Horses at BibliOdyssey

20 08 2006

Lovely images from the early modern era have just been posted at BibliOdyssey, along with an equally fascinating bibliography.

Wild horse spurs suit against Texas farm

20 08 2006

By Chris Dickerson – Winfield [West Virginia] Bureau

WINFIELD — Wild horses couldn’t drag a Hurricane man away from filing this lawsuit.

In fact, a wild horse is exactly why David Young filed a lawsuit against a Texas horse farm.

Young filed the suit July 31 in Putnam Circuit Court against Kelly Frost and Frost Farms.

On Sept. 28, 2004, Young bought Crystal’s Day, a chestnut Quarter Horse Mare, from Frost for $2,750.

“The purchase of said horse was predicated upon the defendant’s reputation and advertisement in, wherein they stated that Crystal’s Day was quite (sic) to ride, had no bad habits or vice, nice enough to raise a fancy show baby, great disposition, loves people and is ‘super broke,'” the complaint states. “Defendant also advertised that said horse was suitable for the following activities: barrel racing, English pleasure, pole bending; breeding; hunter under saddle; competitive trail; and pleasure driving.

“Defendant further claimed that Crystal’s Day was trained for the following: show, trail horse; western pleasure; add, youth horse.”

However, Young says the horse did not arrive from Cleburne, Texas, as advertised.

Upon delivery, he discovered the horse possessed characteristics “that were anything but those described and represented in defendants’ advertising and words.”

“Said horse was uncontrollable and not able to be ridden, especially by children,” the complaint states. “Crystal’s Day has shown herself to be essentially unbroken, wild, destructive, violent, of foul temperament, and generally unsuitable for all activities described in the defendants’ advertising and representations.”

Young says he has incurred fees for the transport and delivery of said horse in the amount of $638 which was payable upon Equine Express.

He seeks an order finding the defendants have breached the contract regarding the sale of Crystal’s Day, that he be granted judgment in the amount of $5,000 plus pre- and post-judgment interest, including purchase price, transport costs, reimbursement of boarding costs and all other costs and fees associated with maintaining said horse; reimbursement of costs of a saddle and bridle destroyed by said horse; court costs and fees, including attorney fees, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief.

Young is represented by attorney Shawn D. Bayliss. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Ed Eagloski.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 06-C-252


(I’m actually surprised that this doesn’t happen more often)

Quite right ;)

20 08 2006

Image source

Did you know…

20 08 2006

One-fifth of a teaspoon of blood from a horse with acute Equine Infectious Anemia contains enough virus to infect 1 million horses…

The oldest known horse was “Old Billy”, an English barge horse who died in 1822 aged 62; the current record holder may be a 53-year-old Morgan cross named Copper (anyone know if he’s still around?) (more)…

That old bit about “the number of hooves lifted on an equestrian statue reveals how the riders died” is FALSE and we should stamp this stupid rumour out…

The word “easel” comes from the Dutch word for “donkey”…

There are no known dilution color genes in the Arab breed…

One study shows horses prefer fenugreek, banana, and cherry-flavoured feed over all other flavours…

There have been a few cases of hairless horses being born…

The first public race track built since Roman times was Smithfield Track, built in London in 1174…

Like hotels which go from the 12th floor to the 14th, the stall numbers at Santa Anita Park omit unlucky number 13

Two new horse books

20 08 2006

Aren’t there an awful lot of general horse books out there? You know the sort: quick evolutionary overview, breeds of the world (the pictures never look right), this is a currycomb, how to buy your own horse (which you probably shouldn’t be doing if you need a book like this), depictions of horses in sport, war and art from around the world, etc. I sometimes wonder if there’s only one of these books and they just keep putting different illustrations in them; chain bookstores often seem to keep a perpetual stock of them on the sales tables. If you’re like me, you probably have at least half a dozen of these tomes, and it’s a joy to find something with interesting, original research and a fresh interpretation. Lawrence Scanlan, author of Little Horse of Iron and several other fine horsey books, has come to the rescue in the August 19 Globe and Mail, in which he reviews a couple of fascinating new releases.

Horse: How the Horse Has Shaped Civilizations, by J. Edward Chamberlin, takes the reader through the evolution of the horse,as well as its adaptation to our culture (and vice versa). Most of the other reviews I’ve found suggest that this is a great general read, full of enough esoteric equine info to keep even the most jaded horse person enthralled; it’s already into its second printing, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

University of Guelph historian Margaret E. Derry takes a more academic approach in Horses in Society: A Story of Animal Breeding and Marketing Culture, 1800-1920. She examines the intersection of horse breeding and economic and social philosophy, including Darwinism, capitalism, and Mendelism.

An excerpt from Scanlan’s review:

Horses in Society chronicles a time when the bicycle and the car were considered passing fancies. Smart people argued that the horse — in transportation, war, agriculture, industry — would always have a future. Just 100 years ago, cars in Canada could legally go no faster than 15 miles an hour in the country and 10 miles an hour in the city. The law was meant to safeguard horses, riders and carriage drivers from “nuisance” cars.

Such a horse-centric world had a huge need for horses, but what kind? How big? The answers kept changing as soldiers, breeders, farmers, politicians and scientists all had their say. How do you protect a breed? If pink horses suddenly become fashionable, should breeders churn them out? Is a purebred better than a cross-bred, and can a studbook be trusted? As Derry writes, the circle kept turning. “What was quality, or purity, and how did pedigrees guarantee either?”

We are still asking these questions today, although I would argue that they are even more crucial considering the genetic bottleneck which plagues many modern breeds today (see my earlier screeds on this topic). Humans have been meddling with genes since we first began domesticating animals and plants, but it’s only recently that we’ve had the tools and the perspective to stop and think about what we’re doing and why, thanks to such giants of nineteenth-century science as Darwin and Mendel. “Breeding out the usefulness” (ahem) seems to be a fairly modern innovation; when horses are critical to your economy, military and trade, there’s more incentive to select for long-term soundness, stable temperament and all-round functionality. Now that horses are primarily a “leisure” activity (even racing exists primarily as entertainment, and as a magnet for gambling dollars) it’s far too tempting to think in the short term and focus on that which has only short-term value in meeting the fickle demands of competition. Considering their long and hallowed contribution to our civilization, horses deserve much, much better.

P.S.: I promise to shut up about breeding and genetics for a while…

Cartoon by T. McCracken

Horses on stamps: Germany

20 08 2006

The World Equestrian Games start today! Thus, here is an extra-special helping of stamps; the first two are from East Germany.

And if you’re still in a sporting mood, you can take the poll

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: