War Horse Wins Awards in the USA and United Kingdom

The War Horse wins the Tony this year for Best Play and The Equine Heritage Institute’s award for preserving the history of the horse. What an accomplishment. Congratulation “Joey”! WWI was a devastating war with 10 million civilians killed, 10 million military dead, and 10 million horses and mules destroyed. Europe was traumatized and property destruction was of a magnitude never experienced as the Kaiser stomped through country after country. The National Theatre of London has brought to light this tragedy in its production of the play War Horse. June 9th I was accompanied by Nick and Liz Byers, their …

Young adults are headed back to USA tomorrow. What great people! David Saunders picked us up in London, and we are in Windsor to pick up hat boxes and extra suitcases that we left here during our bus tour of Great Britain. Globus bus tour was great in that we got to really see the landscape and major cities of England, Wales, and Scotland. Amy really liked the Scottish countryside littered with wooly sheep and recently born lambs. We overloaded Gene with visits to churches. The boys, Corey and Steve, noticed all the mechanical details of the buildings and machinery, …

It is fascinating to try to list all of the various jobs that horses in draft still have today. They have been in the service of man (and woman) for thousands of years and their modern day “outfits” (harnesses and carriages) are all slightly different. Today’s various types of driving … Amish – The Amish drive black and gray enclosed traditional Amish style carriages … black democrat wagons or black road carts. Known as a “plain people,” they use a practical harness for roadwork. They drive either trotting or pacing horses … most commonly of the Standardbred, Morgan, or American …

Driving Diversity Appreciate All – Part III

Dividing light-horse driving into two forms is often helpful: modern and traditional driving. To understand these contrasting forms of light-horse driving a comparison can be made to automobile competitions … Combined Driving is like NASCAR racing and Pleasure Driving is similar to the exhibition of classic cars. Combined Driving requires the sturdy new carriages that have been built to handle the sharp turns and maintain the speed while navigating the hazards. In addition, the Combined Driving horse does not have to work in the company of other horse when exhibited. It works alone in the dressage ring, on the marathon …

Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park

What an opportunity — to present four Friesians to a Beaufort Phaeton by Binder of Paris at the Carriage Classic in Lexington, Kentucky. The Blue Grass State was not blue but just as green as Florida. The thoroughbred mares were with foals at their sides as we drove throughout the countryside, and the Woodford Reserve bourbon is still as good as my last visit. The secret is to enjoy the beautiful Kentucky weather … the rolling countryside … the beautiful farms … and the opportunity to drive in such a horse oriented state. The World Equestrian Games (WEG) helped to …

The Greatest Show on Earth… Walnut Hill

Not from Cecil B. DeMille’s Academy Award winning 1952 film about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, this show is real and from the master minds of two upstate New Yorkers – Bill Remley and wife, Sue. Bill has always slightly reminded me of P. T. Barnum and through the many years I have participated in this grand event … I have always called the Walnut Hill Farm Driving Competition “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Bill’s motivation for Walnut Hill was fostered by his love of showmanship, teaching, and the romance of yesterday. The two, Bill and Sue, created …

The Origins of the Harness

From the chariot races held at the Circus Maximus during the period of ancient Rome … to the draft horse pulling competitions held today at the local county fair … horses have been laboring to entertain and benefit mankind for over 6,000 years. Used for transportation, industry, commerce and warfare … horses have been outfitted for the specific job they were to perform. A key to the efficiency of man’s utilization of the horse was the creation of the harness. Through time the harness has evolved, but the mechanics of the basic harness that we use today has not changed …

Golden Carriage of the Austrian Emperor in Florida

Like all European monarchs, the Habsburgs had an extensive collection of carriages. Until his death in 1916, Emperor Franz Jozef I, married to the famous Empress “Sissi,” almost exclusively used horse-drawn carriages. The Imperial stables in Vienna exceeded all others in their magnificence and size. Around 1900 there were no fewer than 600 driving and riding horses stabled at Schönbrunn Palace, mostly Lippizaners and Kladrubers. The Imperial Mews contained about 400 carriages; the state carriages for personal use by the Imperial family (some of which dated back to around 1750), other town carriages, all kinds of service carriages, and a …

A Prince, Horses and a Birthday Party

The flight was flawless and the British do know how to be on time. David Saunders picked me up at the airport and was my escort to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Equestrian Birthday Party celebrating Prince Philip’s 90th year as a blue blood and horse enthusiast. Prince PhillipThe Prince born in 1921, it was fitting that guests contributed to a cigar box made in the year he was born, but newly embossed with an image of the Duke driving his Fell Ponies. As the Prince arrived at the podium, he fained not being able to support the weight of such …

Victorias and Broughams, Country Carts and Peddlers Wagons, Roofseat Breaks and Coaches; all can be seen in very special driving events in Europe. I drove two rented horses and a rented carriage in the coldest of weather in a CAIT event in Diepenheim, Netherlands.  Even though the weather was cold, the spirit of the competitors was warm and enthusiastic.  It was the first of these one-day Sunday events to be held in the Netherlands. As I drove on the 16.7 kilometer Routier (marathon), there was rain and snow flurries blowing sideways into our faces.  I could not keep a hat …

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