Saturday, November 14, 2009

Orlando Mounted Police at the Veterans Day Parade

My wife Terry has been volunteering for the Orlando Police Mounted Unit. When there is a parade the volunteers who exercise the horses during the week are put on pooper scooper duty for the parade. They take this job very seriously and this year they bought some outlandish red, white and blue wigs to wear. Terry was thrown from a horse last week and her leg is all black and blue, so her assignment was to drive the police pickup truck that followed the Police Horses. I got to sit in the passenger seat of the truck and sketch the parade while being a part of the festivities. This is the first time I have ever been in a parade! I assume the truck was an extra precaution to protect the horses from automobile traffic approaching from the rear. Whenever we entered an intersection I got to turn on the police trucks blinking blue and red lights. Whooo Hoo!
On the way from the Police Barn to the Parade route on Orange Avenue Downtown, we passed a George W Bush look alike standing in front of an Appliance store in Parramore. This guy was a dead ringer for W. He even had the scrunched up eyes and sort of uncertain way of waving at folks.
When we approached the parade there was tons of loud music pounding from the floats and yet the horses remained calm and collected.
The pooper scoopers were very popular with the crowd watching the parade. They acted with swift reflexes shoveling up the multiple loads almost as they hit the ground. The crowd would cheer when another load went into the bucket.
Hours of preparation went into getting the horses ready for the parade. Hoof black was applied to all the horses hooves and then glitter was stuck to the flax. Stars were spray painted on the horses butts and ribbons and stars were affixed to the tails. When I showed the scoopers my sketch after the parade, Kelly said, "Isn't my butt kind of big?" I explained that I had been drawing horses butts for the past hour and that is why it might appear a bit big. Catherine said "We prepare, prepare prepare the horses, and then BOOM the parade is done."

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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