The Associated Press story (Sun Journal, July 5) about a runaway team of horses at a parade in Iowa prompts me to respond.

Sometimes good comes from something bad, and hopefully everyone involved will realize that horses are not machines that can be turned on and off, and even experienced horse people can have an accident.

I have been showing ponies at fairs and parades for many years. It has been my bad luck to have been in two bad incidents; however, both resulted in safety issues that improved the situation for both spectators and exhibitors.

My feelings about parades, or any public event with animals, come with the thought of safety first, and relaxing after all is said and done. Many times, parents are not watching children, or a dog will bark and come out of a crowd; or papers blowing, balloons popping, other distractions can all make for a problem for everyone around. Candy thrown from floats or marchers distracts children and parents alike. The list could get very long.

I am hoping people can enjoy the beauty of the beasts and their strength, and see the joy and pride the owners or drivers display when given the chance to demonstrate the handiness of their animals.

Perhaps more information about the number of incidents, or lack of incidents, would help people understand.

My thoughts go out to those involved in Iowa, and to every horse person who uses their animals a lot and really loves them.

Gloria Hadley, West Paris

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