With families in the midst of their Easter traditions, kids from near and far visited Happy on Hooves Saturday for a nontraditional egg hunt.
The business, located on Mount Carmel Road in Hampstead, hosted the inaugural Easter Egg Hunt on Horseback. Owners Mike and Amanda Medvetz planned to have the event rain or shine, and luckily for everyone involved, Mother Nature came through. Though attendees trudged through some soggy grounds from the storms the night before, it didn’t dampen their spirits.
“I used to do this for my own children (who are now grown) and wanted to share it with the community,” Amanda said.
Closing the business for their normal weekend trail riding, the owners planned three time slots for groups to register. There were 30 children registered for the first time slot at 10 a.m.
Some of the events kids could take part in included a bunny ear toss, egg roll race, feed sack race, lasso the bull, bean bag toss and a photo station. After checking in, visiting the horses in their stables and playing some of the games, the crowd eventually migrated to the area where the egg hunt would take place.
As they waited for the actual hunt, Holly and Mike Hess, of New Windsor, and their children, Makayla, 5 and Brantley, 2, visited the horses in their stalls.
“I’m excited for the eggs,” said Makayla, “and I’m looking forward to the Easter Bunny visiting, too.”
A line formed as parents wrangled their excited children and waited patiently. The kids watched others getting their turns and enjoyed looking at the other horses in the adjoining paddock area as well as the emu that was running around. The kids laughed as the emu tried reaching through the fence to steal his own egg from the box of eggs to be used in the hunt.
“I’m most excited to ride a horse,” said Delia Lleras, 8, of Hampstead, “and for the eggs.” She was there with her brother Diego Lleras, 10 and mother Jennifer Lleras, all of Hampstead.
There was no age limit to ride but young riders had a handler walk with them, as they walked alongside the horse; and parents could walk or pay to ride with them as well. Strategically placed baskets of plastic eggs filled with treats were hung on trees around the riding area and the guides would stop along the way, so children were able to grab their prizes and add to their loot. A total of 1,200 eggs placed for the kids to find/collect.
“All the horses we use are all rescue horses,” Amanda said. “Most are older horses, with the youngest being 9 years old.”
There were four horses that were being used as escorts through the egg hunt course. All the money raised from the event went back to Happy on Hooves, to help pay for the horses.
Though the Easter Bunny couldn’t attend the event, some of the horses were wearing bunny ears, which amused the kids.
When his parents, Nicole and Adam Layman, asked Cade Layman, 2 ½, what you say when you ride a horse, Cade exclaimed with wonder, “Yeehaw!”
“It was my first time,” Cade, of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, said. “It wasn’t scary.”
For a lot of the kids, this was their first time on a horse. That included 4-year-old Tegan Price, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, who enjoyed her first time on a horse and exclaimed, “I have to ride again and have to learn before I can go fast.”
Julia Kail, 3, of Westminster, enjoyed her ride with Marco has her mom, Rachel, watched. After her ride, also her first on a horse, she was all smiles.
“I had fun picking eggs,” said Kail, “and he didn’t scare me, just went slow.”
The group of kids was thinning out as most had already had their turn and were heading out with their family.
One of the last riders was 4-year-old Faith Higgins, of New Jersey, who was, with her parents, visiting family in Monkton.
“My favorite was the eggs,” Faith said. Her parents remarked she has ridden ponies before but not a horse.