some areas are actually dangerous because the trails have deteriorated,” said Quadrozzi. “The big item we want to address is turnout. We want the horses to be able to frolic with one another, and allow people to see the horses and how they interact with one another.”

Young rider: Josh Kleiman helps his 13-month-old son Hugh mount a pony.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Quadrozzi — who recently purchased and is working to renovate the ailing former Kensington horse stables — hopes to convince local green-space gurus to lease park land to the newly-renovated stables for free-roaming horses.

“We’re talking with the Prospect Park Alliance, who we love to partner with on these objectives and common goals,” he said.

Smiles: Paraders pose at the start of the procession in Prospect Park.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Clarke said that rallies like the horse parade were important to draw attention to the horseback riding industry in the area.

“Events like these promote an interest in horses in the city, where otherwise one might not exist,” she said. “We’re interested in keeping Prospect Park a thriving place for horses.”

Single file: Onlookers watch as paraders gallop by on horses through Prospect Park.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

And there’s nothing like a pony ride to attract new blood to the hobby, Quadrozzi said.

“We always like to do pony rides, because it gives kids an opportunity to try out horse riding, and possibly become future riders,” said Quadrozzi. “I think the children really enjoyed it.”

Baxter: Cathleen Springer brought her North American Spotted Draft horse Baxter from Long Island to march in the parade.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.

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