It happens every year and, while it's sad for tourists, it's a welcomed break to the horses.

'Tis the season for the horses who work so hard throughout the year to make their way to their winter homes and take a much-needed break. Starting on Labor Day, the Mackinac Island horses are gradually moved off the island via boat.

They're taken across the Straits of Mackinac to the UP to heated barns at private farms in areas like Newberry and Pickford, and some are brought to the lower peninsula.

According to their handlers, the horses have no problem boarding the ferry in the fall but are not quite as keen to board in the spring.During their working summer, the horses can eat up to 50,000 calories in one day. At the beginning of the season, they're paired up with a partner that they keep until the end of their "seasonal" job. Each ferry that departs the island can hold up to 30 horses.

"It's interesting to see how the horses interact with each other. It's almost as if they know that they are coming off for the winter to get their must deserved break from the summer activity on Mackinac Island," Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry Office Operations Manager Andrea Green told UpNorthLive. "We take great pride in the safety of the horses and the safety or our crews are our number one priority."
Until next year, you gorgeous, majestic creatures. Thanks for another great Michigan summer.
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