Thursday, October 31, 2013

Horsey Halloween

When carving my pumpkin this year, I decided to add an equestrian touch to it rather than carving the typical face. I saw a template here and attempted to copy it. I am impressed with how the finished product turned out.
Not too shabby....
Here are some cool horse costumes floating around the web:
I love this! Harry Potter horse.
A spider horse–cool.
Deer tractor....way cool.


 The Eriskay pony, related to the ancient Celtic ponies, originated in northern Scotland, in the Isle of Eriskay. For centuries, they were captured and used for everyday work: farm work, pulling carts, taking children to school, and many other tasks. Since they had to work all day, only those with kind, hard-working temperaments were kept, and as a result, the Eriskay we know today emerged. This work continued up to the mid-1800s, when bigger horses, such as Clydesdales and Fjords, were added to the breed to create a larger pony. The number of purebred Eriskays dropped dramatically. Before long, the  purebred Eriskays could only be found on one hard to reach island.

 By the mid 1900s, when machines began taking the place of horses, the breed took yet another hit. In 1970, there were only twenty left. A small group who loved the breed began working hard to save it, and over the past forty years, the number of Eriskays increased more then tenfold.

Today,  approximately 420 ponies can be found worldwide and the breed is considered to be on the critical list. The Eriskay Pony Society continues to help breeders make the best decisions. They give them advice on which stallion to breed to, and even transport stallions across the country to make breeding easier.

Breed Description and Uses
 Eriskays stand 12 to 13 hands high on average. They a large head, short neck, deep chest, muscular shoulders, straight legs, complete with flat knees; short pasterns, small, flat frogs; and hard hoof horns. Much like Lipizzaners, they are born black and become grey as they age, though other colors may appear. Their thick winter coat protects them from bad weather, such as rain and snow. Their temperament is calm, easygoing, and willing to please.

Due to their rough natural habitat, Eriskays are strong enough to carry an adult and are very versatile, making them excellent for any discipline, including jumping, dressage, driving, and trail riding. Their gaits are smooth with little knee action.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Natural Treatment for Saddle Sores

 When being ridden, a horse may develop saddle sores–wounds caused by ill-fitting tack, unbalanced riders, or people who ride their horse to roughly. Chafing of the saddle can will create little inflamed abrasions, and continuous use of the poorly-fitting saddle will worsen the wound. Sometimes, after the wound has healed, white hair will grow back where the sore once was, permanently marking the spot.

 There are several types of saddle sores: saddle galls, an abrasion caused by the tack rubbing parts of the skin; and heat rashes, rashes caused by dirty saddle pads or even allergic reaction to a synthetic pad. Heat rashes can turn into saddle sores if the cause is left unfixed.
Click to enlarge.

 Once a horse has a saddle sore, you should immediately find the problem and fix it. Does the saddle not fit? Are you leaning a little to one side when you ride instead of staying centered in the saddle? Is the pad wrinkled? Does it have dirt, leaves, or other lumps on it? Once you discover what the problem is, you can work on fixing it. The best thing to do is to stop riding for a week or two until the sore heals completely.

 According to the Animal Desk Reference, there are several oils that can be used to help heal the saddle sore, whether is is raw, something that occurs in extreme cases, or just slightly swollen. The book recommends applying several drops of Melrose or/and Idaho balsam fir on the wound daily. Other excellent oils include Roman chamomile, geranium, helichrysum, lavender, and myrrh. You can also use the Animal Scents Ointment one to two times a day, mixing a small amount of it with some of the above oils if desired.

 Of course, prevention is the best cure. Before tacking up, you should make sure your horse doesn't have an dirt on his back, brushing him down if necessary. Make sure the saddle pad is smooth before you place the saddle on his back. If you need to adjust the saddle, do not slide it forward, an act that can wrinkle both the saddle pad and the horses hair. Instead, lift it and set it into place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Dutch Warmblood

 After the second World War, when machines started to become more popular for farming purposes, Dutch horse breeders transitioned from breeder heavy work horses to producing warmbloods. They chose two native work horses as a base for their warmblood: the Gelderlander, a horse with graceful movement; and the Groningen, one with powerful hindquarters. Then, they added Thoroughbred to the mix, creating an even sportier horse. The resulting offspring were bred with Hanoverians, Prussian Trakehners, and Oldenburgs.

Dutch Warmbloods are elegant horses, like warmbloods generally are.
 Shortly after the breed was made, their studbook–the Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands–was created and their breeding closely monitored. Before a stallion can be registered, he must by evaluated by the association. To pass the test, he must have good conformation and should be able to jump well, both in the stadium and on a cross country course. Harness horses must be tested under harness. Mares, too, must be evaluated, though they are judged only on conformation, temperament, and movement.  Only horses that have passed the required tests can be registered.

Breed Description and Uses
 Dutch Warmbloods stand 15 to 16.2 hands high. They have strong hocks, powerful hindquarters, a deep barrel, flat shoulders, and a long, strong neck. Despite the farm horses in its, the Dutch is fairly light-boned with graceful movements. The Thoroughbred blood in the Dutch Warmblood gave it extra stamina, making it excellent for longer competitions, such as eventing.

 Since a variety of breeds has been used to create the warmblood, several different types have emerged: the sport horse type, which is most common; the harness type, used for driving; and the Gelderlander type, resembling the Gelderlander. 

Dutch Warmbloods, like any other warmblood, do well in jumping, dressage, and eventing. Due their carriage horse ancestry, some do well in competitive driving.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Fitzrada: National Horse Show 1948 and Season of 1949

 In November of 1948, Jane returned to the National Horse Show, this time riding several of Marie Greenhalgh hunters in addition to Fitzrada. Fitzrada did not do well this time. He refused the same fence twice before Cappy Smith, a famous rider, entered the arena to give Jane some advice. While pretending to adjust one of the stirrups, he told Jane to keep contact with Fitzrada the whole time. He then left the arena. Afterward, Jane rode him easily over the fence.

 Later that day, an artist by the name Paul Brown approached Jane about sketching Fitzrada. He drew some quick sketches o use as reference for later ones.

 Jane didn't earn any ribbons that National Horse Show. Nevertheless, she still entered Fitzrada in twelve shows the next year, winning four tricolor jumper ribbons and four tricolor hunter ribbons. She also won the Master's Challenge Bowl at the Loundoun Hunt Horse Show. for the second year in a row. The year before, Jane's sister had ridden Fitzrada in that class since Jane had been pregnant.

 After that show, Fitzrada touched a pole in one of his classes, costing him the Jumper Championship. He did, however, win the Working Hunter Championship. He lost at several other shows after that before winning all but one class he had entered in a show at Ohio. Then, he came second in a knock-down-and-out class settled by four jump-offs.

 In the National Horse Show of 1949, Fitzrada won one first place ribbon and two second place ribbons in the hunter classes. The last class would decide who the champion and reserve champion would be, but one horse failed to show up, letting Fitzrada enter instead. Fitzrada came second in the class, making him reserve champion.

 After that show, Jane decided that Fitzrada's show career should begin to slow down. She entered several shows. Among them was the Loundoun Hunt Horse, where she won the Master's Challenge Bowl a third time, retiring it. Jane even brought her horse to the 1950 National Horse Show.

 She entered several class. One class consisted of many jumps and tight turns. To win it, a horse must finish both quickly and without many faults. Fitzrada did so, getting only one fault. By the end of the show, he had come second in the Working Hunter Championship. Jane retired him afterward.

 In early September of 1952, Fitzrada broke his hock. though the vet did all he could, Fitzrada later passed away.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Dülmener

For at least 700 years, grulla-colored ponies have been roaming the hilly, wooded area of Westphalia. When the Lord of Dülmen began ruling that part of Westphalia, called Merfelder Bruch, he decided to keep a close watch over the ponies that thrived on that land. Nearby farmers also helped him to watch over the ponies.

The Dülmen is a compact pony with a short neck,
lean legs, and a squarish head. source
 The ponies were thriving until the 1800s, when the land was divided among different people. Then, the remaining countryside was divided among several dukes in 1840, making them the owners of the twenty remaining ponies. Fortunately, they decided to protect the breed, setting aside some of their land as a sanctuary for the horses. Later, they released some Polish and British horses into the herding, and over the next few decades, the number of Dülmen ponies flourished.

To this day, Dülmens are still kept on a reserve, where 300 ponies thrive in their natural habitat. They are rarely given hay and shelter since they have been accustomed to surviving without the help of humans. Every year, in May, the ponies are carefully inspected. The mares are kept, while all but the two best colts are sold at an auction.

Breed Description and Uses
 Standing 12 to 13 hands high, Dülmens are compact, sturdy ponies with light legs, round barrels, short withers, backs, and necks, and a small head. They are usually grulla, a mouse-like dun.

 Dülmens are excellent at cart pulling or working on farms. They have great work ethic.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Natural Treatments for Thrush

  Thrush is a hoof infection that many horse owners are aware of. It is caused by not properly caring for the hooves, especially in a wet, muddy environment, or by not mucking out the horses stall and or not changing the bedding often enough. This buildup of moist debris allows bacteria, commonly Fusobacterium necrophorum, to grow in the hoof. The result is a frog with a putrid-smelly, greasy black substance coming from. If caught early enough, you can stop the infection from spreading to inside of the hoof, causing lameness. A good way to prevent thrush is by regularly scheduling your farrier visits and making sure your horse's paddock and stall is clean and dry.

 If your horse gets thrush, the first thing you have to do is get him to a dry, clean environment. Make sure to pick out his hooves daily. Thus prevents more bacteria from building up. A helpful strategy is to use a popsicle stick to clean the frog and heel bulbs.
Click to enlarge

 You should also make sure you disinfect to the kill the bacteria. According to Melissa Shelton, DVM, you apply several drops of Thieves oil blend directly to the affected area two to four times a day or as often as needed. Other oils you can apply are cassia, cinnamon, eucalyptus globulus, lavender, lemongrass, marjoram, melaleuca, alternifolia, mountain savory, ocotea, oregano, black pepper, and thyme. You can also use the following oil blends in addition to the Thieves oil blend: Abundance, Exodus II, Melrose, Purification, R.C.(Respiratory Congestion), Thieves Household Cleaner, and Thieves Spray.

 It is important that you use at least one of these oils several times a day on the infected hoof. Apply several drops of the oil directly onto the infected and clean out the hoof. Also, it is important to talk to your farrier if your horse gets thrush, as he may be able to help by shoeing your horses(if he isn't already) and trimming his hooves regularly.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Dartmoor Pony

Dartmoor Ponies are native to southern England. They have lived there for centuries. During the Middle Ages, the hardy little ponies hauled heavy loads from one village to another,often traveling several miles. However, in 1535, King Henry VIII passed a law to kill all horses under 14 hands, putting the tiny Dartmoor at risk. He even fined people with small horses! Later, he passed another law, changing the minimum height to 15 hands. He hoped that by doing so, bigger horses, more suitable to carrying knights in heavy armor, would be bred. Once Queen Elizabeth I took the throne, she invalidated the law. Tiny Dartmoors came into use again.

 In the eighteenth century, when mining became popular in England, the Dartmoors became pit ponies, used to haul mine carts out of the mines. Shetland blood was added to the breed by miners. After the mines closed, ponies were released into the wild.

 In the 1930s, the Dartmoor Pony came to North America for the first time. His sturdiness and kind temperament made him loved by adults and children alike. Throughout the years, as often happens to other breeds, the Dartmoor was crossbred with some other horse breeds to create a better pony. Before long, pureblood Dartmoors were becoming rare. It was Joan Dunning that had a significant influence on the breed. From the day in 1936 when Dartmoor Ponies first set foot on her farm in White Post, Virginia and forward, she bred pureblood Dartmoors, become a leading breeder in the Dartmoor Pony world. Today, her daughter, Hetty Abeles, is one of the most popular Dartmoor Pony breeders.

Dartmoors are small and sturdy, making them perfect for driving or children's mounts.
 In 1951, Dartmoor National Park was made in the area of England where the pony originated. There, the Dartmoor Ponies, some of which are owned by local farmers, are protected by the government. To further help the Dartmoor Pony, the Dartmoor Pony Moorland Scheme was founded in 1988. They helped by keeping the pony' bloodlines pure. Since then, the Dartmoor Pony has become increasingly popular in the U.S., and more and more Dartmoors have been imported from England.

Breed Description and Uses
 Dartmoors are small, sturdy ponies, standing between 11.1 to 12.2 hands high on average. Their legs are short and their head is small. Due to their small size, they are popular children's mounts. Sometimes, they are even used for driving.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Horse Show in Fresno

 Saturday was probably one of the most awesome days ever! I went to an eventing show and got to watch Sarah, one of my blogging friends, and her horse Bohemian compete in eventing. I watched one show jumping class before Sarah's and really enjoyed myself. Several horses stopped before some fences, and one time the rider fell over the head of the horses and landed on the other side of the fence. Ouch. No, I didn't get a picture of it. The rider left the arena after that fall. This show was actually the first horse show that I have been to, so it was fun.
Group shot! Left to right: Me, my friend Angel, Bohemian, Sarah, and Walden(the dog).
 After the first class, I went over to say hi to Sarah, who was getting ready for her class. Blogging friend in real life! It was so cool to meet her. We talked about Bohemian(her horse) while she tacked him. Then we went over to the warm-up arena and I watched her warm-up. When it was her turn to enter the arena, I went over to the rail to watch her ride. She and Bohemian looked great out there.

 I watched the rest of the class. There were lots of big horses. Huge. Surprisingly, there was even a pony ridden by a girl around 10 or 11 years old. Once the class was over, I went back to Bohemian's stall to talk to Sarah some more. She let me give Bohemian treats and then my dad took pictures of us. Bohemian even gave me some hugs. Cute boy. It was a really fun day. Sarah was as awesome in real life as she is on her blog(if not even cooler), and Bohemian was such a sweet boy! I told my mom on the way home that I want a horse like Bohemian(with his temperament, I mean). I loved being at the show and most of all meeting Sarah and Bohemian, and would love to do it again some day. Now, for pictures.                              

Bohemian munching on hay before his class.

Sarah and Bohemian before their class.
Warming up.

Still warming up.
Went over a jump before their class. 

The first fence

Cantering around the course

The bay is heading for the first jump.
This bay is canter is cantering. I think he just landed
after the first jump of the course.
Before we watched any classes, my family and I said hello
to Flo, an Irish Sport/Swedish Warmblood mix.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dales Pony

 The Dales Pony comes from the eastern slope of England's Pennines Range, originating from the ancient Pennine Pony that once lived there and the now extinct Scottish Galloway. When the Romans invaded the area between 43 and 410 AD, they discovered the the small ponies were strong, so they began using the ponies to carry heavy loads of lead from various to mines to mills. Often, the ponies would travel as much as 200 hundred miles a week without tiring.

 Later, Norfolk Trotter, Yorkshire Roadster, and Friesian blood was added to the mix, creating a pony with even more speed and substance, as well as flashy knee action from the trotter. In the eighteenth century, the agile pony with lots of stamina became favored by hunters. To improve the gait of the pony, a Welsh Cob stallion by the name Comet was breed to the dales in the 1850s. Not long after that, with the improvement of roads, the Dales became a stage coach horses.

 In 1916, the breed stud book was opened and the Dales Pony Improvement Society was formed. It was in the early part of this century, however, that the breed was hit pretty bad. They were used during the first World War and again in World War II. World War II almost brought the end of the breed. Hundreds of mares were taken by the army to by used for breeding cavalry mounts, many never to return to their homeland again. In 1964, The Dales Pony Improvement Society, who then changed their name to the Dales Pony Society, began to make efforts to save the breed. They searched for Dales Ponies, registering them and breeding them. Over the next seven years, the number of ponies steadily increased. Today, only about 300 exist in North America.

Dales Ponies and strong and sturdy, commonly coming in black.
Breed Description and Uses
 Dales Ponies, standing 14 hands high on average, are sturdy and muscular. They have strong, solid hooves, often tinted blue; clean legs with some feathering on them; sloping shoulders; arched necks; a straight profile; and a small muzzle. They are most commonly black, but bay, gray, and roan sometimes occurs.

 The Dales' endurance makes it excellent in almost every equestrian sport, particularly driving and English sports.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interview: Lynn Reardon

 Last week, I was able to interview Lynn Reardon, who runs the LOPE(LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers) in Texas. She re-homes ex-racehorses, something I am interested in doing. It was a really fun interview and I thought you guys would enjoy it.

Midway, one of the horses Lynn rehomed.
Do you need any special education or a license to rescue horses? No, that is not a requirement. I had owned horses before and had some very basic understanding of horse care needs -- which was helpful.

How did you first get interested in rescuing horses? How did you get started? I wrote a book (Beyond the Homestretch) about how I began my work -- it was a bestseller in Austin and Dallas, plus became the #1 horse book on Amazon for a short period. I actually never got interested in "rescuing" horses -- instead I had fallen in love with ex-racehorses and wanted to work with them very much. I wasn't a professional trainer and didn't have the usual credentials to become a trainer. My career had been in accounting and administrative management for nonprofit organizations -- horses were a hobby. I took lessons at a polo barn -- and nearly all of the horses were ex-racehorses. When I realized that ex-racehorses often need help transitioning to new lives after racing -- and that Texas didn't have a racehorse charity to do that -- boom, I had the idea to start LOPE. It was a way to combine my previous nonprofit experience with helping ex-racehorses :) We actually see ourselves as an employment agency for at-risk equine youth rather than a fireman kind of rescue place. 

What are your primary responsibilities around the rescue? At our ranch, I supervise the care of all the horses (feeding, vet care, farrier, etc). I also do the riding and training at our farm (though we also send some of our horses to professional trainers before being adopted). I am also responsible for fundraising, event management, updating the website and social media pages -- and writing for our blog.

How do you find the horses and how much do you usually buy them for? We take donations of horses directly from the racing industry -- which means that race owners, trainers and breeders donate their horses to LOPE that aren't racing anymore. We don't usually buy horses.

How do you decide which horses to rescue? We take horses on a first come, first serve basis from the industry. We do prefer that the horses have raced within the last year and that they be able to do another job with retraining and rehab.
Lynn on Mystery Blessing. credit
How much work does it take to train and rehabilitate the horses before you set them up for adoption? Each horse is an individual, so the answer to this question varies depending on the horse. Typically, we like to give the horses a month or so off from work (like a mini-vacation) before we start retraining them. The retraining might take just a few rides or a couple months. Rehabilitation also varies, depending on the type of injury. We have taken in horses with simple mild body soreness as well as horses requiring surgery to remove bone chips -- so the range is pretty broad :)

What sort of training exercises do you do with them to get them ready for being ridden off the track and prepare them for future careers(pleasure, jumping, etc)? We like the horsemanship school of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. These two master horsemen are now deceased, but there are several excellent clinicians who studied with them -- such as Buck Brannaman, Peter Campbell and Tom Curtin. If you would like to get a better sense of this horsemanship, you might want to check out the documentary called "Buck" -- it is about Buck Brannaman and you might really enjoy it. The movie won the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival and made the long list for an Oscar nomination.

But back to your question -- we like to help the horses with the basic foundation training (kind of like kindergarten for horses). We do ground work exercises, a gentle re-starting under saddle (so they learn that being ridden doesn't mean racing anymore) and overall building their confidence levels. If we help the horses get a good foundation in the basics, we think that will help them no matter what career (jumping, trail riding, etc) they go into later.

What is your favorite part about rescuing horses? I really love working with the horses and riding them! It is so much fun to help a horse learn new job skills that help keep him safe in the future :)

What is your advice to someone wanting to start a career in rescuing horses?(I realize that it's more of passion than something you do to make money) First, I would say it is important to narrow your goal. Do you want to rescue horses from neglect situations? Do you want to transition racehorses to new careers? Do you want to work with senior citizen horses? Or PMU foals? All of those things (and more) are considered forms of horse rescue -- but are all very different types of work. It's kind of fire fighting. Do you want to be the firefighter who pulls people from burning buildings and leaves them safely on the curb? Or do you want to be the nonprofit shelter that takes the people in while their house is being rebuilt? Or do you want to be the person who set ups smoke detectors in homes -- so that a fire wouldn't happen at all?

Also, I worked in the nonprofit world for years before I started a horse adoption charity. There is no reason why someone who runs a horse rescue shouldn't be paid -- it helps keep the organization stable to have a paid person running it and also is reassuring to funders to know that the charity is well-managed. I am paid for my work -- it's a very small salary, but my charity's board of directors insist that I take some payment for my work -- because they think it is important to value the efforts of the executive director position.

What do you do if a horse doesn't get adopted? That has never happened :) Once a horse comes to LOPE, he or she can stay as long as necessary to find the right home. One horse (Storm, who is in my book) was with us for almost two years -- but eventually found the perfect home for him.

Do you have a favorite horse that you have rescued? In my book, I talk about a beautiful stallion named Tawakoni. He was the son of a famous winner of the Kentucky Derby (Grindstone). I had never worked with a stallion before -- and when I asked horse neighbors for advice, they all thought I was crazy to have a stallion on our place (because in their biased world view, all stallions were dangerous). But Tawakoni was very gentle and well-mannered. He was adopted by a petite woman who owned a beautiful breeding facility for show horses. She worked with her stallions easily and had no fear of them. She and Tawakoni taught me how important it is to not accept the "conventional wisdom" on face value -- but instead to keep an active, inquisitive mind to learn the truth about horses.

Is there anything else you would like to add? No, you asked excellent questions -- thank you for that!

Also, do you allow visitors? Yes, we do allow visitors by appointment :)

Criollo Horse

During the early 1500s, Spanish conquistadors travelled to  the New World, settling mostly in South America. They took horses of Barb descent with them. Many were lost or stolen, and began to run free across the Pampas(plains) of South America. Over the next few centuries, the number of feral horses in South America increased rapidly. At one point, in 1580, there were 12,000 of them galloping across the plains, though were captured over the years when settlers needed them for work.

 However, there huge numbers began to change in the early 1800s when European invaders came to Argentina, binging with them Percherons and Thoroughbreds, both of which greatly increased the size of the breed. Before long, the Criollo was almost becoming extinct. Only 200, held by a south American tribe, remained. It wasn't until 1917, though, that the Sociedad Rural de Argentina began making efforts to save the breed. Upon discovering the small herd, they began a breeding program. The next year, a breed registry was made, and in 1923, the breed association was formed. Five years later, a breeder named Dr. Solanet, who was interested in the Chilean Horse, wanted the Criollo to become more compact and stock, like the horse he admired. In 1934, he took over the breed association. Soon, over 70% of the Criollo had been culled from the registry because they didn't fit the criteria, and the breed became more compact and stocky, like it is today.
Criollos are stocky, muscular horses, perfect for ranch work.

Breed Description and Uses
 Everything about the Criollo reflects strength and power. Standing 14.1 hands, it has muscular, sloping shoulders, a powerful crested neck, short legs and back, a sloping croup, and burly hindquarters. Most commonly, it comes in dun, but other coat colors can be found as well, including patterns with a dorsal stripe and zebra markings on the legs.

 The Criollo is one of the best endurance horses. In fact, breeders often test the horse's endurance by having them travel 466 miles in 75 hours, divided evenly among 14 days. Despite the rigorousness of the test, no supplements of any kind are allowed. The horses must be able to make to the end without any performance-enhancing supplements.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Review: Beyond the Homestretch, by Lynn Reardon

 Quite recently, I purchased a Beyond the Homestretch, by Lynn Reardon. Lynn founded LOPE(LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers), a Texan adoption center focusing on finding homes for ex-racehorses. It was an excellent read!
Click here to check it out

 Beyond the Homestretch talks about how Lynn quit her office job in Washington DC and moved out to Austin, Texas area. She became interested in Thoroughbreds and decided she wanted to rescue them. At first, she started out by just listing adds on her website for local trainers and owners, but one day, she  bought a 26 acre ranch and began taking horses to her ranch as well. The book is full of success stories, ranging from those of a docile filly, injured geldings, a stallion, and many more horses–all experiences of her own.

 I love her writing style, too. her descriptions are vivid, often involving humorous descriptions about certain situations.  I would recommend this book to any Thoroughbred lover, or people who are interested ex-racehorse success stories. Beyond the Homestretch is definitely high up on my favorites list!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Connemara Pony

  More a thousand years ago, small, Shetland-like ponies roamed the rocky coast of Western Ireland. They remained untouched by other breeds of horses until the fifth and sixth century, when raiders brought Celtic ponies with them. These ponies bred with the Shetland-like one. Over the next few centuries, more horses, possibly Spanish Jennets(extinct) and Irish Hobby horses, came to Western Ireland, mixing with the native breed. The result was the famous Connemara, who is believed to have inherited its smooth gaits from the Jennet and the Hobby horses.

The Connemara
 As with many other breeds, the Connemara began as a farm horses(ponies). Poor farmers would capture one, usually a mare, and train it for farm work using food was much better than that found in the wild. Because most families only owned one, the pony had to be able to perform a variety of tasks: driving, plow pulling, riding, and even breeding.

 Throughout the 19th century, Arabian blood was continually added to the Connemara as a way of refining it. However, in the late 1800s, the number of Connemara took a plunge. Many died during the Potato Famine, when people had better things to worry about than the continuation of the breed. Nevertheless, the breed managed to survive through the Irish government's efforts to preserve it by adding Hackney, Thoroughbred, Norfolk, Yorkshire Roadster, and Welsh blood to it. Today, the government still checks the beed yearly, inspecting it to see whether it is suitable for breeding.

Breed Description and Uses
 Connemaras are nimble, sure-footed horses, able to leap stone walls and canter over uneven ground. Standing 12.2 to 15 hands high, the ponies have round haunches and long legs with high knee action and ground-covering strides. Their coats come in brown, dun, black, gray, and chestnut.

 Because of their athletic ability, Connemaras are often used are sport horses in England.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Colorado Rangerbred

The Colorado Rangerbred's history began in 1878, when Ulysses S. Grant sailed to Europe and the Middle East, particularly Turkey, during his presidency. When it was time for Grant to leave, Sultan Abdulhamid gave Grant two young stallions–an Arabian by the name Leopard and a Barb called Linden Tree. Those two stallions helped diversify Grant's stock.

 In 1879, Leopard and Linden Tree arrived in Virginia. There, they caught the attention of Rudolph Huntington, who wanted to use them to produce a light harness horse. Grant gave Huntington permission to use the horses in his breeding program. However, Huntington lost funding for the project just before the 20th century when the horseless carriage was introduced, so he had to sell the horses. General Colby, a rancher from Nebraska, managed to convince Huntington to lend him Linden tree and Leopard for one breeding season. It wasn't long before ranchers in Colorado heard of excellent cow horses with Barb and Arabian blood in them. A.C. Whipple, one Colorado's most respected ranchers, headed to Colby's ranch to buy a small band of mares, all sired by either Leopard or Linden Tree, and a stallion named Tony, who was the gray grandson of Leopard. These horses were bred with mixed bred stock horses, producing spotted offspring with amazing cow sense. Before long, there were many Appaloosa-patterned horses in Colorado.
The Colorado Rangerbred

 In the 1930s, Colorado State University became interested in the breed. With the help of Mike Ruby and his stallions Patches #1 and Max #2, descendants of Linden Tree and Leopard, a breeding program was created. Foals received the refinement and stamina of the Barb and Arabian while still maintaining there dam's level-headedness and cow sense. In 1938, the breed was officially named the Colorado Ranger Horse and the Colorado Ranger Horse Association was founded. However, the association had a fifty member limit, and not all the horses could be registered at the time, so many were accepted in the Appaloosa Horse Club instead. Only in 1964 was the limit removed. Since then, many Appaloosas with some Rangerbred blood in them have been registered.
Today, all registered Rangerbreds must have either Patches #1 or Max #2 in their pedigree.

Breed Description and Uses
 Standing from 14.2 to 16 hands high, the Rangerbred has a stock horse conformation: powerful haunches, clean legs, solid hooves, and a level topline. Because of this, they are generally used in western classes, particularly western pleasure, though they are used in ranching too.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


 The Clydesdale is the United Kingdom's youngest draft breed, with it becoming a breed only 150 years ago. To create the breed, calm mares from Lanarkshire(the Clyde Valley) were bred with the type of English draft stallions that were often found carrying knights bravely into battle. Also in the bloodline was several Flemish stallions imported to Scotland in the late 1700s.

 Several stallons are noted to have had a great influence on the breed. One includes a brown imported by the Duke of Hamilton in the 18th century. The other two include a black Flemish with white stockings and a white face, as well as Blaze, a 16.1 hand high black horse thought to have the blood of a coach horse. He marked the Clydesdale with his flashy knee action.

 In 1806s, a filly, the descendant of the black flemish stallion, was foaled. She became very influential to the breed, producing sturdy offspring with strong legs. These offspring, too, made a mark on the Clydesdale we know today.

 In the early 1900s, the Clydesdale had reached its peek. There were an estimated 140,000 horses, with about 1,600 stallions being exported in 1911 alone. However, things began to look down for the famous draft by the end of World War I. The '20s brought on the use of machines for farm work, and, consequently, drafts were simply left to run free in certain countries. By the end of World War II, only 200 hundred Clydesdales were licensed to work in England. By 1949, the number plummeted to 80.

A team of Clydesdales pull a wagon. source
 In the '60s, the breed took another hit as more and more machines were used, and their numbers began to swiftly decline. Only several hundred existed in the UK. In 1975, the breed was categorized as "vulnerable," though over the past four decades, the number has increased a little. Now, with approximately 5,000 Clydesdales registered worldwide, the breed has advanced to "at risk."

 Today, Clydesdale are extremely popular throughout North America due to the famous Budweiser horses.

Breed Description and Uses
 Clydesdales, unlike most other draft breeds, are more slim than burly, though don't underestimate their strength. They were bred to work hard a carry heavy loads of coal, produce, and even beer. Their gaits are high-stepping and flashy, their neck high-set, and their stockings and blaze eye-catching, making them elegant enough to be nice carriage horses. Also, their feet are huge, which complicates using them to pull plows. Because of that, these tall, 16 to 19 hands high drafts were commonly found in cities.

 Most commonly, Clydesdales are bay with white stockings, a blaze, and heavy feathering around the fetlocks. Sometimes, sabino coloring occurs, with white stretching up as far as the belly. Other colors include roan, black, and gray.

 Clydesdales are mostly used for driving, though if crossbred with another breed, like the Arabian, a common choice, they make prized eventing horses.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Carolina Marsh Tacky

 The Carolina Marshy Tacky came to North America with the Spaniards, who were hoping to colonize parts of it. One man, Luis Vazquez de Ayllon, was hoping to colonize the coast of North and South Carolina, as well Virginia, in 1526. He brought with him approximately 500 people and 89 horses. However, the idea of creating a colony flopped, and the people who had not died there left within the year, leaving behind their horses.

 One herd had swam to the Shackleford islands, while the other remained in what is now South Carolina. The latter had to adapt to the harsh marshlands of the area, but once they did, they became a prized horse among local Native American tribes–Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Seminoles. When Europeans began settling North American, the sure-footed horse was used by them too. Francis Marion and his troops, who fought in the swamplands of South Carolina, used these horses during the Revolutionary War. The breed had become so popular by them that the British referred to them as "tacky," meaning "common."

Marsh Tackies are sturdy, sure-footed horses, able run effortlessly through
wetlands due to their flat, dish-like hooves. source
 However, the breed is not so common today. As cars arrived in South Carolina, the horses went out the back door, their numbers dwindling down to 300 in South Carolina alone. In 2006, the American Livestock Breed Conservancy got involved after having travelled to South Carolina to determine whether the breed still existed. After confirming their find using DNA testing, they created a studbook. By June of 2007, owners decided to form the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association. Today, the biggest herd is owned by the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association, consisting of 100 horses. In further attempts to preserve the breed, the Marsh Tacky became South Carolina's state heritage horse.

Breed Description and Uses:
Standing under 14.3 hands high, the Marsh Tacky is well-muscled, yet also refined with large, pan-like feet and the ability to be ridden all day without tiring, even over rough terrain. Consequently, it is commonly used as a trail horse. Most often, the Tacky is dun colored.

 As for the temperament, the Tacky is calm and unafraid of guns, which is why it is favored among hunters. Should it get stuck in a bog, it would calmly climb out, whereas most other breeds would likely panic.