Merry Christmas to you all! Here’s my If Wishes Were Horses festive quiz: count the health and safety horrors committed by “Little Miss Fearless” in this short Pathé video from
I’ve spent most of 2015 slogging away to finish book two, The Age of the Horse, which will be out at the end of August. More exciting news to follow on this severely neglected blog.
All best wishes
*Thanks to YouTube commenter Antarch for pointing this out.
(Your Halloween photo shows one of the guardians of the Taoist underworld, photographed at Dongyue Temple, Beijing. Apologies for the layout today – me and the iPad WordPress app. do not see eye to eye)
- The US Equestrian Federation has finally – yes, FINALLY – banned the chains, weighted shoes, pads, collars and rollers used to produce the monstruous “big lick gait. Good news for the beleagered Tennessee Walking Horse. (The Horse)
- This week was, mercifully, a week in which images of Shetland ponies wearing woolly jumpers flooded the internet. This is my favourite account of the story, thanks to the clash between the chirpy CNN reporter and the indignant Scotswomen she interviews. Don’t tell a Scotswoman that her jumper makes a pony look fat. Just don’t do it. (CNN)
- The UK Food Standards Agency has issued an update about findings of bute in horse meat. (FSA)
- Brony fan art. Including porny My Little Pony graphic novels. I remember that there was joke slash fic on the subject years ago, but now it seems to have crossed a line. More fascinating developments in our everchanging weirdness about horses. (Cracked)
- A horse in Norwich City scarf turned up at Carrow Road to watch a game, sadly on the wrong day. (SB Nation)
- The Pony Racing Authority has a new fearless leader: ex-Cheltenham racecourse MD, Edward Gillespie. Chief exec Clarissa Daly commented: “The PRA is committed to increase the numbers from non-racing and non-horsey backgrounds and to make racing more accessible to children and young people from all walks of life. With Edward as our new Chairman we are better placed than ever to achieve this.” (Horse Talk)
- HSUS is forming a Responsible Horse Breeders’ Council in the USA. Hopefully they will be able to reach irresponsible horse breeders too. (The Horse)
- Here’s my Telegraph piece on the history of hippophagy, taboo, rite and rational consumption. (Telegraph)
- Questions are raised over the treatment of horses on film and TV show sets. Are trainers’ welfare concerns being overruled? (LA Times)
- A “horse palace” in Montreal seeks donors for a makeover. (Montreal Gazette)
- A woman “gives birth to a pony” during a church service in Nigeria. (PM News)
- Lady Gaga arrived at the launch of her new signature fragrance in a horse-drawn carriage shaped like the perfume flask. (Ace ShowBiz)
- Don’t touch the horse! An arrest for drunkenness and touching a police horse. (Tampa Bay Times) Elsewhere, in Philly, a police horse is punched. (Policeone.com)
- Claims of assault fly in the fight to save wild horses in Reno. (Examiner.com)
- A smalltown official who defrauded millions sees her illgotten gains – pedigree quarter horses – sold for over a million dollars at internet auction. (Chicago Tribune)
- A little girl’s dream comes true when she comes home from school to find her very own pony waiting for her. (This is Gloucestershire)
- The first Exmoor Pony Festival works like a charm (This is the West Country)
- Muslims in Gaza have to break Islamic “best practice” and eat horsemeat. (NYT)
- The number of horse rescues in the US has nearly doubled in five years. Major welfare groups suggest accreditation for newcomers (Ventura County Star)
Well, do you?
- Carol sent me a blogpost about a herd of Arizona horses who have been reclassified from “wild” to “feral” and now face a round up, which some suspect will result in their eventual slaughter. The leader of the band, Champ, was an internet hit last year when he was pictured rescuing a filly from the Salt River. Supporters of the Salt River horses say that they can produce evidence that the horses have roamed the area since the 17th century. If they can be reclassified as feral and not wild, could this have implications for all US mustangs?
- The Washington Post argues that the US no longer breeds Derby winners with the stamina to win the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes. Is this true? Back in my racing-mad teens I looked on the US as an influence for speed over stamina because of the narrow range of distances in their triple crown, and thought I’d never see a British triple crown winner to match Nijinsky because the St Leger had become “too long” for the best stallion prospects with their North American pedigrees, who went straight for the 12-furlong Arc instead. Not much has changed since then: no Epsom Derby winner has contested the Leger since Reference Point in 1987 (he won). Interestingly, though the WaPo doesn’t mention it, the Breeders’ Cup introduced a “Marathon” race in 2008 at a puny 12 furlongs before later extending to 14 – the distance of the St Leger (but almost half the length of the group one Ascot Gold Cup). Could this be an effort to reverse the drift?
- The US Department of Agriculture wants to create mandatory penalities for people found guilty of “soring” Tennessee Walking horses to force a “big lick” gait. “Under the tougher rules, suspensions for one week to three years would bar show participation for violators and would apply not just to trainers, but also to horse owners, transporters and others associated with the horses’ abuse,” this AP piece says. But why is this kind of cruelty not a criminal offence?
- Symbols of new wealth in China: a horse and a Ferrari. Horse kicks Ferrari. Incidentally, here’s a wee history of the Ferrari “rearing black stallion” logo.
- Equine therapy in Galshiels, Scotland helps a teenager overcome her panic attacks. She had the opportunity to learn to ride via the Stable Life project, which you can read about here.
- A nice TIME piece on the Queen’s love of horses, although it doesn’t mention the imaginary ones she maintained, despite having her own pony.
- Three-day-eventer turned course designer Ian Stark has purchased seven of the semi-feral Highland-cross ponies from a 93-strong herd which made news on horsey sites last year (see the round up here) . NVQ students from a local college are helping break in the ponies for use in Stark’s riding school.
- Soviet Propaganda ponies. My favourite MLP mash-up so far.