Hugh Francis and his dark bay OTTB Piper Heidsieck often haunt the Old Dutch Church Cemetery in Westchester, N.Y. this time of the year.
Francis, a retired mounted police officer, enjoys donning the Headless Horseman costume to help celebrate the holiday.
He tapped Piper for the very special role of ‘spooky black horse’ a few years back, after a friend gave up on him. He was just too hard to handle. But in Francis’s hands, the gelding proved to be no spook at all. In fact, says Francis, “There’s nothing wrong with the horse at all. He’s just a high-powered Thoroughbred.”
Piper’s racehorse identity is not known, his identifying lip tattoo has been blurred with time. So Francis named him for his favorite vintage of champagne. And now horse and rider are the toast of the Halloween season!
In this photo, photographer Holly Limoges captured the essence of the unflappable OTTB, who has grown at ease in a commotion.
Says Limoges, “This Thoroughbred stood like a saint for photos with the crowds for hours in this famous cemetery at Sleepy Hollow where Washington Irving is buried.”
The duo appears at the cemetery every Saturday and Sunday during the month of October, beginning in the late afternoon.