From Saint Patricks Day to the Easter Holidays, if there is a parade occurring there is a high chance horses will be involved. Why? Because a horse parade always draws a crowd! It’s all part of the excitement and attraction. For those who have had the opportunity to ride in a parade, you will know it is just as exhilarating to be a part of, as it is to watch.
And rest assured, those horses that you see marching with pride while staying cool as a cucumber, haven’t just stepped off the float unprepared. They’ve been trained, conditioned and desensitized so those marching bands, loud crowds, car engines and the occasional balloon popping won’t deter or spook.
And let’s not let the horse take all of the credit. Parades give the riders an opportunity to showcase their best show saddles with all of the trimmings. Not the mention the beautiful and often handcrafted costumes.
To honour all of the horses who have marched before, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourites to add to your parade bucket list.
Tournament of Roses Parade – Also known as the Rose Parade. Held every New Years Day in Pasadena, California. Horses have been a part of this parade since the beginning in 1890. And the parade draws an International television audience in over 100 countries.
Elks Helldorado Parade – with roots dating back to 1934, this Las Vegas parade is a great non-profit event that raises much-needed funds for local children and veterans. Held annually in May, the events include a parade, carnival and rodeo.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans – one of the most famous processions in the world. Horses traditionally were used to draw the wagons of the notorious and aristocrat. Today they are celebrated alongside all of the colour and sparkle that is New Orleans. This year’s parade, recently held in February featured Budweiser’s very own Clydesdales.
Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, Boston – the second largest parade in the U.S. This parade attracts an enormous crowd, and it could have something to do with Boston being known as the capital of Irish America. The parade dates back to the first official Boston parade where dignitaries rode in on their horse-drawn carriages to the city’s very own hall where they were wined and dined on the St Patrick’s Day Banquet. To this day, you will still see the horse drawn wagons leading the South Boston’s street parade each March.
And last but not least is the Calgary Stampede Parade. The Stampede is held every July in Calgary, Alberta and attracts over one million visitors each year. The parade is held at the beginning of the ten-day event and signifies the official opening. With marching bands and over one hundred floats, the parade stars hundreds of horses from around the world. And we’ve saved the best until last here. The stampede is also home to the Calgary tradition of Horse Poop Bingo! Every year, grids are painted on a section of road on the parade route. Spectators can purchase a ticket for a corresponding grid. If a horse happens to poop on the grid during the parade, the winner splits their prize with a local charity. What a great way to help out a worthy cause!
And on the subject of “horsing around”. A YouTube search will bring up countless clips of horses behaving badly. After all, every horse does have its “off” day.