New look and features

18 02 2007

I switched to WordPress’ “Freshy” theme tonight. You like? You’ll also notice a couple of additions to the sidebar: a list of the most popular links clicked on by visitors, as well as a map (way down at the bottom). Please add your location! If you’re a new reader, or a regular with a short memory, feel free to explore the archives and leave comments here, there, and everywhere; there’s sooo much neat stuff to read. Take a button for your own site (they’re free). Here at Bridlepath, we’ll do anything to entertain and educate you. 😉

Update (2/22): I’ve removed the “What people are clicking on” widget temporarily, as WordPress is having a glitch generating the stats for that. In the meantime, I’ve added a tag cloud page (all love and accolades to engtech, who crafted the code for us WordPress folk!). If you’ve got a WP blog and want to add this feature, it’s here.

Also, what do people think of the Snap! feature, which opens a little bubble when you hover the cursor over a link? Useful? Irritating? I’m asking because it’s an optional doobie, which I’d be happy to disable if enough people hate it.

Update (2/24): I took the damn map off because it was slowing everything down and driving me crazy. Sorry.

The Da Vinci colt(s)

18 02 2007

(Yes, I am ashamed of myself for that title)

Leonardo da Vinci, patron saint of ingenious gadgets and insufferable historical conspiracy theories, designed a human- and horse-powered tank, which was never built, perhaps because battlefields rarely offerered the billiards-table landscape required for it to actually move. This scale model, on display in Sofia, Bulgaria, shows how it would have looked. Link

Tank you

The indefatigable daVinci was commissioned 500 years ago to construct an enormous bronze horse for Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. It was to be the largest equine statue ever built, standing 24 feet high. Leonardo’s full-scale clay model was destroyed by war and the bronze horse was never constructed. The goals of the Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse project are “to honor the genius of Leonardo and pay homage to him by building a colossal horse based on his drawings; to recognize all Italians for enriching every aspect of our society by presenting The Horse to the Italian people as a gift from the American people.”

The Horse in Milan


Mysterious attack in Britain

18 02 2007

A horse has had to be put down after it was attacked in a field.

The animal was discovered with what appeared to be slash wounds to its face at its field in Billingborough Fen, near Spalding, over the weekend.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “The horse had to be humanely put down due to the extent of its injuries.” Witnesses are urged to come forward.


There are no large predators in Britain, so…feral dog? Evil human? Link

The next Horse Lovers Blog Carnival

18 02 2007

Asil Arabian, originally uploaded by appaIoosa.

You there! Yeah, you. Do you have a horse blog? Then you’re just the sort of person we’re looking for. Don’t be afraid. Won’t you have a seat? Mind the cat hair. Can I get you anything? OK, if you’re sure. Here’s the deal: The next Horse Lovers Blog Carnival will be held at MiKael’s Mania on February 21 (that’s this Wednesday), and the theme is “Everything Equine”. You can do that, right? Sure you can. Submit up to two posts. Just click on this link. It’s easy. It doesn’t hurt a bit. We’re all nice people, honest. We just want to get to know you better.

Quagga? Qu’est-ce que c’est?

18 02 2007


The quagga is a now-extinct subspecies of the plains (Burchell’s) zebra. According to Wiki, it “was once found in great numbers in South Africa‘s Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State. It was distinguished from other zebras by having the usual vivid marks on the front part of the body only. In the mid-section, the stripes faded and the dark, inter-stripe spaces became wider, and the hindquarters were a plain brown. The name comes from a Khoikhoi word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the quagga’s call.”

The extinction of the quagga

“The extermination of the Quagga” by Franz Roubal 1931. Oil on Canvas

How were they related to horses, and other zebras? This diagram shows how horses, asses (donkeys) and zebras split off in their evolution (click to enlarge):

Image source: Stephen Budiansky, The Nature of Horses: Exploring Equine Evolution, Intelligence, and Behavior (1997).

If you’d like a more technical answer, have at it: “A rapid loss of stripes: the evolutionary history of the extinct quagga“, Leonard et al., Biology Letters: Biol. Lett. (2005) 1, 291-295 DOI: 10/1098/rsbl.2005.0323.

Extinction may not be forever, though; the Quagga Project aims to recreate the quagga through selective breeding of Plains zebras, and over 120 foals have been bred towards this goal. A colt named Henry, foaled in 2005, is their most quagga-esque foal so far and is the product of three generations of careful breeding.


He’s not quite there yet; there is still some striping on his hocks, a feature not exhibited on skin specimens in museums, so the quest continues. Similar “breeding back” attempts have also been made with tarpans, which I’ll feature in a future post (along with onagers and kulans). Need a reason to keep you coming back, after all… 😉

Cryptomundo has a few entries on quaggas.

Yup, we got stamps.



New book: Guardian Angel

18 02 2007

Guardian Angel

When it came time for her victory lap, Angel, who was bursting with energy and pride, bolted to the rail at a head spinning park trot. The more she trotted the faster she seemed to go. Angel’s snorts and hoof beats sounded like music; Liz loved it. Then, the crowds seem to fade like morning mist, their cheering went with them. The moon became the sun; the camera flashes became its rays. Liz looked around, bewildered. They were in the field! She sat bareback on Angel; the bridle seemed to be the only “unwild” object around them.

Here’s the best part: this book was completed when the author, Ashley Marie Sweet, was only 12; she’s a better writer than most adults! More info here.

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