- 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)
eBay, I don’t believe you. That never happened in my daydreams.
Right, on with a long overdue HHLHL! I’ve been busy organising a research trip for book two but the horse world went on turning, and lovely people have been sending me links, so enjoy this extra special post whose diversity reminds me why I’m writing that second book in the first place.
- A zebra pulling a trap in Brixton, circa 1915. (Urban75)
- Look at this beautifully carved golden horse head discovered in a Thracian tomb in Bulgaria. It dates from the third century BC. (Guardian)
- If Radio 4 ever gets rid of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time I’ll know Britain is over. Here Melvyn and guests discuss the Upanishads – some of the sacred texts of Hinduism. Horse sacrifice is mentioned (maybe with a connection to the Steppes folk who first domesticated horses?) Thanks to Mum for sending this. (Radio 4)
- The “Pony” chair of Eero Aarnio, the brilliant Finnish designer who came up with the Sixties icon, the Bubble Chair. (Eero Aarnio)
- Francis Robinson send me this cute piece on a police horse who likes to rearrange cones at Buckingham Palace (Daily Mail)
- Wired on the astonishing solidification of the Brony movement, with military personnel confessing their love for My Little Pony in front of the camera. Thanks to my brother for this one (Wired)
- A clean drug-test sheet for all competitors at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Some of the races were even lasix-free. (ESPN)
- Mega race mare and US Horse of the Year Havre de Grace sells for $10,000,000 (Blood Horse)
- The feral Chicoteague ponies survived Sandy just fine (Daily Press) Speaking of the hurricane, this crazy hoss was just fine too. (Washington Post)
- Horses in today’s US military (CS Monitor)
- A disaster for a herd of Brumbies in Western Australia (ABC)
– the march of the Bronies continues apace – literally. We now have a thriving “military bronies” community, dedicated to adult My Little Pony fans, and a full range of customised guns to accessorise. (Military Times)
– a two-year-old cob in West Yorkshire managed to trap himself in an underground pump chamber for five whole days. Thankfully he’s now been liberated. The BBC has a video of the rescue. (Horse Talk, BBC)
– ‘”Think about it: They spend most of their lives with the world looking down on them,” Murray said. “Now they are up on top and above everybody. It is very empowering.”‘ Equine therapy in Houston. (Chron.com)
– A horse festival in Tajikistan. (Huffington Post)
– Zippy Chippy, a racehorse who couldn’t win a race to save his life is now saving lives by being a loser. (Washington Post)
– Kathleen Stiles on “How to Survive a European Horse Shopping Trip”. “Meals are all taken and enjoyed. However, some are at “tank stops,” or gas stations as they’re known in the United States. They are everywhere since one blows through expensive fuel at an alarming rate. But I am horrified. I am spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on horses and am lunching where I would not normally visit a restroom?” It’s another world… (Chronicle of the Horse)
– Paralympic dressage rider Lee Pearon’s kit in detail. (Guardian)
– Thank you to Anne Billson for a link to Amazon’s sale page for those rubbery horsehead masks. Happy purchasers have sent in an entire album of images of themselves making use of them. Have fun. (Amazon)
– in a year in which horses have unexpectedly taken centre stage in politics, from David Cameron’s rides on Rebekah Wade’s old police horse to Rafalca Romney, we have the first dressage-based political broadcast:
YouTuber and Brony XtremeScope has posted some modified versions of the game Skyrim, keeping in line with the current My Little Pony fetish. Which would you rather, a giant Sparkle Pony Pops…
… or one in which the game’s dragons have been transformed into fire-breathing dragons tht attack a village?
I’ve kept a weather eye on the “Brony” phenomenon (male geeks who love My Little Pony cartoons) and even done a post about it, although I’m not as excited as the rest of the media who keep bronies constantly in the news and all over the blogosphere. These stories piqued my interest though, so here’s a brief round up from Planet Pony:
- The Berlin Pirate Party have introduced “pony time” into their rules of procedure, meaning that during meetings and debates any member can request time out to watch My Little Pony cartoons. Original story in German here, and translated into English here. Thanks to Matt for spotting this.
- Fancy dress at the Bronycon gathering. This included the presentation of the results of a psycho-sociological study of bronyism.
- The New York Times threw geeks into ecstasies by publishing a brony-related correction.
- A brony clarifies a few points for Gawker, and reveals that female bronies are called “Pegasisters”.
- You can build your own MLP at General Zoi’s Pony Creator. Hours of fun! Here’s mine:
- The “brony” phenomenon continues apace. Here’s a high school graduation speech inspired by the My Little Pony movies.
- Meanwhile, local TV in the US debates the moral content of the pink ponies:
- I freely admit to knowing nothing about gaming, but even I’ve picked up the fact that a marquee-name game called Skyrim has just been released. Unfortunately they seem to have a few bugs, including this flying horse. They really need to slap wings on it and call it a feature (more info about other glitch in which a horse and wagon flip over a wall here):
- and in a different league of bros and ponies, rumours are flying in Australia that a giant horse-head sculpture by British artist Nic Fiddian-Green is being imported to stand over the grave of media mogul Kerry Packer, a keen polo player and art collector in his day. News.com.au has some beautiful, weird photographs of the horse-head (called “I Look Beyond for a Distant Land”) beginning its journey to the Antipodes.
PS – videos don’t appear to be working on WordPress. Have added them as links until the glitch gets sorted out.
- 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.