Horses Help Couple With Wedding Photo Session in Beach Haven

Sep 28, 2016
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Two horses made a special appearance in Beach Haven Saturday, both at Veterans Memorial Park and on the Amber Street beach, to take part in a photo session prior to a private wedding ceremony at the Boathouse Restaurant.

The horses were transported from Windfall Farm Dressage, a 65-acre boarding facility in Bridgeton, Upper Deerfield Township, owned by Jennifer Allen, a personal friend of the wedding couple. Allen’s horse, Fenomenaal (Dutch spelling), is a 6-year-old gray KWPN (an acronym in Dutch that means Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands) mare; joining her was Tori, a 20-year-old chestnut Swedish Warmblood mare, owned by Eileen Keller of Manahawkin.

Permission to have them on the beach was obtained from the borough of Beach Haven a year in advance, and local authorities were notified. Lt. James Markoski said it was no problem “as long as you clean up after them.”

Both of the horses specialize in dressage, a highly skilled form of riding performed in exhibition and competition; neither horse has ever participated in a wedding before, and neither has ever set foot on a beach or seen the ocean.

“We’re planning on bringing the horses at least an hour early to acclimate them to the ocean sounds,” Keller explained beforehand. “I’m not entirely worried about Tori’s reaction; she’s usually fairly sensible about most new encounters. She’s also a good leader for other, not-so-confident horses.” Keller uses her on trail rides to accompany friends’ horses who are less brave. The farm groom, an experienced rider of more challenging horses, was on hand to assist with Fenominaal, who “loves her ‘papa.’”

Keller explained both horses would undergo “a very intense washing process to make them clean enough not to soil the wedding clothes of the happy couple.”

Officiating at the ceremony was Deb Whitcraft of the NJ Museum of Maritime History in Beach Haven.  —V.F.

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