Parade Horses
Strut Your Stuff - Horse Costume Ideas

Parade horses are all about flash, flair and eye catching style. Onlookers thrill at the site of a well dressed horse and rider.

Inspired by history, fantasy and fairy tale you can give ‘em what they want! Show your pride and showmanship to the world with one of these delightful parade costume ideas.

Riders in History - Great for Single or Multiple Riders

Make a splash with a blast from the past! Horses have played such a major role in history you just can’t go wrong with a historically themed parade costume. The more authentic you can make it, the better.

Parade Horses - Southern Bell

Dress as a Southern Belle complete with parasol. Ride sidesaddle. Bathe and groom your horse ‘til she shines! Spray with silicone for an extra sleek glossy look. Paint horse hoofs with high gloss black or clear hoof polish. This old time look is just beautiful to behold!

Parade HorsesSpanish Rider

Spanish parade horse and rider.

Historically the Spaniards have been known for their flash and flair with lots of silver on their saddles; breast collars and bridles…if they were wealthy.

For the rider:

  • Option 1:  Wear a wide velvet sombrero, fitted high waist pants, crisp riffled white shirt and a bolero jacket.
  • Option 2:  Wear a full Spanish style skirt with a peasant blouse and top with a rose hair piece or a Spanish style black hat.
  • Option 3:   Go ‘poor peon’ style and wear a plain high topped straw hat with white cotton peasant style clothing with a rope for a belt and sandals. This look works well with a burrow or a mule.

Parade HorsesArabian Rider

Adorn your horse with tassels. For the ladies dress in Arabian styled garb with volumes of sheer fabrics, jewels and a veil. For men, wear long white robes accented with a long colorful over-robe. Wear a ghutrah (Arabian head wrap) and a sword.

Parade HorsesRider from the Old West

This costume is a bit more challenging than it first appears. The trick is to keep your horse and yourself dressed in authentic looking clothing from the old west. Today’s modern western clothing is not it. Think trail worn and well used. Guns in their gun belts and rifle scabbards, lariats and trail dust are definitely called for with this look. If you can outfit a packhorse or two to create a pack string you’re on the right track.

If you want to add a bit of humor to the scene, have a saloon girl tag along!

Parade HorsesAmerican Indian Horseman

Paint your pony! Add tribal paint and feathers to your horse for an authentic look. Disguise your saddle with an Indian blanket or ride bareback if you can. Wear Native American garb. This look would work very well with an Indian maiden leading or riding a horse, pulling a loaded travois. Bring a couple of well behaved trail dogs to tag along and complete the look.

Parade HorsesMedievel Warrior

For this look think - Attila the Hun. Create a primitive looking war helmet out of a riding helmet. Line the lower half of the helmet with fur. Use cardboard and duct tape to create a point for the top of the helmet and spray with copper colored spray paint. Carry a thick sword and shield. Dress in a mix of furs and armor. Adorn your horse’s breast collar with a copper colored breast plate. See war horse for home-made horse armor ideas.

Perhaps he's riding with stolen goods in tow....(medieval lady)? 

Parade HorsesMongolian Horseman

These riders lived in HIGH COLD COUNTRY! Dress in furs from head to toe. Carry a spear. Place a heavy woven fabric over your saddle pad and adorn your horse’s breast color and bridal with heavy tassels in deep red or burnt orange in color.

Parade Horses - Viking Warrior

The Viking warrior costume is very similar to the Mongolian and Midevel warrior with a few exceptions. The Viking is a barbarian and needs the classic horned helmet to pull off the look. The Viking is dressed in a mix of furs and armor like the midevel warrior, but shows more skin; bare arms and maybe even bare legs. Vikings used a variety of weapons; short shield, a ball and chain, sword, club or battle axe. To add to the barbaric look adorn your bridle with long thick locks of horse hair to mimic the look of scalps taken. Cover your saddle with a piece of foe fur cut in an irregular shape.

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Fantasy Riders - Fantastic Costumes for the
Individual Horse and Rider

Leave the everyday world behind and say hello to flights of fancy. Take your audience into a journey of imagination and delight with these fanciful horse and rider costumes!

Parade HorsesPeacock Horse and Rider

For the Horse:  Adorn the mane and tail with an abundance of peacock feathers. Use full length feathers for the tail and shorten the feathers used in the mane and forelock.  Wrap the horses legs with royal blue vet wrap. Paint the hoofs peacock green and top with glitter while still wet. A brilliant green, blue or purple nylon bridal works well with this costume. Drape a blue or green cloth over your saddle pad.

For the Rider:  Dress in fine flowing fabrics in colors to compliment your horse. Incorporate peacock feathers into your costume and add dramatic eye makeup to play up the look.

Parade HorsesCowboy Santa and Reindeer Horse

This costume is simple yet fun and certainly a crowd pleaser! Think Leanen’ tree Christmas card come to life. For your horse, create a pair of antlers. Make the antlers from a thick sheet of foam from the fabric store. Trace the shape of your antlers and cut them out using sharp scissors or a utility knife. Once cut out, use scissors to round and shape the edges into a more antler like appearance.

Important: Make the antlers an extra 6”- 8” longer at the bottom.

So you can attach them to your bridle.

Use a heavy gage wire as an inner support. Bend the wire to match the overall shape of the antlers. Then slice the foam open, embed the wire inside and glue it shut with spray adhesive. Spray with brown spray paint. Attach the antlers to either side of your bridle using leather cording. Wrap the leather cording around the bridal and the bottom portion of the antlers several times to make them extra secure. Bend the antlers in any direction you wish. For the rider, dress as a Cowboy Santa!

Parade HorsesIce Queen and Horse

Do you remember the White Witch from the ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ movie? This is the type of look you are going for, but you don’t have to make it so sinister. For the rider, dress in long robes of white or pale icy blue. You could achieve the same effect by draping a sheer glittery fabric over a long white gown (add slits the gown in front and back and wear wide bottomed white pants underneith for unencumbered riding).  Wear a white crown or tiara.

Every fairy needs a Unicorn!What else would a fairy ride?

For the horse: Decorate the mane and tail with ribbon and garland. Use wide wire ribbon in colors of silver, pale blue and white. Bend the wire ribbon into pleasing wave patterns. Add silver bead garland and snowflakes made of plastic or tinsel from your local craft store. Paint your horse’s hoofs white and top with glitter while still wet. Sprinkle your horse’s shoulders and rump with silver and blue glitter or spray with hair glitter.

Parade HorsesFairy Rider and Ethereal Horse

For the rider dress as a fairy complete with wings. Adorn your horse in matching colors. Just like the Ice Queen costume, use wide wire ribbon shaped in pleasing wave patterns to decorate the mane and tail of your horse. Add lightweight plastic twig foliage from the craft store for an earthy effect. Paint hoofs with high gloss hoof polish and top with glitter while still wet. Drape volumes of flowey fabric over your saddle or saddle pad.

Parade HorsesJockey Riding a ???

Add a little lighthearted humor to the parade with this simple costume. Put an English saddle on your donkey, cow or other unlikely ‘race horse’ and dress as a jockey. That’s it. Simple and entertaining!

Parade HorsesStatue of Liberty

Show your patriotic pride with this outfit! For the rider, dress in a Statue of Liberty costume. Place a foam Statue of Liberty crown on your horse as well. Drape your saddle with volumes of coordinating fabric. Wrap your horse’s legs with coordinating colored vet wrap and paint the hoofs to match using water based tempera craft paints. Use a coordinating nylon bridal and reins if you have them.

Parade HorsesJester Horse and Rider

This costume is colorful and playful. For the rider, dress as a jester. For the horse, attach a jester hat atop your horse’s bridal. Wrap his legs with vet wrap using coordinating colors. Make all four different if you wish. Attach diamond shapes made of felt to the breast collar. Hang bells from the point of each diamond. Drape coordinating jester inspired fabric over your saddle pad or your entire saddle. Add bells and bows to your horse’s tail. You won’t be ignored in this costume!

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Group Riders - Fun Costumes for
Two or More on Horseback

Princess and chargerEvery Princess needs a properly dressed Charger!

Parade HorsesKing and Queen with Mounted Guards

This costume idea works best with four or more riders. The more mounted guards you have to ride with the King and Queen, the grander the royal processional will be! Purchase or sew the costumes for the riders.

For the guards horses choose a color scheme. To create a uniform look, drape their saddle pads with a yard of matching fabric. Use more of the same cloth to create serapes embellished with the royal emblem. Tip: adding heavy fringe to the bottom edges of the serapes will help weight them down.

A serape is a long narrow blanket or cloth that sits just behind the saddle and hangs past the horse’s belly.

Use more matching cloth adorned with the royal emblem and hang from each breast collar. Have two guards carry flags with the royal colors. The others can carry shields and swords.

For the King and Queens Horses; adorn them lavishly with silver show tack if you have it. Add gold or silver tassels to the bridles and royal saddle pads. Paint their hoofs with hoof polish.

Parade Horses - Snow White, Prince Charming and the Dwarves

These parade costumes are self explanatory but I will add this; you don’t have to have 7 dwarves to pull off the look. You can get away with 3 or 4 and still make it work. The dwarves can be children or adults on horseback. Have fun with it and let the costumes tell the story!

Parade HorsesRaggedy Ann and Andy with Rag Doll Horses

This parade costume is just plain fun! For the riders, dress as Raggedy Ann and Andy. For the horses you will need red yarn and non toxic water base kid’s craft paint. Cut volumes of yarn into lengths to create a yarn mane and a yarn tail for each horse.

For the mane, cut the yarn into strips 24” to 30” long. Gather several pieces together and use another short piece of yarn to tie them together in the middle to create a thick bundle. Make a bunch of these bundles. Lay the bundles over your horse’s mane allowing an equal amount to hang over each side of the neck. Keep in place with small hair clips. Create a thick yarn bundle just for the forelock.

Tip: If you add much shorter pieces to the yarn bundles, they will stick up to create a fuller look.

For the tail, cut the yarn as long as you wish. Make several bundles, but this time bind them at the top instead of in the middle. Hold them onto the tail with hair clips. You can hide the unfinished edge toward the top of the tail by adding a large bow.

Use the paints to paint large ‘quilt’ patches on the horse’s rumps and maybe a patch or two on the shoulders. You can also paint a ‘patch’ over the horse’s eye area and ‘stitches’ where the face meets the muzzle to create a stuffed toy look. Paint the hoofs bright red, yellow or white. Adorn the bridles and breast collars with felt pieces to create a patchwork look if you wish.

Parade HorsesSouthern Belle and Gentleman

This look is self explanatory. Try to keep the costumes as authentic as you can. Ride English style saddles and sidesaddle for the lady if possible.

For the gentleman it’s all about the top hat, split tail coat, ruffled shirt, vest and pocket watch. The lady will need a fitted bodice riding dress with volumes of fabric, white petticoats and a hat styled with flowers and bows.

Polish your tack to a shine. Bathe and groom your horses and add silicone spray for extra sheen. Use hoof polish for a finishing touch. It’s all about grace, beauty and style!

Parade HorsesHillbillies

Get ready for exaggerated comedy! If you’re going to do Hillbilly, do it big. Think ‘Ma and Pa Kettle’ not ‘Hee-Haw’…they were too clean cut.  You are going for an unkempt, mish mash, hodge podge of hillbilly riders and their miscellaneous belongings.

If your horses have rolled in the mud, refrain from brushing them clean, except the saddle pad and cinch area. Let the dirt accentuate the look. Use the rattiest looking tack you can come up with. Exchange your nice leather reins for an old rope.

Use your ugliest saddle blanket or drape a gunnysack over your saddle pad. Have some of the riders in your group ride bareback or just use a tattered old blanket. Wear a cow halter under your bridle. Anything to look unkempt and mis-matched.

For the riders consider these: one strapped overalls, long underwear, ill fitting baggy pants, worn out shirts buttoned up unevenly, holy work boots, shot guns, dirty bare feet, gunny sack dresses, rope belts, corn cob pipes, missing teeth, torn straw hats, battered felt hats, hair in curlers, pig tales, braids tied off with gingham bows, smudged and unshaven faces.

It’s the accessories that will really pull this hillbillies parade horses look together! Add several pack animals to the mix. Go for ponies, donkeys or mules if you've got them. This is where it gets fun. Strap an old rocking chair, a wash tub and a shovel to your mule. Drape a couple of sour-mash whiskey jugs from the saddle horn. Hang a couple of wooden crates with chickens in them to your pony’s saddle (the chickens don’t have to be real). Have one of the riders lead a goat or a cow. Bring your hound dogs!

The Four Elements: Earth, Wind, Water & Fire

Earth Horse: Decorate the mane and tail with sparkly wide wire ribbons of green. Shape the ribbon into pleasing wave patterns. Add green leaves and lightweight vines from the craft store. Paint the hoofs a dusty green color and top with glitter while still wet. Sprinkle glitter over your horse’s shoulders and rump. Drape a green flowey fabric over your saddle pad.

Earth Rider: Dress in volumes of sheer flowey green and earth tone fabrics. Wear a leafy wreath in your hair.


Wind Horse: Decorate the mane and tail with sparkly wide wire ribbons of white. Shape the ribbon into pleasing wave patterns. Add plastic shimmery snowflakes. Paint your horse’s hoofs white and top with silver glitter while still wet. Sprinkle glitter over your horse’s shoulders and rump. Drape a white flowey fabric over your saddle pad.

Wind Rider: Dress in volumes of sheer flowey white fabrics. Wear a white feather wreath in your hair.


Water Horse: Decorate the mane and tail with sparkly wide wire ribbons of blue. Shape the ribbon into pleasing wave patterns. Add clear tear drop shaped beads of blue and white. Paint your horse’s hoofs blue and top with blue or silver glitter while still wet. Sprinkle blue glitter over your horse’s shoulders and rump. Drape a blue flowey fabric over your saddle pad.

Water Rider: Dress in volumes of sheer flowey blue fabrics. Wear a blue wreath in your hair.


Fire Horse:  Decorate the mane and tail with sparkly wide wire ribbons of red. Shape the ribbon into pleasing wave patterns. Add orange and yellow beads. Paint your horse’s hoofs red and top with gold glitter while still wet. Sprinkle red and gold glitter over your horse’s shoulders and rump. Drape a red flowey fabric over your saddle pad.

Fire Rider: Dress in volumes of sheer flowey red and orange fabrics. Wear a red wreath in your hair.

Parade HorsesNorth and South Calvary Riders

Your group can go one of two ways with this look. The riders in uniform can be crisp and clean or torn and battle weary. You can have a little fun with the battle worn Calvary look. Some of the riders can have a bandaged head, splinted leg or an arm in a sling.

Have a couple of riders carry the flags and dress two more as Generals representing the North and South. Have a bugler in the bunch. Which ever way you go, try to be as authentic as possible.

You can find accessories for nearly every costume listed above and full blown costumes galore at the Costume Super Center. Costumes and accessories can be used as is or modified for the rider to create just the right look to go with your horse's costume. Click the banner to check them out. Or you can search for costumes and accessories on Amazon from right here. It's fun!

Costume SuperCenter - Renaissance Page

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