It’s trivial, darling

...and on the eighth day, God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

“Duplice corde,” or “...two hearts that beat as one and a single brain equals the perfect combination of horse and rider,” says Alessandro Alvisi.

From one of my sources, a fun mix of horse trivia and facts:

Showjumping was first televised in Great Britain during the 1948 Olympic Games held at Wembley, London. Charles Pahud de Mortanges of the Netherlands holds the record for winning four Olympic gold medals in Three-Day Eventing, in 1924(team), 1928(team and individual), and in 1932(individual).

“Venery,” comes from the Latin word “venari,” meaning “to hunt,” and was the sport that eventually developed into the social past time for the 14th century elite society. Expertise in the art of venery was considered an essential part of high social life and was also used for war and chivalry.

But, it was not until the Middle Ages in Europe that the horse began to be used for agricultural labor. Up until then, the horse was primarily used for transport and warfare, while oxen were used for working the fields.

The earliest methods of harnessing animals always involved two of them. One was placed on either side of a central shaft that was attached to a cart. The idea of harnessing just one animal between two shafts did not appear to develop until the second century, in China.

The Celts regarded the horse as a sacred animal in their belief system.

The smallest recorded horse was a stallion called Little Pumpkin, born on April 15, 1973. He stood a mere 14 inches high and weighed just 20 pounds in 1975.

The tallest documented horse was a Shire Draft Horse gelding named Sampson. Born in 1846, he measured 21.2HH and weighed a whopping 3,360 pounds.

The longest living Thoroughbred racehorse was named “Tango Duke.” Born in 1935, he died on January 25, 1978 at the grand old age of 42.

The fastest horse to ever run was named “Big Racket,” who reached a stunning 43.26 MPH in a quarter mile race in Mexico City on February 5, 1945.

The oldest horse to run and win a race was “Revenge,” and 18 year old who won at Shrewsbury, England, in 1790.

During Oliver Cromwell’s reign in England, racing was illegal.

The most common type of chariot used by the Romans for racing was drawn by four horses and called a “quadriga.

One of the earliest known descriptions of a chariot race can be found in Homer’s “Iliad,” which was written around 750 BC. The story was about the Trojan War and the race was held as part of the funeral proceedings for someone called Patroklos, a good friend of Achilles. The five contestants participating in the chariot race had to drive their chariots down to a goal post and back. The winner was judged by Achilles.

A “landau” was a carriage used in sunny weather by the fashionable gentry of the 19th century.

The first trams or trolleys were drawn by horses, usually one to four, and they traveled at speed of around 6-7 MPH. Trolleys were still being used during the last half of the 19th century and into the 20th.

“Mr. Ed,” the famous talking equine star of the 1960's television program was a Golden Palomino. He learned a wide array of tricks, including how to open doors, answer a telephone, unplug a light, and write notes on paper with a pencil.

Apparently Mr. Ed would pull some antics and not want to work, standing stock still, wheezing and then refusing to move.

The movie, “Horse Whisperer,” was adapted from a book by Nicholas Evans.

Starring Robert Redford as the lead character, it is speculated that Redford loosely based his fictional character on the real life horse trainer, Buck Brannaman, from Wyoming.

In Suffolk, England, Lord and Lady Henniker have restored an old animal cemetery on the grounds of the Thornham Magna Estate.

The cemetery includes the grave of the warhorse called “Morac,” who was ridden in the Boer Wars by one of Lord Henniker’s uncles. The uncle was a General with the Coldstream Guards. Morac was shipped to South Africa with the General, and after his service in the war, went back to England to retire to grass on the Thornham Magna Estate.

In the Persian epic poem, “Shah Namah Book of Kings,” the main hero, Rustam, rode a horse named “Rakush,” who was alleged to be the best warhorse in the world.

A “war horse” is a term given to someone - See Trivia page 9


- from page 8

who has lived through many hardships and looks like it, too, but who can always be relied upon and is good for their word.

Bet you can name a few war horses of your own.

On that fun note, I’ll leave you for this time, in the summer heat, with the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.

Article: “ The Encyclopedia of Horses and Ponies,” by Tamsin Pickeral.