Mustangs for Your Ears

Deanne Stillman’s Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West came out in 2008 and remains definitive. It takes you from the arrival of the first Conquistadors’ horses – like Pedro de Alvarado’s “bright bay mare” “good both for tilting and to race” and the grey “Bobtail” who was “fast, and had […]

Thematic Variation in the Przewalski’s Horse

Two pieces that turned up in internet searches within minutes of one another. Firstly, a rather gruelling article about the complications involved in trying to breed Przewalskis and return them to a degree of wildness in China. And secondly, as light relief, an entire site full of chocolate moulds, which includes one for a… Przewalski. […]

The Mustang Problem: $67 Million a Year to Keep Wild Horses in Pens?

“They are a symbol of the American West, but do we need 35,000 symbols of the American West?” Nathaniel Messer, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Missouri, quoted in the NYT in September 2010.   Horses are well habituated to much of the North American landscape. After all, it was in the forests […]

Hermaphroditism in Horses

When is a mare not a mare? South African racing authorities have just reclassified a filly called Tuesday’s Child as a colt after post-race checks showed a raised testosterone count. Nothing to do with dodgy injections or rum dealings: Tuesday’s Child is a male pseudo-hermaphrodite, and he had his breeder, owner and trainer fooled. I’ve […]

“Fly Grazing” – the New Name for Crappy Horseownership Practices

The BBC reports on a herd of forty cobs dumped on a conservation area in the Vale of Glamorgan and left to decimate the grazing and starve to death. The police cannot get involved as this is a “civil matter” and the villagers have explored every legal avenue, so the horses will probably be destroyed. […]

Hunting Horses

Geoff Nicholson sent me a snippet from an interview with German director Werner Herzog on his new 3D documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. In the film, Herzog explores the Paleolithic paintings in the Chauvet cave in the Ardèche, a fine-drawn menagerie that includes horses, rhinos, big cats and mammoths. Yesterday in the library I was […]

Bars and Stripes

… a team of US computer scientists and biologists have come up with a scanner, allowing them to identify individual [zebras] from a single still photo. The system, dubbed StripeSpotter, only requires a small amount of human input. Users draw a rectangle around the zebra’s side, then this part of the image is automatically sliced […]

The Pony Cull

UPDATE: I’ve added a second post here with a historical perspective on ponies on the moor. A tip off about the mass culling of Dartmoor Hill ponies appeared on Horse and Hound On-Line yesterday, and appears to have been taken up by “Daily Mail Reporter”: Over 700 Dartmoor hill ponies have been killed in the […]

Stop Round Ups of Mustangs and Burros in America

The Humane Society of the United States is asking for signatures to stop the removal of wild equines from open land in America by the Bureau of Land Management. Sign here. More on the background here.