Thursday, December 31, 2009

Preparing for the Citrus Bowl Parade

Terry and I got up at 6:30 AM in order to get to the Police Mounted Unit Stable to help get the horses ready for the Citrus Bowl Parade. It was a very chilly 44 degrees Fahrenheit and when we arrived the horses were already out and wrapped in their blue blankets. Hoof Black was applied to all the horses hooves and green glitter was sprinkled on so they all looked like they were wearing emerald slippers. All of the horses whiskers were shaved the previous day. Terry told me they had to be muzzled in something called a twitch. It seems the horse is then so preoccupied with this twitch that it isn't freaked out by the act of having the whiskers cleanly cut off.
Decorative orange and green bows were tied to each horses tail and then volunteers painted oranges on the hind quarters. The front legs were also wrapped with white gauze. The blankets were then removed and the horses were quickly saddled up.
When the police were mounted at 9:10 AM, the Captain made a helicopter gesture with her right index finger and they headed for the street. Rather than get the horses in a trailer, it was easier for them to walk the one mile distance to the start of the parade route on Orange and Robinson. I joined the police pick up truck that would follow them on the parade route. Having a truck in the rear keeps the horses safe from any approaching traffic. As we rolled through Parramore, men standing on the sidewalks, probably waiting for some form of work, waved and greeted us. We went past the Coalition of the Homeless building where I sketched a few weeks ago. Terry who was in the passenger seat started playing with the loudspeaker and singing Christmas Carols. I was sitting in the back on some hay bails. I was asked several times to wave traffic around us since we were traveling at the horses walking pace.
The excitement built as we went through several police blockades and approached the start of the parade route.

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