2014 ROSE PARADE
Marg Clumpner is the owner of “Fox Bay Farm” an equestrian center on Woodland Rd. in Ferndale, Wa; where she trains riders and horses. Her usual claim to fame is developing Dressage and Hunter/Jumper riders. One of her friends and clients, Teressa Kandianis, owns several Norwegian Fjord horses and Marg trains the horses. Teressa is the President of the North American Fjord Horse Registry which is promoting the breed in North America and applied to be in the New Year’s Day Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. It is very difficult for any horse organization to be added to the parade as there are horse organizations that always appear on a regular basis, some going back to the 1930’s. This year, of the 23 equestrian units allowed in the parade, 19 were making a return appearance. The Fjord proposal based on breast cancer awareness was accepted by the committee in late summer and thus began the arduous task of planning and organizing disparate groups of Fjord owners, riders and carriage drivers (as well as support staff) from Colorado and Washington.
We began our sojourn at 5:15 AM Christmas Day loading Zoobie, (Zorabelle)into the two horse trailer. Teressa and Marg drove the Honda Ridgerunner truck and Mark (Teressa’s husband) drove the big Dodge Cummings diesel truck and trailer with Roy riding shotgun. We made one stop in Chehalis where we picked up another horse and another couple traveling with us, Christine and Rory. In addition another rig arrived from Seattle with two guys, (Eric and Jim) one horse and a carriage and the caravan then continued into Oregon. Graham, Marg and Roy’s son, would be driving down to join and help us after we arrived in Los Angeles. About 4pm we pulled into a Horse Hotel outside Ashland, Oregon and put the horses to bed for the night before turning in at the Quinta Hotel down the road.
At 6am on December 26 we loaded the horses and were once again on the road going over Grants Pass and eventually the Siskiyu’s before bedding down the horses at a 2nd horse hotel in Los Banos, California. We stayed the night at the local Holiday Inn Express. The next morning we were up and ready to depart at 6 A.M. and arrived at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center by 10am ending our three day drive. The Center is very expansive and owned by the city with excellent facilities for riding and for stabling horses. Joining us were two other groups from the Norwegian Fjord Registry from Spokane and Colorado and they brought with them additional carriages. In all there were about 35 of us and we were all grouped together in a long stall row at the center.
After unloading, Marg and several others, began to plan for their performance at the Equestfest two days hence. This is a live performance given by all the Tournament of Roses Parade equestrian participants. This was quite a task as our group had never before worked together in any kind of presentation while all the other groups perform regularly at other events. Groups such as the “Spirit of the West riders,” the “All American Cowgirl Chicks” ‘the Wells Fargo stagecoach” and the “Budweiser Clydesdales.” The plan entailed Teressa reading a story over the loudspeaker telling of a Norwegian Immigrant Farmer as he progressed, obtaining first a Norwegian Fjord horse, then marrying, having children and getting more Fjords, then adding carriages etc. With each stage of his life more horses entered the arena until all were inside and then the individual horses performed a quadrille, along with the carriages circling about the arena with Marg leading four other horses between and over jumps while Teressa gave a short overview of the Norwegian Fjord breed and it’s history for the audience. After one day of practice they had it down and were a big hit with the audience. After the performance and back at the stables, they were the most popular horses to visit and hundreds brought their children to pet, ask questions of the riders and even sit on a horse.
That night the group celebrated at the Santa Anita Racetrack with country music, dancing and a barbecue put on for all those who were involved in the Equestfest by the Tournament of Roses Parade Committee. December 30th was spent getting the horses and carriages prepared for the parade itself. The carriages which had been disassembled for travel were assembled, polished and late afternoon on New Year’s Eve were trucked to the final staging area near the start of the parade and left there over night on a street that had been blocked off. Meanwhile back at the stables, trucks, horses and horse trailers were getting organized to leave for their overnight staging area which turned out to be along side an interstate highway which had 3 lanes closed for that purpose. Once at the highway staging area (each group) set up camp for the night setting out cots and sleeping bags. The Fjord group did bring in the New Year with champagne, bourbon, wine and beer before turning in for a short nap in what would prove to be a very cold evening. About 3am a kitchen was set up by the Rose Parade Committee and they began cooking bacon, sausages, coffee, and pancakes for breakfast which began at 4:45am. This was followed by the hustle and bustle of getting the horses cleaned and prepared, ribbons and roses attached to tails, (carriages were decorated the night before) and riders getting dressed. Each group was given a specific time for them to proceed to the starting point for the parade which was about a quarter of a mile away. The Fjord group was assigned 79th (out of 91 entrants in the parade) and were to enter the parade at 9:40am. Once the Fjords left for the start, the trucks and horse trailers were then driven by those not in the parade (Roy, Mark and Graham) six miles away to the finish staging area for horse groups.
The Parade Itself
After leaving the staging area those horses pulling carriages had to be hitched up before finally lining up for the parade itself. Five individual riders would lead the group with Marg on the far right, followed by the carriages. The day was to be a perfect Southern California day, sunny with the temperature in the 70’s and riders were warned to stay hydrated which they did as bottled water was distributed freely to them during their appearance. In all, there would be 205 riders and 305 horses in the parade. Then the signal was finally given and the waiting was over as the Fjords turned onto the main parade route and were greeted by huge grandstands on each side of the road, television lights and cameras catching every movement they made and cheers from thousands as the Fjords slowly made their way along the throng of spectators who cheered wildly non- stop through it all. For Marg it was a moment she would never forget. Everyone was happy, everyone cheered, the spectators loved the little horses and thanked the riders profusely. The riders and those in the carriages waved at the crowd non-stop for the next three hours (switching hands when they began to cramp up). The horses performed beautifully, between the parade and equestfest Marg couldn’t imagine a more (possibly) stressful situation for newbies. The Fjords seemed to love the attention and almost gloated in the spotlight! It was truly a moment when everyone seemed happy and joyful. For those three hours, the world seemed perfect.