Aside World Magazine
Winter 2021 Issue
Then and Now:
Inauguration and Side Saddle
Inauguration Memories from 1977 by Joan Kelly Ringler
On January 20,2021 as I was watching the inauguration of President Joe Biden I was filled with so many memories of a different time. A time when people had respect for each other and most of all respect for their country.
One of the most memorable times of my life was January 20,1977. I was invited, along with a group other side saddle riders from ISSO, to ride in President Carters Inaugural Parade. The preparation started days before leaving for Washington, DC. The Channel 6 News came out to interview me and film me riding Wicka’s Warlock.
The snow was several feet deep that week. The sun had melted my ring, but left a sea of water that froze over during the night which turned it into an ice skating rink and then more snow on top. Wicka was an amazing horse, and I thought I would just trot around a little. When the crew came out they wanted to see him jump. I knew that was a really bad idea, but I trusted Wicka to make the judgement. I knew if he felt unsteady he would not do it. He had a lot more sense than I did in those days. I picked a fence that had a lot of snow in front of it to give him a little grip and asked the camera crew to stop filming if we fell. I turned him into it and let him go. We made it. He was such a fantastic animal. We were in the newspapers and on TV. I was a local celebrity with my big, beautiful grey horse.
The night before we left for Washington I had to clip and bath but it was below zero. The coldest winter I can ever remember. Even with electric heaters I could not warm the barn enough to do that. I lived in West Chester, PA not far from New Bolton Center Veterinary Hospital, so in the middle of the night they opened the hospital and let me use one of the operating rooms with the high pressure hoses, lots of heat and of course spectators.
All of the horses in the parade had to stable at Rosecroft Raceway, a harness racing track right outside of Washington. Some of the ISSO horses spent the night at my barn. In the morning we loaded up and I started out with the horses and my friends left in a Winabego that we rented as there were no hotel rooms anywhere to be had.
We safely made it to Rosecroft, unloaded the horses into their freshly bedded stalls and left them to enjoy their dinner while we took our hotel on wheels to a local store, bought some food for the next few days and had our dinner in the parking lot.
The next morning we had to line up on the race track the way we were to be in the parade and practice. Needless to say the race horse trainers were not very happy as they trained around us. Their horses were just as startled by a large group of ladies riding on horses backs as our horses were of their horses racing around pulling little carts with wheels and me yelling and flipping whips. An experience for all. That night or I should say the wee hours of the morning I braided Wicka and then two or three others needed help. Again the weather was below zero degrees. The stalls were shed row type with no heat at all, and my gloveless fingers were numb.
The morning of the parade we were all groomed, braided and ready to load up and join the long caravan of vans and trailers headed down the highway to Washington. When we arrived we were directed to a holding area where we unloaded. I have never seen anything like this. The entire thing was a major military operation. There were armed guards, FBI agents, and police everywhere. We had to move vans to a parking lot while our grooms cared for the horses. Then we had to go into a large tent for a briefing. We were told not to wave or make any gestures as we rode passed the bullet proof glass room where the President was viewing the parade. From the briefing we were moved back to the holding area. Then to another holding area where they had smaller tents with heaters in them so people, including police and guards, could get warm. Finally, we mounted up and lined up in our positions. I was in the lead as I was ISSO Champion, and then moved off to a side street. It was amazing how it was all put together. A group of horses on one street, a group of marching bands on another street and a group of floats on another. Each street one by one filtered out on to Pennsylvania Avenue and into the Parade. Thrilling!
When we passed by the President I remembered not to make any gestures or wave. When I glanced behind me and saw other riders waving and smiling I felt terrible.
This was certainly an experience that I and all of the other ISSO ladies will never forget.
Photo Above: Wicka's Warlock with Joan Kelly Ringler
Above Photo: This is one of the holding areas. Wicka is the grey and my groom is one of my students, Betsy Batson and the daughter of my best friend.
Below Photo: A page from ISSO News. Wicka's home away from home is the six horse van in the center.
Photo's to Left and Above are of news paper clippings collected by Joan Kelly Ringler about ISSO's involvement in the 1977 Inaugural Parade for President Carter.
Photo Below is the Official Inaugural Photo from 1977, you can see the official seal in the lower left corner.
Inauguration Memories from Today by Pat Blaire
Parade Across America
Seven days before the Presidential Inauguration I received a call from the parade committee requesting a horse parade video in four days. So Oregon Ladies Aside (included ISSO members Pat Blaire) pulled together side saddles, horses, riders, costumes and a photographer and delivered our video in four days. Riding side saddle in the virtual Parade Across America as the official representatives of the State of Oregon was both a thrill and an honor than we all will never forget!
Top Photo from Left to Right: Pat Blaire on Piper and Julie Baum with Devon (the pony)
Bottom Left Photo from Left to Right: Lisa Musselwhite, Barbara Baum, and Julie Baum
Bottom Right Photo Left to Right: Delaney Kenney on Aislynn, Kathryn Simonson on Cedar and Pat Blaire on Piper