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

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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

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“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.

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It is time to say enough.

 

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Camel Racing Comes To Sydney, Australia

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Horse racing jockeys experience their first camel race.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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

Rider Completes 6,200 Mile Trek On Horseback

Officially billed as “On The Trail of Genghis Khan”, Tim Cope described his expedition of more than three years as a tribute to the nomadic people from Central Asia who over the centuries made their way west toward Europe.

BUDAPEST, Hungary — He scared off wolves with firecrackers in Mongolia and rescued his dog from hungry miners in Kazakhstan. But after three years on horseback, Tim Cope has retraced the route of Genghis Khan and other Asian nomads who crossed into Europe over the centuries.

The 28-year-old Australian arrived in Hungary on Saturday, Sept. 22, ending a 6,200-mile trek through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, southern Russia and Ukraine.

“I’m very happy to be here,” Cope said in the Hungarian town of Opusztaszer, surrounded by his traveling companions — his dog and three horses. “Sometimes I didn’t think I would ever arrive.”

A former law student who decided to dedicate his life to adventure, writing and film documentaries, Cope was inspired to make the horseback journey during a bicycle trip from Moscow to Beijing.

Trying to push his bike through the sands of the Gobi desert, Cope watched in frustration as nomad horsemen appeared out of nowhere and disappeared over the horizon.

That got him interested in nomad life on the steppes and the journey made over the centuries by the Avars, Mongols and Huns, among other Asian groups. He set off from Mongolia in 2004 for a trip he thought would take 18 months.

It ended up taking three years, and in late 2006, he had to return to Australia for several months when his father died in car crash.

Cope, 28, traveled with three horses and black hunting dog named Tigon that he received as a gift in Kazakhstan. Twice, he had to get his horses back from thieves.

In the Kazakh steppes, it became so hot that he added a camel for a while.

Cope, who speaks Russian, quickly learned to trust the wisdom of locals.

“In Mongolia, the nomads always told me that wolves were the most dangerous things on the steppe and I didn’t believe them, at first,” he said.

Then one night he found himself surrounded by howling wolves.

“When you hear that howl alone at night in the forest, it’s one of the most frightening sounds you’ll ever hear,” Cope said. “After that I took their advice and threw firecrackers out my tent door every night to keep the wolves away.”

Cope says he probably spent about half of his nights in his tent and the rest in farm houses and huts of strangers along the way.

“In Kazakhstan, once you’re someone’s guest, it’s really hard to get away, everyone wants you to stay,” he said. “They believe that if you invite a guest, luck will fly into your house.”

Cope brought gifts from Australia to exchange with his hosts and gave away many hundreds of photographs. “Exchanging gifts is an important thing in the steppe culture, a way for them to feel you have become a part of their lives,” he said.

Cope, who won the Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year award last year, wants to complete a book and a film about his voyage, and is already envisioning future adventures in northwest China and the Middle East.

“It’s my way of life, it was not just a trip,” Cope said. “I’ll be back in the saddle as soon as I can.”

Link: Tim Cope Journeys

Rehab-Horse Wins Bronze At European Vaulting Champs

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Liz Mackay and Islay

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A former police horse deemed unsuitable for duty has triumphed at a major international vaulting competition, thanks to the dedication of equine welfare charity the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) and his new borrower.

Islay, a 17.3hh 12-year-old black gelding on loan to Liz Mackay from the Eagles Vaulting Group in Perthshire, England won a bronze medal for Great Britain at the FEI European Vaulting Championships, held in Kaposvar, Hungary.

Islay and his vaulter, 17 year old Victoria McLaren were competing in the Junior Female Individual CVI.

Liz Mackay stated,  “We achieved so many personal bests that my head is still spinning!

Islay was an absolute star from beginning to end.

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Islay arrived at ILPH Farm in Aboyne in 2002 from the Strathclyde Police Mounted Branch.

Islay did not fit well into the stress of police work.  He found loud noises scary and would not stand still at football matches.

The Mounted Police Unit signed him over to International League for the Protection of Horses. It was there that Islay began an extensive rehabilitation program.

After a year he had progressed so well and had such an excellent temperament that we asked Liz if she would like to try him for vaulting.

The rest is history!”

~~~

Re-written from news sources:

Unruly Stallion Calms Down Playing Football

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Kariba the horse has become a regular Mane Rooney – after his trainer discovered his amazing passion for football.

The troubled stallion was once so unruly, it regularly threw its riders and was nearly left on the bench permanently. But thanks to horse psychologist Emma Massingale, he has been placated – by his love of soccer.

The 16-year-old animal has mastered passing, shooting, dribbling and hoofing a ball around his field. He has even moved on to nudging his large blue ball with his nose – in a horsey-style header.

Emma, 25, rehabilitates dangerous steeds at her training school, Natural Equine, based in Bradworthy, Devon, England.

She said: “I’m not interested in football myself. But I looked at the players and thought ‘my horse could do that’. “We started by leading him to the ball with a rope and I rewarded him with a pat if he touched or kicked it.

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“Horses naturally shy away from unusual, bright objects that move towards them, so that had to be overcome. “Luckily, he is such a show-off, he took to it immediately and there was no looking back.

“He loves to learn new tricks and will parade around showing off his skills without any instruction. If you leave him in the pen with a football, he is happy there for hours kicking and heading it about on his own.

Kariba, who stands 16.2 hands high, was Emma’s first-ever horse after he was bought by her father for her to ride eight years ago.

Named after a town on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, the steed is a thoroughbred Irish Draft Cross. But the jet-black stallion had such a bad attitude, the local pony club told Emma she should sell him straight away because he would never be safe to ride.

Emma later discovered Kariba’s previous owners decided to get rid of him after he threw off his rider during a public parade.

She said: “When I first got him, he was out of control and I spent most of the time on my backside after he’d thrown me off. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him, I already loved him too much.

“Instead I travelled to Australia to a camp in the outback where I learned to understand the psyche of each horse.”  On her return, she set her new skills in action on Kariba, who is now the star pupil among the 13 horses being trained at the school.

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The horse soon began playing with the ball by himself – known as “training at liberty” – and even invented his own moves.

Kariba favours a larger than average football – a 65cm version so he can get a good boot down the field.

Emma said: “He will take a shot at goal, but seems to prefer playing about in a midfield position. I personally think he’d do best as a goalkeeper – you wouldn’t get much past him.”

Story Link:

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.

 


And The Winner Is …

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

Barbaro, Secretariat Art to Support Laminitis Research

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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.

 

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race

LINK
The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Ride – 2008 

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The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Ride
Updates


The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Ride – 2007

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 The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race is an 800 mile endurance ride completed over a 13 day period. It is open to all breeds.

The ride will start in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 3, 2007 and end in Missouri on September 15, 2007

One of the main objectives of the race is to educate the public not only on the national historic Santa Fe Trail, but also to introduce the sport of endurance riding to thousands.

One Hundred teams will spend each evening in the race village where over 100,000 spectators are expected to visit throughout the entire course of the event.

The riders will complete the specified distance for the day then stop and spend the night at the race village. Each rider’s time will be recorded, and accumulated for end of the race.

The rider with the shortest time overall will be declared the winner.  In addition to an individual winner, team competition will exist.

Spectators are encouraged to turn out to greet the riders at “race villages,” which will be overnight stopping points for the riders and their horses. 

Santa Fe, N.M., Sept. 1-2

Las Vegas, N.M., Sept. 3

Springer, N.M., Sept. 4

Clayton, N.M., Sept. 5

Elkhart, Kan., Sept. 6

Dodge City, Kan., Sept. 7-8

Larned, Kan., Sept. 9

Lyons, Kan., Sept. 10

Council Grove, Kan., Sept. 11-12

Burlingame, Kan., Sept. 13

Gardner, Kan., Sept. 14-15.

Link: Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race

Link:  Old West Legends ~ Santa Fe Trail

Link:  News Report

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