Horse Power – High-stepping Down Colorado Boulevard

Since the first Rose Parade® in 1890, horses have played a special role in America’s New Year Celebration®. From pulling flower-covered carriages to providing “horse power” for the first floats, the role of equestrian units has evolved over time. Despite the advent of motorized vehicles and technology, today’s highly trained equestrian units remain an integral component of the Rose Parade line-up.

Carefully selected each year, equestrian units highlight a variety of horse breeds, skilled riders (sporting eye-catching costumes) and hand-crafted tack to add to the entertainment value of the Rose Parade and the annual Equestfest. While traditional equestrian units in the Tournament of Roses® history were comprised primarily of horses, the 2015 Rose Parade equestrian roster included a unique entry made up entirely of mules!

The United States Forest Service celebrates wilderness management mules as an equestrian unit in the 2015 Rose Parade presented by Honda on January 1, 2015.

The United States Forest Service celebrates wilderness management mules as an equestrian unit in the 2015 Rose Parade presented by Honda on January 1, 2015.

The United States Forest Service equestrian unit featured 23 Sorrel mules with three pack strings. These pack strings represented the Forest Service history, the important role that pack stock play in supporting wildland firefighters and the 50th anniversary of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

From 1905-1950, the Forest Service used mules for wilderness management and trail construction before being replaced by technology. On January 1st this year, the United States Forest Service equestrian unit celebrated the return of its mules to wilderness management. The mules that appeared in the 2015 Rose Parade were all working mules who returned to work in the wilderness following their trek down Colorado Boulevard.

What equestrian units will you see in the 2016 Rose Parade? The deadline for equestrian units to apply is May 31, 2015. For more information, please visit our website.

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It’s the Year of the Comeback – of the Clydesdales

The 2014 Rose Queen and Princesses won’t be the only royalty spending hours in hair and makeup before the Rose Parade. The Clydesdales are back and these gentle giants will undergo a five-hour pampering process as they get ready for their 58th Rose Parade appearance.

After being washed and groomed, the horses will have red and white ribbons braided into their manes and matching bows around their tails. Once all eight are ready, each of their harnesses will be polished, then the team will be harnessed to the wagon (an additional 45 minute process!).

Standing about six feet tall and weighing approximately 2,000 pounds, one Clydesdale consumes as much as 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals and vitamins, 50 to 60 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water a day!

Standing about six feet tall and weighing approximately 2,000 pounds, one Clydesdale consumes as much as 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals and vitamins, 50 to 60 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water a day!

Despite a two-year hiatus, the Budweiser Clydesdales enjoy a rich history in the Rose Parade, having made their debut in 1953. It was Carlota “Lotsie” Busch of Anheuser-Busch who began the tradition of substituting horses for motors to propel the City of St. Louis float.  Regardless of advances in engine technology, Clydesdales remained the power of choice and over time, became almost as associated with St. Louis’s float as the prominent Anheuser-Busch name.

While pulling a float has been a signature of the Clydesdales, this year – for the first time – they will participate as an equestrian unit. Instead of a float in tow, the team of eight will pull a 12-ton red, white and gold Studebaker-built beer wagon!  (Be sure to watch for who is riding on that wagon.)

Prior to the Rose Parade, equestrian units will participate in the annual Equestfest event, presented by Wells Fargo, on Dec. 29 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Curious about the other 2014 Rose Parade Equestrian Entries? Visit www.tournamentofroses.com to learn more!

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Deadline for Equestrian Entry Applications is May 15, 2013

Horses have been part of the Rose Parade since the beginning, with equines pulling flower-decorated carriages on New Year’s Day 1890, when the Valley Hunt Club launched its publicity effort to showcase the beautiful winter weather in Southern California. Even as motorized vehicles began to appear in 1901, horses were still integral to the Tournament’s festivities and today remain the favorite aspect of many parade fans (maybe you?).

Horses played a key role in the very first Rose Parade in 1890.

Horses played a key role in the very first Rose Parade in 1890.

For the 2014 Rose Parade, 15 equestrian units will be selected to present their unique style of entertainment. The deadline for consideration is just around the corner, May 15, so if you or someone you know has an outstanding group that can wow the crowd with inspiring showmanship, eye-catching costumes and dramatic tack, make sure an application is submitted soon. Spectacular tricks and stunts are also appreciated!

The Valley Hunt Club still participates in the parade it started. In 2013, representatives rode in a 1868 C.P. Kimball and Company Park Drag Carriage pulled by four Friesian horses.

The Valley Hunt Club still participates in the parade it started. In 2013,
representatives rode in a 1868 C.P. Kimball and Company Park Drag Carriage
pulled by four Friesian horses.

From very tall Shires to American Miniatures, the Tournament also makes an effort to include a range of different horses among its equestrian participants. Gypsy Cobs and Percherons, Arabians and Aztecas, Curlies and Quarter Horses have all made the slow trot down Colorado Boulevard, as have Mustangs, Paints, Paso Finos, Andalusians and many others.

Rope tricks by the Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team impress the crowd at Equestfest.

Rope tricks by the Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team impress the crowd at Equestfest.

In addition to the parade itself, the selected equestrian units participate in the popular Equestfest event, presented by our friends at Wells Fargo. This year, it will take place on December 29 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. An open paddock lets you get up-close and personal with the horses and riders, and the performances, with drill maneuvers like Shoot the Arrow, Pinwheel and the Whip, plus rope tricks like the Flat Loop, the Wave and the Texas Skip will surely bring out the western in you. Will you be there?

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