Category Archives: Big Horses

Happy Birthday CrackerJack!

It’s been a long journey.

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Nearly 11 years ago, my mom and I drove up to a barn on a whim; we were looking for a horse I could grow up with and show in the junior medals at 3′. We’d tried a lot (I mean a LOT) of other horses, and I couldn’t seem to find that ‘moment’ where I knew I’d found the perfect teammate. On a blisteringly cold New England day, we decided to take a (almost literal) leap of faith and try a horse we’d heard about that had quite a bit of show experience. From the get-go, we knew he was way too big for me; the idea was that I might ‘grow into him’, since my last growth spurt had catapulted me out of almost all my show clothes. Despite tossing off my trainer, his current owner, and demonstrating that he left no buck half-assed (also quite literally), initially it seemed like I was not going to be going home with him. However, after managing to stay on and getting a chance to ride around, I was quite certain Crackers would be that ‘forever horse’ I was looking for.

Crackers in his younger years (I think he's 12 maybe in this picture?)

Crackers in his younger years (I think he’s 12 maybe in this picture?)

I’ve put him through the craziness of the junior medal circuit in Boston, taken him to college and put him through the paces of the American National Riding Commission (ANRC), and even made him wear a number of ridiculous hats and jump things most horses wouldn’t (a light-up disco ball, a wrapping-paper covered gate, and an American flag among those things). I won’t say I’ve managed to stay on ever buck he’s thrown (and he throws a mean buck) but I’ve managed to work out the worst of our kinks. Not bad for 11 years. Though you’d never know it from looking at him, CrackerJack is celebrating his 19th birthday today…marking his last teenage year (and hopefully less bucking). I’m still going to show, and I still plan to jump him until he says otherwise, but I thought on his special day I’d take the time to just say thank you:

Crackers and I waaay back at New England Equitation Championships.

Crackers and I waaay back at New England Equitation Championships.

  • For not throwing me into anything too painful
  • For having a fairly good sense of humor
  • For teaching me to stop leaning forward like an idiot

Happy Birthday Crackers, you’re the man.

Crackers now enjoys a happy and very easy life at Duncraven. He's spoiled just about rotten, as he should be.

Crackers now enjoys a happy and very easy life at Duncraven. He’s spoiled just about rotten, as he should be.

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The Horse Before The Carriage: Oreo’s Wild Ride

As you may have heard, Columbus Circle experienced a bit more drama then usual when a draft horse named Oreo bolted into traffic, dumping his carriage and passengers. The terrified horse made it to 9th street before being caught.

Sadly, Oreo was so upset that he had to be tranquilized. Image courtesy of NYC Class.org

For a long time, many equestrians have questioned the safety and ethics involved with city carriage horses. Though the rustic charm often sways people’s opinions on the topic, something we must ask ourselves is how many cases like Oreo’s happen and end differently? In several instances rather than simply ‘clipping’ cars and trucks, horses have completely collided with them, often causing life-threatening injuries or death. Certain lawmakers have called for a ban on horse carriages in New York City, while others maintain that it is a necessary tourist attraction.

The aftermath of a less-fortunate carriage horse in NYC. Image courtesy of Animal Law Coalition.

As the 13th accident in the past 12 months, perhaps enough is enough.

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This One’s For Switzerland

As you may have heard, the Swiss ended their 88-year long stagnant streak in the individual show jumping portion of the London 2012 Olympics.

It’s a pretty big deal

Image courtesy of Vaterland.li

Swiss rider Steve Guerdat rode the talented Nino des Buissonnets to win the individual gold medal. Guerdat’s success was the first in over 88 years, the last individual gold from a Swiss rider was in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

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Attack of the Clones

The legendary Gem Twist has a clone! Did you know? Image courtesy of Tuesday’s Horse

Confused about the title? Well here’s the skinny: clones of former olympic champion horses have no been approved to compete in future olympic endeavors! In a recent ABC article, the The Fédération Equestre Internationale(FEI) confirmed that though these clones would be too young to compete in the London 2012 olympics, they would be allowed to compete in upcoming events. The decision came after an inquiry into whether or not these clones of equine superstars would have an advantage over their un-cloned competitors. The result? Clones were deemed only 98% accurate copies of their originals, but it was decided that the training and upbringing of the horse was what determined its ability to compete, not genes. Perhaps in the next olympics we might be able to sneak a peek at Gem Twist’s clone.

Get a good look! This is Gemini Twist, the rumored clone of Gem Twist who has been training under equestrian legend Frank Chapot. Image courtesy of Young Jumpers.

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Preakness Time Finally Acknowledged

Secretariat at the Belmont. Image courtesy of Champions Gallery.

In 1973, Secretariat clocked in at 1:53 flat on the Preakness track the day of the Preakness Stakes. Initially, this time was clocked incorrectly at 1:55, as the electronic equipment had incorrectly recorded the colt’s time to be slower than the hand-clockers had recorded. However in a hearing at Laurel Park, The Maryland Racing Commission ruled that Secretariat had in fact run faster than he’d initially been clock, and that 90-year old owner Penny Chenery had been correct in assuming there had been an error in the records of her beloved horse.

“I didn’t know if it was appropriate to cheer but I couldn’t help myself,” Chenery said. “This is a big day.”-Penny Chenery, The Herald

With this new distinction made, Secretariat now holds the all-time record for all three legs of the Triple Crown, a feat that took a four-hour hearing and extensive evidence. Secretariat passed away at his home stable Claiborne Farm in 1989 at the age of 19, the proud father of over 653 foals and is now the proud bearer of of a legacy.

Secretariat is now immortalized at the Kentucky Horse Park in this elegant statue. Image courtesy of About.com and Cindy Pierson Dulay.

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Will We Have Another?

Since 1978, the racing world has not seen a Triple Crown winner. The last great horse to achieve this feat, Affirmed, was also a chestnut youngster. Like I’ll Have Another, he was a force to be reckoned with and an early favorite to win.

I’ll Have Another. Image courtesy of The Guardian

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The Olympic Long List Welcomes Laura Kraut and Beezie Madden

Fans of show jumping will be pleased to hear that two more familiar names will join the long list before the Selection trials set to run from March 21st until March 24th at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Joining previously announced competition McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut will join the hopeful contenders to represent the United States in London this coming summer. Joining these ladies on the list will be their respective mounts: Kraut aboard Cherry Knoll Farm’s Cedric, and Madden aboard Coral Reef Ranch’s Coral Reef Via Volo.

From Left to Right:Will Simpson, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden and McLain Ward
who won the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. Image courtesy of Zimbio.

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Its A Rough Week To Be A Horse: HBO’s Luck and History Channel’s Full Metal Jousting

Still shot from HBO's 'Luck'. Image courtesy of The Atlantic.

HBO’s horse racing series ‘Luck’ faces an unprecedented number of horse deaths on set, raising questions about the treatment and well-being of animals being used in filming. In previous productions, even one horse death was extremely rare, the last known horse to be euthanized during a productionwas in “3:10 to Yuma” from 2007: Luck has lost three horses.As a result, Luck will end its first season abruptly on March 25 after HBO has decided to pull the show entirely. Whether this was due solely to the loss of life, or in combination with its low ratings is still unclear.

Full Metal Jousting competitor,Landon Morris, having just struck the black horse pictured in the face. Image courtest of Warming Glow.

CLICK ‘CONTINUE READING’ TO READ ABOUT A HORSE GETTING PUNCHED IN THE FACE

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Looking a Gift Horse In The Mouth: The Rebekah Brooks Incident

In a bizarre twist events unfolding in England, Rebekah Brooks, the first female editor of The Sun, is facing criticism for ‘poor treatment’ of a former Metropolitan police horse named ‘Raisa’ after reports that the animal was returned to Scotland Yard at the age of 24 in ‘poor condition’.

Rebekah Brooks, and an image of a current in-service Metropolitan Police horse. Image courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

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CrackerJack

“Crackers”

Breed: German Holsteiner

Age: 17

About Crackers: Crackers, although not an ‘official’ Goucher College horse has represented Goucher at the American National Riding Commision for three years in a row as both a 3′ and 2’6″ competition horse. Crackers is Goucher’s resident goofball and is extremely talented at bucking, jumping large jumps, and making puppy eyes. CrackerJack was born in Germany and came to the United States when he was roughly 3 or 4 years old, where he was initially trained as a dressage horse. However, because of his ‘unique’ walk (resembles a camel’s walk) it was decided he would be much happier as a jumping horse. Before meeting his current owner Charlotte, Crackers competed in Florida, Massachusetts, and is even rumored to have been used in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association for a brief time. CrackerJack enjoys meeting new people, jumping anything and everything, and eating. CrackerJack is rumored to have once smacked his head on a water pipe as a colt, resulting in the ‘crack’ over his left eye, and is well known to most riders at Goucher for his impressive ‘bucking’, or kicking-motion when he gets too excited. Crackers vacations at Duncraven Stables in Titusville, NJ and is best friends with his unofficial “twin” Earthquake, a very large Goucher College horse. Crackers will be returning to Goucher College soon in hopes of representing Goucher a fourth time at ANRC, and will be rejoining barn mates Earthquake, Empire, Calypso, and Ghandi.

Likes: Carrots, Apples,Fruit Cups, Bananas, Melons, Oranges, Italian Ice, Pizza, Gatorade, Nerds, Twizzlers, Molasses, Peppermints, Jolly Ranchers,…and small children

Dislikes: Water, Baths, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Balloons, Umbrellas, Hipsters, Moustaches.

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