26 04 2007


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Ancient Thracian chariot found in Bulgaria

26 04 2007

Archaeologists work at a 4,000-year-old Thracian chariot found south of the town of Nova Zagora, some 220 km (137 miles) east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Monday, April 23, 2007. The chariot has two wheels with its roof made of heavy bronze in the form of eagle heads, with a folding iron chair, and contains three horse skeletons among its treasure hoard. Link

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New stamp design proposed

26 04 2007


The Round-Up Association (Pendleton, Oregon) is hoping to let its bucking horse kick on letters across the nation.

On April 16, the association applied to the U.S. Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to put the Round-Up logo on a stamp for the 2010 Centennial Rodeo. Read more

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Barbaro’s fans celebrate his life; should probably consider getting one of their own

26 04 2007

Wet & wild!

Barbaro would have turned four this Sunday (April 29), and his fan Sharon Crumb has organized a celebration of his life at Delaware Park, site of the colt’s maiden win in October 2005. I think that’s a nice idea, and she’ll have plenty of company; apparently over 500 FOBs (Friends of Barbaro) have committed to showing up. Some things do give me pause though:

“I can’t let Barbaro go,” a choked-up Crumb said. “I won’t let Barbaro go.”


I don’t doubt for a moment that Ms. Crumb’s distress is very real, and that the death of an animal she may never have seen in person has hit her hard. I do have to ask why, however. We all grieved when his valiant fight was for naught, taking comfort in the fact that his medical saga will benefit future injured horses. Refusing to “let him go” smacks of deeper problems, or at the very least a good ol’ fashioned dramabomb. On Sunday, NBC will be airing a one-hour documentary called Barbaro: America’s Horse (not to be confused with the HBO documentary in the works). The compulsion to mark anniversaries this way is a perfect expression of what Pat Forde refers to as “drama-addicted America”.

Five months ago I wrote:

If you are still moved by Barbaro, if you really love horses, don’t send him a card. Don’t make another video pastiche for YouTube. Do something for all the other horses who don’t have the world on their side…If you really love horses, and not just because it’s cool to be sentimental over Barbaro, do something meaningful for all the horses who serve us, and suffer in silence, yet still trust humans to do the right thing. They deserve it just as much as any Kentucky Derby winner.

I still stand by what I said. If you were and are genuinely moved by Barbaro, and love horses, then for God’s sake dry your eyes, pick up a shovel, grab your wallet and get moving. He’s dead and we can do no more for him. We can remember him, yes, but if he is to live up to his fans’ claims of greatness then those fans should be working on leaving him a more tangible legacy than a heap of tear-stained tissues on the grounds of Delaware Park.

Update: Oh, all right. Here’s a slightly more sympathetic take from ESPN, The Church of Barbaro.

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House votes to prevent commercial slaughter of wild horses and burros

26 04 2007

Wild Burros of the Owens Valley, originally uploaded by Snap Man.

The House voted Thursday to prevent the government from selling off for slaughter any wild horses and burros that roam public lands in the West.

The 277-137 vote would restore a 1971 law preventing the Bureau of Land Management from selling the animals for commercial processing.

The protection was removed in 2004 when former Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., inserted a measure in a spending bill allowing their sale. Read more

I hope they’ll be looking into alternative ways of keeping the populations down, such as making it easier to adopt these critters, immunocontraception, etc. About a quarter of the mustangs and burros rounded up never find homes…

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World’s largest equine sculpture proposed in Scotland

26 04 2007

Heed, mon!
A plan to create the world’s largest horse sculptures is taking shape in the workshop of one of Scotland’s leading artists.

The 35-meter (114-foot) high “Kelpie” heads are based on the mythical Scots creatures of the same name and are the brainchild of British Waterways and internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Scott.

But the giant heads, each equal in size to the world renowned Falkirk Wheel visitor attraction, would be more than just impressive works of art. The functional sculptures, complete with flowing manes, would form an integral part of an ingenious boat lift mechanism at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, with the two heads slowly rocking back and forth to displace water from a lock chamber thereby allowing boats to move to and from Scotland’s lowland canal network.

Scott is currently creating two one-tenth scale steel maquettes (models), which will be used to help generate support for this ambitious project. The creation of the 3.5-meter (11-foot) high models involves welding thousands of small steel plates over a prepared steel skeleton. The skeleton itself will eventually be removed to leave a steel mosaic.

Andy, whose father hailed from Falkirk, has a long association with equine sculpture, having created the landmark “Heavy Horse” which sits proudly at the side of the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and various other world renowned equine pieces in Australia and Spain.

“Heavy Horse” by Andy Scott Image source

The Kelpie theme was chosen not only for the role of the mythical water horse in waterway folklore but also to pay respect to the role of the heavy horse throughout Scottish history. The theme is made even more poignant by the fact that Falkirk was home to the largest Clydesdale horse in U.K. history.

Andy is currently working night and day in his studio in Maryhill in Glasgow to ensure that the impressive steel maquettes are ready for public display at the end of May.

The heads will form part of a bid to a lottery fund for The HELIX project, an ambitious initiative which could transform the landscape between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a thriving environmental community and tourism asset for Scotland.

Work to create the massive Kelpie heads could begin at the end of the year if the project gets the green light.

To find out more about The HELIX and to get involved visit www.falkirkonline.net/HELIX.

Story link

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