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

Budweiser Clydesdale Commercial 2013: ~~ “Brotherhood” ~~

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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

Photo: Budweiser Clydesdales In The Snow

Budweiser Clydesdale Commercials: Remembering Favorites – 1

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.

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

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