Archive » October 27, 2011
By Pat Murphy Contributing Writer
It’s too bad that we can’t put the state of Kentucky on big wheels and move it next door. It is such an interesting place with its beautiful Thoroughbred farms, the Kentucky Derby and the amazing Kentucky Horse Park. At least two of our Valley residents are active at the Park: western rider Greg Simon and Arabian horse breeder Christie Metz.
Because our Valley has such a huge population of horses, we stay in touch with the Horse Park in order to keep readers informed on some of the special events that are taking place. There are numerous other things there to enjoy at all times. It’s definitely worth a trip to have such an exhilarating experience.
The American Museum of Natural History held its premier opening of “The Horse” at the park last week. It is a celebration of the ancient bonds between horses and mankind, and depicts the countless ways that horses have been involved with the progress of civilization. It contains 140 ancient artifacts from around the world, photographs, educational videos and an actual life-sized diorama of the horse’s ancestors. Scientific studies suggest that horses, as they evolved, may have been with us for 50 million years.
An ornate ancient Siberian saddle is among the pieces on display. There is also an Afghan riding whip for playing the game called “Buzkasi.” This bludgeon is actually composed of iron, leather, wood, cotton and copper and was often held in the rider’s teeth to keep their hands free during their tussle over the carcass of a slaughtered goat.
One spectacular display is a complete set of horse armor. Used by knights in the 16th century. Imagine this plus the weight of the knight plus his suit of armor on top of a horse, it is no wonder that draft-sized horses were developed. It’s kind of a miracle that horses put up with us at all!
There is a bronze figurine of the Celestial horse on display that has been revered in China for two thousand years. In 206 B.C., the Chinese mounted a 2,000-mile expedition to Feragnga (which is now called Uzbekistan). It was organized because they had heard of the fine horses raised there. Apparently, the trading went well and the Chinese conducted themselves as businessmen rather that horse rustlers. Because this was the opening of the trade route known as the “Silk Road.” However, it may also have been a trade of parasites because these horses, so famous for mysteriously sweating blood, were later thought to be infested with internal parasites.
Winners at the Equestrian CenterEquestrian Center News: The results of the Oktoberfest Three Man Sort are in! A big thank you to the organizers: Ellen Levine, Tammy Evans and Diana Stetson. As you probably know, teams of three riders enter a corral and, while reading the numbers pasted on the hips of the cattle, they try to get steers to run out the gate in numerical order.
It was a crazy day, as the cattle seemed to have learned how to read. It was obvious that they were whispering to one another with the number that was pasted on others’ hips; thus enabling them to escape through the gate in a helter-skelter order. It is satisfying to a steer, especially after having being castrated, months before, to see humans screaming and tearing their hair out. Mark Gowing did a great job of announcing and tearing his own hair at times.
The winning team was Marla Sprowl, Bill Keefe and Ashley Trancatti. In 2nd place were Blair Pense, Ellen Levine and Diana Stetson. Finishing 3rd were Sherry Kayson, Juan Morales and Bill Keefe. Larry Sarloos split his raffle money winnings with the Equestrian Center. Lupe Lopez won the Jackpot, which was only fitting as it was also his birthday. Lupe got a rousing serenade from all the other riders and their horses.