If Wishes Were Horses: Lost Heroines

There aren’t many web resources on Pat Smythe; it’s best to rely on the books she wrote at the height of her fame and her later autobiography, Leaping Life’s Fences. British Pathé has come up trumps however, and you can spend hours there looking for footage of all the showjumping greats from Stroller to Mr […]

The Equine Etymology of Jungle Bunny

How laughably poor are the excuses made by Tory councillor Bob Frost for using the racist term ‘jungle bunny’ to describe London rioters?  The Telegraph quotes him: ‘Looking at the dictionary it would appear that the term jungle bunnies is pejorative and is a racist slur relating to African-Americans. Needless to say I did not […]

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 […]


Pat Smythe competing at Madison Square Gardens on Prince Hal in 1952 (I think)  against Shirley Thomas of Canada. No hard feelings between Shirley and Pat – they later went on a road trip from Ottowa to Florida together, hunting with every pack they could find on the way.