Posts Tagged ‘horses’

Horse crazy

Short history of Equines

Next time you ride a horse or visit the tracks, appreciate what others have done.

About 6,000 years ago in east Africa donkeys/asses were domesticated. Asses pulled early chariots and changed warfare.

About 4,000 years ago in the Caucasian Mountains, horses were domesticated. The size of ponies, they pulled carts and chariots. About the time of the Roman Empire horses large enough for cavalry developed.

Draft horses, surprisingly enough, only became common the last 300 years. Everyone knows them from beer commercials.

About 3,000 years ago jack asses were bred with mares (donkey/horse cross), resulting in mules. As a baby I lived on a mule-powered farm—I still love them (and all equines).

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Mint julep horses?

Bourbon horses to watch:

Midnight Bourbon always finishes in the money, ridden by Mike Smith, double Derby winner.

Bourbonic has trainer Todd Pletcher, ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, 1st black jockey since 2013.

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Take your pick

Pintos, paints, spotted horses—whatever you call them they are beautiful. They tend to be more common in North America, but they may have originated in Europe. What is your favorite color? Replies very welcome. (this is for a story)

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Epona’s White Horses

The Chalk Horses of England may be 3,000 years old, estimates vary. I believe they honor Epona, fertility queen/goddess of horses. Chalk horses—2 of many: Uffington White Horse—360 feet long—White Horse Hill—outline. Bratton White Horse—160 feet—Westbury—solid.

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In 1950 Mike got his 1st job at Donaldson’s Bakery on Hill Street, just north of the University of Louisville. They home delivered bread, using horse drawn wagons close to the bakery. Mike was a relief driver. Peaches knows where to go, his boss told him. Peaches went to the correct house every time until late in the day. He delivered bread and found Peaches had vanished. Panicking, he ran around the block and found her. The regular delivery man went the back way to a house that was on the next street. Peaches was self-driving.

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Street creds

I often write about cowboys, and most of my books include horses though people are skeptical of my equine expertise. The 1st photo proves I am a real cowboy. The 2nd photo is a mug shot taken by the town marshal. After a long cattle drive, the boys and I got a little feisty. (notice even my shirt has a horse motif)

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Real horsepower!

Horse pulls are contests where horse teams pull a stone-boat. The team who pulls the heaviest weight wins. I used to go to them when I lived in Michigan where they are popular. (animal rights people: these horses are treated like members of the family) http://horsepull.com/

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Conventional wisdom says that in the 17th century Spanish horses escaped, their population exploding on the great plains. Except most of the Spanish horses were geldings, neutered stallions. And horse numbers increased too quickly as mares have one foal at a time.

Some say native horses survived the ice ages to breed with Spanish horses. But why did the Aztecs have no horses? A new theory says that 1000 AD, ponies were abandoned when the Viking deserted North America. They mated with Spanish horses and the Plains Indian culture was born. (Cherokee pony photo)

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Pre-Columbian Horses

Conventional history says that Columbus brought horses to the New World. New research suggests that horse were already here. It does seem odd that about 1650 Spanish horses got loose/were stolen and horse populations exploded. More likely the Old World and New World horse mixed together.


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This photo (rescued by my sister Angela Gruenwald) is me at age 8. I thought I was Doc Holiday, legendary gunfighter. I still like horses and cowboys and adventure. Nowadays I just write about it. I sneak horses into most of my books, though Doc Holiday has not made an appearance in my books. Okay, I admit it–I still think I’m Doc Holiday.

Happy trails to you.

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