The holiday season has officially begun in Corrales, but not before lightning threatened to cancel the Christmas de Los Caballos Parade on Sunday afternoon.

About 20 people from Corrales, other parts of Sandoval County and Albuquerque came with their decked out horses and ponies to the annual parade.

“It’s just something fun to do,” said Bob Sprenger, who rode “Smarty,” a 22-year-old grade horse.

The parade, which had been on hold the last couple of years due to COVID-19, marked the start of the Corrales Fire Department’s annual Christmas Toy and Food Drive, which serves families in the area.

The entry fee was a new unwrapped toy.

It appeared early on that the event might get called off, as rain started to fall and lightning cropped up across the area. Village of Corrales Deputy Fire Chief Tanya Lattin said she was about 20 minutes away from canceling the event.

Lattin said she told everyone that she would stop the event if the lightning continued.

“I’m not going to risk people getting struck but you tell me if the horses are good and they were like ‘No, we’re good with the rain.’”

About a half-hour later, the storm moved on. People got on their horses inside the Wagner’s Farm Stand parking lot, got on Corrales Road, rode down to Double S Road and turned toward just outside TopForm Arena, where Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted kids and other guests.

People from all age groups rode including a 9-year-old Corrales boy and the first place winner in the parade’s “Most Funny” category, Caleb Hill. Dressed as “The Grinch,” Hill rode on Sugar Bear, a 20-year-old retired roping horse.

Before the parade started, he admitted he was “kind of nervous.”

“We’ve really been looking forward to it,” his mom Nicole Hill added.

Jayme Rickard came from Rio Rancho to ride with her niece Jaleh Mosher, a recipient of the 2023 Grit & Grace Leadership Scholarship.

Grit & Grace is a non-profit that is aligned with Professional Bull Riders, which focuses on equipping young ladies to be strong leaders.

Rickard and Mosher rode on quarter horses dressed up as carousel horses.

“I really like seeing the costumes and I am curious how many people were going to come watch,” Mosher said about the parade.

Other people came with their mini ponies like David Zaccaria, who brought 7-year-old Chico. Co-first place finishers in the “Most Festive” category, Kaysie Jo Moeller, 4, and her 2-year-old cousin Kendelyn Jo Rollins, rode on their horses Mocha and Hercules who wore presents, candy canes and Santa caps.

The next holiday event in Corrales will be the tree lighting ceremony that will happen at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Village Administrative Complex, 4324 Corrales Road. There will be music and people will have another chance to contribute to the fire department’s toy drive.