Monday, December 14, 2015

Parker Christmas Carriage Parade 2015

It's a great day for a parade when the sun is shining
and the weather is breezy and warm.

But what if it's hovering at freezing,
and wet snow is spitting from a sodden sky?

I almost wimped out of one of my favorite holiday events:  
The Parker Christmas Carriage Parade.

Every year the Town of Parker and the Colorado Driving Society
hold this wonderful event on the second Saturday of December.

Well the second Saturday in December rolled around,
and I wanted to pull the covers over my head.
I didn't need to look out the window to know it was not good.

But then I thought about all the people involved in the parade
feeding, watering, and loading their animals,
their prized carriages and wagons, all that equipment,
and hitting the back roads and highways for Parker.

I thought about all those high school kids
dressing in their band uniforms,
the 4H kiddos and the Boy Scouts,
little kids, big kids, adults of all ages
getting ready to march in the raw weather;
the police, the street sweepers, 
the firemen and paramedics,
and all the amazing volunteers
who make this parade possible
getting ready to do what they had to do.

What if there was a parade and nobody came?

That thought was enough to propel me out the door
and down Inspiration into Parker.
I'm so glad I went!!!

Guess what?
Tons of people turned out,
bundled up against the cold,
and in high spirits.
Turns out it was a great day for a parade!

Parker was decked out in its Christmas finery.

And people were there to enjoy themselves.

What struck me most about this year's parade
was its tremendous heart.

From the get-go, its participants toughed it out
as the temperature dropped and the weather worsened.
With smiles and determination they spread Christmas joy.

Off to a Traditional Start

Parker Trail Riders

Parker Police Sergeant Joe Cummings, 
the 2015 Parade Grand Marshal

The Back Meets the Front ~
Making a Parade in Two Directions

One of the Many Volunteers in Orange Vests

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

See you next year, God Willing!

Note:  If any of you can identify an entry and wish me to add a caption to a picture, I will.  
I don't know a lot about horses, except that they are magnificent creatures.


  1. I'm glad you went, Louise, because we can enjoy all the great photos! This looks like so much fun. And all those beautiful horses. You gotta love that! Merry Christmas!

    1. It was fun, Martha! But I went completely off the rails, both in the time I spent doing the post and in my complete inability to cut it down to 25 photos. Some of my photos didn't turn out because my finger on the shutter was too cold to function well. LOL! And those horses of all sizes! I'm scared of horses, but I think they are the most magnificent animals on the Earth. So now I'm behind on everything again! LOL! But I'll be catching up! Merry Christmas, my friend!

  2. No cold was going to stop that parade. Everyone looks happy all bundled up. Great shots indeed. Hope you have a Merry Christmas at your sea.

    1. Thanks, Pat! And Merry Christmas to you. The people who turned out were having a blast! The parade is truly unique and has participants from all over Colorado. Colorado's ranching/cowboy heritage is very different from my Bluenose, fishing heritage, so I find the parade thrilling. Have a good one!

  3. I don't think we had a single horse in our christmas parade

    1. Hi Adam! The fun thing about the USA is it is so diverse, different heritages and cultures all over the country. Parker's parade is unique because it is all-equestrian, and it's on no matter the weather. Wishing you and Daisy a fun-filled week.

  4. Good for you! I wimped out, and I'm not proud of it :((
    However, two of the horses I care for were there - and you have a picture of them! A stunning black with a strange way of walking (he has string halt) and a sweet chestnut (sorrel) representing The Son and Reins Ranch.
    Thanks for taking me to the parade from the comfort of my living room!

    1. Hi Dreaming! It's awesome to see you! I've been so erratic with blogging this year; but I do want to get back into the rhythm of visiting your blogs and following your painting progress. I was thinking of you during the parade, wondering if I'd walk right by you and not know it!

      All those gorgeous horses! I wimped out of getting there early to see if I could take some photos where the parade was forming up. I actually walked out of the garage and turned back thinking it was too miserable to go. Then I kicked myself in the tush, thinking of all the people who worked so hard to make it happen.

      So my gift to you and others is a chance to experience something of the parade ~ whatever I can cobble together with my little point-and-shoot and Apple's Photo program. I don't know which horses you take care of, but if you point the photo out, I'll be happy to add an ID for The Son and Reins Ranch.

  5. That's a ton of horses! Glad you went. The snow might've been cold, but I bet it made it feel more festive. As a band geek, I performed many times in the snow, frozen fingers and all.
    Thanks for the photos.

    1. Hi, Alex! A few of those horses weighed a couple of tons themselves. I was out of control trying to eliminate photos; I didn't have the heart to do it. I felt so much for the people toughing it out in the parade. It wasn't one of those nice fluffy snows that makes your spirits rise and encourages you to go out and play. Instead it made you want to run inside and snuggle up by the fire with a hot drink. But it was fun! Take care!

  6. Louise, what lovely photos, thank you so much for sharing them!!! I miss having you around, sending you many warm hugs and much love. Merry Christmas to you, my cherished friend. :)

    1. Dearest, Linda! Thank you for your kind and loving comment. I have been ricocheting around all over the place trying to get on top of things. Effective time management and setting priorities that I stick to have always been hard for me. I've always compensated by working obscene hours. I never really appreciated what was going on when I was working because I just went from one thing to the next to the next determined to be on top of it. But three years into retirement, I'm still struggling, but my body is no longer able to push on the way it did. But I'm an optimist, and I won't give up. Thank you for your understanding. I'll get it together! Big hugs and love to you!!!

  7. Well, Louise, I have exactly 15 minutes before it's time to go on our afternoon outing. it is very overcast but may be the only rain-free day this week, so we must try to get on our bikes. I have been thinking about you since a comment (that I still must respond to) you left me here. Actually, I'm a little bit worried about you. Please, please try to take care of yourself. That said, I know this blogging bug has got us both by the.. well, by the what, i wonder. My response to this post? Well, first, your warm heart to go out in uninviting circumstances because you saw ahead to the disappointment if attendance was low. Second, the tremendous sense of fun and activity in Parker. No wonder you love living where you do. The horses? Well, I had a horse and have a lot of opinions about the things humans put them through that are much more for the humans than the horses. I'm not a big fan of lot of cumbersome paraphernalia we drape them in, though I do admit they look magnificent. My very favourite shot of the whole post is the one of a child with a white horse covered in a blanket. That one has a wealth of emotion packed behind it. What else? Maybe that will do for today. Just to let you know I am thinking of you with such warmth and hoping you are snuggled up enjoying the feeling of having written a magnificent post! But, knowing you from the depth of understanding that comes from kindred spirits, I bet you are already beginning to obsess over the next one :) Until next time, stay happy and well.. dear friend! (I"m not checking for errors so please excuse in advance :)

    1. Oh you perceptive, smart lady, Carol! My husband has been worrying about me too, because I have been having some challenges; but I'm happy to say that my latest blood work from a week ago is a-okay, and I am recovered from my-flat-on-my-back episode in November. Now, if I can just get Christmas under control!

      The shot of the boy with the white horse is one of my favorites; also the little boy on the pony with the blue ankle socks. He seemed to be so quietly proud of riding his pony in the parade. But most of all I loved the horses, especially the magnificent big draft horses. I'm scared of horses because of some traumatic events in my childhood, but my soul sings when I see them.

      I'm not sure how to respond to your comments about the things humans put horses through. Sure on some levels dressing them up for Christmas is a little silly, but I don't see it as cruel. I have never owned a horse; aside from being really scared of them, I don't want the responsibility that caring for one requires. So I don't know enough to make an informed response, but I'll try the best I can.

      As you know Colorado is cowboy and ranching country and has had a long, working relationship with all kinds of horses. I think the vast majority of horse owners take good care of their horses because they are so valuable. I know there is a ton of controversy, some of it richly-deserved, over how people use farm and ranch animals, but I can't help thinking that so many of these animals would be endangered or facing extinction were they not being raised because they are useful. I know there is a big push to save heritage farm seeds because of their importance to plant diversity, and I suspect that animal diversity needs a similar push.

      I don't know how horses feel about all their harnesses and hitches (or whatever you call them), but the ones in the parade didn't seem to be mistreated or unhappy. They weren't fighting their equipment, and many seemed to be enjoying their parts in the parade. They were magnificent, healthy, groomed, well-trained and well-cared for. That said, maybe they didn't want to venture out of their cozy stalls any more than I wanted to get out of bed Saturday morning!

      I have some "horse people" for friends, and I do know that they care deeply for their animals, even to thinking about how to care for them in all sorts of emergencies. They worry about their horses' safety even more than their own. When a fire threatened a couple of summers ago, my friends' thoughts and preparations were all about getting their horses out safely and being strong and calm so their horses wouldn't panic.

      Yes, I'm already obsessing over Friday's northern post, LOL! And Terry is watching me like a hawk and saying, "Listen to your husband!" He know me only too well, and he wants me around for a long time yet. He did say to me before going to bed last night, "Don't stay up too late," knowing full-well that I wouldn't stop until I got this post done. I snuck into bed at 3:33 a.m. I didn't fool him though because he got up at 4:00 a.m. and could still smell my candle and the fireplace was still warm. It worked out okay though because I had an eye exam that required dilating my pupils, and I had to sleep all afternoon till my eyes went back to normal. So I'm a little behind, but what else is new. Maybe I'll get it figured out in this lifetime, and maybe not; but I am having fun.

      Much love to you, Bill, and little BJ!

  8. What beautiful horses, and I love the ponies! Those princesses must have been freezing! Looks chilly in Parker! It's snowy and cold today in Breckenridge.

    1. Thanks, Barb! I had never seen many of the smaller ponies until I came to Colorado. They are so cute. I can't imagine how cold the princesses must have been. We've had a pretty good snowstorm here today too; not a lot of moisture in the snow though, really fine powder. Hope you're snuggled in and enjoying a nice evening!

  9. You took a lot of pictures. Some captured the joy on people's faces while some captured the "It's wet and cold," or "Why are you taking my picture? look."

    It's good you joined in the celebration.

    1. Thanks, Peaches! It's good to see you! I certainly had fun getting out there. Have a good one!

  10. Magnificent photos, Louise!! That is sure a wonderful parade.
    And I appreciate the work you have done to produce this post. Thanks so much.

    1. Thank you, Jim! It was a lot of work, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! There is something special about a parade filled with gorgeous horses. The only thing that beats it is a parade full of pipers in kilts! Have a good one!

  11. What a lovely post, Fundy, I'm glad you decided to throw the blanket and get there!
    We have nothing like this here, but if I appreciate seeing your photos, I don't like to find myself in a crowd, especially now that I am alone.
    Many thanks for your kind message on my blog, I will be away in the French Alps at my brother's for a few days and another 2 on my way back at a blogger friend 's taking fauna pics. It will put my mind off unhappy stuff, I hope.
    I wish you and your family a merry and warm Xmas,
    Take good care, huge hugs!

  12. Thank you, Noushka! I hope you really enjoy your time with your brother and your blogging friend! I also hope you have some great laughs, the kind where tears run down your cheeks. My brother can make me laugh better than anyone! I'm not always comfortable in crowds when I'm alone, but it helps if I'm doing something like taking photographs or having some other task or function. I like that I'm anonymous and don't attract attention. I'm short, so I can slip around and don't stand out. That said, I do like to smile big smiles at all sorts of people. You never know what someone may be feeling or battling, and a surprise smile can lift spirits. I know this Christmas with be very difficult, but I'm wishing you unexpected joy and happiness! Big hugs, ma chère amie!

  13. It looks like a beautiful town! Sorry the weather wasn't cooperating but it looks like everyone still had good spirits :)

  14. Wonderful! What a super assortment of horses and ponies, all festively decked out! How my father loved a beautiful team of heavy horses -- he would have had a blast at this parade. I think of him every time I see a team.

  15. uh you had a chance feel invisible okay ironing there's a saying oh yeah asemi no one's noticing then no one's commenting you don't like to take photosof innate cream themselves they're horrified when date you know take photos of themselves um they were giving to get to talk tomy patient jennifer and the reason she came to my clinic is she accidentally yet that that the camera which is taking a photo of her grandkidsit let and then she actually took photo. cream/


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