EATON — Butler County Saddle Horse Association (BCSHA) brought the holiday spirit to Eaton nursing homes on Sunday, Nov. 26, with the 25th annual Christmas Horse Parade.
The association comes together with anyone willing to ride and holds a parade through the side-streets of the city, stopping at local nursing and assisted-living homes to have Santa deliver fruit baskets.
According to President Valerie Garnett, while BCSHA originated in Butler County, many members do live in Preble County.
“We do this every year to see the smiles on people’s faces in the nursing homes. I go ahead of time and hand out flyers and tell the homes to bring the patients all to the windows. Also, the kids up and down the streets — they come running to look at the horses. It is just a really good feeling and it starts my season out well,” she said.
“I think this parade is good for the community, because of the attention it draws. I was just visiting the homes today, and they were so excited. It is the season of giving. We told the nursing homes that they can have the fruit, not just for the patients, but for them too. They are people that have to work on Christmas.
“It might help them out. This is such a good thing and I’m glad we got involved in it. We originally got involved in Butler County, and then we decided to do one in Preble County. That is how we got hooked up with this.”
As for the decision to stop by the nursing homes, Garnett said that they wanted to give back to the community and “pay it forward.”
She added, “I am so excited, because when I put the event on Facebook I had over 200 people interested. I think that would be awesome if we had 200 horses. Everyone loves to ride and it is nice weather. We’ve only canceled one time, because of freezing rain, but we have ridden in the rain and the snow.
“I like it when it snows a bit, because it gets you in the Christmas spirit and the kids start singing. It is a good family parade.”
Following the parade, everyone gathered at the Preble County Fairgrounds to have snacks and hot-chocolate. Santa even passed out candy canes to the children.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH