Thank you to Matt for the news that the North Korean leadership has decided it needs some authentic Gangnam style to accompany the gulags and famine. Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based company offering trips to North Korea, sent Simon Cockerell to inspect the facilities at the Mirim Horse-Riding Centre just outside Pyongyang. The former military training academy boasts not just an indoor arena where you can ride while giant TV screens play war films and karaoke videos, but also a museum of the horse in Korea, featuring Kim Jong Il’s favourite white horse – now stuffed. I would absolutely love to learn the story they are telling in that museum… The Orlov trotters in the school look better cared for than many North Koreans.
I was away! Things happened! But first – a round up of curious happenings in the horse world!
Looks like I got rid of the virtual racing stable I ran in the early 1990s far too early. An unraced imaginary horse from the Digiturf game has just been sold for $5,225. Yes, not only is it nonexistent, it’s also unproven. $5,225. You could get a real racehorse for a lot less. ESPN reports.
The Guardian’s dance critic was dispatched to review para-dressage: “With their tightly plaited manes and long ballerina necks, they perform tightly controlled pirouettes and piaffes with impressive finesse; they float across the arena with a silken stride that is like a horsey grand jeté.”
An Australian study suggests that Monty Roberts’ methods should be re-assessed. (Horse Talk). UPDATE: Monty responds with a link to an earlier peer-reviewed study of his methods from Anthrozoology.
A riding school in Kenya thrives, thanks to its enterprising owner. (BBC).
Yahoo has a mighty fine photo gallery of an Icelandic horse round up. Iceland: a nation where horse shoes are sold at garages. MSNBC has sulky racing on the north German coast.
Kazakhstan is shipping its own horse-meat sausages to London for its Olympic Team. (The Atlantic)
As a US Senate hearing calls for stricter rules concerning drug use in horse racing, the New York Times gets hold of Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another’s vet sheet. The colt had been battling tendon problems and osteoarthritis for some time before he even began his Triple Crown bid. That’s an unsound horse, racing on dirt at the highest level. Since the NYT’s report, other racing figures have come forward to say this is no big deal and in fact, common and legitimate. (New York Times).
Meanwhile, here’s a less depressing NYT blog post on using dressage to train both competing and retired racehorses. (NYT)
Riding school ponies stolen in area of Florida notorious for blackmarket horse-meat slaughters. (CBS Local).
And so that we don’t end on a bum note, here’s North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s girlfriend, Hyon Song-Wol, singing her smash hit “Excellent Horse-like Lady” or “A Girl In The Saddle Of A Steed”. Enjoy.