- 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.
Ponies: the fatter they are, the naughtier they be. Thelwell proved correct by science.
Cheap gelding clinics are becoming a reality in the US. Here’s one in California.
Jane Smiley on National Velvet.
A fell pony riding holiday in Lancashire.
A swimming race for horses that commemorates a Venezuelan battle of 1819.
A wild stallion in Arizona rescues a filly who’s being swept away in a flood-swollen river.
The blogger Shame in the Horse Show Ring doesn’t post often, but when she does, there’s a heck of a punch. I would say that these images of twisted snaffles, draw reins, cranked martingales and curbs (often in mindboggling combination) at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show are jawdropping, but those poor horses don’t have a chance to drop their jaws. Jaw breaking, more like.
This is the kind of shit that makes people want to sit in the stands with a deer rifle and pick idiots off.