Queen Elizabeth’s Horse Wins Historic Gold Cup At Royal Ascot

A beaming Queen Elizabeth II received the Gold Cup trophy on Thursday after becoming the first reigning British monarch in history with a winning horse in Royal Ascot’s biggest race.

The 87-year-old queen watched joyously as, Estimate, her much-fancied young filly crossed the finish line.

The queen, who has been on the throne for 61 years, has attended Ascot every year since 1945. Thursday’s win was her 22nd overall at Ascot, but the first in the signature Gold Cup.

The Queen joins with her horse, Estimate,  in the Winners Enclosure, a first for a reigning monarch in the race’s 207-year history.

The horse-loving queen is widely respected as an expert on horse breeding and racing.

According to the BBC, the queen has won various races at Ascot at least 21 times, the first, famously, came just two weeks after her 1953 Coronation when her horse, Choir Boy, won the Hunt Cup.


The 87 year old Queen Elizabeth II joins with jockey Ryan Moore as they celebrate winning the Gold Cup

Queen Elizabeth II is presented the Gold Cup by her son Prince Andrew, duke of York, after her horse “Estimate” wins.


Estimate, the Queen’s winning filly

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Former BLM Mustang Escorts Fallen Marine To Arlington Cemetery

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His name was Marine Sgt. Trevor Johnson, a young Marine who was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan.

He was a fifth-generation boy from Montana who grew up riding horses, herding cattle and mending fences.

When the young soldier was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on a cold winter day, a symbol of the fallen soldier’s ranching roots helped to escort him there.

Lonesome, a horse donated to The Old Guard’s caisson platoon from the Montana Bureau of Land Management lead the caisson that carried Johnson’s casket.

Lonesome was born at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facility in Butte, Montana on Oct.12, 1995. As a young foal, he was freeze marked, a white identity mark that is clearly seen, today.

Lonesome was eventually adopted by Mark Sant, a BLM Archeologist.  Sant soon learned that Lonesome was exceptional in many ways. He was smart, strong and had a great personality.

When Mark Sant heard the Old Guard was looking for large black mustangs for their Caisson Platoon, he could think of no greater honor than donating Lonesome to be a part of that prestigious team.

Lonesome, the stunning black mustang of the Caisson Platoon, has since participated in hundreds of funerals as well as the funeral for former President Ronald W. Reagan, and the 55th Inaugural Parade.

Lonesome has turned out to be a wonderful ambassador for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program as well as a beautiful, well-trained and loved member of the Third Army’s Caisson Platoon.

How the horse came to assist in the interment ceremony for Marine Corps Sgt. Trevor J. Johnson at Arlington took some initiative by Mark Sant.  Although he had never met Johnson, he wanted the Marine’s family to have a symbol of the state as they mourned the loss of a loved one so many, many miles from home.

Mark Sant e-mailed the office of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer to seek help finding Lonesome – the horse Sant had donated to the military several years ago.

An Aide for the Governor contacted the Montana National Guard, which in turn contacted the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, or Old Guard, which assists in burial services at Arlington National Cemetery.

It’s not a request the Old Guard hears often, but one that was easy to oblige, said Major Steven Cole. “It’s stories like this that show the depths of care that all Americans have for their service men and women,” Cole said.

Cole further stated that to his knowledge, Lonesome is the only mustang from Montana.

Lonesome, front left lead horse

Just as Marine Sgt. Trevor took the lead in the battlefield, Lonesome took the lead on that day in Arlington Cemetery.

A Montana-grown horse carried the body of one of Montana’s brave soldiers.

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References:
DC Military
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management

Last Photo: Adam Skoczylas

Baby Miniature Donkey Gets A Pacemaker

Baby Kaya

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For some unknown reason, Kaya, a three-week-old miniature donkey was suffering from episodes of fainting.  She was taken to her local veterinarian who performed a complete physical examination.

The vet soon discovered a systolic heart murmur.  In addition, he could hear dropped heart beats that he believed were associated with the fainting.

After an electrocardiogram confirmed an abnormal heart rhythm, the veterinarian referred Kaya to the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at UC Davis.

It was there that “Kaya” was seen by both the Large Animal Internal Medicine Department and the Cardiology Department.

They learned that not only was Kaya experiencing fainting episodes, but she was an unusually quiet baby donkey.  She never bucked or played like a normal baby.

Upon further examination, the UC Davis veterinarians agreed with the diagnosis made by Kaya’s local vet. Kaya had both heart murmurs and an abnormal heart rhythm.

To understand the causes of these abnormal findings, the UC Davis veterinarians performed both an electrocardiogram (ECG) and an echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound).

The ECG showed an abnormal rhythm (arrhythmia) consistent with third-degree AV block, which is a failure of the inherent pace-keeping mechanism of the heart.

The ultrasound showed that the mitral, tricuspid and aortic valves were slightly leaky but that the overall structure and size of the heart were normal.

Routine lab work ruled out infection or electrolyte disturbances as the underlying causes of the arrhythmia.

Given these findings, it was suspected that Kaya’s third-degree AV block might be congenital, meaning they were present at birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences.

It was decided to give Kaya a pacemaker to treat the arrhythmia. However, there were important considerations for Kaya’s health regarding the placement of the pacemaker.

First, given Kaya’s age, it was likely that she would outgrow her pacemaker and that a second surgery would in all probability be required.

Secondly,  the placement of the pacemaker was critical. The jugular vein used for the placement of the pacemaker could never be used to administer intravenous medications or to draw blood.

After careful consultation, Kaya was placed under general anesthesia and a pacemaker was installed. The evidence of the pacemaker’s success was seen immediately.

Little Kaya bucked  for the first time that same evening!

It was six months later that Kaya  returned for a second and larger pacemaker.  This surgery and the placement of her second pacemaker was successful.

Kaya is a now a very happy, bouncing donkey !

~~~

Reference:

Horse Report – School of Veterinary Medicine -UC Davis
March 2013

The 2013 Baby Budweiser Clydesdale Is Named “Hope”

The three-week-old star of Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad now has a name: Hope.

Anheuser-Busch said Tuesday that its contest to find a name for the foal born Jan. 16 at the company’s Clydesdale ranch in mid-Missouri generated more than 60,000 tweets, Facebook comments and other messages.

Hope was one of the more popular names generated through the social media effort.

“We were overwhelmed by the response we got,” Lori Shambro, brand director for Budweiser, said in a statement.

“Many of our fans wanted a name to reflect their optimism and spirit, which the name Hope encapsulates beautifully,” Shambro said.

The foal now weighs 200 pounds and will weigh roughly 2,000 pounds when she is grown, said John Soto, supervisor of Warm Springs Ranch, where Anheuser-Busch raises Clydesdales near Boonville, Mo.

Hope was the second Clydesdale born at Warm Springs Ranch this year.

“This newest member of the Budweiser Clydesdale family was 7 days old on the day this part of the Super Bowl commercial was filmed,” said Jeff Knapper, general manager of Clydesdale operations, in a press release.  More than 30 Clydesdales are expected to be born in 2013.

According to Knapper,  “A star was truly born on Jan. 16.”

And now she is known as “Hope”.

~~~

ABC News:
For fascinating video and information

Link:
Inside Anheuser-Busch’s Iconic Horse Breeding Operation

Photos: Courtesy of Budweiser

Last Remaining Marine Mounted Color Guard To Appear In Rose Parade

Marine Mounted Color Guard

Since 1967, the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, stationed in Barstow, California, has been representing the United States Marine Corps at events and ceremonies throughout the country.

What sets this color guard apart from any other military color guard is the fact that “America’s Heroes” are riding “America’s Living Legends,” wild mustangs captured and adopted from the Bureau of Land Management’s “Adopt a Horse and Burro Program.”

In addition, the team only rides Mustangs of Palomino color.  Several of these horses have been trained by inmates in Carson City, Nevada.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

The riders are trained to recognize that horses are living creatures capable of thinking, feeling, and decision-making, no different than you and I.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

The Marines learn to respect there mounts as individuals with different personalities.

Being aware of each horse’s potential challenges every rider to be a better horseman and stronger leader of Marines.

Marine Mounted Color Guard

In January 1985, the Mounted Color Guard made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and has been given the extreme honor of the first military unit to lead the parade.

Since 1990, the Mounted Color Guard has participated in every Tournament of Roses Parade.

They will, again, be featured in the Rose Parade, this year.

Rose Bowl Marine Color Guard

The USMC Color Guard travels all over the United States participating in parades, rodeos, and many numerous events and ceremonies.

The Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard is the only remaining mounted color guard in the Marine Corps today.

The horses continue to be ambassadors for the Wild Mustangs that remain a link to the history of America.

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USMC Mounted Color Guard

Over One Hundred Horse-Drawn Antique Carriages In Historic Christmas Parade

In Lebanon, Ohio the Antique Horse Drawn Carriage Parade has become one of the most anticipated Christmas celebrations. People travel afar to see this time honored tradition.

The unique Christmas parade features more than 100 antique horse-drawn carriages parading through the streets of beautiful historic downtown Lebanon.

Each year, hundreds of horses and thousands of local Lebanon, Ohio residents prepare for the coming of Christmas.

As night falls, historic buildings and candle-lit streets provide the perfect backdrop for this parade.

People of all ages line Lebanon’s charming downtown streets, candles in hand, anxiously awaiting the first of 100 horse-drawn antique carriages to pass by.

Held every year on the first Saturday in December, this Christmas parade has become one of the most unique and beautiful holiday celebrations in the Midwest.

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Source: Examiner News
Photos: Warren County, Ohio

Bell Ringing Mini Horse Raises Big Money For Salvation Army

Tinker may be miniature — as in a miniature horse — but he’s a big money raiser for the Salvation Army.

He uses his mouth to hold and ring a red bell and also picks up with his mouth a “Thank You Merry Christmas” sign. He can also bow and give kisses.

Major Roger Ross, a Salvation Army commander, said Tinker is one of their biggest money raisers in the area: He brings in 10 times the amount of a regular bell ringer.

“A good kettle for a couple of hours brings in about $250, and for the same time period (Tinker and his owners) have been known to bring in $2,500,” he said. “They line up to put money in the kettle.”

The 13-year-old horse, who’s brown, black, grey and white, has been ringing for four seasons.

“I actually save up all my donation and give it to Tinker because I have such a soft place in my heart for him,” said Karen Hammen, who gave money while Tinker stood outside a West Bend, Wisconsin craft show on a recent Saturday morning.

One of Tinker’s owners, Carol Takacs, said she and her husband got Tinker 12 years ago. She said she went to look at a property, fell in love with the miniature horses there and asked that one be part of the deal.

“About three or four years ago I was walking out of a store and there was a bell ringer and I gave,” she said. “I started thinking ‘I wonder if I can, if I can help make this even more interesting.’ So I went home and I started working with Tinker.”

His name was Tinker when they got him, Takacs said.

“As fate would have it, I could not have named him more appropriately if I had tried,” she said.

Before appearances, she spends a half-hour vacuuming his mane and fur and puts glitter on his hooves, a bell on his backside and a Santa hat on his head. And — of course — Tinker wears the Salvation Army apron.

She also made pins with his face on it — a gift for every $5 donation.

While most people are wooed by Tinker and his decorations, she said some don’t believe he actually holds and rings the bell.

“We don’t do that with Velcro or glue. There’s nothing on his bell. He knows that this is his job and he does it very well,” she said.

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Source: Associated Press

For Wild Zebra ~ It’s All About The Spots

An elusive zebra having both stripes and spots was observed by wildlife photographer and safari guide Paul Goldstein.

In all his 25 years in the wilds of Africa, Goldstein had never seen a zebra with markings such as this.

The zebra was discovered in Kenya’s Masai Mara, one of the best places in the world for wildlife watching.  After two years of tracking, Goldstein was finally able to photograph this animal.

It appeared that this unique zebra had been ostracized by the other zebra, presumably because of its spotted markings.

According to Goldstein, this unique zebra is shy, “extremely bad tempered” and aggressive towards other zebras and appears to have no mates. However, he does have a lot of scars.

Goldstein states that ‘every zebra in Africa has slightly different markings, but this one has taken that to extremes.’

“The mane is short and completely black. The hooped markings on the legs are completely different to normal ones.  It has the shape of a donkey, but is much darker all over. The spots are very prominent’.

According to recent research done by UCLA Environmental Studies, other spotted zebra have been observed in prior years.

In 1967, a Spotted zebra was photographed in Botswana.

And in 2009 a Spotted zebra was photographed Nairobi National Park in Kenya.

Scientists have been speculating about the purpose of the zebra’s stripes since the 1870s, when Charles Darwin criticized Alfred Russel Wallace’s theory that the stripes provided camouflage in tall grass. Zebras prefer open savannahs, Darwin argued, where the grass is too short to make stripes useful hiding tools.

Since then, some scientists believe zebra evolved in such a way so as to make it easier to recognize each other.

Others say it is to confuse predators when they bunch into groups to avoid attack.

Further suggestions have been that the patterns of dark and light fur might cause air turbulence, helping the animals to cool off.

This year a group of scientists suggested still another theory: that zebra developed stripes to keep blood-sucking flies at bay.

It is known that the patterns covering the zebra are as distinctive as human fingerprints.

But here we are, still at the age old question … how and why did the zebra get its stripes.

Now we have the question … how and why did the zebra get its spots.

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Sources:
UCLA Zebra Research
Discovery News
Mail Online

Photo Credits:
Paul Goldstein/Rex Features
Kenya Wildlife Services
Quagga Project
Brenda Larison
Dan Rubinstein

High Sierra Challenge: Woman, 64, Takes Annual Trek With Horse And Two Mules

Mary Breckenridge crosses the High Sierra every year with only her horse and two mules for company.

The beauty, the self-reliance, the solitude drive her.

With her horse, Surprise, and mules Dixie and Woody,  Mary Breckenridge guides them across Mono Pass on the second day of her trans-Sierra trip.

Taking in the view of Mono Pass

She always leaves in September, when heat still tents the Central Valley but cool mountain breezes stir silvery-green aspen leaves.

Higher up, the nights can be so cold that the water in her coffeepot turns rock-hard. It’s happened. She kept going.

Mary comforts Woody after he was spooked.

Packing and unpacking 300 pounds of gear daily, making and breaking camp, starting her fire from twigs.

Trekking the High Sierra makes her feel thrillingly self-reliant. A true Western woman.

This is my church, says, Breckenridge

Except, now that Mary is 64, and she’s not sure she can do it anymore. Not alone.

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For the entire story and video of Mary Breckenridge and her High Sierra Challenge:  Los Angeles Times

Photos: Katie Falkenberg

Rare Somali Wild Ass Is Born At Miami Zoo

For the first time in the history of the Miami Zoo, a critically endangered Somali Wild Ass was born. This celebrated event took place late this summer.

The Somali Wild Ass is critically endangered with only a few hundred left in the wild. Something as simple as a drought could be enough to wipe out the species completely.

The female foal was named “Hani”, which means happy or full of joy in Somali.

The Somali wild ass is the last remaining ancestor of the modern donkey.  They are the smallest of the wild equids and are found in the rocky deserts in very isolated areas of Eastern Africa.

The adults weigh approximately 500 pounds. The mares usually give birth to a single foal after a gestation of 11 months.

The Somali wild ass are characterized by their smooth gray coat and their striped legs which are indicative of their close relation to zebras.

Play behavior appears to be important in the development of this species, which might serve many functions later in life.

What has been learned is that the Somali wild ass is an amazing social animal. They have associations within the herd that remain consistent, and those associations are reflected in their behavior.

All the adult Somali animals are on loan to the Miami Zoo and other zoos by the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

They state that any information learned about this species can benefit their reproduction within zoological facilities and conservation in the wild.

They are part of a carefully planned captive breeding program, which is designed to maintain healthy populations of these extremely rare animals for generations to come.

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Re-written from news sources: 
San Diego News
Miami Herald
NBC Miami News

Photos:  Ron Magill

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