Whole Heap of Little Horse Links

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 […]

Racehorse Inbreeding Accelerates

From a piece by Justin Petrone in BioArrayNews (my emphases): … a group of researchers from horse-genetics firm Equine Analysis, the University of Kentucky, and the UK’s Royal Veterinary College used the EquineSNP50 to uncover significant inbreeding in thoroughbreds, especially during the past 15 years, a trend that the authors called “worrisome.” The researchers genotyped […]

Speed the Plough

Another day, another form of horse racing. This is Hokkaido, Japan, where the descendants of heavy European draught horses imported for agricultural work in the nineteenth century now fight it out in Ban-ei races. They drag an iron sled over a course of deep sand a couple of hundred yards long, and climb over ramps […]

Kissing Cousins

I began this post months ago and petered out partway through. I thought there was some problem with inbreeding in thoroughbreds but I didn’t have anything other than my own conjecture to back it up, and frankly my know-how of the workings of equine genetics is pretty inadequate so why would anyone want to read […]

Kicking the Habit

Last week Joe Drape of the New York Times reported on a summit at Belmont Park on the use of drugs in American horse racing: The American thoroughbred industry has acknowledged recently that it is in trouble, and on Monday, its counterparts from around the world told it why: it races too often, allows race-day […]

A Buswoman’s Holiday

When I was little I exasperated my parents and teachers by being able to find a horsey angle for every last thing. Eventually I (largely) outgrew that habit until I started writing the pony book (which appears to be called Horsedrawn just now), but sometimes these equi-cryptic meanings are just lying there, waiting to be […]

Manmade Monsters and Chimeras

There are periodic mutterings about the discovery of a “speed gene” for Thoroughbreds, but on the whole, horse racing takes what is now a refreshingly old-fashioned approach to horse breeding: no artificial insemination, no embryo transfer and absolutely no cloning. The sire and dam actually have to meet in person, as it were, and the […]

Introducing Children to Horse Racing

Hoppegarten is a beautiful old race course just outside Berlin, somewhat past its glory days (owing to the vicissitudes of German twentieth-century history) but still charming. I’ve been going there for years, and though there have been little indicators of fresh investment (smart new signs, posh ladies’ loos) the essential character remains the same. The […]