Sand sculpture

26 09 2006

Sand sculpture at Brighton

Part of the Ancient Rome sand sculpture exhibition at Brighton last week; photo courtesy of my friend Beakboo.


26 09 2006

Star and friends by Gilliamhome

Star and Friends – Appaloosa with an Avian Fetish! Originally uploaded by Gilliamhome

Man, horses are expensive, aren’t they? Herewith, some places to find FREE stuff for them and you. Do check the fine print to see if they’ll send to where you live; many may be US only. Also, please don’t abuse the companies’ goodwill!

Download free horse health care record forms from Farnam

Tack catalogue from Canada’s tack superstore, Apple Saddlery (you can also download the catalogue and sales flyers)

Potager Farms will send you a sample of dog or horse treats for the price of shipping ($2.50)

Dry Stall will send product samples to the feed store of your choice

Supplement samples from Allivet

Downloadable bookmarks, charts and e-books from Acreage Equines

Free booklet and DVD from the Arabian Horse Association

Free laminated Rotational Deworming Barn Chart

Free info and DVD from the American Morgan Horse Association (US/Canada only)

Free sample issue of Horses in Art magazine

Free sample of PR1MERO Total feed (UK/Europe only)

Subscribe to Your Horse magazine and receive a free Equine Emergency Bible and a Cottage Craft girth (UK only)

Free sample of Stud Muffins horse treats (UK only)

Vitalin offers free samples of horse, dog, cat, or ferret food (UK only)

Download free barn plans at

Ascend supplement sample from Farnam (no choice of formula)

Free sample of Nu-Image supplement

Free sample of Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel

Free Baby Magic Wipes (admit it, you do too use them on your horse–good for cleaning dirty faces and nostrils)

Assorted free samples from Wal-Mart (just because)

Free catalogue from Chicks Discount Saddlery (international!)

Download and print free bit measure from Libertyville Saddle Shop

Fence installation DVD, fencing sample and brochure from Gardner Fence Systems

Seriously, it’s the only sensible choice

26 09 2006

I <heart> WordPress

Logo by Baxter/EndOfLevelBoss

Thought I’d take a moment to tell y’all why you should be blogging with WordPress:

  • Responsive technical support from actual humans
  • I know it sounds corny, but there’s a real community feeling
  • You can view your blog stats, where your hits are coming from, and which posts people are reading
  • No ads (OK, some people grumble, but this is a huge one for me; I’m just sick to death of having ads shoved in my face every moment I’m online)
  • Free, but you can pay for upgrades if you so choose
  • Lots of nice themes to suit every taste, although I would die a happy woman if I never saw the blue and white Kubrick theme again
  • You can add links to your blogroll without having to know HTML (although I have rather a lot of HTML experience, I’m guessing most bloggers don’t)
  • They actually remove reported splogs
  • Because it’s so clean, you get good search engine rankings
  • Plenty of fun widgets
  • Ruthless and intelligent built-in filters to keep out comment spam

If you’re not happy with whatever you’re using, switch over to the Firefox of blogs. 😉 Check out this great list of features if you don’t believe me…

Horse news in brief, 2006-09-26

26 09 2006

Han Gan, Walking the Horse

Walking the Horse“, by 8thc. Chinese artist Han Gan

An Ontario horse breeder is donating a second Belgian cross to replace Brigadier, the horse he sold to Toronto police that was struck and killed by a scumbucket car in February…

The Tennessean urges the TWH industry to clean up its act already…

Western Horseman offers 30 uses for all that hay twine you’ve got all over the barn…

Bill declaring it illegal to use a horse to wash a street is one of the odd old laws being repealed in Brooklyn…

Health Canada advises about missing dosage information on the veterinary drug product PENPRO…

Naked burglar freaks out woman and horses in Tampa, FL…

Neighing horses to scare away elephants in Assam

26 09 2006

That'll teach 'em

Wildlife authorities in India’s northeastern state of Assam have decided to try playing recordings of neighing horses in a bid to scare off wild elephant herds, which have killed 239 people in the past few years. The ploy was recommended by a village elder; be interesting to see if (and how) it works. Link

Bridlepath Hall of Shame: the “big lick” TWH industry

24 09 2006

(Hello Gaits of Gold readers! I hope you enjoy my blog, and feel free to leave a comment 🙂 )

The 2006 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration was cancelled after USDA inspectors disqualified six out of nine horses in the championship class for soring. Soring takes many ugly forms, but one common practice is the application of caustic substances (including: mustard oil, kerosene, crotonaldehyde, salicylic acid, diesel oil, collodion) to the coronet band and fetlock in order to get a more animated gait. You’d be throwing your feet around too if they looked and felt like this:

“Big lick” TWHs can also be subjected to having chains around their fetlocks, or heavy stacks or pads nailed onto their feet to “enhance” their gait:


Mike Walden, the owner of a horse named Private Charter, was disqualified and he was later banned from the Celebration for two years after he reportedly offered three three trainers $10,000 each to withdraw their horses. Meanwhile, an organization separate from the Celebration event – the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association – announced its plans Thursday for another event to be held Nov. 24-25 in Murfreesboro.”As far as I am concerned, we won’t be there,” trainer Bill Bobo said about his horse, Rowdy Rev. “The world championship has come and gone. This is just another horse show.” C’mon, Bill; put your big-girl panties on and face reality. According to this site, you were not only Walking Horse Trainers Association Trainer of the Year in 1989, but you were also fined and suspended on three separate occasions for soring violations. (I guess you’re in good company, though; in 33 years of this Tennessee Walking Horse industry award, only 5 recipients have no recorded violations. 23 of the honorees have been ticketed for HPA violations; 18 of them with Federal cases. Five of these HPA violators were honored more than once. Startlingly, Rowdy Rev was one of the three horses who passed inspection at this year’s show, so I guess you’re making progress)

Just to add to the fun, a horse stabled at the Celebration tested positive for rabies. Boy, that takes a caring owner, doesn’t it? Good for you, 4J Land and Cattle Company! Routine vaccinations are for wimps!

I found an interesting video on YouTube (I won’t embed it here because I don’t want the sick mofo to think I’m endorsing it) which shows the general melee after it was announced the show was cancelled (fast forward it about a minute or so). The uploader, “utlaw97” says “Rides made after last class of 2006 Walking Horse Celebration was canceled. 9.2.2006. Not the best video, but you get a good idea of what happened. Takes me a minute or so to get to a spot where I could see, and then a little more time before moved camera to get a better view. Gives a good feel of the atmosphere after the show.” His rote response to other YouTubers (heh) who commented on the abuses? “Go hug a tree.” Classy.

On the one hand, it’s wonderful to see that the USDA inspectors actually did some good by exposing the abusive practices which are still going on, but the stubborn “good ol’ boy” mentality still seems to prevail. Never mind what they’re doing to a horse’s legs and heart; much more important to get that damn ribbon. Are we seeing a pattern here, dear readers? Yes, I think we are.

There are some wonderful, caring and brave TWH owners out there. The Jackson family saga is particularly instructive: they took their beautiful stallion Champagne Watchout to the 1999 Celebration, aiming to show him in the World Grand Championship class as a flat-shod horse. They were thwarted at every turn but did manage to enter him in the end. Watchout and his young rider Natalie Jackson were roundly booed; people tried to spook the horse, and in the end they needed a police escort back to their trailer. You can read about the whole sorry mess here; be sure to watch the videos.

Don't they look nice?

Natalie Jackson and Champagne Watchout

Just to be clear, there are plenty of owners and trainers who use ordinary keg shoes on their TWHs and would never subject them to such abuse; those fortunate horses live happy lives and are well-loved and cared for. These people deserve our applause and support. In the meantime, kudos to the inspectors who pulled the show. It’s gotten a lot of attention even in the non-horsey press; maybe the days of abusive, cheating, racist hicks dominating the breed are finally numbered. The horses deserve no less.

Further reading:

Linda Polk at the Houston Chronicle site has blogged about this too: The ugliness around us, Hoping for the best, When does it end? Also see this post at Horse Training Success, and Katie Allison Granju’s letter to the editor. (The comments are particularly…enlightening)

The Sore Tennessee Walking Horse has more information, including some hard-to-look-at photos.

Lots of good info at The Soring of Horses.

Understanding Soring and Helping to Stop It has some good photos showing the odd posture and gait of sored horses.

Tennessee Walking Horse Heritage Society promotes calm, steady trail horses with little or no breeding from padded bloodlines.

Update: (9/26)

A published report in Chattanooga says two of the three judges who were going to judge a new Tennessee walking horse show in Murfreesboro have pulled out.

Brian Martin told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he got “all kinds of calls” telling him National Horse Show Commission bylaws prevent him from judging noncommision shows. Texas resident Martin says it takes a lot of work to earn a judging license and he doesn’t want to start over.

Allen Forman of Georgia cited the same restriction in canceling his agreement to judge the Murfreesboro show.

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville ended in August without naming a national grand champion after several horses were disqualified by government inspectors. They cited evidence the animals had been “sored” to make them exaggerate their natural strutting gait.


A call for help

21 09 2006

George the Appy

Andrea at Mustang Saga is trying to help Columbia Basin Equine Rescue save some horses from slaughter, including George, pictured above. If you’d like to help out, please visit her blog.

Step on it, would ya? I’m late for work!

21 09 2006


Photo from Ananova via Oldster’s View.

Connemaras claim 2006 Battle of the Breeds championship at Spruce Meadows

21 09 2006

Final results:

  1. Team Connemara
  2. Team Quarter Horse
  3. Team Morgan
  4. Team Appaloosa
  5. Team Thoroughbred
  6. Team American Saddlebred
  7. Team Welsh Cob & Pony
  8. Team Paint
  9. Team Mule
  10. Team Arabian
  11. Team Trakehner
  12. Team Canadian Horse
  13. Team Shetland Pony

More from the American Connemara Pony Society

Obligatory human interest story:

The Battle of the Breeds is a war of — and for — the ages at the Masters every year.

That’s as long as 70-year-old Doris Heintz is competing in the clash to decide which of the 13 equine breeds performs the best in a five-event Olympic-style competition at Spruce Meadows.

And that might be for some time yet, promises the veteran cowgirl from High River.

“Probably about 15 years ago, somebody asked me if I was still riding, and my husband asked the other day if I would compete again next year, and I said ‘probably,’ ” Heintz said.

“I’ve been riding since I was a baby — I think I was born on a horse.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Photo of the day

21 09 2006


Wonderful photo of zebras at the Denver Zoo taken by Elaine at Five Acres With A View.

Apassionata with Andalusian stallion

20 09 2006

Send a talking horse

19 09 2006

This is too adorable! You can send a talking horse e-card using stock photos or one of your own; your horse can sound like a Valley Girl, a Scottish guy, or an American man. Thanks to Horses on Holiday for the link.

Equine fonts

19 09 2006

Top to bottom: Yeehaw, Carousel, Barnyard, Fantastic Creatures, Fabeldyr

Virtual Horses has three sets of horsey fonts which may be downloaded for free, while has a fantasy creature set and FontFreak has another dingbat font with some horses in it. They’re in Windows format but Mac users can convert them with a free utility (or check this out).

Jeff Davis, Egypt, and Cincinnati: General Grant’s Favourite Horses

14 09 2006

Jeff Davis, Egypt and Cincinnati

Interesting article here about Grant’s favourite horses; link via the American Presidents blog.

World’s smallest horse

12 09 2006


Top photo: Mumbai Mirror

Thumbelina, world's smallest horse

(The world’s largest horses are here)

Meet Thumbelina, 17.5″ at the withers. That’s 4.1-1/2 hands.

Read the rest of this entry »

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