Freehold, NJ --- In a dozen years of outriding at Michigan tracks, Hazel Park outrider Debbie Taylor and her horse Butch have led a lot of parades -- post parades that is. Taylor and Butch, an 18-year-old chestnut quarter horse, have caught loose horses, led post parades and averted disaster at Hazel Park for the last eight years and before that at Northville, Saginaw and Sports Creek for four years.
On Monday (Jan. 21), harness racing fans may recognize their familiar faces from Michigan racing as Taylor and Butch will participate in the parade celebrating the second inauguration of President Obama, down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
|Photo courtesy of Debbie Taylor|
|Debbie Taylor and Butch will participate in the parade celebrating the second inauguration of President Obama.|
“Butch and I are also members of the Tuscola County (MI) Mounted Division and as part of that, we’re part of Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police and Color Guard. That’s the group invited to the inauguration. We march in formation; they don’t let you do maneuvers (in the inauguration parade) because of time constraints and spacing considerations.”
Taylor has high praise for the intelligence that has made Butch into the perfect mount for an outrider.
“He’s a smart worker, he knows how to take care of himself,” says Taylor. “He is the smartest, most alert animal I’ve ever owned in my life. At the racetrack, he never takes his eyes off the horses, he is totally in tune to what’s going on.
“He’s more aware than most of the people as to what’s going on and when there’s a problem. He’s calm, he knows exactly where he needs to be and what he needs to be doing. He’s very intuitive as to different positions, where he needs to be and how to react.
Taylor says Butch is good at making friends, but in his crowd control work for the mounted police, he takes a stand when necessary.
“He’s very friendly, but very assertive and not afraid to get into crowd control,” she says. “If you grab him, he will push right over you.
“We’ve done a lot parades, but this is pretty high profile. We leave here the 18th. We have 20 horses going from Michigan by commercial carrier and we go by bus, we go to Prince George’s (Maryland) Equestrian Center and that is where we stay until the parade on Monday.
“I’ve had some phenomenal horses in my life, but Butch is by far, hands down, the best horse I’ve ever had in my life. I did have another horse last year, Chester. If I hadn’t had Butch, I would have thought Chester was good. It is going to be some hard shoes to fill.”