Go to FastAd#:
Be Sociable, Share!

Rose again

Traveler gets special duty in 126th Rose Parade

From Horsetrader staff reports - January 15th, 2015 - Show & Event News

Tommy Trojan (Hector Aguilar) and Traveler7 pony Traveler9, a riderless horse honoring Louis Zamperini, who passed away last year after being named the parade's Grand Marshall.

Tommy Trojan (Hector Aguilar) and Traveler7 pony Traveler9, a riderless horse honoring Louis Zamperini, who passed away last year after being named the parade’s Grand Marshall.

Vicki Fletcher photo

PASADENA — Traveler, the striking Andalusian in his 14th year as the University of Southern California mascot, has seen his share of limelight — from sideline cameos at National Championship football games to countless other high profile pacings that include several Rose Parade trips. On New Year’s day, he tried a dutiful role, and owner Joanne Asman of Burbank says it’s her favorite of his illustrious career.

“For us, it was special — not only to be back in the Rose Parade because we haven’t done it for a few years, but to be in it in such a way that honored the legacy of Louis Zamperini and his affiliation not only with USC but his love of animals,” said Asman, a USC grad herself and a lifelong equestrian who’s now a premier event coordinator of equestrian and animal entertainment. “For us, it was a very special year.”

The 126th Rose Parade, under the theme of “Inspiring Stories,” featured the riderless horse that represented grand marshal Louis Zamperini, a World War II hero and former Olympian, who died last July. Zamperini is the subject of a best-selling book and the movie “Unbroken,” now in theaters. Zamperini’s son, daughter and other family members rode in a car in his place.

Asman was asked by Tournament of Roses staff about the riderless horse idea, and she was honored to answer the call. Both of her Andalusians participated, Traveler7 with Tommy Trojan (Hector Aguilar) aboard, and Traveler9, with the backward-facing boots, in his debut. Asman says Traveler7, now 24, will keep his job until he indicates he’s ready to step down.

Joanne Asman, a USC alum and owner of Traveler7 and Traveler9, braves the cold predawn preparation.

Joanne Asman, a USC alum and owner of Traveler7 and Traveler9, braves the cold predawn preparation.

Vicki Fletcher photo

“He still loves being Traveler,” said Asman, whose portfolio of equestrian performances includes Fiesta of the Spanish Horse and EquestFest.

The excitement of the day helped warm the moment, as it was the second-coldest Rose Parade on record – by one degree. In 1952, paraders and spectators braved 32-degree temperatures. In was 33 this year.

“Hector was freezing,” smiled Asman, whose horses have been trained by Aguilar more than 10 years. “Even the horse was cold. Traveler7’s body is shaved, so it was freezing for him. We had to carry a blanket with us so that we could cover him up and keep him warm while we were waiting.”

This marked Asman’s 15th Rose Parade participation, the first coming in 1992. She has ridden four different breeds in the parades, Peruvian Pasos, Quarter Horses and Arabians along with Andalusians. Her most memorable?

“The first one and this one,” she said. “Riding in the Rose parade is probably a highlight of the equestrian careers of those who are in it because you’re not only riding down Colorado Boulevard with a million people sitting there, cheering, but it’s also being shown all over the world to millions more.”

Just as Traveler likes it.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment

All fields must be filled in to leave a message.