Sunday, December 9, 2018

Metamora Wassailing Celebration

I think I've previously mentioned this, but I live just on the outskirts of a very horse-central town in Michigan. Their activities revolve around horses and it's like... magic for a horse crazy person like myself.

They have a Horse Celebration at the end of summer and have breed displays and draft pulls. There's a yearly barn tour of the fancy schmancy barns in the area. Pretty much the Metamora Hunt members are likely also the Metamora Chamber of Commerce members and so what they say goes and I'm totally okay with that. It's their thing.

Last year I noticed my town had a Parade of Lights and I thought it would be fantastic to go dressed as someone celebrating the feast of Saint Lucia in Sweden, since it's all about celebrating light in darkness and thus grabbed some costume elements in all the Christmas clearance with the intent of being the parade this year.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have used this ribbon. LOL

I made the dress from a super simple medieval dress pattern. It's all one piece and fit me immediately because of how you measure and draft it.

Then Metamora announced they were having an ALL HORSE parade at their wassailing celebration. They specifically were prohibiting motor vehicles  in order to keep it safe for the horses and I knew I wanted to be in THAT one. Kira was able to connect me with a few others who were interested and we started planning our parade entry.

I got a piece of white fleece and added a red fabric trim to it and intended to embroider several Dala horses on our drive to Memphis.

The design

It took me longer than I expected.

After I shared my idea about the swedish festival, the other folks, who were icelandic riders, decided they'd go as vikings and our general theme would be Norse as we were pulling from cultural elements from Iceland, Sweden and Norway. We had to have a ground person for safety reasons, and we ended up with three riders and one grounds person. All the planning was done in facebook messenger and I was literally going to meet these people in person for the first time at the event.

Testing the fit
 You'll also notice that black pad on top of the saddle pad. It is my new, non-slip rear D-ring contraption. Upon creating everything I realized I made it WAY too big and the rings should have been placed further head-ward rather than hanging off the edge. But I do like it since it gives me more attachment options without putting rings on my saddle. I'll be adding straps on the front, but its' fully covered in little silicone dots and is NOT moving. Plus, it's super thin so it shouldn't affect the fit of my saddle.
My wreath and candles to wear atop my head. Everything is covered in glitter, including my new TraumaVoid. But I super love this helmet. Super. Love.

She unloaded well and took a couple looks around, then pretty much ignored everyone because I also hung her hay net in front of her face and that was obvs more important. I think she thought it was an endurance ride and was tanking up.
 Gwyn loaded right up the day of the parade. I put her Equine Fusion boots on her before loading her on the trailer so all the pavement walking we would be doing wouldn't be too rough on her feet. I think they're too big. But she was great in them! Plus being black and red meant they matched out oufit, lol.

We arrived just after noon and parked. They saved a space so I was able to be next to my teammates. They were a hoot! Great folks! We groomed and tacked and decorated and bemoaned the below freezing temperatures. It might be sunny, but the high was 28F/-2C. I pretty much hoped my plan to layer would keep me warm as I went without a jacket.

My one regret was not bringing a scar or making a quick neck warmer with my extra flannel and red trim fabric. Otherwise, a merino wool baselayer, then a long sleeve white shirt followed by my white flannel dress, with my newer Kerrits winter fleece riding tights worked splendidly. I had thin cotton riding gloves which worked well. I also stuck oxygen activated handwarmers onto the outside of my underwear and bra and those kept my core warm. With all the layers, the heat from them didn't escape so I was pretty comfortable, all things considered.
Waiting in the line up for the parade to start.
 Before we lined up for the parade, the judges came around to each entry to see our handiwork and work out who won what. We maaaaaybe had an unfair advantage as we knew one of the judges. But I don't care. There were several categories and we ended up with Judge's Choice! We narrowly beat out the donkey, per the judges and Gwyn got to wear a ribbon for the parade. They loved my costume and that felt really really great.
Fancy Ribbon! She was wearing a Santa hat but it wasn't secure enough for my preference and flew off before we even lined up.
 Where possible I'll note the photo credit. If they have a black edge, I pulled the photos from here and should be credited to Peter Gilles. He takes a lot of the photos of the Metamora Hunt.

This young lady LOVED Gwyn. She was so cute and eager to talk to us.

The near runner up in Judge's Choice

Super cute Hackney Pony in front of us.

Gwyn is mid-sneeze. This photo is now on the Chamber of Commerce website. LOL
The following photos were taken by my friend Elyse, who was attending the parade with her family. Eric and the girls hung with them.

And back to Peter Gilles!

You can actually see my husband, kids, Elyse and her whole family in this photo. Hubby is wearing a green jacket and is directly underneath the window between the street sign and the clock. The purple jacketed kid is Kaylee and he's holding Hazel.

Hubby's head and ( ^^       ^^) Kaylee's head are right at the bottom.

I think this horse was one of the Breyer Winter horses! 2016 maybe?

As was this one! 2017 or 2018

Because Gwyn was a total dolt at the start and wanted to just power walk/trot out the gate, she did work up a bit of a sweat. I was half halting like mad the whole ride. She hairy eyeballed a few things while we were waiting in the line up but was fine and I kept her mind busy with some circles because she was happier if she was moving. And then, once the parade got moving, she mildly spooked at two decorative wagon wheels in someone's driveway. Oh Gwyn.

 Despite the fact that we walked the entire time, I am sore today. So I tossed a cooler on her for the short ride home and brushed out the sweat once we were home.

And then played with the decorations in her tail for fun artsy pictures

The ribbon lives on my Christmas tree where it decidedly fits in, along with my new, commemorative ornament!

And to note, I will be purchasing several of the photographs I shared here so I have the full resolution images.


  1. Thanks for sharing, what a cool event! Love knowing there are still areas that make horses a big part of events. Metamora is only about 2 hours from me. :)

    1. Oh cool! That's not too far (I say, now, as a converted midwesterner...)

  2. what a fun day!!! my barn does christmas caroling each year - it's not quite a parade but it's maybe close. hopefully will get a chance to participate eventually!

    1. The last barn I boarded at would have a christmas party. Since it was mainly all casual adults there was lots of alcohol and bareback riding. It was hilarious and wonderful.

  3. Gwyn looks huge next to those ponies. Your dress is beautiful. What a great day and new friends to boot.

    1. It was a great contrast! We definitely were a crowd favorite.