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October 31, 2010

How To Have A Happy Horsey Halloween

Misty the Mustang played the role of a Dalmation to her rider's Cruella De Vil.

How many of you have Halloween plans that involve horses? And costumes? Come on…fess up! How many of you have spent time and money this month making or buying a Halloween costume for a horse? You can’t hide it from me. I made a tutu last year for a Connemara. It doesn’t get more embarrassing than that.

This year, we’re forgoing the Halloween barn party, since we had all kinds of hoopla last year. Don’t tell the kids, but in my opinion, phew! I am lacking in the creativity department and dressing up a pony as a princess last year just about maxed me out in the talent department. After many frantic posts on the COTH forums, I had tips and suggestions from some pros and was able to make it through.

Our barn Halloween party featured some pretty spectacular costumes: Misty the Mustang and her kid were dressed up as a Dalmatian puppy and Cruella de Ville. Stormy and Megan were Dopey and Snow White. Hawaii the horse was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and his mom was dressed as a Hula girl complete with grass skirt and coconut bikini top (where in Vermont do you find that?). I tell you, the people in my barn have skills! Ellen, another adult rider, dressed herself as a knight (complete with a sword held in her, ahem, holster) and her horse Dave was dressed up as a dragon. Santa was even there, with a horse elf in tow. There was a horse dressed as a dog and a dog dressed as a horse.

Tara, our trainer, had games for us to play: sit a buck, “Tara says,” obstacle courses and more. We all brought food and drinks to share and it was a great afternoon.

If you’re planning to combine horses and Halloween this weekend, here are a few tips:

  • Paint that claims to be washable or “easily removable,” sometimes is not.
  • Horses are generally tolerant of our attempts to publicly humiliate them with costumes, however, they may be afraid of themselves if they catch a glimpse in those large mirrors in the indoor arena.
  • Be sure to clean up any scraps of material, ribbon, organza, felt, glitter, feathers or other decorative stuff that may be left on the aisle floor. It could be accidentally eaten by a horse or dog.
  • Horse can’t eat Halloween candy, so don’t forget to bring carrots and apples to the party.
  • Thank the trainer, barn manager and/or barn owner who hosts or helps organize the party.
  • Be sure to pick up any mess that you make.
  • Take lots of pictures and be sure to send them in to the Chronicle next week so we can see your costumes! Email webintern@chronofhorse.com or post them on our Facebook wall.

Elizabeth Howell grew up riding on the hunter/jumper circuit in Massachusetts. Now she is a horse show mom. She holds a day job at The Emily Post Institute and slings horse manure on the weekends. Her website is www.sheridesIpay.com.

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