Saturday, July 4, 2009

Calgary Stampede Parade

Well, this was our first parade (Silver and myself) - I guess it's go big or go home! Silver did excellent. We were up by 4am this morning, to arrive at the compound by 6am. By 7am we were all tacked/hitched up, judged, then it was all standing around and waiting. The day dawned cloudy and chilly, but the sun burned off all the clouds nicely for a bright and sunny parade day. Our horses had to wait a good solid 3 hours before our group (number 126 or so) finally hit the parade route sometime after 10am (parade officially began at 8:55am). Silver and I hit the road only to have a bit of a tack change though - he wanted to gogogo (poor Silver, a very forward horse anyways, couldn't understand why he couldn't just move out, why he had to walk at this snail pace!! haha) and wasn't happy with my trying to gently pull him up in the curb (we work primarily off of weight shifts, so I normally very rarely touch his mouth - with a curb he usually asks for a very very long, droopy rein from me to work, which works very well actually... furthermore, we're still a work-in-progress with the curb), so I raced back to the trailer and changed out his curb for a snaffle of similar style (almost exactly the same, actually, just no shanks), which he was much happier with. I couldn't find the Happy Mouth in time, so my friend missed out unfortunately. Then we spent a good 10 minutes or so jogging to catch up to our group!! We jogged past chinese dragons winding their way down the street, bands, banners, flags, dancers, army tanks, other horses in costume, balloons, - all sorts of stuff. I sat deep in my seat and prayed Silver would stay true and follow my leadership - one wrong step, one shy, could have meant going into the huge crowd and possibly hurting people. Silver looked, but never once flinched, and held true!! I was extremely proud of him. We even got to pretend we were Andalusians at one point when we got stuck for a few steps at one particularly crowded and slow corner ;P Once we were caught up, Silver was keen on keeping at a solid walk, which just wasn't possible. He did very well though and did for the most part eventually figure out what I wanted and respond nicely... especially given how little prep work we have been able to put in prior to such a large event. Needless to say, I was very proud of Silver!! At home, he took in a well-deserved roll.

We rode with Fort Calgary. Twist and Gypsy's owner at the reins (on the right in the front seat) is the one who generously extended the invitation to Silver and I to attend the parade. Two Clyde x mares, a mother-daughter team.

Hurry up and wait! Sitting around for 3+ hours... A friend and I as Fort Calgary outriders, my friend on Hombre, a 6yo QHx (great-looking horse who also handled the parade very well!!)

Silver and I - hurry up and wait! Just hitting the road, Silver checking out the peoples.

Sunday I start up work again with all the horses and will follow a schedule I've set up for the next few weeks. Tomorrow, it's Gypsy, Twist, Sunny, Silver, Missy, and (hopefully) Link. Adiosa amigosas!!

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