Clydesdales Are Toast of Kent

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Lois Miller loves horses.

So when she heard that the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales were visiting Kent, Ohio this past October, the 78-year-old Springfield Township woman wasn’t about to miss a chance to see them.

”These are my favorite,” she said, as she stood on the sidewalk with her husband Joe, 79, waiting for the horses to appear.

Why?

”I don’t know,” she said. ”I know God created them and they are magnificent. Absolutely magnificent. Some people get thrilled over race cars, but let me look at a horse in motion.”

At the Budweiser event police estimated that at least 2,000 people came downtown to catch a glimpse of the giant draft horses as they paraded along city streets.

The crowd was so enthusiastic that as soon as the three black, custom-made tractor-trailers carrying the eight horses and special beer wagon stopped, people encircled the trucks to make sure they got a close-up view.

Parents hoisted children onto their shoulders. And many toted cameras to capture the moment.

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“This is the most exciting thing Kent has seen for a long time,” Clara Samblanet, 70, of Kent said as she and her daughter and grandchildren watched the horses being readied.

Joseph Jordan, an Anheuser-Busch market manager who lives in Rootstown Township and is a Kent State University graduate, arranged the visit with the help of Main Street Kent. The horses made the stop on their way to the Cleveland Browns game.

“They’re really pretty and big,” 4-year-old Brandon Parkhill of Kent said.

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The horses, which weigh about 2,000 pounds each and stand over 6 feet tall at the shoulder, clip-clopped their way through downtown delivering Budweiser to bars and restaurants along the route.

A Dalmatian was perched on top of the red, white and gold Studebaker-built wagon. And the two drivers wore green suits.

As soon as the horses started moving, the crowd applauded.

Brad Patterson, the owner of The Loft, accepted a bottle of Bud on behalf of his bar.

“It was great,” he said. ”That’s a pretty classy operation.”

The Clydesdales, featured for years in advertising campaigns, made their debut for Anheuser-Busch in 1933, when August A. Busch Jr. presented the horses and beer wagon to his father to commemorate the first bottle of beer brewed in St. Louis after Prohibition.

Recognizing the advertising potential, the brewery sent the horses throughout the East Coast, even to deliver a case of beer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House.

Today, there are six teams of horses, with five of them traveling to hundreds of events a year.

Story Link:

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When It Comes To Raising Clydesdales … Age Doesn’t Matter

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 Norm Wilke is proud of his girls.

~~~

“It’s a hobby,” said Norm, who is 75 years old.

He keeps the Clydesdale mares in a stable near his Bargain Barn warehouse in Shiloh, Missouri.

He has raised Clydesdales for the past 17 years. Two mares, “Ruby” and “Babe”, stay at the Bargain Barn.

“Dawn” grazes near his farmhouse off Illinois 161 in Belleville. All three are pregnant and should deliver their foals in early spring. Norm plans to keep these three foals.

“I’d like to raise a few babies again.”

Most are dark brown (bay) with black manes, a white blaze on the forehead and white feet.

“They call those white stockings,” said Norm who grew up in St. Libory and has been around horses all his life.

Norm was asked about the gentle giant draft horses, famed mascots of Anheuser-Busch.

“People from Anheuser-Busch came out to look at it. The width of the white blaze was just right and so were the length of the stockings.”

Being chosen is also referred to as “making the hitch.” The foal’s father is from a Clydesdale farm in Springfield.

Norm was asked how he started raising Clydesdales and how did he drive them.

“I’ve always liked horsin’ around. When I was about 60, I thought it was time for retirement, time to try something new.

I went to an auction and got my first team of draft horses in Columbia, Missouri. They were both females and easy to train.”

Norm uses reins to guide the horses. Usually three are in a line. The middle horse has to be adaptable, able to turn by side-stepping, “To be good, they have to be ground-stompers and pick up their feet and hold themselves up and look proud.”

He drives them in local parades, most recently Mascoutah’s homecoming.

The reporter continued to ask Norm about his his pride and joy … his Clydesdales.

Do you have a favorite horse?
“”Dawn” had a foal this spring that qualified to make the team of Clydesdales at Anheuser-Busch.”

How much do they eat?
“They each eat a gallon and a half of grain a day and go through two-thirds of a bale of hay a day,” said Norm. “I have to keep the trough full because they can drink three to four gallons at a time.”

How big are Clydesdales at birth and how long do they usually live?
“Babies are about 3 feet tall at birth and weigh 125 pounds. Adult Clydesdales are 6 feet tall at the shoulder and usually weigh between 1,600 and 2,200 pounds. Most Clydesdales live to 20-25 years of age.

“Most of the babies are born late at night. I stay up with them, but if I leave for awhile, that’s usually when they have them.”

When can people visit the horses?
 “They can come by anytime we’re open,” said Norm. Sometimes people come by after we’re closed but the horses are still out.” Visitors may pet them but are not allowed to feed them.

Norm is proud to still be enjoying the Clydesdales.
He plans to continue, regardless of his age.

Moose Logging

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This story is from a letter written by
Pete Lammert with the Maine Forest Service

~~~

The man in the picture is Jacques Leroux who lives near Escourt Station, Maine. He has always had work horses, first for actual work and then for show at Maine’s’ many summer fairs.

I think he had two matched pairs, one Clydesdales and the other Belgiums.

He would turn them out to pasture each morning and then work them in the afternoon dragging the sled around the fields.

Three springs ago, he noticed a female moose coming to the pasture and helping herself of the hay and what grain the work horses didn’t pick up off the ground.

Jacques said he could get within 10 feet of the moose before it would turn and move off.

Two springs ago, the moose foaled at the edge of the work horse pasture and upon getting to it’s feet had not only the mother in attendance but the four horses.

The young moose grew up around the horses and each afternoon when Mr. Leroux took the teams for their daily exercise the yearling moose would trail along the entire route next to the near horse.

At some point, the yearling got so accustomed to Mr. Leroux that, after he had brushed each horse after a workout, he started brushing down the moose.

The moose tolerated this quite well so Mr. Leroux started draping harness parts over the yearling to see how he would tolerate these objects.

The yearling was soon harness broken and now came the question of what could you do with a harness broke moose.

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NEWS BULLETIN FROM MAINE
Oh no!  It just ain’t true !!
Yep, sure nuf’ … they got me !!

And to add insult to injury, I’m even way behind the times.
T
his story started making the rounds nearly a year, ago.
Check it out, unless you (like me) still believe in Santa.

Link: The real trufff … according to Snoops

However, these photos are true (I hope)

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Link:

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Ben Moore’s Moose In Harness
Historical Photographs
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Link:

Horses Rescued ~ Scenes To Remember

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Racing The Flames of the Southern California Fires

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There’s always a way…

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With contact number quickly added …
horse is now safe at center.

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Home Sweet Home is now a horse trailer in a parking lot

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Horses rescued from one ranch stick together.

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At rescue centers, names and identification
of each horse are clearly marked on paddocks.

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Rescue horses were brought to Laguna Woods Equestrian Center, a horse facility for senior citizens.  Many of these riders are well into their 80’s, still caring for their horses. 

They didn’t hesitate to take the horses
threatened by the fires.

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Coming Home !

One family manages to save their pets
plus those of their neighbors.
Story Link:  Here is their story.

~~~

Link: News Rescue Stories

Photos: Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register,
San Diego Tribune

Draft Horses Make Dream Come True

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Amos and Andy

~~~

At 82 years old, you might think that “Harry,” a resident at ManorCare Health Services – Lebanon, Pennsylvania, might want to spend his time relaxing. 

After farming until he was 24, and eventually retiring from a local macaroni factory, Harry had done his share of hard work. 

But when asked what his Heart’s Desire was, he thought back to those simpler days when he was working the farm with horses, mules and single tractor. 

He told the staff at ManorCare that he would once again like to drive a team of mules. The staff at ManorCare worked with a local farmer and an Amish driver to arrange a wagon. 

But instead of mules, they arranged for two black Percheron draft horses named Amos and Andy. 

According to Harry, that was okay because horses were easier to drive than mules, and he remembers that sometimes mules would run away from him and he would end up just “holding on.” 

With the help of a step stool, Harry climbed into the wagon and took a 15-minute lap around the farm, and then returned to pick up some friends from ManorCare and several reporters for the second lap.  

He reminisced about growing corn, oats, wheat and barley when he was younger, and kept the gentle giants Amos and Andy, who stood 17 hands high, under control. 

According to ManorCare Lebanon‘s admissions director, the event was a wonderful example of how the residents at ManorCare, and nursing homes around the country, still get a kick out of reliving simple pleasures. 

The staff looks forward to fulfilling more wishes in the near future. 

ManorCare Heart’s Desire

Veteran Rider, 69, Wins Denmark’s National Three-Day Title

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Proving that you’re never too old to ride, compete and excel is Johan Iversen, a 69-year-old who won the Danish National Three-Day-Event Championship this past June.

And what’s more – he did it riding Ocean, a horse whom he bred and developed himself.

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The Event Riders Association reports that Iversen impressed both the spectators and judges with his dressage performance, and according to the Danish website Heste Nettet he also went well across country.

 With only two rails down in the showjumping he secured the victory.

 


Julie Suhr – 76 yr. Old Endurance Rider

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Julie Suhr just turned 76. She lives in Scott’s Valley near Santa Cruz, California. For over thirty years, she has ridden in cross county endurance races of 30, 50, and 100 miles each. Starting in 1968, Julie began riding the coveted 100-mile, one-day Tevis Cup race.

She has started the race 28 times and finished 22, with three Haggin Cup wins, the award given to the horse among the top ten finishers, which is judged to be in the best condition to continue.

Julie says that her ability to still ride long distances is directly attributed to good health, and a supportive husband.

Julie says there are some changes she has noticed from a lifetime of riding, and some things to keep in mind when “riding into your 70’s”. First, “polish up your sense of humor”. The thing that does not change with age is the thrill of a good ride on a good horse”.

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She admits that the confidence she used to take for granted is tempered by the reality of knowing that if she goes off she could break a hip. She knows her reflex actions and balance are nowhere near as sharp and quick as they once were.

She feels that if you are going to continue to compete, the selection of endurance prospects is reduced. She now likes to buy a horse keeping the 6 “S’s” in mind; Safe, Sane, Short (14.2 or 3 at most), Smooth, Sound and Sure-Footed.

She has noticed some other changes brought on by the years. She is more sensitive to hunger and thirst. Julie says that she rode her first Tevis Ride (over 30 years ago) with “not a single drop of liquid or food.” She now carries four water bottles on her saddle.

Her most important addition to her riding gear is her survival fanny pack, which she wears around her waist. “This is my security blanket. It goes where I go.”

In case of a fall off her horse, she will have on her body:

A space blanket.
Band-aids.
A glowstick to fend off wild animals, or to attract attention.
A knife with an easy-to-open blade.
A small leatherman tool that has many uses.
Some waterproof matches.
A couple of leather thongs for quick repairs.
Some benadryl in case of attack by killer bees.
A few Advil in case of pain.
A short, small pencil with a tiny notepad. She says the point always breaks the first time you put it in your pack, but no problem, you can sharpen it with your knife.
Lastly, a lipstick, “Because you never know who you are going to run into out there.”

Julie also says that her thermostat no longer works as well as it used to. “I am much more apt to be too cold or too hot than in previous years.

She likes Polar fleece that zips up the front so that you can get it off and on without removing your helmet, and is easy to tie around your mid-section with just one loop while riding.

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Julie is sure that “the two discoveries that have meant the most to mankind are not the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel. They are polar fleece and Velcro.”

She has also switched from an English to an endurance type saddle that has a deeper seat and a rounded pommel in the front to give her more support.

Julie continues to go to at least one endurance ride a month, and is often accompanied by her husband and trail companion, Bob, who rode his first endurance ride, the Tevis, at the age of 58. He rode his last 50 miler at age 84.

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Julie Suhr crossed the finish line of the 2007 Shine and Shine Only Endurance ride, for her 30,000th mile of Endurance competition.

Now, that is called … inspiration!

Link:  “Ten Feet Tall, Still” by Julie Suhr

Discover the world of endurance riding:  This engaging true story is not for horse lovers alone, but for all ages and all walks of life who have ever had dreams.

Link:   Tevis Cup ~ Earlier Post

At 88, Millionaire Teacher Won’t Quit

LOS ANGELES – Rose “Mama G” Gilbert dons a red plastic fire helmet and excitedly begins lecturing on George Orwell’s novel “1984.”

Gilbert’s helmet really isn’t necessary. It takes only a minute or two for her to get excited about just about anything.

Her Advanced Placement English literature students soon feel the heat as Gilbert connects current events to themes in the book — government surveillance, conformity and sexuality.

With her energy, it’s easy to forget that she’s old enough to be the great-great-grandmother of her Palisades Charter High School students.

Gilbert is 88.

“You can’t stop her when she is on a roll,” says Elieka Salamipour, a 17-year-old senior.

Gilbert is the oldest teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Two other female teachers, both 87, also work full-time in the district, the second-largest in the nation where there is no mandatory retirement age.

Gilbert doesn’t have to work — her husband left her millions when he died.  But she loves it too much to quit.

Mama G’s energy is infectious, said Masha Elakovic, a 17-year-old senior who’s had Gilbert the past two years. “She comes in, she is really pumped up,” Elakovic said.

Gilbert has been known to collect 10-page essays from a class with two dozen or more students and have them graded the next day.

Every morning, Gilbert lifts weights and does yoga. Weekends are filled with UCLA basketball and football games and visiting with the grandkids.

Asked when she will stop teaching, Gilbert pauses.“When I’m tired,” she finally says. “I’m not tired. I have more energy than a kid.”

Story Link:

Photo: Damian Dovarganes

 

Actress Hotter Than Ever At Age 97

 SANTA MONICA, Calif.—Hollywood’s starmakers always are on the lookout for a fresh new face and they found one in Mae Laborde, albeit of the wrinkled variety. Standing 4-feet-10, with snow-white hair, rosy-red cheeks and a sweet-as-peaches-and-cream smile, she’s becoming TV’s ubiquitous grandma. 

Actress Mae Laborde poses at her Santa Monica, Calif., home on Feb 28. The 97-year-old Laborde is just four years into her acting career and hotter than ever.   

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She was “Wheel of Fortune’s” Vanna White (40 years in the future) for a recent episode of “MADtv.” She was the stunned fiancee whose boyfriend finally gets around to proposing in a jewelry commercial. She faced down the Grim Reaper himself in a bit about elderly people without health insurance for “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

She’s also been a cheerleader on ESPN, appeared in a Lexus commercial, had a recurring role on Spike Feresten’s “Talkshow” and had a role in a JP Morgan Chase Bank commercial. “Now that one paid good!” says Laborde, eyes twinkling under knitted brows and behind rhinestone glasses. Then, lowering her voice conspiratorially, she adds, “I mean like a few hundred dollars.”

As she speaks, she sits perched on the living room couch of her small Southern California home, just a couple blocks from the beach. So what’s the secret to her late-blooming success? She never had any training and, until four years ago, the closest she came to show business was working as a bookkeeper in the late bandleader Lawrence Welk’s office.

“I’m just a natural,” she says with a broad smile as she heads to her dining room table to sift through some of her press clippings.

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It’s not unheard of for actors to work well into their 90s, of course. Think George Burns and Bob Hope or, more recently, Gloria Stuart of “Titanic” fame. But all of them started in the business young, unlike Laborde who didn’t earn her Screen Actors Guild card until she was in her mid-90s.

Her acting career was started by a 2002 Los Angeles Times story, when columnist Steve Lopez, her former neighbor, decided to seek her out for some lighthearted driving tips.

In those days she was well known around Santa Monica as the little old lady who barreled up and down her neighborhood’s hilly streets and across the freeways in a gigantic 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Laborde, who only stopped driving last year, was so small, and the car so big, Lopez wrote, that behind the wheel she looked like a cricket driving a tank.   (See Simply Marvelous story –“At 93, she’s still going”)

His description caught the eye of Sherrie Spillane, the veteran L.A. talent agent and ex-wife of the late crime novelist Mickey Spillane. Spillane decided she had to meet Laborde. The two got together for a tea-leaf reading (Laborde’s hobby), and the next thing Spillane knew she had a new client.

“She’s got this way about her that’s so endearing that everybody falls in love with her,” Spillane says. “She’s got that cute little face and she’s very funny.”

Laborde also has nearly a century of experience to draw on when the director yells action.

She arrived in Los Angeles from her hometown of Fresno at the height of the Great Depression, meeting her husband when he was the conductor on L.A.‘s fabled old Red Car trolley line that she used to take home from work.

A few years later, her husband and baby daughter in tow, she moved into a tiny, straight-out-of-a-storybook house on a street so narrow that cars traveling in opposite directions can’t pass if someone has parked at the curb. It was back in the day when Santa Monica was just a quaint little California town of beach cottages.

Seventy years later, many of those cottages have been razed in favor of multimillion-dollar “McMansions.” Laborde’s remains unchanged. Even the orchid-colored tile the young mother picked out for her 1930s-era bathroom remains.

As the years passed, Laborde always kept working at one job or another, going on to outlive both her husband, Nicholas, and their only child, Shirley.

A Girl Scout leader for her daughter’s troop, she has kept in touch with most of her daughter’s friends. Now in their 70s, they’ll ask her for secrets to living a long life. She’ll tell them to never retire.

When she was 89 Laborde took a police training course just for fun, and she still cooks for herself, paints and raises tomatoes in her garden that she sells to a local restaurant.

But she’ll drop whatever she’s doing when there’s a call for an audition.

Recently she landed a small role in a forthcoming movie opposite Ben Stiller. She’ll be the grandmotherly lady sitting in a restaurant near Stiller and his girlfriend as they speculate what their lives will be like at that age.

“I don’t know anyone else her age that could keep up with her,” says Spillane, who has become both her agent and close friend.

“But then I don’t know anyone else her age,” Spillane adds with a laugh. 

The Associated Press, By John Rogers, AP Photos/Nick Ut

Woman, 95, to be Oldest College Graduate

Sitting on the front row in her college classes carefully taking notes, Nola Ochs is just as likely to answer questions as to ask them. That’s not the only thing distinguishing her from fellow students at Fort Hays State University. She’s 95, and when she graduates May 12, she’ll be what is believed to be the world’s oldest person to be awarded a college degree. 

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She didn’t plan it that way. She just loved to learn as a teenager on a Hodgeman County farm, then as a teacher at a one-room school after graduating from high school and later as a farm wife and mother.

“That yearning for study was still there. I came here with no thought of it being an unusual thing at all,” she said. “It was something I wanted to do. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction. I like to study and learn.

The record Ochs will break, according to Guinness World Records, belongs to Mozelle Richardson, who at age 90 in 2004 received a journalism degree from the University of
Oklahoma.

“We should all be so lucky and do such amazing things. Her achievement challenges us all to reach for our own goals and dreams,” said Tom Nelson, AARP chief operating officer in Washington.

She’s getting offers for television appearances, and reporters show up wanting to interview her. She acknowledges enjoying it.

“It brings attention to this college and this part of the state. Good people live here,” she said. “And I still wear the same size hat.

But she added: “I don’t dwell on my age. It might limit what I can do. As long as I have my mind and health, it’s just a number.

Ochs is proudest of being the matriarch of a family that includes three sons — a fourth died in 1995 — along with 13 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

“They’re all such fine boys,” she said. “Our main crop is our children, and the farm is a good place to raise them.

Ochs started taking classes at Dodge City Community College after her husband of 39 years, Vernon, died in 1972. A class here and there over the years, and she was close to having enough hours for an undergraduate degree.

Last fall, Ochs moved the 100 miles from her farm southwest of Jetmore to an apartment on campus to complete the final 30 hours to get a general studies degree with an emphasis on history.

At 5-foot-2, her white hair pulled into a bun, she walks purposely down hallways to classes with her books in a cloth tote bag. Students nod and smile; she’s described as witty, charming and down to earth.

“Everybody has accepted me, and I feel just like another student,” she said. “The students respect me.

Coming out of a classroom, Skyla Foster, a junior majoring in history, sees Ochs and calls out to her. To everyone on campus, she’s “Nola,” not Mrs. Ochs — and that’s the way she wants it.

“She is pretty neat, a very interesting person and very knowledgeable,” Foster said.

Todd Leahy, history department chairman, wondered at first if Ochs could keep up with the other students. After her second week, all doubts were gone, as he discovered she could provide tidbits of history.

Leahy, who had Ochs in four classes, wants to record oral histories with her after she graduates.

“I can tell them about it, but to have Nola in class adds a dynamic that can’t be topped,” Leahy said. “It’s a firsthand perspective you seldom get.

For instance, Ochs offered recollections of the 1930s
Midwest dust bowl, when skies were so dark that lamps were lit during the day and wet sheets were placed over windows to keep out dust that sounded like pelting sleet hitting the house.

During a discussion about World War II, Ochs told how she and her husband, along with other wheat farmers in the area, grew soybeans on some of their acres for the war effort.

“I would have never talked about that in class, but she brought it up and we talked about it,” Leahy said. “She often adds color to the face of history.

Ochs hasn’t complained about the work, nor has she asked for special considerations.

In her one-bedroom apartment, books are open and papers and notes are within easy reach when she sits down at her computer to research and write.

“I came up here with that purpose. No, I never doubted it. Other people did it,” she said. “I came up here to work, and I enjoy it.

Ochs said she has learned new things. She said she has attained a better understanding of Russian history and the role Dwight Eisenhower played in the D-Day invasion.

An added joy for Ochs is that her 21-year-old granddaughter, Alexandra Ochs, will graduate with her.

“How many people my age have a chance to hang out with their grandmothers? She’s really accepted by the other students,” Alexandra said. “They enjoy her, but probably not as much as I do.

Ochs said she looks forward to getting home to help with the wheat harvest, as she has done every year for as long as she can remember. After harvest, she might travel or take more classes at a community college.

After that? “I’m going to seek employment on a cruise ship as a storyteller,” she said, smiling. The determined look in her eye leaves no doubt she’s serious.

CARL MANNING, Associated Press Writer   April 2007