Friday, December 17, 2010
Parading About Town
Ever since I re-discovered horses I had one goal. I wanted to be riding my horse in a parade. I’ve been in a couple of parades over time. I was Cinderella for our Library’s float in the San Antonio Battle of Flowers parade (which is the 2nd coolest parade in the world). Given that I am a Hispanic woman with a size 9 shoe, it was a bit of a stretch, but the wig and pink ballgown helped me carry it off.
When we moved out to the Lake I discovered that the greatest parade ever was the holiday parade in our town. It was pretty modest in those days, maybe 20 entries, but I envisioned myself riding in there with the County Posse, my horse decked out in ribbons, me with the perfect parade wave to the crowd.
Then I had the horse I’d as soon ride through a mine field than take to a parade. I contented myself with the fact that my children were living out the dream by riding in various floats themselves.
When we got Lily I thought, you know, that horse could ride in a parade, no problem. I began to have a glimmer of hope. I got to be in the parade last year as a pooper scooper, which was DARN CLOSE to actually riding a horse in the parade.
Which is a long way of saying I really, really, really wanted to ride my horse in this year’s Christmas parade. And this year we did. Sierra and I went to the dress rehearsal to make sure none of the horses would over react to bells, ribbons, antlers and hats. We practiced our line up. I knew precisely what problem we’d have. We’d have the problem we had in South Texas.
My horse doesn’t like to stop in a crowd of horses.
Hello. Smokey here. I wouldn’t have to keep going if we weren’t clearly LOSING.
Smokey. It’s not a race. It’s a parade.
Horses are in front of me. That’s a race. And I can take ‘em if you let me.
You really don’t want to be behind the power truck. It makes noises and has crinkly stuff you don’t like.
Mares only like winners.
Mares like geldings with manners.
Yesh. What would you know? Besides if you’re not lead horse, the view never changes.
You stole that from the mush dog blog, didn’t you?
I’m not saying.
The morning of the parade we went to the barn very early. That’s when I knew it. My horse was not in a good space. You know, when you feel your horse is not connected with you? Where you should really just work on simple stuff because anything more complex is going to be a mess? You know, complex things like being in a PARADE?
I did a fancy mane job as he was eating, realizing that the very action of grooming while he was eating was not good. Maybe this is silly, but I think when I groom a horse while they are eating they get… irritated. Do you feel that? It’s like only low man grooms while upper classman eats. I get the feeling that it erodes the sense of leadership. Maybe I’m wrong…
Sure enough I got my other signal. Smokey hesitated to load but we got him in relatively quickly (The next day he loaded perfectly). We traveled over to the staging site, parked and did a little more practice in the field. Smokey decided the antlers were itchy, so we passed on them since he succeeded in flinging them off his head and into the field. If he did that in the parade we’d probably bean a toddler or something.
We headed to our spot in the line up. We were #19. Here’s where it got really fun. There were 60 entries. We got to ride past #60 through #5 to get to our designated staging for the parade area in the line up. So it was a mini desensitization clinic complete with screaming children, decorated golf carts whizzing by, flapping decorations, a giant snow man, and really loud Christmas music.
For a crabby horse who was NOT IN THE MOOD FOR THIS, Smokey did amazingly well. Stopping wasn’t really an option (which is why we are working on stopping….)
We should have galloped through that stuff. It was crazy.
It wasn’t that bad.
Ha! How about the crinkly stuff that kept moving like upside down grass?
Yeah! Clearly dangerous. Probably tastes bad too.
So, anyway, we practiced the move we’d do in the parade. Turn around to burn off some energy. Stop for .5 seconds.
We stopped for AGES.
Riiight. Finally we cleared the gauntlet and hung out, waiting for the parade to start. We stood still but periodically decided to walk around for a while.
I don’t get why we had to wait. I mean, I was ready.
After the confederate air force did it’s roaring low fly over…
I was totally fine with that, I’d like the record to show…
True. You did great. After that, we headed out. We did well, all things considered, and I suspect most people thought I was just doing some fancy footwork. At one point Smokey slipped on the asphalt and finally seemed to get the value of slowing down.
I hated that slipping thing. Why you insist on riding on such surfaces is beyond me.
But all in all, I was very proud of him.
I had the best mane, too.
You sure did.