The Near Side: This Week in Horses — November 7, 2014

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Happy Friday, everyone! Here’s what’s been happening in the horse world this week while you were busy celebrating/mourning the midterm election results.

  • The U.S. Dressage Finals are taking place right here in Lexington, Kentucky. You can watch some of the classes online (with excellent expert commentary!) at USEFNetwork.org. One of the big stories out of the finals this year is Heart B Dyna, a mule who qualified for and is competing in the Training Level final. A mule! I went out to watch her first test yesterday and she was a willing, obedient mount. Looked like a nice equine to ride. So cool.
  • Heart B Dyna
  • Contribute to a supplement survey. A graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University is researching equine supplement use. If you’re 18 or older, feed supplements to your horse, and have a couple of minutes, go take the survey.
  • A British woman’s dying wish to see her horse one last time was granted, and I can’t even write this without tearing up. Thanks to her family and doctors, Sheila Marsh was given the chance to say goodbye to Browen, a 25-year-old horse she had owned since he was a foal. She passed away due to cancer just hours later.
  • Clifford, a Morgan from Michigan who tours libraries and nursing homes, creates his own paintings and makes appearances at horse shows and expos, has a new gig to add to his long resume. He’ll be on stage for a performance of Shrek the Musical in Howell, MI. Apparently he is taking a role usually filled by a plastic stick horse. Break a leg, Clifford! (Not literally. That would be horrible.)
  • The great Cigar will have a memorial service at the Kentucky Horse Park on Friday, November 14 at 2 p.m. at the Hall of Champions. Cigar spent his long retirement at the park, and was buried near his paddock there after his death last month. The service will be open to the public.
  • Rosie Napravnik, one of the most successful female jockeys in history, has announced her retirement. Retirement seems like the wrong word here since she’s actually taking on two new jobs: in the training barn as part of her husband’s racing operation, and motherhood. Napravnik won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last week while seven weeks pregnant. Mazel tov!
  • Rosie Napravnik
    Rosie Napravnik with her own OTTB, Sugar, at the 2014 Thoroughbreds for All event in Kentucky.
  • The Melbourne Cup is a big racing event in Australia, and this year it was marred by two horse deaths. One, Admire Rakti, faded during the race and died shortly after, possibly due to a heart condition. The other, Araldo, was on his way back to the stable after his race when he was spooked by a spectator waving an Australian flag. He kicked out and hit a fence, shattering his leg and was later euthanized. There are a lot of photos from the incident, and if you ask me, the flag-waver was not only oblivious about horse behavior but was also pretty rude to her fellow spectators. I don’t know. It’s weird. Take a look. (Also: If they guy in the green shirt is the woman’s boyfriend, then who is the guy in the pink shirt holding her up?)

That’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend!

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