The Near Side: This Week in Horses—December 19, 2014

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Happy Friday, everyone. Here’s what’s been going on in the horse world this week. Read on so you’ll have plenty to talk about at your barn’s Christmas party.

  • Horse owners and riding lesson students at Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Florida are suffering through what I can only imagine is a waking nightmare. Every horse in the barn ate contaminated feed before a recall by Lakeland Feeds. Four have died because of it and the remaining 18 are expected to as there is no known antidote or treatment. Meanwhile, their human connections can only keep them comfortable until the inevitable happens. There are no words for this.
  • On a much (much, much) happier note, here’s the story of a Standardbred racehorse who will be retired after his final race next week at age 15 after 13 successful years on the track. If that sounds like it must be some kind of record, it probably is. His lifelong owners had to get special permission to continue racing him after the age of 14.
  • I feel like Charlotte Dujardin appears in this weekly roundup more than any other individual. But you know what? I’m not bothered by it. She and her wonderful Valegro just keep being awesome. This week, they broke their own world records in Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle earning a jaw-dropping 94.3% in the latter at this week’s Olympia Horse Show in Great Britain. Watch the near-perfect ride below.
  • The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) elected a new president this week. Ingmar De Vos of Belgium, previously the FEI secretary general, won by a landslide. With his election, the FEI ends a run of five presidents over 60 years who happened to be royals. Only in equestrian sports…
  • We covered the Lebanon Christmas Carriage Parade here on HorseChannel, but it turns out there are a lot of horse-powered holiday parades out there. Here’s one from the village of Lexington, Michigan.
  • Researchers looked at how today’s domesticated horses (and modern day Przewalski’s Horses) differed from their pre-domestication ancestors. Turns out we humans have changed the species quite a lot, for better or worse.
  • The winter solstice is this Sunday, December 21. The sunset is already getting later, and this means that we will soon start accumulating more daylight each day. Sure, it also means the coldest days of winter are coming, but let’s try to look at the (literal) bright side, here.

That’s it for this week. Happy remaining days of Hanukkah, happy solstice, happy Christmas and happy Kwanzaa. And if you don’t celebrate any of those, have a great week!

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Leslie Potter is Sr. Associate Web Editor of HorseChannel.com. Follow her on Twitter: @LeslieInLex.

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