Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Berthoud Day Parade

Seeing as how it's the 4th of July, I couldn't resist posting about our recent parade. June 3rd is Berthoud Days, the biggest event held in our little town. Typical town event with pancake breakfast, a fun run, parade, vendor booths then a concert that night. Makes for a long day.

We signed up for a booth, and also to be in the parade. Since the horses were going to be there anyways, we asked if we could park our trailer next to our booth and then have the horses there after the parade. They said that would be fine and set us up with an edge booth site. Unfortunately, we didn't hear about this until the night before, but we worked it out. Dave and Roger went over early to drop off the table and tent stuff, and get the scoop on the parade. It wasn't until they were coming back that they figured out that the street to our booth was to be shut off at 10 - before we were planning on leaving for the parade! So that caused us a big huge panic. There was no way we'd be able to load the horses and get the trailer to the booth before the streets shut down. So we adapted and decided we didn't have to have the trailer. I grabbed the rest of the booth stuff and the dogs and parked the car next to the booth spot, then walked the dogs back over to where Dave, Ginger and Roger were unloading the horses.

This was the second serious faux pass of the day. They parked the trailer where there were several other sets of horses off loading as well. We know all the horses were to be grouped at the end of the parade, so that looked like a logical place. It wasn't. It soon became clear that we were near the front of the staging area. So Ginger and I got up to ride down to the end where we'd rendezvous with Dave and Roger in the truck.

HA! Easier said than done. I had been nervous enough about riding in the parade, but that was a piece of cake with everyone organized and going the same direction and pace. Trying to walk down from one end of the staging area to the other was easily any horse's nightmare. People milling all over the road, balloons and flags flying, marching bands standing around or practicing, honking horns, ATVs and Motorcycles zooming all over... And the first thing we had to do was cross across traffic on the main drag.

We'd taken Shadow again, because he was such the trooper for the Parade of Lights. We also took Romeo, since Harley wasn't such a trooper last time. Tacking up we didn't know what Romeo was going to do, but he was seeming pretty agitated. Ginger mentioned that she might well be getting off to lead him through the parade.

But we pushed on... and kept passing obstacle after obstacle without any serious complaints from the horses. They pretty much took most things in stride. Romeo, the ding dong, did his biggest spook -- at the big rocks surrounding one business's driveway. Seriously, Romeo - it's a ROCK.

Half way down that street we came upon a huge empty lot where all the folks who'd done this before knew to park their trailers and stage the horses. Gee! Would have been really handy to know this!!!! So we stopped there to hang out and our guys definitely preferred that company.

We didn't know where the truck was, but as all the horses were to be at the back of the parade, we figure it'd show up eventually. But then someone came around saying all the horses were to get ready and all go to their spot -- at the front of the parade. Huh? We said no thank you, we're riding with our float. So they all left us. If you know anything about riding in a group, horses do not like being left behind by the others. Eich. We finally resorted to letting them graze since that was the only thing that would divert their attention.

It was a very long, hot wait, because unfortunately a boy in the parade was injured, so we all had to wait for the ambulance. (He wasn't seriously injured). Finally the truck showed up and we snuck into line behind him. I don't remember who was driving the float behind us but they were very considerate and gave us a lot of room. But like I said, the parade itself was a piece of cake!

After the parade Ginger and I just rode over to the booth area, expecting Dave and Roger to come over to drop off the muck bucket, water bucket, the halters, etc. Well, not exactly.

During the parade some spectators pointed out that our truck was leaking coolant. Dave had Roger turn off the AC, but all that idling and very slow driving was more than it could take. At least it made it through the parade, but as soon as it stopped, it wouldn't start again. So they set about walking around town to get fluids and getting the thing running. That took an hour or more. Meanwhile we had two people and two horses and a booth to manage. Wow, that was fun.

Eventually the guys showed up, we got the horses bridles off of them and a drink of water, and the rest of the afternoon -- all 2 hours of it -- went really well!

Animals are of course a big attraction, so having them there was a really big draw. That was Ginger's stroke of genius. Not to mention that it's a natural segue to say and oh, you have dogs? So we kept up a steady booth business all day.

I ended up running home mid afternoon to take our dogs home and also to let the kennel dogs out for a bit. Then I came back first in the afternoon as well since we had a kennel customer checking out at 5:00. Good thing this was our local parade and we were so close. It was a long day packed lots of hurry up and then wait. But it was a success overall.



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