How would you prepare a horse for a parade? My horse is pretty tolerant, hardly spooks on the trail. If she does get startled, she jumps to the side and then is fine, or stops and stares. We'd be in a group with other horses. Is there anything I should do to prepare her for a parade? Thanks!
The things we have had around us in parades are things such as flags, bikes, car horns and sirens and flashing lights.
Well, she's good with bikes and flags. We live near a road and cars seem fine. I'll see about getting my dad to drive by and make a ton of noise with his sports car when I'm walking my mare. Maybe we'll do a fake parade in the yard...hmm, that could be fun.
Just be confident yourself and keep your attention on your horse, not the crowd. Take a pail of soapy water and one with rinse water. It seems that with all the activity before the parade starts the horse gets the desire to unload and it's often runny and splashes the legs. I think it's the horse getting back at us.
Get her used to firecrackers. I've been in hundreds of parades (was with a marching band) and a lot of young teens think it's funny to throw firecrackers and smoke bombs under the horse's feet.
Good grief, people are that annoying? Well, the marching band purposely spooked my friends' horse once...sent her rearing and everything. The crowd thought it was great. =P I'll have to get some stuff like that and practice with my horse.
I hate parades and have done a few with the draft horse and carriage.....NEVER EVER again...
So I suggest to you, and hope, that you have great insurance. I am not trying to be rude or snarky, but with how today's society is and how people just do not think, rather safe than sorry. When I did parades I had coverage for a million dollars....
^ during my mini mare's first parade I had her under cart, and she was still fairly green (had about 6 months of driving done, but only 4 years old) some crazy woman decided that it would be a great idea to run up to us in the middle of the parade and plop her 5-6 year old child on my mare's back...while walking, while attached to the cart- with no warning at all! I couldn't believe it! Thankfully my mare is quite used to kids and didn't do much more than flatten her ears (she's NEVER had a person on her back before and I'd hoped to keep it that way O_o) but it could have been a big mess.
So just make sure your mare is used to relying on you in scary situations. Theres no way you can desensitize her to every possible scenario in a parade, so be sure she knows to look to you when something scares her. Parades can be fun, but not if your horse doesn't know how to react.
Best of luck. I did my 1st parade last year and the marching band nearly did me in.
We were pretty good up until then, even with the popping balloons, and sirens.
My suggestion desensitize your horse, ride her everywhere and ride her alone. It will help build up the trust between the two of you.
Oh & don't change your tack the day before. I made that mistake also.
I agree with getting her used to cars, and loud noises, also: clapping. That set a couple of horses off at their first parade. Luckily we only do one a year but when my mare went to her first one (and she doesn't really get worked up at all) we went with a group (the same one now we go with every year lol) an dthat really helped her. She was prancy and a bit uppity but after doing this once a year for a couple of years she now just plods along. Thankfully I've not had anything crazy really happen. Just be prepared to handle her if she acts up and I would suggest going in a group if you can to help her out, other then the desensitizing work it should go okay. I've found that you can prepare all you want but there's always that unexpected twist. haha good luck! They really can be a lot of fun!
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