Special to the Journal
The mission of the Horseowners’ Parade Clinic is to increase to number of owners who are courageous enough to ride in a parade, and to also make the parades safer for rider, horse, spectators, and the entity that is putting on the parade. The Second Annual Parade Clinic will be held on the grassy lot belonging to Belton Feed Store at 2nd Ave. and Blair St. from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 30.
ALL RIDERS MUST PRESENT A CURRENT COGGINS RECORD TO PARTICIPATE. There will be a $15 participation fee, because the event will be a fundraiser to get a chapter of Texas Equusearch Search and Rescue Team off the ground for Central Texas. Equusearch was begun by a man in south Texas whose daughter was murdered. And although we have a county Sheriff’s Posse, a local Equusearch team would have additional resources, such as boats with sonar, drones, etc.
We’ll spend from 8:30 to 11:30 playing with the objects in an obstacle course on the grassy lot and then participate in a proper parade from the Feed Store around the County Annex and back. Spectators are welcome to sit around the parade route and get up close to the horses.
There will be flags and banners, noisemakers, umbrellas, balloons, bottles and debris in the grass, strollers and wagons, etc. for the horse owners to play with at will. Participants will receive a list of up-coming local parades to participate in. Horse trailers can be parked on and around the Feed Store lot.
The police and fire depts will be there (if possible), and they will conduct a controlled airing of their sirens for the horses to hear. Riders will be able to decide in advance if they would like to dismount before the sirens are set off. In the case of a real emergency in a live parade setting, emergency personnel will have to use their sirens despite potentially frightened reactions from livestock. Anything that we can to do preclude a catastrophic situation will be beneficial.
Riders will be encouraged to bring decorations for their horses to give the horses a chance to experience that kind of distraction as well. Riders will also receive hand-outs about desensitization tactics that they can practice at home or at the stable. Some refreshments will be available for purchase on site.
It is our hope that the Parade Clinic will become an annual event that we will see an increase in the number of horses in local parades, and that the event becomes a template for all counties to hold a similar event for their communities.
For more information, contact Marcia Cross, a horse trainer who trains horses in Horse Agility and competes in Trail and Obstacle Competitions, at (254) 217-0321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.