- If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The United States
Equestrian Team (USET) partially merged with USA Equestrian, formerly the
American Horse Shows Association (AHSA). The joint venture came after a
sometimes-heated argument between USA Equestrian and the USET over which group
was truly the National Governing Body (NGB). Per Olympic rules, there could
only be one. The new organization that resulted from the collaboration became
today’s United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the undisputed governing
body of equestrian sport in the U.S.
When reporting on this new organization in the January 2004 issue, we said that
it would be referred to as U.S. Equestrian. Apparently that didn’t catch on.
- The film Seabiscuit,
based on the 2001 novel by Laura Hillenbrand, was released this year. It told
the true story of the unlikely Thoroughbred racing champion from the 1930s. The
film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Unfortunately, there was no upset at that year’s Oscar race, and the runaway
favorite, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, took home the Best Picture
- Sci-fi became reality in the equine world this year when a
mule colt named Idaho Gem was born. Idaho Gem was the first cloned equine,
followed a month later by another mule colt named Utah Pioneer.
- The plight of ex-racehorses became international news when
it was discovered that 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand had met his demise
in a Japanese slaughterhouse. The stallion had been sold to a breeding farm in
Japan where he was used for six seasons, but apparently his success as a stud
was limited. Reports found that he had been “disposed of” in 2002. With the
news appearing in major outlets, including Sports Illustrated, the mainstream
public learned what concerned horse lovers had been agonizing over for decades.
Ferdinand’s story did have a bright side, however, in that it raised awareness
of Thoroughbred welfare inspired the creation of new rescue organizations for
- This year, HorseIllustrated.com finally became the site of,
well, Horse Illustrated. Click the image to the right to see what we looked
like back then, courtesy of the Internet Archive (archive.org).