MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) — Automobiles are not permitted on Michigan's Mackinac Island. Horses most certainly are.
In fact, the equines are vital. Without them, transportation on the island would be virtually nonexistent.
But most of the 500 horses that haul people and cargo around the northern tourist hotspot each summer don't live there in the cold-weather months — they overwinter on farms elsewhere in the state.
When April and May roll around and the Coast Guard clears away all the remaining ice from the Straits of Mackinac, the horses return to Mackinac via ferry, around a dozen at a time.
It's an annual rite of spring that longtime Mackinac Island livery worker Mark "Beau" Bielinski says "leads to the excitement" of the busy tourist season to come.