By Liz Witbeck
Weddings are among the most celebrated events in people’s lives. Some people spend thousands of dollars to create a lifelong memory.
One way to make the celebration memorable is to incorporate horse-drawn carriage rides, adding to the level of romance and drama.
Beth and Steve Podhajecki, owners of Loon Meadow Farm, have been working in the horse and carriage industry for 35 years. People contact them to add their services to special occasions.
The Podhajeckis previously owned and operated the business in Norfolk, Conn. In 2016, the couple decided to move back to Greenfield Center, where Steve is originally from.
“We both wanted to move here,” said Steve. “We were looking at combining our passion of horses with our plans for the future.”
“People don’t do these horse and carriage rides just to get from point A to point B,” said Beth. “They are doing it to make a dramatic effect. You are trying to create a special effect that will enhance the event.”
The Podhajeckis currently own five horses, which have been specially trained for carriage work. Some of the most common events that the horse and carriage rides are used for include weddings, funerals, parades, proms and other festivities.
Loon Meadow Farm also offers private sleigh and carriage rides. Sleigh rides are done on the farm and are followed with a hot cup of mulled cider. Warm weather carriage rides are most often done at the Saratoga Spa State Park, but are also available by special request in Saratoga Springs and the surrounding area.
The couple owns a 153-acre property in Greenfield Center, where they operate the business. The land accommodates the horse-drawn sleigh and carriage rides, as well as a bed-and-breakfast that they run.
One of the events they service that is a bit unique is providing their white mare for baraats. These are wedding processions for the groom that are a traditional in India and Pakistan and getting popular in the United States. The mare is covered in a traditional, colorful costume and the groom rides upon the horse into the wedding ceremony. Horses must be specially trained to handle the loud noises and festivities.
“I love doing ethnic weddings. It’s interesting to see how other cultures celebrate,” said Beth.
When Quinnipiac University was holding an Olympics event, the university commissioned Loon Meadow Farm for the event. Steve created a custom Greek chariot to bring the dean of the college into the ceremony. Beth delivered the dean, holding a lit torch, into the games by driving a pair of white mares while the song “Chariots of Fire” played.
For young children, simply seeing the horses can be an amazing experience.
“I have had children come up to me and say ‘Lady, is that a real horse?’ They aren’t used to seeing such a large animal,” said Beth.
Even celebrities are excited about what Loon Meadow Farm has to offer. Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber shot their “All I Want for Christmas is You” music video in one of the sleighs owned by Loon Meadow Farm, the owners said.
One romantic suitor hired the carriage to meet him and his girlfriend at the club gate after the Travers stakes race at Saratoga Race Course, where he then proposed to his sweetie. After she accepted, together they rode off into the sunset.
“We enjoy bringing something special to an event,” said Steve. “It’s relaxing. We get to see places that we wouldn’t normally encounter.”
The Podhajeckis also operate a bed-and-breakfast on their Greenfield Center property. The building, a large Cape Cod-style home, has three bedrooms, all on the second floor. Each has a horse theme, and each has its own private bathroom. The rooms have free wireless internet, air conditioning and ceiling fans, and a full breakfast is served in the morning.
The couple said that the bed and breakfast has worked out nicely with their horse-drawn rides business. Many people, for example, want to take a romantic sleigh ride, and then stay at the bed and breakfast for a country retreat.
The couple owns many vehicles, including an antique glass-enclosed hearse, which people use for funerals. Among their carriages is a Cinderella carriage, suited for romantic weddings or proms. They also rent out their vehicles.
For more information, visit www.loonmeadowfarm.com or call 893-6116.