Here’s the horse-world news you may have missed this week while you were out riding.
- TV producer Sam Simon, known best for his work on The Simpsons, recently rescued a racehorse that was allegedly raced in spite of an injury. The horse, Valedictorian, played a starring role in a recent video expose of the racing industry, which you may have heard about. What really made this story hit the mainstream media was the fact that Simon was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012 and is spending the end of his life dispersing his fortune to charitable causes, mostly related to animal welfare.
- Horse movies! Someone snatched our wildly popular 2006 article “30 Best Horse Movies” and turned it into a quiz. So, how many of these movies have you seen? I’ve seen 10, which earns me a decidedly failing grade of 33.33%. Oh well.
- Rich people like equestrian sports. This groundbreaking news came to me in the form of a press release from a dating site called MillionaireMatch.com, which claims to provide the service of helping “millionaires to find love and happiness.” Well, I suppose you can’t buy it… In any case, the good people behind this site performed a keyword search analysis to find out what activities were popular among their esteemed clientele. Nearly a quarter of searchers looked for horse or equestrian sports like polo as they trolled around for their cosmic millionaire match. But equestrianism isn’t the number one sport of
people who pretend to be millionaires on Internet dating sitesuh, single millionaires. Golf is. Of course.
- Big horses for a new America. We’ve all heard the statistics about how Americans (and people in nearly every western country) are getting fatter. As a result, dude ranch operators are investing in bigger horses for bigger tourists. That’s right, the new trend in equestrian vacations is supersized horses—drafts and draft crosses. One ranch manager in the article is quoted as saying he’s been able to accommodate a 399-lb guest. Using the 20% rule, that would necessitate every bit of a full-sized draft horse. Dang.
- Zenyatta! (Again!) For a retired horse, Queen Z sure has been making the news a lot lately. This time, the news is that after three foals, she’s getting a year off. By all accounts, she’s taken to motherhood wonderfully without any of the physical difficulties that plagued her cohort, Rachel Alexandra. But it’s good of her people to take precautions. No word on what she’ll be doing with her down year once her filly is weaned, but I suggest dressage training. Think about it. She’s one of the world’s greatest equine athletes, and she’s already got a signature dance move.
- Horses treating Alzheimer’s. A recent study suggests that interacting with horses can help ease some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Subjects who groomed, fed and walked horses once a week displayed signs of improved mood and behavior over subjects who participated in other therapeutic activities.
- Boring Horse Show. I love reading newspapers’ write-ups of their local equestrian events, mostly because they are written by non-horse people and it’s amusing to read the way they describe our sport. But this one caught my eye because of the headline, which took me a second to figure out. (And yes, that first photo in the article is cute but worrying. A helmet that doesn’t fit isn’t any better than no helmet at all.)
- Horses aren’t vicious! Remember that whole Connecticut court case about horses being inherently vicious? The state Senate unanimously approved a new law that clarifies that horses are, in fact, just big ol’ teddy bears (in so many words.)
- Assateague Island. We have this hobby here at Horse Illustrated HQ where we try to identify the weirdest clickbait articles on weather.com. These are usually not weather-related and often have weird, provocative or disturbing headlines and/or photos that make them impossible to resist. It’s the “Fish Has Human Teeth” game, named after the disturbing photo that started it all. Anyway, on very rare occasions, weather.com gives us something good, and in this case it’s a slideshow of the wild ponies of Assateague Island. Definitely worth a look, although some of those photos are proof that people aren’t obeying the “stay away from the ponies” law.
- Collapsible helmets. This isn’t horse-related. YET. Bike commuting is on the rise in some cities, but helmets are bulky and inconvenient to carry and store as you go about your day. A lot of commuters just go without. Enter The Morpher, a helmet that collapses flat and can fit into that laptop bag those urban commuters are carrying around. If an equestrian version existed, would it increase helmet use? I don’t know, but it would help me when Lexington starts up a horse-share transportation program. It could happen.
- The Alltech National Horse Show is no more. The National Horse Show, however will continue, perhaps with a new title sponsor. Title sponsors are definitely a mixed blessing. They can be the financial savior of an event (see the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games), but they can also make it really cumbersome to put into a headline (see the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.)
Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Don’t forget to call your mother on Sunday (or at least send her an ecard.)
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