Parades can be stressful, especially for those who are behind-the-scenes.
Overall appearance, from your horse to your own attire, is planned down to the minute detail to ensure that you make your best impression and, hopefully, pick up some loot and prizes at the end.
There is no better master of the parade-ready appearance than the rodeo queen. And why wouldn’t they be the experts? These ladies have realized, and regularly employ the idea, that with an arsenal of hairspray, bobby pins, and glitter (lots of glitter) anything is possible.
If you and your horse plan to participate in a 4th of July event this weekend, a refresher course in parade-prep will make the experience quicker, and more enjoyable.
Here are some tricks, and a list of preparation essentials that I've compiled over the years.
Pack the Essentials
Along with your regular grooming items such as brushes, detangler, and combs these are the little items to pack ahead of time in your trailer, or in your grooming bag, that will make your prep stress-free:
·Safety pins. To pin your number to your saddle pad and to close a hole in your shirt.
· Shoe laces/leather string. To tie serapes, flowers, garland, and any other odd item to your saddle and tack.
·Bobby pins. To pin back flyaway hairs and to keep your hat on in windy conditions. (Remove the rubber ends and push up into your inner hat brim with some hair, it should feel snug.)
· Tampons. High school marching bands and fire engines. Need I say more? Tampons are perfect earplugs. (Cotton balls from the craft store are also effective.)
· Adhesive spray.Great for body or hoof glitter, and is easily taken off with adhesive remover found in the cattle department of your local feed store.
·Hairspray.For your hair and your horse’s (also an effective adhesive for glitter). Colored hairspray can be used in your horse’s mane or tail and is cheaper than extensions.
·Vaseline. A little on your teeth makes it easier to smile even when your mouth is dry.
· Show spray. Even after a thorough bath, a little show sheen or pink oil will adds extra shine for a polished look.
· Stain remover. Whether you prefer cowboy magic or wet wipes, green stains on your horse’s whites aren’t the most attractive parade accessory.
· Extra towels. This is for the quick wipe-down before you head to line up. Wipe up eye and nose boogers, dust off your horse’s hooves, and your own boots.
· Hoof paint. Black for dark feet, clear polish for all others. Glitter is also a nice option. Have you picked up a theme, yet? Glitter.
Last Minute To-Dos
Here are a few stay-cool tips that you can implement on parade day:
·Extra clothes.Grooming, saddling, "glittering," and sweating are all a part of the process. Shorts, a tank top, and tennis shoes are great attire for prep. And, you'll be thankful for a change of clothes at the end of the route.
· Water. It’s July, folks. It’s hot. You may be lucky enough to get a free water along the parade route, but don’t count on it. Tuck your water into your flowers or under your saddle gullet during the parade. Don’t forget extra water for your horse, either!
· Extra hands. Sometimes scheduling conflicts mean you’ll be at it alone, but if you can find them, an extra pair of hands will do wonders to speed up the process. A helper will also catch dirty spots you may've missed, like the nose slime your horse smeared down your back.