I’ve been hoofing around New York and DC in the pursuit of a holiday and book two (which will be out in, ooooooh, 2015?). Shanks’ Mare and I saw a surprising number of equines on our travels, although we missed the zebra and pony on the loose on Staten Island. Books two and three are about – among many things – the way that humans think about horses and use them both physically and mentally. Here’s a visual collage of New York horses (minus police officers and the urban cowboys of Queens) in November 2012 (with thanks to Helen for the 86th Street Pegasus):
Well, do you?
Here’s an absolutely cracking story from The Spokesman Review about a young woman and an 18hh Percheron/Quarter Horse called Tonk who chased after a grizzly bear that was pursuing an eight-year-old boy on a terrified horse. They faced up to the bear and charged.
“… when you’re riding, the horse is your best protection, if you can stay on,” Erin Bolster said.
“Some of the horses I’ve ridden would have absolutely refused to do what Tonk did; others would have thrown me off in the process. Some horses can never overcome their flight-animal instinct to run away.”
In those minutes of crisis, the big lug of a mongrel mount proved his mettle in a test few trail horses will face in their careers.
Tonk’s mettle moved Bolster. She wasn’t about to send him back to Wyoming with the other leased horses.
“Two weeks ago, I closed the deal and bought him,” Bolster said as she was wrapping up her 2011 wrangling season.
“After what he did that day, he had to be mine.”
At the Calgary Stampede. Also applicable to miniature horse breeding.
- An escaped German circus pony attempts to board a tram.
- A riding corset from the 1870s – you see how Skittles managed that waist.
- A new anti-slaughter feature film called Saving America’s Horses is underway in the USA, while a new government report looking at the negative impact of the effective ban on horse slaughter is released. Clearly something needs to be done about the massive neglect problem in the USA. Ireland’s responding to a similar issue by opening five new horse abbatoirs. In the UK we’re packing out the fields of charities like Redwings.
- Male nerds declare their love for My Little Pony in Wired, while former president Bill Clinton answers questions on the MLP canon on NPR.
- A day in the life of a polo pony.
- Win oodles of pony books in Jane Badger Books’ 6th Birthday quiz.
- The health of horses competing in the chuck wagon races at the Calgary Stampede will be monitored via microchips implanted under their skin, following some horrific deaths in recent years.
- If you enjoy property porn, have a look at the equestrian establishments going at knockdown prices in the New York Times. We’re all of us a mere lottery win away from a 96 acre farm with indoor school!
- A Scottish calf has been adopted by a Highland pony mare.
- The UK’s oldest riding school turns seventy.
Quick hit: an earlier news story about “rodeo queens” in New Mexico completing their routines on hobby horses raised a question for European horsefolk – what the hell is a rodeo queen anyway? And why are those little girls wearing eyeliner but not, you know, hard hats?*
Jezebel.com has republished a piece on the phenomenon from Sociological Images, and yep, it does appear to be a beauty pageant on horseback:
the Miss Rodeo USA site says that appearance and personality make up 80% of the competition, and riding skills only 20%
(There’s also a video of male cowboys cutting on hobby horses during a 2001 equine herpes outbreak.)
The grown-up Miss Rodeo USA is expected to exhibit:
… unexcelled sportsmanship, high moral and ethical standards, as well as adding a flavor of femininity with a regal touch. The queen should be able to speak intelligently and with authority on the sport of rodeo, IPRA policies and the world around her.
Unexcelled? Boy, that’s tough! If Miss Rodeo USA keeps on being unexcelled every year, then the latest one must be the most unimpeachable human being on the planet. Here are the judging criteria (how do you judge maturity alongside “facial features”? What if you have mature facial features? Isn’t that a good thing?). Needless to say, there is no equivalent show-pony class for men.