- Written by Lynda Vital
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All that running around on Memorial Day had left Harley feeling very frisky. “Sure felt good to let off some steam,” he said to his friend Lucky. “I liked learning about the cavalry horses helping our country as well. I’d sure like to do something extra special to help someone in some way, too, seeing how I have life so good here at Horsefeathers.” Lucky said, “Well, we do help our riders and their families every day, of course.” Ice, who was standing nearby, chimed in. “I was just reading about something fun you might like to investigate”, he said. “It would be a way to have a good time and help people as well. “As you know, Ice is the reader of the Horsefeathers Gang. “Tell us more!” exclaimed Harley.
“Well, seeing how you’re named after a famous motorcycle company, Harley-Davidson, you might like to know that all summer long, they have bike rallies to raise money for charity. People get together on a nice day, plan a picnic and games for families, display their motorcycles, sell raffle tickets, play music, and all kinds of other fun stuff. The main event at most of these rallies is a nice ride through town by all the bikers-it’s kind of like a parade! I bet if the bikers knew there was a horse in the area named Harley, they’d let you tag along. You might even be their mascot!”
“Well, that would sure be right up my alley!” said Harley. “I remember when we were making vacation wishes last summer, I had kind of thought it would be fun to run along-side some of those big bikes, see if I could keep up with them.” “Ha ha,” said his faithful friend, Lucky. “You mean, see if they could keep up with YOU!” Lucky, the new guy in town, was very enamored with his big friend, Harley, and they had fun at turnout together. Lucky was shy at first, but Harley took him under his wing. “I remember when I first came to Horsefeathers, I had a real bad cough, but they fixed me up,” Harley had told Lucky. “They moved Rover out of his stall next to the big door so I could get fresh air. I felt so much better after that. Good ol’ Rover.” He told Lucky that his Mom and her kids loved him very much, but he needed some work and some exercise so they donated him to Horsefeathers. They all volunteered there, so they could still ride him and see him whenever they wanted to. It was a good deal.
Rover, who was kind of lurking around nearby, happened to overhear the whole conversation and offered up his tiny hooves to assist registering Harley for one of the rallies. He was able to use the computer and the phone, only with permission, of course. He found the number of the Harley-Davidson dealership right down the street, and called to ask about the summer schedule. The organizers were a little taken aback when they learned he was hoping to sign up a horse for the event…and little did they know it was also a horse they were speaking to! When they were told the applicant’s name was Harley, though, they got a brilliant idea. “We can write an article about him for the newspaper. It will be good publicity for the event,” they said. “You tell Harley to come on over next Saturday, and bring some pals to cheer for him. We’ll interview him and have his picture in the newspaper. We can even name the event after him!” Harley was as thrilled as could be. Kristi said that he could bring Lucky and Rover and Ice, but she couldn’t spare any more, as Saturday was a busy work day. “That’s OK,” said Big Red. “We can all watch you on the TV News that night.”
Sure enough, when the big day came, the four horses got trailered over to the park for the bike rally. It was just as had been described - lots of big shiny motorcycles, bikers and their gear, good food, music, and games for the kids. And right in the center was a special booth with a sign that said “Meet Harley!” Harley was all decked out in a bright,new saddle pad. He and his pals got to munch grass inside a little portable corral next to the booth. The volunteers had made posters about Harley so people could get to know about his life. One poster said that Harley’s birthday was November 11, which happens to be Veterans’ Day. When he was younger, he used to hang out with race horses and also did western stuff and dressage. He was especially known to have been a brave and confident trail-rider, not afraid to plunge into shoulder-high water if need be. When tested for becoming a therapy horse, he passed with flying colors. He was ridden double backwards, had a person lie on his back AND sit on their knees on his back - without so much as a flinch. He proved himself to be a trustworthy and hard worker on his therapy rides. Lots of people stopped by to admire Harley and his friends, and of course, brought carrots and apples.
Finally the time for the parade came, and Harley was brought out to march alongside the big bikes in the street. The News was there to film the first motorcycle rally to be joined by a horse! The roar of the engines was loud, but of course Harley didn’t mind that at all. He took his place next to the leader of the parade and off they went! The crowd cheered and applauded as the bikers drove off. They drove round and round a big circle in the park and then went out on the road for awhile. Even more people showed up when they saw a horse was involved, so a lot of money was raised that day for charity.
When it was all over, the boys were thanked and loaded up with more treats. “Thanks for helping our charity drive be such a success, Harley,” said the director. “We’ll hope to see you back next year.” All four horses nickered happily, horse language for “You betcha!”