Earlier this year, I vowed to make a more determined effort to attend pony events (among some other resolutions). Thus, having never been to San Diego, (being only a short hop from San Francisco (447 miles according to United) didn't hurt either), I jumped at the opportunity to visit the city and attend its 40th annual pride parade, walking with their vibrant leather contingent (with whom the human animals walk).
The parade was a wonderful experience: the energy of tens of thousands friendly, happy people can't help but put a big smile to your face. The human ponies and critters were popular with the crowd, garnering loud cheers - and the occasional request to crack the whip harder :) - and I was reminded of the wonderous experience a pride parade is.
If you want to try being a pony in public, pride parades are a great way to start. The ponies and critters are nearly always a hit during these parades, with everyone wanting to have their picture taking with the pony. During the parade itself, the ponies and critters typically walk with the leather contingent, and sometimes, depending on the organizers, will carry (via cart) leather titleholders.
Also a lot of the bigger pride parades have parties/gatherning after the parade itself where leather and fetish retailers and craftsmen often setup booths. This is not only a great opporutnity to try and buy gear, but it's also a good place for networking (pony and animal role play groups may also have representatives if not their own booths).
I was pleasantly surprised by the size of San Diego's leather realm (the name of the leather section of their post parade festival). One retailer had a complete pony head bridle set (I didn't ask to try it on, though I was tempted), and Truly Heavy Leather (aka Olde Armoury Leather) had a booth. I even got to chat with the proprietor himself, the wonderful Clovis!
Whether you attend a parade as a pony or a spectator, I have no doubt that you'll have an awesome time. The positive energy of the crowd, of the day itself, is infectious! Anyway, without further ado, here are some of the photos I took of the human ponies, puppies, and critters at San Diego's 40th annual Pride pride:
A handler/cart driver and her posing prior to the start of the parade:
The driver of a pony cart (left), and the driver of the puppy sled (right) preparing for the parade:
A lovely mane and bridle on ponygirl Beauty:
A wonderful cart pony posing for the camera in the staging area for the leather contingent of the San Diego pride parade:
A ponyboy with a cool umbrella preparing for the parade:
A ponyboy preparing for the start of the pride parade:
subMissAnn ready to pull her driver's cart for the San Diego pride parade:
I love this ponyboy's bridle and plume:
A ponyboy posing for the camera prior to the parade:
Part of the procession of ponies and critters in the parade:
Ponies on parade:
An awesome ponyboy pulling a cart along University:
Puppies pulling a sled:
A pair of pony carts (Beauty (subMissAnn) in the foreground, and unidentified ponyboy behind her):
A ponyboy pulling Mistress Ellen during the San Diego Pride parade:
The puppies pulling the dogsled were quite playful. During a brief pause in the parade, they posed for the camera:
A few of the ponies at the end of the parade route. They look eager for more:
Pride parades are a fun way to show your pony side and support the local commmunity. If you're interested in walking in your local (or another city's) pride parade as a human pony (or other animal), contact the organizers of the contingent with whom you would like to walk (this is often the leather contingent). Typically they will be happy for the support. I have always received warm welcomes whenever I asked if I could participate.