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AMERICAN FLAG parade ETIQUETTE

PROPER ETIQUETTE WHEN RIDING WITH THE AMERICAN FLAG & OTHER FLAGS
 
There are a number of etiquette rules associated with carrying and presenting flags, both in the show ring and in a street parade. These rules should be followed as closely as possible to demonstrate proper respect and knowledge. This section is lengthy and if you are a weak rider, you should consider carrying a flag other than the American flag. I have seen many riders do this very wrong, mainly because they have never acquainted themselves with the rules.
 
Our American flag is definitely worthy of correct presentation so we hope our viewers will be the ones presenting it correctly after reading this.

Web Designer's Note:  When we began seeking photos for this page, we discovered it was most difficult to locate a photo that actually demonstrated correct American flag presentation.  We truly hope that this page will make at least some small improvements in future presentations.

FLAG CARRIAGE TIPS FOR ALL TYPES OF FLAGS
 
-The bottom of the flag should fly above the rider's head (preferably 6 inches above) for two reasons:
      
1) If the flag blocks the rider's view it creates a serious safety issue.
2) It looks better if the flag is flying high!

-As a rule of thumb, if you are carrying a 4ft X 6ft flag, use a 10ft pole (4 + 6 =10). However, realize that even an 8ft pole when carrying a 3ft X 5ft flag (3 + 5=8) may not be high enough for some tall riders.

-The lighter the flag, the easier it is to handle. Keep this in mind when purchasing or making your flags. A hint: If you will be carrying a large American Flag outdoors, purchase a good quality printed flag as the seams on a sewn flag add to the weight and drag significantly. On windy days, a rider can literally get yanked out of the saddle!

Order of Flags:

Starting with the American Flag on the far right and going left:
1) American Flag
2) State flags
3) Armed Forces flags (In this order: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard)
Note: These can replace the position of a State flag but only when representing the Federal Government during a ceremony)
4) City flags (If a State flag is not used it would be inappropriate to use a city flag.)
5) Team flags
6) Sponsor flags

It is not necessary to use all the above named flags but this gives the proper order in case you do.
 
-No flag in a group should be higher or larger than the American Flag (Tall flag poles are necessary to carry our Nation's flag).

-No other flags should be excused (leave) the arena before the American Flag.

-Ornaments are a required piece of equipment on any staff that carries an American Flag.
Correct ornaments are:
   - A Ball
   - A Spearhead
   - An Eagle -
(If an Eagle is used, it must fly facing forward. Hint: put a small sticker on the flag pole just above your hand marking the place where your Eagle flies forward. This way you do not have to keep looking up to check the position of the Eagle. Or, to make it more simple, use a ball ornament instead)

The American Flag.....
- Should never follow other flags in the same group.

-Should always be to the far right (its own right) of all other flags and riders when positioned abreast (next to).

-Should never travel backwards (i.e. the horse carrying the flag should not back up) which historically denotes retreat.

-All other flags should dip in respect when the American Flag enters the arena. (This rule can be relaxed when performing a drill - However, during opening ceremonies, for example, all the other flags should dip) The American Flag never salutes (dips to) any other person or thing! It must be carried straight upright at all times, never leaning from side to side or forward or back regardless of the speed being executed by the horse and rider.

-The American Flag should never touch anything beneath it although it is not necessary to retire an American Flag that has touched the ground.

-If it falls, it should be rescued immediately and restored to its correct position. (NOTE: The American Flag should never be carried by a horse and/or rider with questionable capabilities.) 

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