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The Horse World

A Day at the Races: Fillies, Frocks and the Oft-forgotten Folklore of Horseshoes

November 2018

It’s known as the race that stops the nation, but the Melbourne Cup carnival is about more than that. Betting and alcohol aside, it’s about two things in particular: horses and fashion. Two motifs predominate in racing fashion: the horseshoe and the horse bit. The bit is synonymous with Gucci and Hermes; both esteemed saddlers. The motif of the horse and rider, of course, feature in the logos of Longchamp, Ralph Lauren, Longchamp and Burberry. The single jointed snaffle bit adorns watches, bags, belts, shoes, jewellery, cufflinks and ties.

Rugging Traditions

November 2018

From bearskin saddle blankets to hoods resembling knight’s caparisons to magnetic ‘therapeutic rugs’, we’ve come a long way in the history of horse-rugging and, since we are now looking forward to finally casting off those winter turnout rugs with sighs of relief, this is a timely moment to consider the rugged horse in the history of art. Prior to the eighteenth century, horse rugs were basically large ornamental public-occasion heraldic-patterned or ‘parade’ coverings that would also have kept horses warm.

Icelandics in Australia: Big in Spirit

November 2018

When Birgit Kossmann saw an article in a German horse magazine about an Icelandic Horse stud in early 2011, she was surprised to read that the stud was in Australia. Birgit, who had ridden Icelandic Horses in her hometown Nottuln since she was three years old, had never heard of Icelandic Horses being here. Surely the climate was too hot for them? Icelandic Horses hail from a country of arctic deserts, icy tundra and lava fields. They were the preferred transport for the Vikings. Celebrated in Europe, the breed is perhaps best known for having an extra gait called a tölt. (See below.)

Horses and People in Art: Ancient Connections

October 2018

Xenophon’s texts on horsemanship written around 350BC were considered, for a long time, to be the earliest extant works on equitation. For the training of the military horse, Xenophon set the pattern. In fact, extracts from ‘On Horsemanship’ and ‘The Cavalry Commander’ are still required reading for candidates of examinations administered by the British Horse Society1.

A Lifelong Bond

August 2018

On our August 2018 issue cover is a gorgeous photo by Louise Sedgman of Jess Rae and her 4-year-old Thoroughbred- warmblood cross mare London. A paramedic, wife and mum to children aged 2 and 5, Jess had been out of horses for some years when her husband Cam, a veterinarian working at the Gippsland Veterinary Hospital bought a batch of semen from Marion Shear’s warmblood stallion Merlin, as a Christmas present with the aim to breed a foal that would allow Jess to get back into horses.

The Straw Ride

August 2018

During World War One, horses were prepared for the next leg of their journey to the battlefields of France, the Balkans, the Middle East, Egypt, or Italy at ‘remount depots’ around England. These depots also provided vet care and rehabilitation for horses coming back from the Front, where injuries, mustard-gas poisoning, skin and other contagious diseases reduced the supply of horses.

For the Love of Sarah

August 2018

This story is very personal to me. I did not know teenager Sarah Waugh who fell from a bolting horse and died at Dubbo TAFE in 2009, but I know - and deeply admire - her parents, Juliana and Mark Waugh. Our lives entwined through ‘happenstance’, when I reached out to them after becoming a pariah in my horse community for being passionate about improving safety.

Sublime Passions: Delacroix’s Horses

July 2018

I first saw Horses Coming out of the Sea when I was two or three years old, and I hold it entirely responsible for my love of both horses and art.  It featured in my first picture-books, the ground-breaking ‘Masters of Colour’ part-work series, published by Fabbri in the mid-1960’s in affordable weekly editions, each with 16 superbly-printed colour plates. My mother, keen to bring culture, or at least distraction, to my baby sister and me, eagerly subscribed to it at the local newsagent. 

Mules: Part 2

June 2018

Last month, I explained the origins of donkeys, mules and horses, and the unique differences in their intelligence, appearance, diet and disposition. In case you missed it, you can read it here. This month, I continue my discussion on the distinctive adaptations of today’s donkey, mule and horse.

George Morland: Hack or Hero?

May 2018

It’s true that some people do end up looking like their dogs; but like their horses too?  Above, we see a portrait of a favourite elderly white rescue horse and, above right, a sketch of the artist who owned and painted this horse.  If we look carefully, we can see between the horse and the human the same heavily-lidded eyes that look like they’ve ‘seen it all’, the same three-quarter profile angle, the same fleshy, sensual lips and the same world-weary facial expression. 

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