Monday, 21 April 2014

London Harness Horse Parade

It's the final day of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, and also the day of the London Harness Horse Parade
Despite the name, the event ran at the South of England Showground at Ardingly, Sussex. I guess it outgrew London quite a long time ago! 

Dad is interested in horses, so my parents and I went to check it out! 

After a drive along narrow, leafy lanes and through idillic Sussex villages, we arrived at the showground in time to see the end of the judging!
The first participant we saw was not a horse, but a donkey! There were only a small number of donkeys there, but they were very cute.

The horses were dressed in their finest harnesses and brasses, and a number of the human participants were dressed up too, which was a real treat!

It was great to see people dressed up according to the type of vehicle being pulled by the horse. This kind of attention to detail really helps to paint a picture of the sights seen on the streets in the days before horses were replaced by machines.

The types of vehicles being pulled covered a broad spectrum both in usage and age, from traditional to modern, owner-driven to chauffer-driven, business use to pleasure use.

Horses were also seen in sets of one, two...

...or four! This was the only four-horse set, but it was lovely! I wish I could have taken a better picture, but this was the best I could do.

Far from pulling along humans, this one horse had quite a different charge in the cart it pulled...

...a canine friend! This dog looked so happy in the cart! But this sweet little terrier wasn't the only canine participant.

We were also treated to the sight of this docile dalmation, a lovely carriage dog which followed just behind the wheels.

The vast assortment of participants were lovely to see, but thanks to an excellent commentary the event was also informative! Today I learnt that these getups are far from a cheap hobby, and the participants proved themselves to be very dedicated to what they do.

On the way home, we stopped off at a pub for a drink and a packet of crisps in the sunshine. It had started to rain right at the end of the horse event, but the sun had soon come out again.

Though really, I'm only writing about this part in order to share a picture of this chicken, who was in the pub garden and came to investigate when it heard the rustle of crisp packets!

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