It was my favorite kind of day, the serendipitous kind where you plan to do one thing, and you end up doing something you never imagined, and it turns out absolutely delightful.
In our case, we stopped in Landrum, S.C., to visit the antique shops after a morning at the Biltmore Estate. (Check back for that report!) Landrum is a charming hamlet near the North Carolina border and nestled against a backdrop of Blue Ridge Mountains. The population is about 2,500. When we got there, the entire town was milling about in anticipation of a horse parade. I’ve seen parades before, of course, but not one that was almost entirely hoofed.
The stars arrived in custom-built tractor-trailers: The Wells Fargo Stagecoach and the Budweiser Clydesdales, plus the signature Dalmatian who perches atop the wagon. As the horses and rigs were unloaded and hitched, the many fans edged within selfie-taking distance.
The parade celebrated Landrum’s “Week of the Horse,” leading up to the 69th Block House Steeplechase and fundraiser at nearby Tryon Riding and Hunt Club. Local diplomats and military personnel led off, followed by the Well Fargo four-horse hitch. In a nod to the region’s equestrian heritage, equines of various breeds and sizes clip-clopped down the street. There were Belgians and Icelandics, mules and miniature donkeys. They towed all sorts of carts and carriages, some fancy and some not. Other entries represented horse-related groups, including a therapeutic riding program and an emergency rescue crew.
Bringing up the rear–and the cheers–was the Clydesdale wagon, pulled by a team of eight magnificent bay-colored horses. Each bore a white blaze on its forehead and four white-stocking feet.
We were so engrossed in the horses, we didn’t make it to the antique shops. No worries. We’ll just have to return another time.