The 10th Annual Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols Parade in Aiken, SC

The 10th Annual Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols Parade

The 10th annual Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols Parade attracted 110 horses and 50 dogs decked out in Christmas attire.  Aiken, SC has been known for its incredibly energetic  and creative horse community for over a century.  Equestrians of many disciplines call Aiken home.  The love that Aiken has for its’ horses and community events is evident by all the participants that gathered for this festive celebration.

The parade is the brainchild of  Samantha Charles Spitler.  Samantha, past publisher of Sidelines Magazine moved to Aiken 14 years ago from Wellington, Florida.  She developed Hatchaway Bridge Farms,  had a pack of dachshunds, loved taking potential prospects on trail rides through the development, and the Hatchaway Hounds Mock Hunt was born.  This popular trail ride group branched out riding in other equestrian subdivisions providing 1st hand tours for potential buyers. What a  great way to network with other equestrians. 

The first 2 years, was a Christmas Caroling event on horse back based out of Sam’s Shag Hill farm in Hatchaway Farms subdivision.

Tricia Leslie, a devout member of the Mock Hunt and fabulous organizer, assisted with bringing the parade to downtown Aiken in 2012.  Linda Murphy has been instrumental with the  parade committee for 9 years,  and was the leader of the Mock Hunt for 3 years.  Today the group is run by Kathy Fischer and called the Hack and Snack Trail Riders. for more info: email


Aiken Public Safety has been  enthusiastically supportive for 8 years.  The parade starts at the intersection of Barnwell Ave and Greenville Street.  First stop is Trinity Nursing Home, at Barnwell St and Laurens where residents anxiously wait the special occasion. 

Aiken’s downtown store fronts are lined with spectators as the parade travels down Laurens Street and ends at The Willcox, one of the main hubs for Toys for Tots.

Kendall Standish is a long time friend of Samantha’s and previous cabaret singer in New York and Chicago.  Kendall has orchestrated the caroling on board the main wagon pulled by 2 beautiful belgian drafts provided by Tommy Flowers of Black Legs Farm located in Blackville, SC.


The Christmas Spirit continues to thrive in this horse crazy town.  No wonder Aiken has been classified as one of the best southern towns to live in.

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