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COLUMBIA CITY â€” Annie Morsches of Columbia City will be part of presidential history. As a member of Culver Academyâ€™s 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 academyâ€™s 100th year of participation in the inauguration. In 1913, the Black Horse Troop, Culver Academyâ€™s 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, Culverâ€™s 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 sheâ€™s thought about since she was a little girl.
â€śMy dad, Franz, went to Culver and was a rider,â€ť Morsches said. â€śHe was in the 1977 parade. I wanted to be just like him. Getting a chance to be in the parade is so amazing.â€ť
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.
â€śWeâ€™ve been practicing since before Thanksgiving break,â€ť Morsches said. â€śWhen we get back from winter break, we will start practicing three times a week.â€ť
One of the key components in preparing for the event is acclimating the horses to the sights and sounds on that day. â€śWe have to make sure the horses get comfortable with people cheering and crowd noise. Weâ€™ve brought in sirens so the horses can get used to police car sounds and even had people talking into microphones so the horses wonâ€™t get spooked by the commotion,â€ť said Morsches.
Recently the troop was showcased in the opening ceremonies at the World Equestrian Games.
â€śThis is like the Olympics for horses,â€ť Morsches said. â€śThat is probably one of the biggest highlights of being in the troop.â€ť
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