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Photo by Brenda Herzog

While the 2020 Halloween festivities may have been curtailed by the pandemic, Halloween with horses always provides fun & spooky ways to celebrate October 31st. A favorite American holiday, horse lovers have always enjoyed nodding to the spooky holiday. 

Dressing your horse up for Halloween either to match your own costume or just on its own is very different from preparing for a horse show. For starters, it’s fun in a whimsical sort of way and requires a great deal of creativity and imagination. Riders must think of both horse and rider at all times to be safe, to reach that desired complicity, and to instruct the horse to do what is asked. Costumes offer a unique way of thinking about the horse and rider combination. Some barns have parades or competitions, or just a fun party. Horses always appreciate and revel in attention, and there is nothing more joyful than a child (or an adult) designing a costume for his/her trusty steed, and going out on a ride to have fun and show off the handsome horse. 

Over the years, the Meadowlands RaceTrack has hosted the Gray ghost handicap open only to gray horses! A turf race on purpose, the green grass really shows off the colors of the horses. Gray horses are born black and gradually lighten as they age. As thoroughbreds race in their early years, they are often quite dark. Usually in the minority in thoroughbred racing, gray horses make quite a show in that traditional Halloween race.

One can never forget the first “gray ghost,” Native Dancer, sire to many successful racehorses. He was horse of the year in 1953. He lost the Kentucky Derby, but went on to win the other two jewels in the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, and also, the famed Travers Stakes at Saratoga. 

Whatever you and your horses may be doing on Halloween, have fun and enjoy the whimsy and creativity of a spooky day.

Katharine MacCornack
Published on 02-11-2020
I started riding as a child and have always loved everything equine. I've been involved in training, breeding, and several disciplines over the years. I live on a small farm with my horses. I am a teacher and a writer.