"The Horse" at the American Museum of Natural History

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 31, 2008, 7:46 pm

The AMNH in New York City has just opened an exhibit entitled "The Horse". It has received a lot of attention and is popular enough that special tickets are required to enter. I stopped in Friday morning to take a look for myself. As it must be, this exhibit is very broad, touching on everything from prehistoric burials to therapeutic riding programs. The curators are both scientists - one specializing in analyzing dna in ancient mammals, the other studying prehistoric signs of domestication.
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Early Photo of Curly Horse

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 31, 2008, 7:10 pm

The somewhat unusual (but not rare) Curly Horse has been around for a long time - curliness seems to pop up in various breeds now and again - but in the American West they have been the focus of attention by breeders over time, resulting in a more consistent breed of all-around riding horse with a distinctive curly coat and woolly mane and tail. This photo was taken in 1870, and is labeled "Woolly Horse of California". Follow the link to see the original description and a larger version. Photo
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Thai Cowboys

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 31, 2008, 7:00 pm

A recent issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine had a short article about the popularity of American style cowboy culture in Thailand. Can't say I ever expected to hear of cowboys rounding up cattle in Thailand! The article says in part:Thailand’s northeast, the center of the country’s cattle industry, has long been home to Wild West fans. During the Vietnam war, GIs in Thailand (where the U.S. had enormous air bases) brought their Clint Eastwood photos, Ennio Morricone albums, and taste for
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New Search Tool Added

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 31, 2008, 2:40 am

As the content of this blog has grown, it seems useful to add a search feature. At the top of the right column you will now find a search box, which provides results only from this blog. Looking for all my posts about Arabians, Appaloosas, or Archery? Just use the search box. It's a useful alternative to the Categories, if you are looking for something specific.
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Studying Brazil's Rare Horses

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 29, 2008, 12:12 am

Professor Sergio Beck has as his mission discovering and preserving Brazil's rarest breeds of horse. Brazil is an enormous country with widely varied cultures and terrain. The coastal region is most populated, but the vast interior is home to many cattle ranches, and each region has developed its own breed over the centuries. These horses are well adapted to their specific environments - be it rugged mountains, arid grasslands, swampy plains or even tropical jungle. As with horses like the Marsh
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Helping the World's Poorest

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 22, 2008, 12:29 am

The Brooke is one of my favorite equine charities. They operate in some of the poorest countries in the world, trying to ease the suffering of the working equines belonging to the poorest people. Their approach goes beyond emergency intervention, as they put great effort into training programs for horse owners, farriers, harness makers, and local healers to teach methods of care that will help prevent undue suffering in these hardworking animals. Hundreds of veterinarians work for The Brooke, and
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A Nap in the Desert

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 22, 2008, 12:10 am

This photo is part of a photo set of a herd of feral horses in Namibia. The set provides an interesting look at daily wild horse behavior, from sparring to napping. Here a few horses keep watch while others rest. Follow the flickr link to enjoy more pictures of these horses. This article, though it dates from 1999, has some interesting info about the horses. Though I am unaware of their origins, the feral horses of Namibia have become a tourist attraction, and their population is sometimes stricken
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Iron Age Harness Fittings

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 21, 2008, 11:24 pm

These ancient British harness fittings are beautiful! They are made of bronze (now turned greenish with age) with colored glass inlay, and date from the first century AD. They are part of the collection at the British Museum, which describes the items shown: "At the top and in the centre are plaques made simply for show. They would have been attached to the leather straps of the horses' harnesses. At the bottom is a horse bit that went between the horse's teeth. The reins would be attached
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Quilted Armor

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 21, 2008, 10:56 pm

What an interesting set of armor for horse and rider! These are from the Sudan, made of quilted fabric, and housed at the British Museum in London. The British Museum site describes the piece in more detail: "This horse armour is made from several pieces of brightly coloured cloth sewn together. They are stuffed with kapok, the wool-like strands that surround the seeds of the silk cotton tree, creating a heavy garment. In full battle the war-horse would also have worn chainmail or pieces
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Berber Horse

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 21, 2008, 10:47 pm

This white horse is beautifully turned out for a procession, carrying a woman and child. The caption describes it as part of a wedding procession, but I wonder if this boy might be on his way to his circumcision? The photo is from a Berber village in Morocco. Photo: Antonio Caselli on flickr.
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Jewelry for the Modern Horse

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 19, 2008, 8:57 pm

A browse through the Adornment category on this blog will reveal all sorts of innovative horse decorations from around the world. But a charming type of horse jewelry is used right here in the modern United States: Rhythm Beads. Popular with barrel racers (and girls of all ages), these beaded necklaces usually incorporate bells, and are suggested as a useful way to hear the rhythm of your horse's paces, to warn others of your approach, or to calm a horse with the gentle sound. Some people use
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Drum Horse Trading Cards

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 19, 2008, 8:08 pm

Back in the day packs of cigarettes came with collectible cards - like the baseball cards some of you may remember from packs of chewing gum in more recent times. This series (there are dozens of them to browse here) featured the drum horses of various military groups, shown in all their parade finery. They were printed between 1908 and 1915. Drum horses are large and calm-tempered, carrying the musician who play the large kettle drums in military parades. Though used sparingly now, they were formerly
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A Bearskin Saddle Pad

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 12, 2008, 11:13 pm

This illustration, entitled "Horse Trappings, Fourteenth to Eighteenth Centuries" depicts a military horse with an entire bearskin (head and all!) as a saddle pad. Unfortunately there is no detail about the design and use of this exotic saddle pad. I noticed the horse is also wearing decorative "bracelets" on all four legs, just above the knees and hocks. Perhaps they are bells? The plume on the horse's head is quite elaborate. Image from the New York Public Library's online
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Learn to Ride

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 12, 2008, 11:08 pm

Ah, no more suffering school ponies teaching kids how to post the trot! A mechanical horse is just what we needed! This device, pictured in a 1916 issue of Popular Science Monthly, was being used to train British cavalry men. The caption says: "English cavalryman Astride 'Back Ache.' " I haven't heard of any recent use of such things - except mechanical bulls for training bull riders. But perhaps there are other mechanical horses still in use somewhere. Image: New York Public Library
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The Moon Stallion

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 12, 2008, 11:00 pm

I have rather vague memories of being enthralled by a children's television series years ago in the UK. The series was called "The Moon Stallion" and as I recall it involved some children, a white horse, a scary guy who whispered in horses ears to make them do bad things...it was dark and mysterious and I watched every episode with glee.  After recalling the title, I looked it up, and found out more about it (there was a lot I had forgotten!). The main character is a blind girl,
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Giant Horses

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 12, 2008, 10:55 pm

Great Britain is home to several famous hillside chalk images, like the Uffington White Horse shown here, which were made by removing the soil and grass from the hillside to expose the underlying stone. Many, like the Uffington White Horse, are thousands of years old, others are newer designs inspired by the old ones. Now, a recent article in the Guardian reports, a contest is being held to create a giant work of public art, and one of the entries is an enormous white horse - not carved in the
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Boxing With Horses

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 7, 2008, 2:44 am

This print is from a set entitled "Sports and Pastimes of the People of England" (1876) and depicts two trick horses from the 1300s. The drawings are copies of old illustrations from that time. The caption of the first image reads: "Here the  horse  is rearing up and attacking the joculator, who opposes him with a small shield and cudgel. These mock combats, to which the animals were properly trained, were constantly regulated by some kind of musical instrument." The
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A Heritage of Horses

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 7, 2008, 2:11 am

The State Stud of Mezöhegyes - formerly Moldova - in Hungary, is a UNESCO world heritage site nominee, and home of an important and rare breed - the Nonius. Founded in 1784, it has been an important center of quality horse breeding for centuries, originally for cavalry use. The stud has struggled at times, losing horses to war and political changes, but has now been privatized and is making a concerted effort to preserve the Nonius horse, as well as marketing a newer Mezöhegyes Sport Horse, which
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Olde Tyme Road Rage

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 7, 2008, 1:29 am

Ever hear of the Central Park Massacre of 1883? Apparently the carriage drivers of New York City were quite annoyed by the introduction of the new and strange bicycle, and often took pleasure in trying to run them off the road. One gentleman in particular hit a breaking point on spring day and started shooting bicyclists...from the top of his coach! Read more about this and other bicycle vs. carriage mayhem in this brief article from Time Out magazine.
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Down the Stairs

Global Horse Culture Archive on May 5, 2008, 2:43 am

Love this photo of a pony in China calmly walking down stairs. Photo: andydoro on flickr
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