Neighborhood Travels

32nd Annual Equestfest

Every New Year’s holiday, the Tournament of Roses produces the Rose Parade in Pasadena, but there are other events.  This year because January 1st falls on a Sunday, the parade will take place on January 2nd.  My chance to view the floats on January 3rd was out of the question this year.  As a change, my daughter suggested we try the Equestfest.  I’m glad she did.

Clydesdales open Equestfest

As the title says, this was the 32nd Equestfest.  I’m amazed that I had never heard of it until now.  The world seems to know about the parade, but only a few attend the other events.  Well, that’s my take on it.  I was pleased to see the show begin with Clydesdales.  The Budweiser Clydesdales first appeared in the parade in 1953, and I read they’ll be here in 2023 as well.  I’ll have to wait and see because the Equestfest program began with a team of black Clydesdales from Yukon, Okalahoma, making a fantastic tour about the arena.

Express Clydesdales with the Rose Queen and her court

I can’t keep in step when I walk!  How do those horses do so?  They were a delight to watch.

Drill Teams

There were several teams at Equestfest, and I don’t have room to feature an image of each.  All were from California, and each offered a complicated routine.  The audience appreciated the show, but I especially enjoyed the speed at which the riders dashed about the arena.

A member of the Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers

The audience was stunned as that little horse suddenly took off and shot down the length of the course.  Horse and rider took that turn at speed!  The oohs and aahs from the audience showed how much we all appreciated the effort.

Equestfest military units

The military equestrian units were well represented, from the California State Guard to the 1st Cavalry Division.  Of course, I must include a  Marine Corps Color Guard photo.

The Marine Corps Color Guard from Barstow, California

This group is the last of these units in the Marine Corps.  That’s a sad statement.

Equestrian Surprises

The Hermanos Banuelos Charro Team stunned the audience with their beautiful horses and impressive skills with a rope.

Hermanos Banuelos Charro Team

The audience also gave big applause for the Compton Cowboys.  I think this was the first appearance for this group.

A member of the Compton Cowboys takes the jump!

After so many western saddles, seeing some English riding skills was a pleasant change.

Whether big groups or solo riders, the performances were terrific, and the audience enjoyed the show.


The Rose Parade may be the star attraction for the Tournament of Roses, but the Equestfest is an outstanding event.  I will happily consider it for next year.  Where else can I see an entire performance by a drill team?  Or see the roping skills of Los Banuelos and the charge of the cavalry riders?  The parade may be too sedate for me.

I hope you liked the photos.  In Smugmug, I’ve added pictures of every participant.  To see them, please click here.


Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

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