The evening before Anzac Day is always fun, a variety of people, friends and family come together for the evening to prepare and celebrate the annual Anzac Day Parade with the Light Horse. Chad, our Troop leader, arrives in his large rig and washes his gorgeous horse. We, the Light Horsemen all polish our leathers and brass and prepare our horses then we settle in with some banter and a few stories.
Tewantin is the destination and the RSL have been amazingly supportive. The troops have practice walking the horses around the towns of Cooroy, Pomona and Tewantin to ensure the horses are ready for the parade. The RSL and Chad (Troop Leader) prepare the safety instructions for everyone. The main things that can set off a horse is the band and the police cars with flashing lights and / or sirens. We iron out that the band is way back in the parade and that the police are given strict instructions not to have police cars with lights or sirens anywhere near the horses. All said there is always a variable that happens in most parades that we all have to use common sense to move through.
Arriving at 6.30 in the morning for the 9.00 parade we are all busy dressing our horses and ourselves, so much to do, so much to put on. With amazing support on the ground we are overwhelmed with the people who turn up to help us prepare for the parade.
Dressed and ready we mount our horses, have a little practice around the park and settle in for the photographer to do some styled photographs with the people and horses involved.
Both my sons, Blake and Cody, were supportive and drove up from Brisbane to be part of the event and to be security and walk beside the leading horses to push the crowd back when marching in the parade.
Wayne is our amazing leader walking on the ground and looking tall and handsome in his uniform, looks the part of gives the horses and troop a leader to follow which is important to horses especially as they are a flight animal and having someone in front helps them feel comfortable.
My uncle Bertie has blessed us and made the trip from Bribie Island to come and walk with us in the parade. He is wearing many medals and he is a veteran of Vietnam. We are all so excited that Bertie has decided to come to our parade and walk together on this special day.
Usually we have a whole road, both sides, but this year we only have half a road which is testing on the horses as the crowd have also come in on us. We are only just starting are run down the main street with people cheering and clapping, people love the horses and they are magical dressed in their uniform.
Suddenly someone slams their car door just next to the last horse and this horse jumps around, this is normal and is usually recovered simply but right in front of us is a police car parked half on our path and half on the centre island and yes, with the flashing lights left on. Helen and I are mounted and the first horses to get past this car with flashing lights. I was so proud of our horses to stay calm through this with the crowd on us. We have to relax ourselves and our buttocks so the horse also feels relaxed and we focus on walking forward with our eyes looking ahead.
The last horse is already a bit spooked because of the slam of the car door right beside him and right in front of him is the flashing lights of the police car. Anyway, the horse was spooked enough for the rider to have to dismount and return back to base. We moved forward with our leader on foot, two security guards, and Uncle Bertie in form.
What an amazing feeling of honour to walk in full uniform on our magnificent horses in honour of the people and horses that served for us and put their lives on the line for our country. The crowd were clapping and you could see the respect in their eyes as they remembered the fallen.
Arnie, third year of Light Horse for Anzac parades, 22 years old and looking proud.
The troops celebrate a safe parade and head home.