This Week in Horses – May 30, 2014

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I missed last week’s horse-news roundup, so this is really more like “this fortnight in horses,” which doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily. Oh well. Here’s your horse-world news update for approximately the last 14 days.

  • Horse Quidditch! I was pretty excited to read this CNN article about how horse quidditch is going to be the next Olympic sport, but it turns out that’s just what they’re calling horseball in their clickbait headline. Don’t get me wrong, it would still be pretty cool to see horseball in the Olympics, but horses riding flying brooms would be even more awesome. If you’ve not heard about this sport, read up on it here, and pay attention this summer. It’s an exhibition sport at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
  • Goodbye to Snip. New Zealand event horse Snip was euthanized at age 22 last week after a short battle with cancer. He may not be the most famous horse in the sport, but he captured a lot of attention when he completed the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2011 at age 19! He was retired in 2013 after showing the world that just because a horse is a “senior” doesn’t mean he can’t rule the world.
    Snip
  • Horse Therapy for Cancer Patients. A couple of weeks ago, I had a news item in the roundup about horse therapy for Alzheimer’s patients. Now there’s a feature on equine-assisted therapy for breast cancer patients. Horses don’t cure cancer, but spending some relaxing time around the barn and in the saddle can bring peace during a tumultuous time. The Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Cold Spring also has volunteers who are cancer survivors themselves, and can relate to the clients on that level.
  • Beezie Madden’s Surgery. One of the world’s greatest living show jumpers had a fall during the Old Salem Farm Empire State Grand Prix last week and broke her collarbone. She’s had surgery and is said to be doing well, but this will affect her competition schedule in the lead up to the World Equestrian Games. She’s still hoping to make the team, though. Best wishes to Beezie!
  • Kisses from Scooby Boo. < ---You know you're a serious journalist once you've written that phrase. Anyway, Scooby Boo is a rescued Mini Horse who visits hospitals, schools, retirement homes, etc. and gives kisses to cheer people up. Does it work? How could it not? His kissing booth fundraisers bring in money for CureSearch, a children’s cancer charity. Keep up the good work, Scooby Boo.
    Scooby Boo
  • Beautiful Jim Key. I have my doubts whenever I hear about a new horse-themed movie coming out. Equine stories seem prone to excessive cheeseball treatment by Hollywood directors. But there’s an upcoming film about Beautiful Jim Key, a performing horse from the early 1900s who was said to be able to read, write and do math. I’m going to give this film a chance because Morgan Freeman has been cast in the leading human role, and he can do no wrong.
  • Mare Stare. Are you familiar with the phenomenon that is MareStare.com? Broodmare owners can set up cameras in their horse’s stalls, then make them public so anyone in the world with an Internet connection can witness the miracle of life. CNN saw fit to cover the phenomenon with a piece about a horse named Stormy who gained a worldwide following in the lead-up to her foal’s birth. As for me, I saw a cow give birth to a calf when I was about six, and that was enough miracle to last me a lifetime, but I did enjoy browsing around the marestare cameras to see the already-born babies.
  • Horses: Who or What? This short article from a local Lexington publication showed up in my news feed this week, and it highlights one of those weird problems that are unique to equestrian writers. Basically, the grammar gods tell us that horses are to be identified as “it.” So, if you’re writing for the New York Times, you’d have to write, “The horse quietly unlocked its stall door late at night, then took off at a gallop toward the west coast to embark on its journey toward movie stardom.” That just doesn’t seem right to me. So even though the AP Stylebook tells me I’m wrong, I will always tell the story about the horse who quietly unlocked his or her stall door to chase his or her Hollywood dreams. Deal with it, grammar gods.
  • Inner-City Equestrian Team. Horseback riding involves a lot of dirt, manure and manual labor, and yet somehow it’s still perceived as an elitist sport. I suppose that’s because even in its most economical forms, it’s still pretty expensive, and that means a lot of people who would like to ride never get to. That’s why I love hearing about programs like the KIPP DC Riding Team, an equestrian group for inner-city teenagers in the D.C. area. It’s a program operating on a shoestring, and if you think it’s a worthy cause, too, maybe consider donating to their indiegogo campaign?

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Leslie Potter is the Senior Associate Web Editor for HorseChannel.com. Follow her on Twitter: @LeslieInLex

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