Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament and the Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds have brought stunning pageantry to the Rose Parade for nearly three decades each. While Medieval Times’ regalia and trappings are authentic to the periods, Scripps Miramar riders wear brilliantly colored and fanciful costumes.
Adding to the pageantry was first-time entry Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry, outfitted in traditional Norwegian bunader. To parade viewers accustomed to the mix of Quarter Horses, Andalusians and Appaloosas that make up a good portion of parade horses, the Norwegian Fjord Horse is an unusual sight.
Part 3 in this series of three articles profiles these three entries in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade. The first part can be read here, and the second here. The list attached to this article gives details and interesting facts about each entry.
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Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Based on authentic medieval history and the true story of a noble family from the 11th century, the two-hour arena show at Medieval Times restaurants begins with the king and queen calling the knights to a tournament. The royal couple had a bit of a to-do when the float in front of them blasted off fireworks and confetti; read about it here. Medieval Times has been in Rose Parade since 1988. Costumes and tack are authentic to the period and handcrafted by artisans in Dallas, Texas. The dinner theater first opened in Spain and now has nine locations throughout North America.
Knights in shining armor
The knights riding for Medieval Times are not just pretty faces. Each knight begins as a squire and must go through up to 500 hours of rigorous training before gaining knighthood and continue to practice with trainers and horses daily. They fight in the arena with titanium and wooden weapons in choreographed contests. The Pure Spanish Horse (also called Spanish Andalusian) is one of the rarest breeds in the world, developed by King Felipe II between 1567 and 1593. They are bred and raised at the Medieval Times Chapel Creek Ranch in Sanger, Texas.
Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds
While other equestrian groups strive for accuracy of costuming, Scripps Miramar celebrates fancy. Every year, the group has a new theme, aptly choosing Asia for 2014 to correspond to the zodiac Year of the Horse. Riders are Scripps Miramar Ranch owner Michele Macfarlane, her co-driver, equine veterinarian Dr. Donald Trunk, friends Lynnda Mika Tedokon Martin, Julia Chen, Susie Ching Robinson, Samantha Jade Ching Robinson and Theo Mar. With her mother, Ellen Scripps Davis, Macfarlane developed an American Saddlebred breeding and show stable.
Miniature horse and rickshaw
Julia Chen drives Tiara, a registered Miniature Horse, in an authentic rickshaw. The rickshaw is one of two with the Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds group. The costumes are custom tailored Imperial garments made of the finest bullion embroidered silks. Scripps Miramar has participated in the Rose Parade for a total of 29 years, 1963-1976 and 1999-2014.
Scripps Miramar commissioned a four-abreast harness that emulates jewel-encrusted “dragon skin” in a style 2,000 years old. Each of the four harnesses is unique. Legs and hooves are adorned with gold. The ceremonial pagoda wagon displays arching “devil catchers” on the roof, carved mythical creatures, hanging lanterns, and relief sculptures. The group performed for Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee and for the Emperor of Japan at the Nagano Winter Olympics.
Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry
At 13 to 14 hands, the Fjord Horse is small, but it is muscular and compact. Thought to be domesticated more than 4,000 years ago when it migrated to Norway, it is one of the oldest and purest breeds. All horses are one of five shades of dun—brown (90 percent), red, gray, white and yellow (rarest)—and most have a dark dorsal strip from forelock to tail. Shari MacCallum-Clark, wearing a wedding crown, is riding a yellow dun mare named Yenna; other riders are Angela Taponga, Victoria Arling, Kristen Miller and Marg Clumpner.
Carriages and costumes
In this photo, the dark dorsal stripe of the Fjord Horse is clearly visible. Costumes and tack reflect the various uses for Fjord Horses, including dressage, hunter, western, and traditional Norwegian bunader. Jeanne Poirier drives an Eagle carriage, Eric Watness drives a cariole with Norwegian harness, and Ben Finnoe drives the two-horse vis-à-vis.
Beth Beyner drives the four-in-hand of white dun mares hitched to a Shooting Break carriage. The NGHR is the national registry for the United States, which was founded in the 1980s to combine several separate registries to preserve the genetic purity of the breed and promote education. Marshal Teressa Kandianis of Ferndale, Wash. brought this group from Washington and Colorado for the Rose Parade.
Your Tournament of Roses Examiner marched in many a parade as a youth, sans pooper scoopers to clean up ahead of the bands. These stalwart Rose Parade volunteers are among many who keep the streets clean of manure. The pirate was following orders from his girlfriend, a Tournament of Roses Association member, to wear a costume. Perhaps this was his “Dream Come True”? More pooper scooper photos are here.