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COLUMBIA CITY ‚ÄĒ Annie Morsches of Columbia City will be part of presidential history. As a member of Culver Academy‚Äôs Equestriennes, Morsches will be saddling up for a Jan. 21 ride down Pennsylvania Avenue as part of the Presidential Inaugural Parade.
This particular parade celebrates the academy‚Äôs 100th year of participation in the inauguration. In 1913, the Black Horse Troop, Culver Academy‚Äôs all-boys program, was the personal escort for Vice President Thomas Marshall, the former governor of Indiana, also from Columbia City. The horse troops have participated in 14 of the last 15 inaugural parades since 1957.
In fact, the Black Horse Troop and the Equestriennes, Culver‚Äôs all-girls troop, are the only groups to represent Indiana in the 2013 parade.
For Morsches, a senior at Culver Academy, the parade is an event that she‚Äôs thought about since she was a little girl.
‚ÄúMy dad, Franz, went to Culver and was a rider,‚ÄĚ Morsches said. ‚ÄúHe was in the 1977 parade. I wanted to be just like him. Getting a chance to be in the parade is so amazing.‚ÄĚ
Since she was four, Morsches has been honing her riding skills. Her love for horses runs in the family.But preparing for the inaugural parade comes with more pressure to perform perfectly.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve been practicing since before Thanksgiving break,‚ÄĚ Morsches said. ‚ÄúWhen we get back from winter break, we will start practicing three times a week.‚ÄĚ
One of the key components in preparing for the event is acclimating the horses to the sights and sounds on that day. ‚ÄúWe have to make sure the horses get comfortable with people cheering and crowd noise. We‚Äôve brought in sirens so the horses can get used to police car sounds and even had people talking into microphones so the horses won‚Äôt get spooked by the commotion,‚ÄĚ said Morsches.
Recently the troop was showcased in the opening ceremonies at the World Equestrian Games.
‚ÄúThis is like the Olympics for horses,‚ÄĚ Morsches said. ‚ÄúThat is probably one of the biggest highlights of being in the troop.‚ÄĚ
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