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Haflinger odyssey buds into 2010 Rose Parade spot

From Horsetrader staff reports - November 5th, 2009 - Show & Event News

Tom and Connie Hodgson, in front, will drive their Linzer Wagonette in the 2010 Rose Parade, pulled by their team of geldings, Whiz Kid and Woody. Son and daughter Luke and Hannah Hodgson will ride.

Courtesy photo

Tom and Connie Hodgson, in front, will drive their Linzer Wagonette in the 2010 Rose Parade, pulled by their team of geldings, Whiz Kid and Woody. Son and daughter Luke and Hannah Hodgson will ride.

Like many in Southern California, Jennifer Rose of Templeton grew up with dreams of riding in the Rose Parade. It’s only fitting that in 2004 when she acquired her first Haflinger — an unbroken, 4-year-old, mare named, aptly, “Rosie” — that it set forth a course that will land her in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day 2010.

Rose learned in late July that she is part of a nine-horse, 14-person Haflinger parade entry selected by parade officials to be among 18 equestrian units in the “Granddaddy of All Parades.”

“Dreams really do come true,” says Rose, who waited three long months between application and the word of her acceptance into the parade. “The secret is to never give up on them.”

She’ll be driving Native Rosie in a two-part tandem cart with her sister, Crystal Chapman, of Atascadero, riding in the back half of the cart. Joining them will be Dr. Jennifer Wells, a chiropractor in Norco and Diamond Bar, with her 13-year-old stallion, Malachi, in her four-wheeled Bird-In-Hand Flyer from Pennsylvania — along with her passenger and fellow carriage driving friend, Karen Poly, a Los Angeles Zoo Keeper from Tujunga.

Last year, Dr. Wells, who had been parading down Sixth Street in Norco for four years at local events, jumped at the chance to participate in the 2009 Rose Parade. The experience was thrilling–not to mention a great promotional opportunity for the breed with which she has fallen in love.

“We thought it’d be a fun and exciting adventure to share our beautiful horses with the rest of the world,” said Dr. Wells.

The Haflinger (pronounced “HOFF-linger”) is a versatile semi-draft pony horse from Austria–more specifically, the village of Hafling in the Austrian Etschlander Mountains. The combination of its lively, kind expression with large eyes, wide nostrils and small, mobile ears endear them to many who see them for the first time–often in parades.

Jennifer Rose of Templeton, flanked by her sister, Crystal Chapman of Atascadero and Native Rosie, will fulfill a dream New Year’s Day when they ride with a Haflinger unit in the Rose Parade.

Courtesy photo

Jennifer Rose of Templeton, flanked by her sister, Crystal Chapman of Atascadero and Native Rosie, will fulfill a dream New Year’s Day when they ride with a Haflinger unit in the Rose Parade.

Rose Parade dream starts with application process

Dr. Wells’s idea of an entry in the 2010 Rose Parade was shared with Victoria da Roza of Walnut Creek, leading to an entrance application last April.

“We all had to fill out a long, specific application, including the years and dates and names of parades we had participated in,” said Wells, who serves the team as an unofficial “co-Marshall” alongside the official Marshall, da Roza. “We had to include pictures of the exact costume and harness or tack
that we would be using in the parade with the specific carriage and horse, as well.”

Sadly, several of Dr. Wells’s fellow Haflinger owners who had showed interest in participating did not get costumes and pictures in time for the application and were excluded. She had purchased her costume well in advance from an online source in Germany. Her husband, Norco farrier Roland Schmitz, will use his grandfather’s hat from Austria.

Schmitz will drive a Carriage Machine Road Cart with his 13-year-old gelding, Wyatt. Riding the Wells’s 7-year-old gelding, Menchaca Wylde will be dressage trainer Lisa Everett of Santa Rosa Valley.

DaRoza will ride her antique surrey that was recently painted with green, yellow, Edelweiss flowers and an Austrian coat of arms behind her pair of mares, Larissa and Meg. Denny Krulik will be her passenger. Outwalkers will include DaRoza’s daughter, Sarah Hawkins from Vacaville, Brandon Billings from Concord, and Laural Roaldson of Walnut Creek.

The other couple driving a pair will be Tom and Connie Hodgson of Martinez, who own Fancy Ferriage by Horse & Carriage. Their adult children, Luke and Hannah Hodgson, will accompany them as they drive a Linzer Wagonette pulled by their team of geldings, Whiz Kid and Woody. Marjorie Puckett of San Island, Wash., who will be 70 years young by the time she rides her gelding, Marico, down the parade, completes the unit.

“When we heard that we were accepted, we were thrilled!” said Dr. Wells. “But that is when the hard work began.”

‘Granddaddy of all Logistics’

Planning a Rose Parade unit is an immense task — for the participants, their supporters and a small army of both volunteers and paid professionals. Further, the organization behind the entire parade might be the “Granddaddy of all Logistics.”

A September meeting at the Tournament of Roses House in Pasadena impressed the Haflinger group with the scope of the magnificent project.

“They explained every detail of every portion of the parade — it was amazing,” Dr. Wells said. “The committee members and chair members have every little detail imaginable and all scenarios worked out to make it a safe, secure and memorable experience for all involved.”

‘Donate toward our dream’

One detail still being worked out for the Haflinger unit is confronting the cost of the opportunity.

“Traveling costs, stabling costs, entry fees, floral costs — the list goes on and on,” said Dr. Wells, whose unit also will put together a five-minute musical performance for the Dec. 29 Equestfest at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. “We have been asking for donations from fellow Haflinger enthusiasts, horse enthusiasts, carriage driving friends, horse clubs and organizations, friends, and even my patients to donate toward our dream to be in the parade.”

Many have come through Kim Spann of Wingspann Farm, a premier Haflinger importer and breeder in Oregon. In 2006, Dr. Wells purchased Malachi from Spann, who is a frontline supporter of the Haflinger breed and member of H.O.P.E. (Haflinger Owners Promotional Enterprises).

Other donors include the Western Haflinger Association, Marie Wyatt (co-founder of California Haflingers, a free networking online group of Haflinger enthusiasts), and others who have donated from $1 to $100. Dr. Wells says the group still has a ways to go to reach a goal of $3,000 in the “New Year’s Haflinger Fund” by December.

Those interested in donating to the group can make checks payable to “New Year’s Haflinger Fund” and send them to: Victoria da Roza, 888 Castle Rock Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.

For more information on the Hallinger breed, visit: http://www.haflingerhorse.com

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2 comments have been made on “Haflinger odyssey buds into 2010 Rose Parade spot”

  1. Jane VanderWerf Says:

    I just saw your entry in the Rose Parade- fantastic!

    And a special shout out to Victoria Da Roza, our former neighbor in Alamo. We would love to see you at some more meetings. Maybe we can have a Haflinger event at Heather Farm this year!

    Jane VanderWerf
    2010 President, Equestrian Center of Walnut Creek

  2. Christine Reid Says:

    I loved to see those beautiful Haflingers parading around! Great job!

    Christine
    Haflinger owner, Kalispell, MT

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