Those working horses were saints.
STRANGE SCENE – FUNERAL OF A HORSE
(Subject of illustration)
One of the most singular funerals took place a few days ago at Maryland. A wealthy merchant at his death, in addition to many munificent bequests and legacies, left a certain sum for the maintenance of his favourite horse – a fine old hunter – and at the death of his favourite the horse was to be buried with all the formality and pomp bestowed upon a Christian. A coffin was made of a peculiar construction, and in this the body of the dead horse was placed. The coffin was placed in a hearse, in which it was conveyed to its last resting-place, accompanied by bearers, mourners, porters, and a heterogeneous throng of followers.
Illustrated Police News, Saturday 24 March 1877, via British Newspapers Archive.
The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge… I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all the decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
“Oh, heavens, horses! What a pity, those lovely beasts! But it cannot be helped,” I went on thinking. “War is war, and every horse the fewer on the Western front is a reduction of England’s fighting power.”
U-boat commander Adolf von Spiegel relates an attack on a British steamer transporting horses. The rest can be found here, courtsey of the Independent’s A History of the First World War in 100 Moments series.
- What the what? No, this is not breaking news, but something I discovered today. Lambourn will have the UK’s first “horse monorail” courtesy of Turkish industrialist and racehorse owner, Mehmet Kurt. As far as I can tell it’s a horsewalker from Tron (have a look at the photo here); apparently the “Kurtsystem” will be great for rehabilitating horses. You learn something new every day. (Newbury Today)
- The NYT reports on the presentation by Turkmenistan of an Akhal Teke stallion to President Xi Jinping of China. There’s a little on the story of this “heavenly horse” in Chinese history and its current return. I was surprised to read that Genghis Khan rode one – curious to see what the Mongolians would make of that. (New York Times)
- Meanwhile, someone’s riding lesson went very wrong when a saddled and bridled horse ended up galloping riderless around Beijing’s fifth ring road, chased by a dog. (Shanghaist)
- Jalopnik on how Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome gets about now that he’s a champ. (Jalopnik)
I want to find a small Berlin gallery (or maybe the Horse Hospital in London?) and just show this on a loop on a big screen. It’s mesmerizing.
While I’m housebound working on book two, Mum is filling in as our roving reporter on horse history. Here’s a “Dandy Cart”, snapped at the National Railway Museum in York. Working-horse history is intertwined with the history of the railways, so it’s no surprise to see a horse or two in this museum. According to the caption, it wasn’t just steam-engines that used railways. Sometimes genuine horse power was used for haulage. Of course, when the wagons were coasting downhill, there wasn’t much for the horse to do, hence the dandy cart. The horse would be loaded up for an easy ride down the slope, and recoupled to the freight wagon at the bottom.