BUCKHANNON – While thousands of spectators and participants along Strawberry Lane enjoyed Saturday’s Horse and Carriage Parade, by the end of the 1.5-mile route, four horses from Pennsylvania had had enough.
Or, in other words, while kids and adults alike were cheering, “Yay!” a team of four Belgian horses from Rocky Point Farms in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, were saying, “Neigh!”
According to Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory the team of horses, which was pulling a carriage carrying two individuals, got spooked and took off, resulting in their owner losing control of them.
“The owner of the horses lost control of them after that, and they ran into the back of a Ford pick-up truck parked on Sedgwick Street,” Gregory said.
Gregory said the riders, Sarah Brakeiron, 19, of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, and Donnie Provost, 49, of Prosperity, Pennsylvania, suffered minor injuries but refused medical transport.
The vehicle, which was parked near 15 Sedgwick St., belonged to Donald Henderson but was unoccupied at the time; however, it sustained some functional damage and had to be towed from the scene.
Gregory said when they took off, the horses knocked down several tents set up for an auction.
“After they broke loose, they turned and ran right through three tents set up for an auction,” he said.
Sandra Bennett, president of the 2019 West Virginia Strawberry Festival Association, said one of the riders – Provost – was thrown and hit the windshield of the pick-up truck, while the other individual, Brakeiron, jumped off.
“They just took off,” Bennett said of the freak incident. “Two horses went one way and two went the other way. The riders appeared to be OK. They were talking afterwards and went back up to the horses.”
Otherwise, Bennett said the Horse and Carriage Parade clip-clopped down Strawberry Lane smoothly and was well-attended.
“I think it was really nice that a lot of the spectators were telling the participants how nice their carriages were and how nice their teams of horses looked,” she said. “I think that was a nice way of showing their appreciation.”
Bennett said the 2019 Horse and Carriage Parade is one of the biggest the Strawberry Festival’s staged yet. Nine states – including Minnesota and Georgia – were represented, she noted.