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Halloween 'hay' day at horse center
Animals join in with costumes
Horse WEB 1
Rachel Sable paints horse Tim for his Superman costume Saturday at The Equestrian Reserve's Halloween party. - photo by Autumn Vetter

For a dozen years, even the horses have gotten into the Halloween spirit at The Equestrian Reserve.

Riders decorated their equine friends and stalls as superheroes, Santa Claus, Skittles candy and more at the south Forsyth stable’s annual Halloween party held Saturday.

Owner Donna Romeu said she’s held the event each October since she launched the reserve 12 years ago.

The idea is likely a roll-over from her days as an elementary school teacher, where Romeu said she’d often think up “unique or crazy” activities for the children.

The event has grown over the years. On Saturday, 16 horses were dressed up in wild costumes and shown off in an afternoon parade in the ring.

While the kids bond with each and the horses during the afternoon event, Romeu said the whole family anticipates the Halloween festivities.

“Our parents go all out,” she said. “It’s amazing what these stalls will look like.”

Lori Kaplan said she and daughter Alison, 15, have dressed up horse Toby since she started riding at the stable as a girl.

A group of riders sign up each year to costume themselves and a horse in a theme chosen by the leader, often the horse’s owner.

“They’re as excited to lead the groups now as they were to dress them as little girls,” Lori Kaplan said.

Since Alison Kaplan has taken on the leadership role, Toby has been a police car, the Grinch, and now, Mickey Mouse.

She said the trust from Toby in allowing her to dress him up is “always cool.”

The planning can be a bit hectic, but she said the experiences and the photos each year make the event a favorite for the riders.

Margaret Hurt, owner of Hoochie, put a Catwoman costume on her horse as the younger riders decorated props for the stable.

She said the horses are used to having lots of children around, so they don’t mind the commotion and costumes too much.

“They go to shows once a month,” Hurt said, “so it’s good for [the horses] to experience different things.”

And as Alison Kaplan said, “It’s not every day you see horses dressed up.”