A group of riders here in North County will be in a parade this summer and they are going through a series of classes in order to be confidant with their equine partners on the asphalt in front of hundreds of noisy unpredictable Parade Watchers. There were about twenty riders participating. They marched in 5 rows of 4 riders across, down an imaginary parade route that we adorned with balloons, baby strollers, bicycles, loud radios, umbrellas...along with a half dozen or so people doing various over-exaggerated movements and noises. There was even a braying donkey on the route. Most of the horses were solid and kept under control. There were three that I could see, who were having problems. Most riders were able to stay focused and calm, being the confidant leader their horses needed.
I surprised myself and my friends with the loud annoying "act" I put on. I am a basically quiet person most of the time. But, those of you who know me, know that I can have a very loud voice, and I am basically a dork. I wore my big white hat, that I pulled off and waved at the horses, I opened and closed umbrellas, swung a pool noodle around, shook out my blanket, swung a lead rope (that one got nixed), played Johnny Cash way too loud. We all clapped and whistled and yelled and screeched as the parade passed us by.
Last week the Fire Department worked with the riders. All the bells, alarms, loud engine sounds, sirens and people in bright yellow gear with funny hats running around. They tell me it was a pretty freaky time for the horses and their riders.
Next week, if they invite me back, I plan to bring dogs and kids. And maybe my llama.