Gerry Scott of Saco and his black Fresian horse, Hercules, appear in this undated photo.

A Maine man and his horse will help lead Boston’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade this Sunday. 

Retired U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Gerry Scott of Saco and his black Friesian horse, Hercules, will be close to the front, leading the military division of the parade. 

Scott, who also rode with Hercules in Portland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade last Sunday, said he is excited that the Boston event is returning after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic. 

His organization, Horses Over America, teams up with police departments to bring Hercules and other horses to locations across New England, including Bath, Portland and Saco, to address regional mental health problems.

“He’s the one I take to all these boys and girls clubs, all these hospitals, all these nursing homes,” Scott said. “He’s a happiness machine. It’s like magic.” 

And now, 11-year-old Hercules and Scott, an Irish-American Mainer, will play an important role in New England’s largest celebration of Irish heritage.

“Parades are an unbelievable part of American culture,” Scott said. “If you’re a veteran, parades matter. If you’re a mom, and want to take your kids to something that doesn’t cost money, parades matter.”