Kent Farrington puts carriages in the Olympic spotlight!

Source: Go Kent!

Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue

Yesterday I read a blog about an adoptive puppy turned 8 year old dog who terrorized his owner by attacking various innocent people and dogs for nearly a decade.

The owner finally found the ability within herself to do the right thing, and she had the dog she loved euthanized following a day of fun and love. Peacefully, he went over the Rainbow Bridge never knowing a bad day, and his reign of terror on his owner and those around him ended.

This was a first world problem, really. Only in very fortunate places on the planet can someone spend 8 years tormenting themselves over trying to decide what to do with an aggressive pet. . .or a sick pet. . .or pets that have no where to go for various and very real reasons.

I’m thankful for that. . .but we do have to recognize it is a luxury…

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I wish this was an April Fool’s joke…

Save Chicago's Horse Drawn Carriages


While the bill to ban Chicago’s horse drawn carriages seems mired in the murky backwaters of City Hall, another more insidious threat looms. Chicago’s runaway construction boom has forced 2 of the city’s 3 carriage companies out of their home at the old Noble Horse Theatre.


Dating back to the late 1800’s, the two-story stable at 1410 N. Orleans was one of several built for access to the riding paths of nearby Lincoln Park. Over the years, the others disappeared but the Orleans barn survived, at one point becoming an auto chop shop. An enterprising horsewoman later converted the garage into a small riding stable, which offered limited boarding and riding lessons (showjumper Kent Farrington was an early student).

After Mayor Jane Byrne reintroduced commercial horse drawn carriages to the city in 1980, Dan Sampson and his father were invited by the barn owner to move their company…

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Vaporback Writer

I had a realization this week that horses have reached a critical place in their relationship with humans, at least here in the United States. They have arrived at a place where, no matter what their circumstances, there are animal “activists” who will be outraged about their conditions. As each activist group successfully moves horses out of one category and into another, another group waits in the wings prepared to voice outrage and insist they know better.

Horses no longer have a role in our country where they can be safe from the meddling outrage of their self-appointed advocates–because the advocates themselves have not–and will not–reach any sort of consensus (and isn’t it interesting that they consider it a forgone conclusion that they should have the right to make decisions on the lives of other people and their animals?). Consensus, after all, is not a goal of the animal rights…

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Cheesecake and Clydesdales

Not everyone is up to the task of being a draft horse owner. These massive beasts have special needs and quirks that require a unique kind of human who’s equipped to handle them. They’re not right for everyone, but here’s a checklist to help you determine if you’ve got what it takes.

  1. Do you have the balance to use anything and everything as a stool?

milk crateJust grooming these monsters can be an uphill climb if you’re vertically challenged. Whether you’re clipping a bridle path, braiding a forelock, giving them wormer or even just trying to brush the dust off their rump, make sure there’s something you can stand on nearby. My stool of choice is the good ole milk crate. Don’t leave home without it!

  1. Are your stalls and alleyways extra wide?

Every heard that country song by the Willis Brothers, Give Me 40 Acres (and I’ll turn this rig…

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How one Victorian novel turned the carriage horse into the poster child for animal abuse more than a century ago–and why it’s time to move on.

Vaporback Writer

Beautiful JoeI acquired an antique book recently—one of life’s small joys. Although I had never heard of  Beautiful Joe, I discovered that it was a best-seller in its day. Originally published in 1893 by Canadian author Marshall Saunders, Beautiful Joe was, in fact, the first book to ever sell more than a million copies in Canada. It was the story of an unloved puppy born in the run-down stable of the horse who pulled the morning milk wagon through their small hometown. The cruel milkman who owns the stable abuses his animals, eventually killing all of Joe’s littermates (described in horrific detail) before turning his evil attentions on poor Joe. In a drunken rage, the milkman pins Joe, calls for a hatchet, and hacks off the helpless puppy’s ears and tail. The disfigured, desperate puppy is then rescued by the children of a neighboring family. Because his appearance is so…

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EXCLUSIVE: New York City carriage horses are stress-free even after long day of trotting, academic says

You’re probably more stressed than a New York City carriage horse, according to a new study.

A California academic who specializes in equine medicine conducted an intensive study of stress levels on Big Apple carriage horses and found them completely angst-free — even after a long day trotting in Central Park.

Joe Bertone, who teaches at Western University of Health Sciences, said he became intrigued with the carriage-horse debate after visiting New York several years ago.

“Vets I know and respected were telling me (the horses) were having a pretty darn good life, but I wanted to put some science behind it,” he said.

Daily News Save Our Horses Campaign.

Daily News Save Our Horses Campaign.

In a study sponsored by the horse-carriage industry, which provided a $5,000 grant, he and his team analyzed the levels of cortisol — a hormone produced during stress in humans and animals — in 13 carriage horses at the Clinton Park Stables on W. 52nd St. over a three-day period in August.

The animals were examined four times a day — mostly by taking saliva samples and checking their body temps — including right before they left for work and right after they got home.

“I couldn’t find more content animals,” said Bertone, who is board-certified in internal medicine for large animals, with a specialty in horses. “They were very relaxed.”

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