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.
The riders are trained to recognize that horses are living creatures capable of thinking, feeling, and decision-making, no different than you and I.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Source: Examiner News
Photos: Warren County, Ohio
Original Budweiser Commercial
First aired in 1967, this commercial was the first featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales — and it is still one of the best. The jingle has stayed in my head for decades: “Here comes the King, here comes the Big Number One.”
The commercial has played for fans at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, who after several Buds, clap like puppets in time with the song.
The Extra Point
“Nah, they usually go for two.” This 1996 spot was Bud’s first Super Bowl commercial featuring the Clydesdales, and remains the most memorable.
It’s featured on many lists of the best Super Bowl commercials ever made.
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.
Source: Associated Press
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.
UCLA Zebra Research
Paul Goldstein/Rex Features
Kenya Wildlife Services
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.
For the entire story and video of Mary Breckenridge and her High Sierra Challenge: Los Angeles Times
Photos: Katie Falkenberg
Hackney horses were once a common sight in Great Britain as they carried wealthy passengers in grand carriages.
But now the numbers of the famous Hackney horses have fallen so low they have been put on the rare breeds ‘critical’ list.
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) says that with the number of female breeders in existence reduced to fewer than 300 the situation is dire.
Breeder Barbara Stockton from The Hackney Horse Society (formed in 1883), said the situation was increasingly desperate.
During the 18th and 19th century, the Hackney horses were in high demand. They were famed for their beauty, high head carriage and lofty knee action.
This was an era of great flamboyance and the ownership of smart and flashy carriage horses was a real status symbol.
Having smart looking Hackney Carriage Horses was the mainstay during that time, when flaunting wealth was a lifestyle.
Hackney horses were bred to be elegant and strong with the power to pull the heavy carriages. They had the ability to keep going for miles at a trot.
The admiration of the early ancestors of the Hackney horses goes back for centuries. They were highly thought of by Henry VII, Henry VIII and Elisabeth I who all passed acts concerning horse breeding and the value of the Hackney. Henry VIII even penalized anyone exporting an animal without authority
In the early 1700′s breeders began to cross the native hackney with Arabian stallions to add some refinement to the breed.
The most important Arabian was the Darley Arabian. Hackneys can be traced back through the stud book to this horse.
The Darley Arabian
At the beginning of the 1900s large numbers of Hackneys were still being exported all over the World to places such as America, Australia, South Africa and Argentina as well as the rest of Europe.
Hackney classes at large horse shows were proving popular. The Hackney horses also played an important part in the First World War as cavalry mounts and artillery horses.
Once considered the English Taxi, the demand for Hackney horses was soon to end.
By the beginning of the 20th century the car had arrived and the Hackneys began to be replaced by motorized vehicles. Hackney horses were deemed unable to contribute to society and declined considerably.
The Hackney then took on a new role as show horses, but in the long-term the breed cannot survive only for the show rings.
Although usually considered carriage horses, the Hackney horses with their stamina, soundness and intelligence can be enjoyed in many other ways, including cart driving, dressage, show jumping and pleasure riding.
The Hackney horses are of particular use for the disabled as a carriage horse, and for those who cannot ride a horse in the usual way.
As Barbara Stockton states, under the revised Rare Breeds Survival Trusts listing, the Hackney Breed has now sadly been categorized as “critical”.
In the equine world a breed with fewer than 3,000 females is put on the watch list and when there are fewer than 300 they enter the critical stage.
According to Ms. Stockton, ‘being in a recession makes it difficult to build up numbers and breeders are declining in number’.
‘This should be very concerning for all devotees of the Hackney Horses, especially as the Hackney has such a long and proud heritage’.
‘Flying Childers’ one of the most famous early Hackneys
‘The word needs spreading that, although spectacular harness horses, they are also extremely versatile and make great riding horses.’
‘If you have ever had anything to do with Hackneys, either as an owner or spectator, if you have thrilled to see these magnificent horses producing their athletic movement, or enjoyed their elegance, the breed needs your support now.’
Hackney Horse Society
Rare Breeds Survival Trust