Sunday, August 18, 2013

Any other horse people looking forward to Winter's Tale?

Horses and fantasy--including the Victorian/industrial/steampunky American type--just go together.  Here Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell are, riding as they film the movie Winter's Tale.  Do either of these fly?  We will have to wait for the movie. . .unless you've already read the book, and then you know the answer.

The Jockey: Russell Baze

Great--it's not really an article, more of a long-form experience--on winningest jockey Russell Baze in the New York Times.  Not everyone likes the way that you start reading the article, then watch a video, then back to reading, look at pictures, read an ancillary piece about his agent, another about Golden Gate Fields--that piece I linked to describes how the writer didn't end up "reading" The Jockey because the delivery was too distratcing--but I think it suits a story about horse racing.  (It is a little bit like Pottermore, if you happen to have Harry Potter fans in your family.)  Worth the time spent, even for those of us who know exactly whom Russell Baze is already.

Great Washington Post piece about an ex-con and Secretariat's grandson

This Washington Post story about Tamio Holmes and a horse named Covert Action is the right blend of touching but non-saccharine, even though what I am about to write sounds like a movie preview.  It's about a man who learned to be a farrier in prison, and the bond he has with a special thoroughbred.  Click here to read.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Behind the Scenes with Arabian Nights

By Kitson

Arabian Nights was founded in February 1988, has put on more than 10,000 shows and features 60 horses of14 different breeds. Next time you're in Orlando, put this dinner theater on your itinerary for sure!
I’m on vacation with my family this week in central Florida, and what a treat to have the opportunity to attend a show called “The Royal Celebration” at Arabian Nights in Orlando. We had a great time! Thinking back on the evening, there were many great moments… I’ll share a few:

  • Before the show, Arabian Nights founder Mark Miller toured us through the barn which is just off-stage (a huge curtain separates the barn and staging area from a huge indoor arena surrounding by seating). Mark introduced us to some of his Arabian horses (there are about 50 horses on the property). Of course each horse has his or her own scratchy spot. Mark knew each one. It was also amazing to hear Mark's stories about growing up with Walter Farley and having Margeurite Henry as a close friend.
  • I loved the close encounters with a black Arabian stallion and four unicorns! The whole show was great, but I still get chills from seeing a gorgeous black stallion dancing around the arena. The unicorns were unexpected and wonderful, so was the little goat who plays a unicorn spell gone wrong!
  • I learned a lot about the famous Al-Marah Arabians bred by Mark’s mother, the late Bazy Tankersley, at her farm in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Another favorite moment for me occurred after the show. We lingered with some of the cast and admired their horses for just a few more minutes. Walking out, we encountered a massive carrot-stick spill in the hallway. They had been appetizers, served with ranch dressing. Mark asked his staff to deliver the fallen carrots to the barn instead of depositing them in the trash. It was a small gesture. But that moment sort of summed up what, for me, made the evening such a delight: the horses of Arabian Nights are treated beautifully, cared for immaculately and very happy at their work -- it shows.

Przewalski’s Baby

According to the Smithsonian National zoo, scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are celebrating the birth of a female Przewalski’s (Cha-VAL-skee) horse—the first to be born via artificial insemination. The foal’s birth on July 27  is a big deal for the species -- both the filly and the mama, Anne are in good condition. Read more about it and see some great pictures here.