First Time at Equest Fest

One of my favorite parts of the parade has always been the horses so I was particularly excited to see the Equest Fest.  This is a side event where some of the horse groups put on a show in an arena.  It is held in the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and the venue was smaller than I thought it would be.  The crowds were also smaller as well though, which was nice, and there was plenty of time before the event to walk around and see some of the horses up close. This was a late day for us (didn’t need to be on the bus until 9:45am) and we arrive at the event at 11am.  Since the show started at noon, Lee and I jumped in the food line first.  There was a pretty limited selection and it was pricey ($9 for two tacos or a burrito) but it was really good.  Then we walked by the outside arena where some people were walking their horses and over to the Budweiser and Wells Fargo area.  I have seen the Budweiser horses many times at the Ohio State Fair, but they never fail to impress and this time I got up close and personal with Clyde the Budweiser dog and his successor April who is still a puppy and somewhat reluctantly held still for a picture or two.

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Some kids learning to rope outside

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This little girl was really good

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The buffalo soldiers and their horses

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Our military was well represented

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The Budweiser Clydesdale sin their stalls

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Clive on the left and April to the right

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April was super cute and curious. She didn’t ride on the truck during the show. They are just getting her used to the crowds and she did great

Then we walked next door and saw the Wells Fargo wagon and their team of horses.  Wells Fargo sponsored the event and many of their employees attended the event.  They had rented one of the large banquet facilities and had their own VIP access which was neat.  Our VIP seats were very good though, directly across from the Wells Fargo contingent.

The Wells Fargo wagon is a coming down the street

The Wells Fargo wagon is a coming down the street

Beautiful horses pulled it

Beautiful horses pulled it

Hey Red check out this spanking new ATV for the parade. Lee thought you would like it

Hey Red check out this spanking new ATV for the parade. Lee thought you would like it

I was also very happy that they had a small Rose Parade tent with souvenir apparel. My love for this parade is such that I didn’t even blink at the $55 price for a fleece jacket.  It was just a question of which one to buy and Lee was very patient as I tried every one of them on before making my choice.  Afterwards we were able to walk right outside and put the fleece on the bus and I used the bathroom on the bus.  One of the nice things about having the bus so far is that it has been parked close by and we can use it as a place to put things.  The bathrooms so far at the places we have been have been crowded, so it was nice to have access to an extra one just for us.  If you ever go to this event there is a bathroom on the left side of the arena as you walk in that is practically empty.  The one on the right side had a line 25 women deep.  That’s been one of the great things about having Lisa and Jim with us.  They came to these events two years before and give really great advice about things like, cold seats, bathrooms, food availability etc.  The practical stuff that can really ruin a sight-seeing day, they are not only aware of but proactively tell us about. I really appreciate that.  After putting our purchases away we went inside the arena to our assigned seats.  It was a beautiful sunny day, but since the arena is covered it did get a bit chilly in there and of course the seats were very tight, but Lee and I had a nice spot and he had room to put up his small tripod so he could get video.  I am glad he did because many of the horse presentations don’t translate well to still pictures, but I did my best, so here is a photo look at what we saw. Each presentation ran about 5 minutes (the entire event went 3 hours) and there was a little time in between groups for the horses to enter and exit.  Not every horse group in the parade was represented, but a nice group of them were.

The grand entry

The grand entry

One of our hosts Jann Carl who used to be on Entertainment Tonight

One of our hosts Jann Carl who used to be on Entertainment Tonight

And Carson Cressley who was a big hit with the crowd

And Carson Cressley who was a big hit with the crowd

Hi horse was beautiful and he was a great rider

Hi horse was beautiful and he was a great rider

The event was filmed by RFTV and Lee was excited about the huge boom camera that was pretty close to us

The event was filmed by RFDTV and Lee was excited about the huge jib arm camera that was pretty close to us

The national anthem was song and accompanied by this horseback color guard

The national anthem was sung and accompanied by this Marine mounted color guard

The Wells Fargo wagon

The Wells Fargo wagon

A presentation by Medieval times who ride pure Spanish breeds

A presentation by Medieval Times who ride pure Spanish breeds

This horse was taught to jump completely in the air and I got the shot!!

This horse was taught to jump completely in the air and I got the shot!!

My favorite was Benny MArtinez who has been riding in the parade for 34 years since he was a little kid. I can remember watching him when he was little doing these tricks

My favorite was Benny Martinez who has been riding in the parade for 34 years since he was a little kid. I can remember watching him when he was little doing these tricks

He gets his horse to lay down then mounts him on the ground

He gets his horse to lay down then mounts him on the ground

He walks the entire 5 mile parade route with the lasso around the horse ...impressive

He walks the entire 5 mile parade route with the lasso around the horse …impressive

Watching the horse gallop though was even more so

Watching the horse gallop though was even more so and you never get to see that in the parade

The Dakota Thunder Shires are beautiful. I love draft horses

The Dakota Thunder Shires are beautiful. I love draft horses

This group is the Calizona Appaloosa club. The horses were so pretty and the riders celebrate their native american heritage and 1,300 mile journey they made to Canada to escape the western soldiers

This group is the Calizona Appaloosa club. The horses were so pretty and the riders celebrate their native american heritage and 1,300 mile journey they made to Canada to escape the western soldiers

 

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The American Endurance Riders are a group that specializes in long rides (15 miles minimimum) and allows any kind of horse to participate in the club

The American Endurance Riders are a group that specializes in long rides (15 miles minimum) and allows any kind of horse to participate in the club

The Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds are honoring the National Parks by including original Yellowstone wagons. In the early days folks traveled to Yellowstone and rode around in these wagons

The Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds are honoring the National Parks by including original Yellowstone wagons. In the early days folks traveled to Yellowstone and rode around in these wagons

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The next group was the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department mounted unit, and they put on a little scene where the mounted police rescued a family from some “bad guys”.  Lee loved this as it was staged like an old wild west show with a little story, I thought it was a little hokey, but the pony was cute and everyone was having a really good time.

Check out these cute, tiny dusters

Check out these cute, tiny dusters

The "bad guys" surrond them

The “bad guys” surround them

One of the bad guys gets roped

One of the bad guys gets roped

And arrested

And arrested

We both really liked the 1st Calvary Division Horse Calvary

We both really liked the 1st Calvary Division Horse Calvary.  Pretty cool military job

One of the horse hit the jump

One of the horse hit the jump

And the helpers cleared it very quick

And the helpers cleared it very quick

As huge fans of our National Parks we enjoyed the Rangers

As huge fans of our National Parks we enjoyed the Rangers

They had a waggon team with burros to show how they used to carry supplies

They had a wagon team with burros to show how they used to carry supplies to their facilities

Lee's favorite was the Fort Sill Artillery half section

Lee’s favorite was the Fort Sill Artillery half section

They even fired the cannon. Loud!

They even fired the cannon. Loud!

It was neat when they showed how they hooked it up and their horses were very well trained

It was neat when they showed how they hooked it up and their horses were very well-trained

My favorite was the Norco Cowgirls who I have seen for many years in the parade

My favorite was the Norco Cowgirls who I have seen for many years in the parade

This year they added the Little Miss Norco team for the first time

This year they added the Little Miss Norco team for the first time

Awesome!!

They have several mother daughter teams and one three generation family!

Go girl power!!

Cowgirl power!!

The Budweiser team came at the end and was a huge hit. The horse are selected by size (smallest in the front) for their position in the team. The front horses need to be more manueverable and the back horses more powerful, which I did not know

The Budweiser team came at the end and was a huge hit. The horse are selected by size (smallest in the front) for their position in the team. The front horses need to be more maneuverable and the back horses more powerful, which I did not know

The demonstrated how the drive would turn the horses at a 90 degree angle to load the wagon into a dock which was really neat

They demonstrated how the driver would turn the horses at a 90 degree angle to load the wagon into a dock which was really neat

Each team is controlled separately in this maneuver and you can really see the strain on the drivers face

Each team is controlled separately in this maneuver and you can really see the strain on the drivers face

 

After the budweiser team the calvary came back and gave a riding demonstration with guns, rifles, and sabres

After the Budweiser team the Cavalry came back and gave a riding demonstration with guns, rifles, and sabers

Along with their mule team

Along with their mule team

And puppy masoct

And puppy masoct

Really great drills

Really great drills

I loved that the team is commanded by a woman. They introduyced them all at the end and gave their home towns. The kid from PAsadena got a big cheer

I loved that the team is commanded by a woman. They introduced them all at the end and gave their home towns. The kid from Pasadena got a big cheer


Overall it was a fun event and although I am not sure I would spend $40 to do this as a standalone I am very glad it was included in my package.  Plus I got my Rose Bowl fleece without crazy crowds and the seat cushion was a nice bonus.  Next up, Bandfest and the Ronald Reagan Library then thankfully we get a free day.  I am not used to this much activity!!

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