WAYLAND — If there’s one thing Brett Miles knows, it’s horses. He owns 10 altogether but for the horse-drawn wagon rides around Wayland on Wednesday, Nov. 28, he brought his best four.
Miles has his horses on his farm just outside of town. He said they start small, first pulling bags of hay, then moving up until they’re comfortable enough to start pulling a wagon.
“It can take anywhere from a day to a year but if you can do it in 30-60 days you’re doing something right,” he said.
However, in the 22-degree weather, not all horses seemed so comfortable. From where they were tied up on the transport trailer, parked across the street from Wayland City Hall, they pulled and thrashed their heads, either anxious to get warmed up or to get going.
This is Miles’ second year in Wayland but he’s been providing rides for years. Last week he had his crew in Washington for their holiday parade.
“We used to do weddings but then we decided it’s too cold in winter,” he said about his experiences.
As another horse pulled on the thick knotted rope holding them in place, he put one hand, covered in a white leather glove, on its back and calmed it down, while pulling down the black beanie on his own head to cover his ears. His tall black rubber boots sloshed through the snow as we walked to the next one, talking to them gently.
Miles said it takes about an hour to get them ready to go from start to finish. The harnesses they use to pull are no different from their regular ones, he says, but connecting the horses together then to the wagon proves to be a challenge when the horses don’t want to cooperate.
At 5:30 p.m. on the dot Barbra Streisand’s rendition of “Jingle Bells” comes through the loudspeakers on the main street. He unhooked his first two and walked them around in a circle, leading them to the wagon. In order for the horses to be attached to the wagon, he needed them to walk backward, which would have been easy if they cooperated. He bent his knees and slid along the ice-covered street as the horses pulled him forward while he tried his best to get them to move backward.
After a short game of tug of war, Miles won and got them moved back and attached successfully. A small crowd began to gather inside and out of City Hall, anxious to start their Christmas season off right with a ride around town.