Department of Zero Surprises and Some Hope

Illustration from Nutztierhaltung & Tiermedizin & Pferd by Georg Simon Winter, 1678 via Wikimedia Commons.

Illustration from Nutztierhaltung & Tiermedizin & Pferd by Georg Simon Winter, 1678 via Wikimedia Commons.

Tons of low-grade Canadian horse meat were purchased and passed off as halal beef by the Dutch businessman who is now in custody as French authorities investigate the scandal in which horse meat from Romania wound up labelled as ground beef.

(The Globe and Mail – and for my background piece on the scandal, Spiegel Online.)

Yesterday the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) announced bold steps designed to improve endurance horse welfare, proposing unprecedented athlete penalties for equine injuries, extended rest periods, and increased accountability.

(TheHorse.com)

 

 

Whole Heap of Little Horse Links

Melanie Gans, Frankfurt 1906. Image at Jewish Museum, Berlin. M S Forrest.

Melanie Gans, Frankfurt 1906. Image at Jewish Museum, Berlin. M S Forrest.

  • Horse manure generates bio fuel. For book two I’m spending a lot of time thinking about horses as industrial power and product – is this the latest chapter? The British Ministry of Defence are already on the case. (LA Times, thanks to Jane Badger Books)
  • Enjoy In Our Time on the legends and facts behind the Amazons. (BBC Radio 4)
  • The EC cracks down on beef processed in Holland. Because it might well be horse. (Deutsche Welle)
  • Bute is found in corned beef sold by the supermarket Asda in the UK (Reuters)
  • Why are US trainer Bob Baffert’s horses dropping dead? (New York Times)
  • In the wake of the crisis, Spanish horses go to slaughter. (New York Times)
  • A man who attacked his ex-girlfriend’s horse with a knife is struck off by UK nursing authorities. (BBC)
  • The USDA is increasing tests on imported meat. (Bloomberg)
  • On a cheerier note: a horse colour genetics 101 from The Horse.
  • Hat tip to Dug Dug, a new price comparison site for pet supplies with the motto “we dig, you save” – thank you for liking the blog! Good idea to provide a means of sifting everything that’s on offer on the web.

The Marquesa and I

My treat for the week’s travel was a copy of Penelope Chetwode’s Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia, her tale of wandering through Spain on a fat mare called Marquesa in the early 1960s. It’s vivid, pungent, beautiful and funny; she describes a country that has long since disappeared, swallowed by modernity. I recommend the work as a whole, but this passage had to be quoted in isolation:

“‘Bridle Road to …’ When I see this notice in England it has the same effect on me as Mescalin does on Mr Aldous Huxley. Here there are no such notices but you can see bridle roads leading over the plains and the sierras  in every direction and to an addict the sight is intoxicating. Everyone has his weaknesses: some people run after women, others after Dukes; I run after priests and along carriles which, with their alluringly sinuous ways, are gravely tempting me  to throw all my family duties to the wind and to go on riding along them forever.”

When I googled Penelope to find out more about her life, I discovered that she had, in fact, had the perfect, most gentle death, far from the Pony Clubs, the parish churches and tame bridle ways of England.

If Wishes Were Horses: Horsemanship

Illustration from Dick, the Memoirs of a Little Poney

Balthasar Carlos, as painted by Velázquez.

A modern rendering of Elizabeth I’s speech at Tilbury, featuring Cate Blanchett and a very pretty palfrey.

Marie Antoinette rides astride, dashing in leopardskin and yellow silk, and Catherine the Great eschews a side-saddle for another equestrian portrait.

If you can’t resist the chance to read Dick: The Memoirs of a Little Poney, Supposed to be Written by Himself, Internet Archive has a facsimile here. Sadly I already have an erratum to report: the author is anonymous, and not, as I’d somehow misread, Arabella Argus.

This post relates to a chapter of the book If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of an Equine Obsession. If you have any questions to ask about the content, please fire away in the comments. The main online index for the book is here.