Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Grand National

The Grand National is a famous race held on a Saturday every April in Aintree, England. In the race, the horses run a distance of about 4 miles and 856 yards. There are also 30 fences to be jumped in the race. It has quit a bit of history behind it.

The most famous horse ever to race in the Grand National is Red Rum. He won The Grand National 3 times and lost it twice. He won the race in 1973, 1974, and 1977, but he unfortunately lost the race in 1975 and 1976.

The Grand National has many big hedges positioned throughout the course. When a horse reaches a hedge, he needs to jump over it. .Sometimes a horse doesn't jump smoothly and its rider falls off.If this happened, the rider would have to lay at the bottom of the jump until all the other horses have jumped over it. If he didn't, he would get stepped on by a horse and get injured.

The Grand National is a long and tiring race. Most people fall off their horses before the end of the race. If this happens, the rider will have to catch his own horse! Sometimes the rider is unable to catch his horse until after a horse or horses cross the finish line.

Becher's Brook, an eight foot hedge with a pond on the end the horses land on, is the hardest jump on the course. Many racers fall off their horses on it. Becher was a famous jockey that raced in the Grand National. He is most famous for falling off his horse on a jump with a brook on the other side during the Grand National. He managed to remount his horse, but he was far behind the pack.On the next lap, he fell off his horse on the same jump with the brook! That jump was then known as Becher's Brook, named after the jockey.

Every year, hundreds of fans go to see the Grand National. Many authors wrote about the history of the it. Though the race is tough, many owners enter their horses in the race, and many jockeys ride in it. It shall be run every year for hundreds of years to come.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dales Pony

The Dales pony is a native British breed that has never been wild, being bred by man in captivity. It has descended from the Celtic pony, like many other British breeds. It also has other breeds mixed into it.

Long ago, the Fell pony and the Dales pony were pretty much the same breed. The Fell pony came from the west of the Pennine hills and the Dales from the east(the Pennine hills stretch through the northern half of England)Back then, both ponies were called Pennine ponies.

Dales ponies, known for being both good trotters and for their ability to pull heavy loads, were used by the army to carry ammunition to soldiers as well as to pull mine carts full of lead or coal. Also, it was ridden by farmers. Dales ponies can run a mile in three minutes and can carry up to 220 pounds.

The Dales pony is strongly built and has sturdy joints. Its hooves are hard and have bluish tint to them;feathers grow on the fetlock. Its face shows alertness, its ears are short, and its eyes are bright. The mane and tail are wavy. It can grow to be up to 14.2 hands tall. The pony can be either black, brown, bay, or grey.

The Celtic pony was crossed with a Friesian-Ariegeois cross bred horse that was brought to england by the Romans. In the 1800s, a Welsh Cob was added to the mix, and finally, Clydesdales were added for size.

Dales Pony's Uses Today
The Dales pony is mostly used as a trekking pony or a driving pony.