What to Know
Friday, Dec. 29
LA Equestrian Center
$15 general admission
The holidays and horses are a quaint combo for many revelers, from the carousel-themed decorations festooning the Christmas tree to the old-timey carriage rides offered in various villages and town squares.
But in Southern California, the close of the year and ponydom become very much about a couple of major events: The Tournament of Roses and the opening of the winter meet at Santa Anita Park.
There are no brightly painted carousel horses to be seen, but there are real-life, mane-majestic animals that are both powerful and beautiful. And while many horse fans will awaken early to check out the Rose Parade's equestrian spirit come New Year's Day, some still crave more connection to the saddle side of the 129-year-old spectacular.
That connection arrives via Equestfest Presented by Wells Fargo, which trots into the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank on Friday, Dec. 29. Spectators in attendance can expect to see "... drills and dances" as well as presentations involving "trick riding and roping."
Doing the roping and drills? The ponies and riders who will join the parade in Pasadena just three days later. Riders you'll get to meet, or many of them, for Equestfest is very much about giving the public a chance to see the stables, and "...talk to riders and learn about various tack and the many different breeds..." seen at the event and the parade.
A general ticket is $15, but there's a VIP option. Also keep in mind that this is not a day-long affair, but rather runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the Equestrian Show taking the ring from noon to 2 o'clock. Also happening concurrently is a vendor fair, so plan on time to saunter by various tables and booths.
Parking is $10 at the center, and food and drinks will be for sale there.
Will you fall for a particular pony you meet at Equestfest? Probably. Will you see the pony again in the Rose Parade, if you keep careful watch? There's a really solid chance of that. Will our heart beat just a bit faster, knowing that you met the horse before the parade? It's difficult not to feel a bit of thrill-y insideriness about attending Equestfest before the whole Colorado Boulevard bash happens.
Details, times, and horse-mazing fun? No need to whinny; all of that may be found right here.