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How to Make a Safe Horse Costume

Making Safe Horse Costumes

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Horses in a Parade

Horses in a Parade

Photo: 2010 K. Blocksdorf
Parades and horse costume classes can be a lot of fun. But that doesn't mean we can ignore safety. Any costume you make for you and your horse must be safe and your horse must be accustomed to wearing it before going out in public. I've put a several horse costumes together for my daughter and myself. In each one, we tried to make sure the costumes were as safe as they were fun. Here are a few ideas for putting together safe horse costumes.

  • Anything you decorate your horse with such as glitter or paint must be non-toxic.

  • Any tack that your horse will wear must be sturdy and not have worn buckles or straps. This includes harness and vehicle if you are driving your horse.

  • Everything must fasten and unfasten easily but not come undone accidentally.

  • Everything must fit and not sag or bag so the horse will step on it or become entangled.

  • If your horse will be wearing anything noisy, like bells, be sure it is accustomed to the sound.

  • Incorporate your helmet, boots or safety stirrups into your horse costume.

  • Your costume should be made so the you can see clearly and move freely, especially to dismount.

  • Avoid the idea of riders sitting double or backwards. If you're tempted to do this, have spotters walk beside the horse.

  • Be sure the rider's costume can't get caught up or tangled. For voluminous skirts, fasten with small spots of hook and loop fastener rather than sturdy buttons and buttonholes and hooks.

  • Riding 'side saddle' in a regular saddle isn't a great idea. The seats on sidesaddles are wider and flatter, allowing the rider to sit squarely and in balance. It's harder to balance on the narrower, sloped seats of regular saddles.

  • Try your costume out at every pace you will be riding while competing. Before you enter the show ring you'll want to find if your veil slips down over your eyes at the lope, or if your horse's costume shifts badly.
So remember, safety first. Have fun with your costume, but be sure to design it so you and your horse are comfortable and won't become entangled or your horse won't be scared of it!

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