We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Parade Horse?

By C.S. Lundgren
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Historically, parades both large and small have featured horses wearing elaborate accessories and gear. It takes a calm, highly trained horse to be able to walk the length of a parade without being spooked by crowds of people, sudden noises, marching bands and all of the other distractions at such an event. Over time, the term "parade horse" has evolved to mean not only a horse decorated to walk in a parade, but also a certain type of Western show horse trained to compete in this discipline.

Horse riders, particularly in the Southwestern U.S., Mexico, and areas with a strong Hispanic influence, developed the type of parade horse we recogonize today — the ones that compete in designated parade horse shows. These types of elaborate Western parade horses are still common in local parades in some areas. Training a horse to walk in a parade is difficult, and parades might not be suitable to very high-strung horses. Trainers sometimes acclimate their horses to parades beforehand by having them walk in "all-horse" parades, and having someone lead them through any possible distractions. Parade horses often start out in small, local parades and work up to larger ones.

According to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the organization that sets the standards for different disciplines of equestrian competition in the U.S., the finest parade show horses are flashy, stylish and elegant. The mane and tail are long, natural, and often elaborately braided. The horses are decked out in stock saddles and elaborate silver and gold equipment, which often has a Mexican, Spanish or Southwest flare to it.

A parade horse may be any color, breed, or gender, although appearance is judged more than anything in a parade class, so the horse must be without physical flaws. USEF classes for parade horses include separate divisions for pintos, palominos, ponies, and Golden American Saddlebreds. The rider of a parade horse is often dressed to match in colorful Old Western gear that may include shiny spurs, serapes and ornamental guns.

One of the most important characteristics of a parade horse, aside from its appearance, is the gait at which it moves. Parade horses are trained to walk at the pace of the rest of the parade, so the gait isn't usually faster than 5 miles per hour. In parade horse shows, horses perform two gaits, an animated walk that is a brisk and graceful four-beat movement, and a parade gait that is a square, high-prancing movement. Both are showy gaits appropriate for the festive atmosphere of a parade.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.