Pixie: The Pony Who Outran Annie Oakley

We lost our herd sire the day Pixie was hired for the Annie Oakley TV series.

Not that he left our lives, but he had to be gelded to work. He’d already sired most of the younger ponies, so Dad said it wasn’t a hard decision. Still, it made me sad. Continue reading


Making the Budweiser Super Bowl Commercials

Love between a puppy and a Budweiser Clydesdale is the too cute theme of this year’s Budweiser Super Bowl ad.

The gentle giants, known as draft horses, are easy to love. None are easier than the gorgeous Clydesdales that represent the Budweiser brand. Their Super Bowl commercial is among the most popular year after year. Now we have the opportunity to see the training and behind the scenes work via this additional video made by trainer Robin Wiltshire and Turtle Ranch. We get to see the hard work that goes into preparing these horses that charm the world.
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Gypsy Horses in Danger

Frightening car and horse collisions in York, England, have set motorists against the horse-loving gypsies.

Drivers are afraid of dying. Who can blame them? They also don’t want horses killed, right? Well, no, according to the comments section of The Press.Several people seem to think the appropriate reaction is to send them to the slaughter house.

The uproar has the councillors of York challenging the long-standing gypsy tradition of grazing their horses while tethered along the roadsides. Citizens are on edge because of reports of loose horses running rampant. Continue reading


Zebras vs. The Blood-Suckers: Zebras Win

Without spending a dime on repellent, face masks or zappers, zebras rid themselves of flies.

They don’t even flick their tails. They simply wear stripes, according to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, who discovered horse flies hate stripes.

“Tests were carried out in Hungary using life-sized cardboard cut-outs of horses painted white, brown, and with stripes and spots.

“The models were coated with oil and glue to trap the insects. Continue reading


Goodbye, Hollywood Park

Founded by the Hollywood elite, Hollywood Park’s first race was run on June 10, 1938.


Race Horses

Jack Warner, who owned a thoroughbred farm in the San Fernando Valley, was the Park’s first chairman. His shareholders included Harry Warner, Walt Disney, Bing Crosby, Samuel Goldwyn and other powerful players in movie land.

The Los Angeles Times published the memoirs of Richard Warren, who’s worked at the Park since 1948, in The long goodbye for Hollywood Park, through knowing eyes  Continue reading


Animal Instincts- Kirin Initial Research

An interesting summary of the mythology surrounding the Kirin. I’m going to enjoy checking back from time to time and see further posts and hear about your artistic progress.



First brief for the media elective, and it’s one that’s so far up my street I think I can see my house from here; ‘Animal Instincts’. I quote ‘thoroughly research and investigate the attributes of, and narratives associated with, a mythical creature. Consider its visible and ‘psychological’ attributes, history, mythology and symbolism’. My immediate thought was a dragon, but I can’t help but think that there’s so much mythology for the dragon that I’d never get through it all enough in just two days- and then I thought of the kirin or quilin. NEXT STAGE- RESEARCH– FOR ALL THOSE WHO KNOW NOT OF THE KIRIN. I’ll warn you right now that this pretty longwinded- I’ve shoved in a snappy factfile for those who’d rather read the TL;DR version of affairs

The qilin, kirin, chi lin or kylin is a mythological East Asian chimera thought to be a harbinger…

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Nicker, the Gelding Who Became Mr. Ed’s Mother

Nicker in the photo shown on Mr. Ed's wall

Nicker in the photo shown on Mr. Ed’s wall

I watched in horror as my father’s friend stuck a knife into his leg — on purpose. He’d been whittling a wooden horse as he sat talking on our front porch. I always loved watching his artistry, whether with paper and pencil or that sharp, sharp knife. Stunned, I stared in silence, amazed that everyone else didn’t seem to notice and equally amazed his leg didn’t bleed. At last, he looked my way and laughed. “It’s wooden,” he said as he thumped right above the knife. The sound was hollow. Relief flooded through me and was quickly followed by embarrassment because I’d been caught staring.

But Norman didn’t mind. When he left that evening, he left behind the wooden horse and his aging palomino stallion. Continue reading


The Wondrous Beauty of Driftwood Horses

Exploring Heather Jansch’s website is a journey of creative discovery and immense beauty.

Imacon Color Scanner“Possibly the most instinctive act of my life was to fall in love with a horse. Not just any horse, but a horse made of driftwood by the wonderful Heather Jansch. It was at exhibition at Eden and the time came for it to go home. I simply couldn’t bear it. I bought it and have been fighting off would be purchasers ever since. Heather is a genius with an eye for nature that in another generation would have seen her burnt as a witch – now she is rightly considered one of our country’s finest artists. If you were to ask the visitors to Eden “what is your favourite work here? It would be the horse and we gave the entrance to our kingdom to this horse. Richard 111 see it and weep.” ~ Tim Smit KBE, founder of The Eden Project Continue reading


When Hoboes Have Reasons

Illustration by Chet Phillips

Illustration by Chet Phillips

Mangy. That’s how I felt and how he looked, sitting there beside the road with the hot Mojave sun beating down. He’d been there since morning. I passed him while delivering two yearlings to a Thorobred farm in Lone Pine. He hadn’t budged an inch since. One of the truck’s features wasn’t air conditioning — who could afford it? — so the windows were down. I rolled to a stop and yelled for him to get in. Agile, he leaped into the back without a sound. Continue reading


Tom Mix and the 1913 Prescott Rodeo

Talented horse people, Mix and his wife, Olive “Ollie” Stokes, enjoyed exhibiting in daredevil events.

As a sort of curtain raiser, a good sized “twister” passed leisurely over the grounds. It entered at the last end and ranged slowly along the grandstand, down the line of autos and during five minutes sent heavy sombreros hundreds of feet into the air, rendered the skirts of numerous ladies embarrassingly unmanageable and almost started a stampede with the stock. Continue reading


A Colt on the Roof?

That’s what the photo shows: yearling thoroughbred Must Win patiently standing on the roof of the barn.


Pat and Stephen Downey thought the photo was doctored at first, but their barn bore witness to his adventure, with multiple manure piles and a hole where the colt’s hoof punched through.

Stephen’ brother, Archie, snapped the photo, then coaxed the baby down. He’d never been handled, so Archie first tried to lure him down, but that failed. Then Archie got behind him and gently shooed him toward the rear edge. At last, Must Win finally took the dare and jumped down to the earthen ramp he’d used to climb up.

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Blue Feather Spirit has included beautiful artworks and a video to her informative essay on the Indian war ponies, the symbols warriors painted on them and their importance to the native tribes.




The Indian war horse was highly regarded by its American Indian owner, who often honored and protected his war horse by painting tribal symbols upon the animal’s body.

While the symbols used and their meanings varied from tribe to tribe, there were some common symbols that were widely used on the Indian war horse.

Each power symbol has its own specific meaning and the purpose for which it was used was determined by the nature of the dangerous job which the war horse would be asked to do.

The Indian would decorate his horse with carefully chosen war symbols or power symbols which might be intended to give him protection, to indicate the troubles which lay ahead, or which spoke of the courageous heart of the war horse. Some symbols told of the horse’s affection for the warrior. In this article, you will find explanations of some symbols which…

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Two Loving Owners Who Created Dangerous Horses

Wild Horse, Wyoming, Usa

Wild Horse, Wyoming, Usa

The defiant gelding refused to move forward, instead backing fast and deliberately toward another horse and the woman standing beside him. He lashed out, kicking high and landing a solid blow on her victim’s chest He also hit his victim’s hand, smashing a finger. No doubt he intended to harm the other horse, but fortunately, that did not happen.

The paint gelding was barely four but plenty old enough to understand good manners. Unfortunately, his owner didn’t have the necessary skills to prevent the injury.  She wasn’t in control, so could not prevent the kick. She didn’t scold or punish him after he kicked.  Continue reading


Fire All Around Us

August, 2009. The smoke was thick, choking the life from our lungs. It was hot and dry, typical for a Southern California summer. The Santa Anas — the devil winds — threatened to tear sheds apart and toppled trees. As we drove home, I was horrified to see the fire had jumped the freeway and was burning on the slopes that surrounded it. Sparks filled Foothill Blvd in front of us. The field on our right was beginning to smoke.
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The Genuine Mexican Plug by Mark Twain

I resolved to have a horse to ride. I had never seen such wild, free, magnificent horsemanship outside of a circus as these picturesquely-clad Mexicans, Californians and Mexicanized Americans displayed in Carson streets every day. How they rode!

Leaning just gently forward out of the perpendicular, easy and nonchalant, with broad slouch-hat brim blown square up in front, and long riata swinging above the head, they swept through the town like the wind! The next minute they were only a sailing puff of dust on the far desert. If they trotted, they sat up gallantly and gracefully, and seemed part of the horse; did not go jiggering up and down after the silly Miss-Nancy fashion of the riding-schools. I had quickly learned to tell a horse from a cow, and was full of anxiety to learn more. Continue reading


Riding Through Life with Maggie

maggiehorsehankI almost killed her. She’ll tell you that right up front. She was ten. I was twelve. She was on my horse, Blue. I was in the center, holding onto the lunge line, when Blue took off, running under a tree before I could stop her. Maggie reminds me of this often, laughing aloud as she reminisces.

But then I look at this photo and wonder….and laugh too. Continue reading


Gene Autry, Buffalo Bill, and Me

Pixie and I, January, 1955

Pixie and I, January, 1955

The doctor’s buzzsaw had barely stripped the cast from my eight-year-old arm when the call came. Ace Hudkin, of Hudkin Brothers Stables, was on the line when my dad answered. “The studio wants to interview your daughter about an upcoming series. They need a gal who can ride.” Continue reading


Mr. Ed: My Childhood Neighbor

Ed with his co-star, Alan Young

Ed with his co-star, Alan Young

In the 50s and 60s, the San Fernando Valley was mostly farms, ranches and bare acreage. Low desert, the untamed land was covered with sagebrush, tumbleweeds and a bit of cactus. Winter rains encouraged the growth of large fields full of wild barley and golden poppies. Summer brought the hot, dry Santa Ana devil winds. The tall grass, its seed heads chattering in the strong gusts, turned golden brown. The valley was the home of many western movies, movie stars and Mr. Ed–who lived right across the dirt street from me.
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