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I wasn't horsing around when I said, that I wanted to find out who that beautiful horse was in the Rock Island Labor Day Parade.

There was no way I was going to let it ride off into the sunset.

After a few phone calls, I had my answer. Her name is Jazzmine and her owner is Laura Bina.

She is with Ponies R Us out of Muscatine, Iowa.

Jazzmine weighs in at 1,800 pounds and stands 17 hands tall. A "hand" is a unit of measurement equal to 4 inches, and the height of a horse is measured at the base of the neck.

She is a mixed breed of Percheron and Morgan, and her color is "flea-bitten gray."

Laura got her from an Amish family in Kolona, Iowa, when Jazzmine was just 4 years old, and her color was still black. She is now 19.

When I spotted her for the first time she was pulling the Vis-a-vis carriage in the parade carrying two representatives from Christian Care. The organization was the Citizen of the Year and Grand Marshall of the annual parade.

Jazzmine lives on a farm with about 20 other horses and ponies. There are also two donkeys, a little calf named Baby Moo, and various cats, dogs and ducks. The oldest pony is 23.

It sounds like a very busy place, and the animals have a wonderful place to call home.

Ponies R Us offers pony rides, carriage rides and a petting zoo. Children just love to see and touch the animals.

I was told that now and then a kid might bring a couple of gummi bears or some funnel cake to give them as a treat. Jazzmine wasn't talking, so I didn't hear it from the horse's mouth.

Laura said that on a nice warm day a horse might just want to sunbathe while lying on the ground and on its side.

I asked Laura if she ever talks to the animals, and she said, "Yes." This just seems to be a natural thing for pet owners. It doesn't matter what kind of animal it is. I would have loved to talk to Jazzmine. I would have told her how precious she is and then I might have stolen a kiss. 

When I see well-cared-for animals, it also makes me think about all the animals who don't receive proper care — bless their hearts.

Seeing Jazzmine that day was like magic. It was her size and color that caught my eye. She walked so proudly up the street during the parade.

I am sure after all the hoopla of Labor Day she was happy to get home and spend the rest of the holiday with her barnyard gang. Back on the farm she can kick up her heels, eat some grass and hay, and be proud of herself.

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