Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. True or false: To keep it pristine, you shouldn’t ride in your new parade saddle until the day of the parade.

T / F

2. One of the biggest challenges your horse will face in a parade is…

A) the noise from vehicles and spectators.

B) the flapping of flags and other colorful banners.

C) the impatience of waiting for the parade to start.

D) All of the above, of course!

3. What is THE most important advance check concerning your parade costume?

A) That it coordinates with the theme of the parade.

B) That the colors flatter you—but also your horse.

C) That your horse is well familiarized with it.

4. If, despite your best pre-prep efforts, you arrive at the parade and your horse is overreacting to it, your best course of action is to…

A) just do the best you can, as quitting now would only send the wrong message.

B) ask around to see if there’s a veterinarian available to administer a sedative to your horse.

C) skip riding in the parade and use whatever time you spend there as a training session.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct—but you knew that! Always, always give new tack a thorough testing-out prior to whatever event you’ll be using it for. The day of the parade is not when you want to discover something rubs or pinches, giving even your well-mannered horse a reason to act up. (Speaking of saddles and such, here’s the most beautiful parade tack you’ve ever seen.)

2. D is correct. Parades offer many and diverse challenges to your horse. That’s why proper preparation is so important. (Looking for how-to tips? Let a pro teach you how to parade-proof your horse.)

3. C is correct. If you’ll be riding in costume, be sure to desensitize your horse to any elements of your get-up that may unnerve him. (For example, parts of this exquisite Native American parade bridle might necessitate a bit of pre-parade desensitizing.)

4. C is correct. Play it safe. There’ll be other parades and it makes no sense to endanger yourself, your horse, and possibly others. The experience your horse gains just from being around the excitement at the parade’s staging area will still be a valuable training experience. (Read about one memorable parade experience plus other childhood fun with horses.)

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