Was checking out the news website from where the reporter is from and found this story... and it's out of the city where I live! (Picture of one of the horses at the link... he's so pretty!)
Rescued horses compete to escort Bush at tulip fest
By Sally Trout - Lansing State Journal
Created: 3/19/2004 9:00:21 AM
Updated: 3/19/2004 9:05:59 AM
WILLIAMSTON - Six-year-old Magi Magic was given to a horse rescue group two years ago after he lost his heart for racing.
Now owned by Julia McGuire, 18, of Williamston, the horse is making the most of his second chance.
On Thursday, he high stepped into Willow Ridge Stables' arena to audition for a spot in the Netherlands army's Queens Cavalry Escort of Honor.
If accepted, Magi will be part of a mounted honor guard for President Bush, who is to appear May 8 as grand marshal of Holland's Tulip Time Festival.
With Ritmeester, or captain, Robert van den Berg of the Netherlands aboard, Magi trotted, cantered, and dealt with a brandished sabre and pole - and the big bay carried it off without a hitch, likely earning a spot in the royal unit.
Auditions will take place around the state through the weekend.
"Magi is a great horse, definitely one on our short list of candidates," said Richard Dyk, commander of the U.S. Army Reserve's Blue Devils Horse Platoon.
Seven riders from the Netherlands unit and eight from the Blue Devils Horse Platoon will make up the festival honor guard.
It adds an international flavor at the 75th annual Holland event, which pays tribute to the Dutch heritage prevalent in western Michigan.
"We are so honored that the queen's group accepted our invitation," Dyk said.
Adding to the event will be a visit from Boudewijn van Eenennaam, the Netherlands ambassador to the United States.
All seven horses competing in Williamston on Thursday are retired racehorses adopted through the horse rescue organization known as CANTER, which often saves racehorses from slaughter or the auction block.
"This is so wonderful," CANTER founder Jo Anne Normile said.
"A large share of these trained, spirited horses are likely to be part of the honor guard."
If selected, the horses will be stabled at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds, undergo five days of demanding training and then perform at various festival activities.
Heidi Rice of Mason hopes her 13-year-old chestnut makes the cut. Paddy's Landing earned $230,000 racing and still is a showman with lots of zip in his step.
"We adopted the horse for our son, Stephen, strictly as a pleasure horse," she said. "But the special calvary training could work out nicely for him."
Other local horses who could be part of the honor guard are River Bluff, owned by Peg Borman of Williamston, and Exalem, owned by Ronald and Clair Squires of Perry.
Contact Sally Trout at 377-1040 or [email protected].