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



Derby Hats ~ Is There Really A Winner?



It Is Time To Say … Enough!


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


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.


Skijoring With Horses


 Nate Bowers of Bowers Farm
Fort Collins, CO


Skijoring, or ski driving, is a winter sport that originates in Scandinavia, where it has been practiced for centuries. Laplander’s skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer.

In the mid 1950’s, skijoring found its way to North America, where ranchers attached a long rope to the saddle horn of a horse that was ridden at high speeds down a long straight-away.

Skijoring with horses usually involves two people and one horse. One person rides the horse while the skier is towed behind. The rider determines the pace and route for the skijoring adventure, while the skier attempts to hold on.

Skijoring involves towing a skier behind horses or dogs. In addition to being a rapid way to get around, it is also a competitive winter sport in some parts of the United States, particularly the Northwest and Midwest.

Especially with horses, skijoring is sometimes classified as an extreme sport because of the high rate of speed and potential danger involved. Skijoring is also a great deal of fun when carried out safely.

Some horse skijoring competitions integrate jumps and extreme skiing maneuvers in addition to conventional skijoring. Horses used for skijoring tend to be extremely agile and quick, and breeds such as the American Quarterhorse are favored for the sport.

Currently, the sport of equestrian skijoring has become a highly specialized competitive sport, where competitors must navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometime spear rings.

Competitive skijoring competitions are currently taking place in over 5 states in the USA, and in several countries worldwide.

In 1999, after several follow-up meetings, the North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA) was developed. For the first time in history, equestrian skijoring became a sanctioned sport!

Video:  Nate Bowers Skijoing at Bowers Farm
Link: Bowers Farm

For some exciting, competitive Skijoring, watch the video of
Skiing in the Streets: Leadville’s Offbeat Winter Sport.

Video: Competitive Skijoring in Leadville.,Colorado

Link: More information on Leadville, Colorado Skijoring

Link:  National Association of Skijoring in America


Camel Racing Comes To Sydney, Australia


Horse racing jockeys experience their first camel race.


Australia’s first outbreak of equine flu this past August saw racing stop across the nation and thousands of recreational horses quarantined on properties to try and stop the flu spreading.

City officials had imposed an indefinite ban on racing, which left racetracks abandoned and losing millions of dollars in revenue and punters desperate to place a bet.

Australia’s horse-racing circuit may have hit a bump after equine influenza paralyzed the pool of steeds this year, but it’s not a hump the industry couldn’t get over.


Pat Farmer encourages his camel
as he rides his mount to a win in the second race.

In October, Sydney hosted its first camel race with contenders such as Sir Hump-a-lot, Sand King and Speed Hump competing to help arenas suffering financially from the ban on horse racing imposed by officials over the equine flu.

The camels were among six beasts that competed in seven races at Sydney’s Harold Park Paceway.

Even though spectators were not able to place bets on the races — camel racing is not recognized by Australia’s premier betting organization TAB — the event expected to attract 10,000 people.


“People haven’t been out and about and they’re just wanting to get out and see something race,” said Harold Park’s food and beverage manager Robert Vine. “I think it’s probably the novelty, something not many people have ever seen in Sydney before.”


Camel racing, which started in Australia more as a tourist attraction than a professional sport, usually takes place on outback racetracks. Australian camel racing jockeys are mostly women, unlike the Middle East, where boy jockeys are the norm, and camels race in sprints, not long distance races.


Cameleer Lionel Keegan stands with one of his charges at Sydney’s first camel race meet

Camels were first brought to Australia from Afghanistan in the early 1800s to help build major railway and telegraph lines in the outback. They were also used extensively for exploration purposes and as a pack animal.

By 1895 the camel population had increased to approximately 6,000 head and today the population is estimated at up to 150,000 animals.

Reuters Photographs

Little Miss Cool


Barbaro, Secretariat Art to Support Laminitis Research


A new set of prints and a poster featuring Triple Crown winner Secretariat and 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro will benefit the fight against laminitis, the painful hoof disease that ended both their lives.

The works, entitled “Memories of Greatness, were created by equine artist Jaime Corum. They were unveiled the weekend of Aug. 4 and 5 at Saratoga Race Course.

Proceeds will benefit the Laminitis Fund at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s NewBoltonCenter.

The poster shows Secretariat and Barbaro together in one 16- by-20-inch piece, with their names and stables noted.

The print set features the horses separately, along with the artistic marks representing the colors of the silks they carried.

Both the poster and the print sets are available through Secretariat.com.


A Shameful Reality


I try to stay with the stories that inspire, the “feel good” side of the horse world. 

However, this recent news bulletin of July 8 was so disturbing, I was forced to face the reality of … another horse world.

For the sake of entertainment, these beautiful creatures are disposed of … another to take its place. 

For those involved, it is business as usual:  win some, lose some … another day, another dollar.

Here’s the story.


Four horses died over five days of racing at Colonial Downs, track officials said.

“It’s unfortunate that these incidents happen,” said Iain Woolnough, vice president and general manager at Colonial Downs. “There are many, many reasons for it.

We’re upset when it happens, but it’s just part of the racing game.”

“We’ve had some meets where we’ve lost more and some where we’ve not lost as many,” he said.

For us, this [four] is a large number,” Harden said, “but some other tracks have it happen a lot more often.


Colonial Downs call themselves “Virginia Horse Racing at its Finest.” 

Four horses die in only five days and we call that … “the finest”. 

Are we missing something in this horse world?! 

Seabiscuit Statue Returns To Horse Legend’s Home And Final Resting Place


Willits, CA, June 23, 2007

After an absence of more than 55 years, a classic, life-sized bronze sculpture of the legendary American racehorse Seabiscuit was returned to its original home at Ridgecrest Ranch in Willits, California. 

The statue was transported by an historic, fully restored Seabiscuit-era van once used at the ranch. 

The sculpture departed Atlas Bronze Castings in Salt Lake City on April 10 for a “Seabiscuit- Homecoming Tour”.


With police escorts and in a takeoff on Seabiscuit’s old whistlestop tours, ceremonial visits were made across the country.

A Call to Post preceded and concluded each stop.


The final “whistlestop” was held aboard a historic Northwest Pacific caboose circa 1909-1971.

As the time honored van carrying the Seabiscuit statue arrived at Ridgewood Ranch, the magnificent old statue was finally back home.

A private ceremony was held at the place where the legendary Seabiscuit spent his final racing and retirement years, died, and was buried.

‘May the World Never Forget the Magnificent Seabiscuit’    (Laura Hillenbrand)

 Classic Photos




Ridgewood Ranch


Seabiscuit Press Stop


Seabiscuit with trainer, Tom Smith, Bing Crosby and others.


Seabiscuit Arrives At Home 

Historic Video:  Seabiscuit and War Admiral Race 1938

Story Link:  Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation

Half Blind Horse Runs In Kentucky Derby

It’s a beautiful sight seeing the winning horse of the Kentucky Derby being wrapped in roses as everyone cheers wildly from the stands.

However, this year there was another horse, a winner in his own right that deserved cheers and at least one rose.   

His name … Storm in May.  Blind in one eye, he ran the course and finished 16th place out of 20 horses.


In the crowd at Church Hills Downs was Kent Hersman, a United States Army Officer on special leave from active duty in South Korea.  He came to watch the half-blind horse he had bred and was now running in the Kentucky Derby. This was an event worth traveling around the world to see.

Only twice in the past 25 years has a half blind horse made the Derby lineup, much less finished the race.


Columnist, Mike Hutsell, of the Jeffersonville, Indiana Evening News and Tribune wrote this about Storm in May: 

Still searching for that underdog pick that you can’t help but get behind and root for? Can’t quite find that “Little Engine that Could” for that tug at your heartstrings kind of selection that you can get behind this year on Kentucky Derby day.

In a sport that needs real feel-good flavor coming off the tragic heels of the Barbaro tale in 2006 — there’s one out there that conjures up the names of Rocky or Rudy or any David who dared tread in the land of Goliaths.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve finally got one.

Storm in May, trained by relative unknown trainer Bill Kaplan, is that underdog tale.


Writing from Louisville, Kentucky, the newspaper headline by Associated Press columnist, Jim Litke, said “Storm In May Made Derby Trip With One Eye” and further describes the remarkable feat of this horse. 

Cover your right eye. Now imagine being loaded into a starting gate alongside the best thoroughbreds in the land. The gate flings open and just ahead and to either side, 19 other horses are jostling for position as the first turn draws near. Then add 100,000 or so railbirds in full roar, throwing off as many decibels as a jet engine on takeoff.

That’s how Saturday’s Kentucky Derby looked and sounded to a long gray colt with one good eye named Storm in May.


 “He’s been that way since a week after his birth,” trainer Bill Kaplan said Friday morning as a thick mist blanketed the backstretch at Churchill Downs.

A few yards away, the colt bent over and nibbled at the grass, his right ear cocked to track nearby sounds like a radar.

Storm in May, a grandson of Storm Cat and a great-grandson of Triple Crown winner Secretariat, was born with a pedigree worthy of a Derby horse, but that wasn’t all.

A corneal ulcer in his right eye required an operation almost immediately after birth.That surgery went well enough, but several days later, a veterinarian trying to clear up a complication inadvertently punctured the eye.

The only consolation was that the vision in Storm in May’s left eye was perfect.

“And as long as he knows where the rail is,” Kaplan explained, “he won’t get pushed into it or jump it. The rest of the trip he can figure out for himself.

“The blessing is that he doesn’t know he’s different than anyone else,” Kaplan said.

“I’m one of those people who don’t believe anything happens by chance,” said Kent Hersman, a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Army who bred and trained Storm in May before selling him as a 2-year-old.

“So maybe there’s somebody out there that needs to see this horse do well.

From time to time, everybody takes a bad hit in life.

Storm is that inspiration that says, ‘Get back up and give it your best shot.’ Because if nothing else,” Hersman added, “he’ll teach you to enjoy the trip.”

And it’s been a remarkable enough journey already.

Storm in May is one horse that deserves that rose.