New Castle County on Monday announced the cancellation of the annual “Santa and His Pony” event, planned for Saturday at Carousel Park & Equestrian Center in Pike Creek.
“We deeply regret having to cancel this popular holiday program, but we have no choice because of an illness among the horses,” County Executive Thomas P. Gordon said. “We love our equestrian programs and horses, including the tremendous Clydesdales and Percheron that serve our community as members of the New Castle County Police Mounted Patrol Unit, so we would not take any chances with their health or that of other horses.”
Over the weekend, a few of the horses based at the county park on Limestone Road were found to have temperatures and veterinarians determined they have a virus, said General Manager Sophia Hanson of the county Department of Community Services.
The species-specific illness is not life-threatening to the horses, Hanson said. But because of the risk of the virus spreading, even from hay that event guests might step, then track the virus to horses at other stables, the cancellation was unavoidable, she added.
Riding lessons, trail rides and cross-country course riding at the park also are canceled until further notice. Out of an abundance of caution, the county also has closed the park’s Kids Corral animal visiting program.
County officials regret any inconvenience caused by the cancellation.
They also invite families that planned to attend “Santa and His Pony” to come see Santa on Friday night at the Tree Lighting at Glasgow Regional Park at U.S. 40 and Del. 896.
Friday’s festivities there run 6-9 p.m., with Gordon leading the traditional tree lighting at 7 p.m. by the newly restored Glasgow Park Bank Barn. There will be live music, bonfires, refreshments and make-and-take crafts in Santa’s Workshop. Guests are encouraged to bring cameras for their children’s visits with Santa.
New this year will be the Festive Holiday Market, featuring area vendors with a wide variety of local foods, gifts, holiday decorations and more. The market opens at 5 p.m.
While visiting Glasgow Regional Park, Gordon also invites guests to check out the recently dedicated “H!GH 5 PARK,” the county’s special playground created to address the needs of children on the autism spectrum -- the first facility of its kind in Delaware and surrounding states. For GPS, Glasgow Regional Park’s address is 2275 Pulaski Highway, Newark, DE 19702.