A Cowboy’s Faith: Horses promenade for Christmas – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Horses promenade for Christmas

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“There’s no parade quite like the Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade at Lawrence.”

Annually the first Saturday in December, the parade was started to highlight Lawrence’s historic Eldridge Hotel in 1993. It has grown to a nationally recognized all horsepower event kicking off the holiday season.

Managed by dedicated volunteers, the parade pays tribute to the contribution of horses in the nation’s transportation heritage. Only horse drawn vehicles and horseback riders can participate in the hour-long parade officially started by a five-airplane flyover.

Massachusetts Street is packed several layers deep with spectators of all ages clapping as the parade passes by. “Merry Christmas” greetings are smilingly, loudly expressed continuously throughout the route by both participants and those watching.

Nearly every size, shape, and color of equine were present with no shortage of mules and donkeys. Some of the most historic horse drawn carriages were intertwined with many quite uniquely designed horsepower vehicles.

Riding groups from a wide area were decked out in matching attire with plenty of red and green throughout the parade.

Anybody who ever believed there is just one Santa Claus was proven wrong. Uncertain the count, but dozens of Santa’s in every body shape attracted lots of applause for their “Ho Ho Hos.”

This was the fourth year of participation this time riding with the Kansas Horse Council, one of 55 parade entries. Sun was shining as temperatures just at or slightly above the freezing mark made for a brisk fast-paced ride.

Regular participants knew enough to wear appropriate warm clothing. Yet most riders admitted periodically, “My hands and feet sure are cold.”

For long timers, the parade was a lot more fun than sometimes. Several years, temperatures were well below freezing with heavy downpour or continuous snow.

Consensus always is “It’s the Christmas season, what else can anybody expect?” Others contend, “If you didn’t want to participate, you could have stayed home.”

Admittedly, it was a lot easier with one riding horse, instead of a carriage and driving horse. Two years a high-wheeled cart powered by a horse was driven in the parade.

Because it’s so much work to haul a vehicle with a horse or team, many participants come a day early.

Reminded of First Kings 10:25: “Everyone comes in fashionable outfits, horses and mules on parade for visitors, year after year.”

Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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