I’ve been doing a bit of browsing through ancient files copied off from a long-gone PC, and discovered this image. It was taken during one of the times that Beth and I participated in the Circus World Museum/Ringling Brothers Great Circus Parade.
That outfit is really… pink. And really… purple… And really… poofy… and really circus, to its core.
I absolutely hated the costume, but I wasn’t the one picking out outfits. It was custom designed and sewn as a sidesaddle costume for me as part of the “Field of Cloth of Gold” troupe, by the wardrobe mistress of Ringling Brothers circus. I’m not a pink and purple and frills sort of gal, and never was. This was the frothiest, pinkest and purplest glittery concoction imaginable, with lots of fake jewels and my very own crown. I’m sure it’s what most little girls who ever fell in love with a Disney Princess imagine themselves wearing. Even if it wasn’t my cup of tea, these kinds of costumes are intended to please, and from the crowd reactions they did.
Six of us rode sidesaddle on our matching red-bay Morgan horses, representing queens of England and France. Our costumes were a palette of matching shiny satin pastels–pink, pale purple, soft green, and pale blue, each color outlined with panels of gold cloth and the whole coated with lots and lots of glittery circus jewels. The horses were draped with trappings of gold and “jewels,” and even their bridles and saddlecloths were covered with sparkly gold cloth and circus jewels. The entire troupe included dozens of costumed riders, each as spectacularly costumed as the last. We looked like the ultimate in medieval bling.
My mare Beth (also known as The Greatest Horse Ever) was quite a trooper, as she had to present herself as the perfect ladies mount for spectators whilst literally surrounded by any horse’s worst nightmares–lions, tigers and bears (oh my!), elephants, snakes, the odd pygmy hippo and baby giraffe, and a score of other unusual critters, dozens of marching bands, over fifty antique circus wagons pulled by teams of thundering draft horses, and unimaginable crowds of spectators (at just one of these parades alone we had over 1.5 million spectators!). Oh, yes, and there also were television crews from the major networks and PBS that would run up right in front of us or from either side with extra lights to shine in Beth’s eyes, with crew sporting all sorts of spooky equipment. That was always fun… almost as much fun as the balloons popping and clowns shooting off blanks from their pistols as they raced about.
Nary a snort. That’s my girl.
She never put a foot wrong throughout, my Beth, even though she was anything but a dull or placid horse.
I’ll have to rummage around and see if I have some better photos of her in her hey day. I may even have some photos around of her with her last foal, Knight, a rascal if there ever was one, who grew up to become part of a U.S. Forest Service’s Search and Rescue Team.
Hm, I wonder where those are…
Guess I’ll have to take a road trip through my old CDs!