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Lis Hartel, Danish Equestrian Legend, Dies

Lis Hartel

Lis Hartel and Jubilee

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Lis Hartel, an equestrian who won two Olympic silver medals for Denmark in the 1950s despite being paralyzed below the knees because of polio, has recently died, according to the Danish Equestrian Federation. She was 87.

Lis Hartel’s equestrian career was one of true heroism.

Lis Hartel on Jubilee

In 1944, at age 23, Hartel was paralyzed by polio.

She gradually regained use of most of her muscles, although she remained paralyzed below the knees.  Her arms and hands also were affected.

Against medical advice, she continued to ride but needed help to get on and off the horses.

After three years of rehabilitation, she was able to compete in the Scandinavian riding championships.

In 1952, she was chosen to represent Denmark in the Helsinki Olympics.   Prior to this time women were not permitted to compete in the Olympic Equestrian events.

Even though she required help on and off her horse, Jubilee, she won the Olympic Silver Medal.

Lis Hartel and Jubilee
with Gold Medalist, Henri St-Cyr

Following her stunning performance, as Lis was helped down from her horse, a gentleman rushed to her side. It was the Gold medal winner, Henri Saint Cyr. He carried her to the victory platform for the medal presentation.

It was one of the most emotional moments in Olympic history.


Lis Hartel at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
She became the first woman ever to share
an Olympic podium with men.

In 1954, Lis Hartel won the unofficial World Championships in Aachen, and the Olympic Silver Medal in the 1956 Olympics held in Stockholm. She became the Danish National Dressage Champion seven times.

Lis Hartel was the first Scandinavian woman entered into The International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in New York, and was named one of Denmark’s all-time top 10 athletes in 2005.

In 1992, Hartel was included in the Scandinavian country’s Hall of Fame.

Lis Hartel is widely credited with inspiring the therapeutic riding schools that are now located throughout the world.

Shortly after winning the Olympic medal, Lis Hartel and her therapist founded Europe’s first Therapeutic Riding Center. This soon came to the attention of the medical community and Therapy Riding Centers spread throughout Europe.

By the late 1960’s equine riding was accepted by the America Medical Association as an “invaluable therapeutic tool”.

Today, the spirit of Lis Hartel lives on around the world.


Through her inspiration countless handicapped children and adults have become heroes in their own lives
through their work with horses.

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Re-written from news sources

Lest We Forget …

 

MEMORIAL DAY
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Remember the fallen … the price was so great.

 

It Is Time To Say … Enough!

 

Proud filly, Eight Belles, is euthanized
after break down at Kentucky Derby.

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She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles for the pleasure of the crowd, the sheiks, oilmen, entrepreneurs, old money from the thousand-acre farms, the handicappers, men in bad sport coats with crumpled sheets full of betting hieroglyphics, the julep-swillers and the ladies in hats the size of boats, and the rest of the people who make up thoroughbred racing.     Washington Post

~~~

Why do we keep giving thoroughbred horse racing a pass? Is it the tradition? 

This isn’t about one death. This is about the nature of a sport that routinely grinds up young horses.

Why do we refuse to put the brutal game of racing in the realm of mistreatment of animals?

Eight Belles was another victim of a brutal sport that is carried, literally, on the backs of horses. Horsemen like to talk about their thoroughbreds and how they were born to run and live to run. The reality is that they are made to run, forced to run for profits they never see.

And who knows how many horses die anonymous deaths?

Eight Belles, we’ll write, was merely the casualty of a brutal game.
New York Times

~~~

“Trainer Larry Jones said, ‘She went out in a blaze of glory,’ as he tried to hold back tears from his reddening eyes.

She did not go out in a “blaze of glory.” She went out in hideous pain, unable to understand why her legs gave out when all she was doing was running like hell. She went out in the back of a truck. 
At Large

 

For beautiful, Eight Belles,
her life had just begun.

~~~

It is time to say enough.

 

Horses In Transylvania ~ Protecting An Historic Way Of Life

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In Touch With The Past

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Transylvania, a well-preserved twilight zone of European history -a unique place in time – is about to slip away. 

The land that now lives in relative obscurity still remains closely connected to a medieval atmosphere with architecture treasures, history and a spirit worthy of preservation and protection. 

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It is a world away from the ravages of progress that too often has become the accepted way of life for the rest of the world.

In southern Transylvania, a high plateau of wooded hills and valleys shielded by the Carpathian mountains, where Saxon settlers and their descendants have farmed, traded and fought to preserve their land and traditions for more than 800 years,  life continues on as long ago. 

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With horse-drawn carriages and donkey carts rocking along the rutted roads and their drivers wearing handlebar moustaches and floppy felt hats, it has become a  time capsule for the Europe that was … over a century or more ago. 

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Great Britian’s Prince Charles wrote “The area represents a lost past for most of us – a past in which villages were intimately linked to their landscape.”

Not much happens in these villages. Depending on the season, most people are in the fields tilling or harvesting small plots of hay, oats and potatoes with horse-drawn implements handed down through generations.

The most common form of transport is the horse and cart, designed to carry crops, logs, people, sheep, tools, and anything else that needs to be moved. 

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However, time is changing for Romania.  Life is taking a dramatic jolt to the tranquility and link to the past.

With Romania’s entry into the EU earlier this year,  these village and communities now face monumental challenges and changes.

In hamlets where women still draw water from wells and shepherds guard their flocks by night from wolves, there is confusion and concern over impending rules and regulations that threaten their livelihoods.   

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Romania’s seven-year construction plan for the national motorway network means the Government needs to claim large sections of land, cutting through what has been unchanged for centuries.

Around 12.8 billion Euro is scheduled for investments in road infrastructure in the next seven years with 4 major highways crossing through the heart of Romania.

Authorities have issued laws banning horse-drawn carts from main roads in a disastrous attempt to bring the country into line with European Union laws.

Consequently, horses which for centuries have pulled wooden carts along the city’s streets or worked in the fields are now being abandoned by their owners.   

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The horses and their owners have become victims of a poorly conceived and politically derived path of progress.  And in the wake is the destruction of a hallowed way of life in Romania. 

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With a sense of preservation, plans could have been derived where both progress and the protection of the past could have dwelled together. 

That is, unfortunately, not the blueprint for the future of Romania.

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No one person knows about this enevitable devastation to land and lifestyle better than British Engineer and Equestrian, Julian Ross, owner and operator of the Stefan cel Mare, the longest-established equestrian centre in Romania.

Often quoted in various news media on the subject,  Mr. Ross states that the police have been too quick to blame animals for the high accident statistics.

As he clarifies, “The ban was slipped in stealthily,” he said. “There are some villages where farmers cannot legally get to their fields any more.”

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Not only was this lifestyle pretty to look at, it was the ideal method of transport and no danger to anyone in the quiet lanes of the village.

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The problem is that Romania’s horses and carts, adorned as they often are with bells and lace, are not just picturesque, they are a crucial way of life for many in the countryside.

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Julian Ross maintains a blogsite known as The Transylvanian Horseman. 

It is a must read for all those interested in a country and lifestyle whose touch with history is running out of time.

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For those who would like a personal trip by horseback through the historic beauties and serenity of Romania,  check this website for Stefan cel Mare.

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For those viewing Romania from home, enjoy these photographs taken by Julian Ross and remember this place and this time.

~~~
Photos posted by permission.
~~~

News Link:    The Guardian
News Link:   The Atlantic
News Link:  Business Week

Winter Scene ~ Back Home, Again

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Original Upload

Winter Scene ~ Palomino In Maine Snow

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Cecil

~~~

Many thanks to David White of Maine
for sending this photo of his
beautiful horse, Cecil.

Graceland To Be Home For Rescued Horses Adopted By Priscilla Presley

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Rescued Horse, Max

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To keep the spirit alive as it was in Elvis’ time, there will always be horses at Graceland.

Max arrived at the estate Jan. 10 — two days after what would have been Elvis Presley’s 73rd birthday.

He will never be able to thank Priscilla Presley for adopting him and giving him a new home.  She also adopted his brother, Merlin, who will arrive at Graceland in the spring.

Max will never be able to thank Carol-Terese Naser of Palermo, Maine for saving his life.

Then again, Max is a 3-year-old bay horse.

It all began like this:

Max and his brother, Merlin, a magnificent chocolate-colored creature, were scheduled to be slaughtered — along with four other horses in their family in Quebec — last summer.

Naser, who has had horses of her own since she was a child, stepped into action and rescued all six horses with just days to spare.

“If we hadn’t done this when we did, they’d all be long gone,” said Naser.

Naser and her friend Cathy Cleaveland found out soon enough that it wasn’t easy — or cheap — to care for six horses.  So they decided to start fundraising.

“We sent T-shirts to celebrities we knew were passionate about animals,” Cleaveland said. “We requested they autograph the shirt, then send it back. We were going to auction them.”

Country crooner Alan Jackson, former Catwoman Julie Newmar and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” host Ty Pennington, among others, signed and sent back the shirts for auction, Naser said.

And then came a phone call  from Priscilla Presley that would change Max’s and Merlin’s lives.

An animal lover, Presley told the women she wanted to adopt Max and Merlin to give them a permanent home at Graceland, the nearly 14-acre spread, 23-room mansion in Memphis that Elvis shared with Priscilla and their daughter.

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Graceland

“I have always had a bond with horses,” Presley said in a telephone interview. “Elvis gave me my very first horse. It was the horses that made Graceland home to us.”

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Presley, who called herself “the kid who had to rescue all the animals” growing up, said that when she received the T-shirt from Naser and Cleaveland, the story of the near-slaughter struck her.

“It haunted me,” Presley said. “I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to do that.”

Presley, who called Naser’s saving act “an unbelievable labor of love,” said it is her desire to educate people about horse slaughter, including spreading the word to permanently ban the practice.

“Max and Merlin are a symbol of horses who escaped the slaughter,” she said.

They will live out their lives at Graceland for all to know the value of horses in our lives.

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Elvis Presley bought his first horses in 1966.  The first horses to come to Graceland were Christmas gifts for Priscilla and some of Elvis’ friends. They were Tennessee Walkers.

Elvis soon bought more horses – and then trucks and trailers – for his friends and bodyguards.

Priscilla remembers playfully, “It didn’t matter if you wanted one or not, you were getting a horse!”

The stable at Graceland was called “House of the Rising Sun” after Elvis’ own horse, a Quarter horse.

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Elvis on Rising Sun

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Ebony’s Double ~ Tenneessee Walker
Priscilla Presley’s Horse

Elvis sought solace in his land and his horses. Priscilla recalls, “In the morning right after breakfast he was out riding.”

The year 2007 marked the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death.  The sound of hoofbeats has never faded from his home.

Graceland now includes the beauty of two rescued horses.

~~~

News Link: 

Rancher On Horseback Finishes Ride Across America

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Bill Inman atop his horse Blackie
as riders in Hendersonville, N.C. welcome him

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January 13, 2008

 An Oregon rancher who set off on a cross-country horseback ride seven months ago in search of what’s good in America dismounted Sunday, feeling encouraged by the spirit and stories of the people he met.

Bill Inman began his journey June 2 because he felt distress over how the country was being portrayed in news coverage and on TV shows. He rode his 16-year-old thoroughbred-quarter horse Blackie.

His wife, Brenda, and a four-person support crew joined him on the trip through eight states.

Along the way, Inman collected stories of hardworking, honest everyday people in rural America.

His cross cross-country trek was dubbedUncovering America by Horseback, a website that noted his experiences, including videos.

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The scenery in America is changing and I’m really proud we took snapshots at slow motion of this time period because 20 years from now it will be different,” he said.

Inman talks about the retired rancher in Idaho who he considers “a true image of America with his honesty and hospitality,” or people he’s met working multiple jobs to make ends meet, or another Idaho rancher e-mailing the progress of the journey to his son in Iraq.

“There is nothing like riding across the nation to learn about the people of this country,” he said.

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Among the people he met was a Wyoming deputy sheriff who drove 25 miles through a thunderstorm to bring dinner to him and his wife, and all 17 people of a Colorado town who came out to see him ride off.

An Idaho state trooper paid him $20 for the chance to sit on top of Blackie, he said.

“Sometimes, I was more intrigued by the stories they were telling than the stories I was telling,” Inman said.

Inman finished his trip riding into the southwestern North Carolina town under overcast skies. A crowd of more than 100 people greeted Inman as he ended the journey.

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Crossing the plains of Kansas

“I don’t know if that’s really sunk in yet. It may take me two or three days to think it’s over,” Inman said in a telephone interview.

Inman ticked off a list of what’s been bad about the trip — temperatures ranging from 108 degrees to freezing, pesky insects, water shortages, crossing mountains and desert and riding in a lightning storm. People aren’t on the list.

“I haven’t run into any bad people,” he said.

Inman bought Blackie in 2001. The two have clearly bonded.

“I know his capabilities and I know his flaws and I think he can say the same thing for me,” he said.  “Now if you think we’re constantly kissing buddies, I don’t think so.

Do I brag about him a lot? Yeah.”

~~~

Re-written from news sources:

Happy New Year !

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Many thanks to all of you out in the blogosphere
who have enriched my life throughout the year.

Here’s wishing you and your family
a very Happy New Year.

Royal and Marvel