Monday

Mistletoe + Mares = Merry Christmas?


Mistletoe + Mares = Merry Christmas?

Don’t try this at home … but it sure is cute.

Check out this vintage Budweiser Clydesdales television spot, featuring a pair of doting draft horses in their Christmas-decked barn.
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Homer and Kitty are absolutely adorable in this 2007 video, as they meet one another under the mistletoe on a wintry night.
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Mistletoe is poisonous to horses.

Peppermint candy canes may be a favorite equine holiday treat, particularly when broken into bite-sized pieces (to prevent possible choking). So go ahead and give your favorite horse a minty candy delight this Christmas.

But hold the mistletoe.

Mistletoe is also toxic to cattle, dogs and many other animals.

This white-berried leathery-leaved plant is commonly known as “thief of the tree” (for its parasitic qualities). Perhaps ironically, mistletoe is part of the plant order known as SANTAlales. Even so, this poison plant has no place around ponies (or other equines).

So, although mistletoe may be the kissing plant at Christmastime, it can also be the kiss of death for horses and a host of other creatures.

For more information:
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Image/s:
Mistletoe – US Government Photo – Public Domain
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Tuesday

Giddy-Up with Gomer Pyle, and Jingle All the Way!

Giddy-Up with Gomer Pyle, and Jingle All the Way!

Remember Jim Nabors, who played the title role of Gomer Pyle on the 1960s black-and-white television comedy series? Actually, he got his start on The Andy Griffith Show.

Well, Jim Nabors was actually best known in his day as a singer. Just for fun, here’s his much-played version of “Jingle Bells,” a familiar song to horse lovers and others.
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Nabors’ version of the Christmas classic is somewhat different than the usual one we all sang in early elementary school.
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How many verses of “Jingle Bells” do you know?

Here are the lyrics to “Jingle Bells, as we know them. Are you aware of any additional verses? If so, please cite those lines in a comment (below).


Jingle Bells

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh;
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.
Bells on bob tails ring,
Making spirits bright.
What fun it is to laugh and sing
A sleighing song tonight.

CHORUS:
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh.

CHORUS

A day or two ago,
I thought I'd take a ride,
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side.
The horse was lean and lank;
Misfortune seemed his lot.
We got into a drifted bank,
And then we got upsot.

CHORUS

A day or two ago,
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow,
And on my back I fell;
A gent was riding by
In a one-horse open sleigh,
He laughed as there I sprawling lie,
But quickly drove away.

CHORUS

Now the ground is white;
Go it while you're young.
Take the girls tonight,
and sing this sleighing song;
Just get a bobtailed bay.
Two forty as his speed.
Hitch him to an open sleigh,
And crack! You'll take the lead.
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Merry Christmas to you and those you love … from The Mane Point!

For more information:


Image/s:
Vintage Sleigh Ride Artwork
Public Domain
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Wednesday

2011 World Clydesdale Show is this weekend!

2011 World Clydesdale Show is this weekend!

Who's going to see the Clydesdales?

No matter what breed of horses you prefer, the ground-shaking pounding of those massive, prancing feathered hooves have to set your heart a-thumping.

Madison, Wisconsin, will echo with the sound of approximately 600 giant Clydesdale draft horses, gathering at the Alliant Energy Center for the 2011 World Clydesdale Show. Equestrians and their horses will compete in halter, hitch and saddle classes.

And the Clydesdales may not return to Madison for another four years.

Who's headed for Mad-town this weekend to see the great gentle giants in action?

For more information:
World Clydesdale Show is this weekend!





Image/s:
World Clydesdale Show – promo logo


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Monday

Reunion Aloft - Saying Goodbye to a Special Horse

Reunion Aloft – Saying Goodbye to a Special Horse

Today is a sad day at the stables, as a friend bids a favorite horse farewell. Saying goodbye to an old equine companion may be one of the most difficult and painful, yet loving, things a horse lover may ever do.

We hope her sadness is softened somehow by the certainty that this special one is fairly beckoned upwards by his lifelong friend, who went on ahead about 18 months ago.

Gallop on, boys! We’ll miss you.


Reunion Aloft

The day has come,
The clouds foretold.
A cherished chum
Will join the fold.

Our hearts may fall
To watch him go.
We miss his call,
The bleached beau.

A partner dear
Calls him aloft.
We cannot hear
The whisper soft.

We witness not
Reunion’s glow,
As comrades trot,
Their joy to show.

His limbs are strong.
Behold, his gait.
He strides to song
With running mate.

Their chalky coats,
White and champagne,
Do fairly float
In flight, free rein.

Without a word,
But winged, fair,
They join the herd
In open air.


Image/s:

Cloud and Albert photo/s copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson

Nickers and Ink

“Death is the starlit strip
between the companionship of yesterday
and the reunion of tomorrow.”
Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

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Thursday

Can an ass be elected to office?

Can an ass be elected to office?

Marko can’t play polo, but perhaps he will get a kick out of politics. The grey donkey has been named as a mayoral candidate in the Bulgarian city of Varna.

The Society for New Bulgaria has proposed Marko to run against incumbent mayor, Kiril Yordanov, perhaps unsaddling him of his governmental responsibilities in an equid-able election.

“The donkey has a strong character, doesn’t steal, doesn’t lie and gets work done,” Angel Dyankov, campaign head, told reporters.

Can the donkey win?

If he brays attention, who knows? Marko the donkey is proving to be quote photogenic. Best of all, his handlers claim he will serve with a mulish determination and offer no kickbacks. His plank has not yet been revealed.

Perhaps not surprisingly, his political rival is balking at the possibility of running against the burro.  Yordanov claims such a suggestion is undignified. Onlookers have quipped that it may be too early to tell who might make an ass out of whom.

Voting in Varna is scheduled to take place on October 23rd.


Could this happen anywhere else?

As campaign managers trot out their candidates for our own upcoming elections, we cannot help but wonder. Certainly asses have been elected before, regardless of which animals may represent their own political parties’ mascots. Others have simply sown their wild oats while in office.

Perhaps the time has come to stop horsing around, when it comes time to vote. Can we pick off the jackasses, and choose real candidates?

Image/s:
Grey Donkey photo by Dixi – Creative Commons Licensing

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Tuesday

Can't wait to see ‘War Horse’ December 28 ... or before

Can't wait to see ‘War Horse’ December 28 ... or before

Take a look at the trailer for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming “War Horse” movie! The film, based on Michael Morpugo’s 1982 novel,  will likely carry a PG-13 rating (for violence).

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The plot follows a horse from quiet farm life to the battle lines in World War I and beyond. "War Horse" should appeal to horse lovers, history buffs and action-adventure movie fans alike.

“War Horse” is already a hit stage play, beginning in London and moving to Broadway a few months ago. The live production features life-sized puppet horses, unlike the Spielberg film, which stars real equines. The movie, originally scheduled for a late summer release, is due in theaters during Christmas vacation.

Hoping for a sneak preview peek at this one.

Image/s:
“War Horse” promotional movie poster

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Sunday

Jockey Rosie Napravnik is back in the saddle again


Jockey Rosie Napravnik is back in the saddle again

Can anything stop a determined woman?

The up-and-coming female jockey Rosie Napravnik, who won top honors at Fairgrounds Race Course last spring, rode Pants on Fire to finish ninth in the Kentucky Derby. And she finished with style and grace, never losing her enthusiasm and upbeat ever-ready smile.

“We haven’t heard the last from Rosie Napravnik,” I told Yahoo! Sports readers at the time. And it's true!


Unfortunately summer races brought a sudden downturn to Napravnik’s rise, as the popular 23-year-old female jockey suffered multiple wrist and arm injuries in racing spills.

On September 21st, the first day of autumn and less than three weeks before her own upcoming wedding, Napravnik mounted up at Delaware Park to ride trainer Mike Stidham. After four surgeries and months of healing, she is eager for her physicians to clear her to resume horse racing soon.

Rosie Napravnik is a champ, in attitude and athleticism. Let’s hope this is the start of an exciting run for the promising young jockey, blazing a trail and setting sports records for female jockeys.

Go, Rosie, go!


Image/s:
Jockey Rosie Napravnik photo by Joanna Poe – Creative Commons Licensing
Rosie Napravnik and Linda Ann Nickerson photo by D. Zeit for Nickers and Ink
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Saturday

Bud Clydes remember 9/11 ... and so do we.

Bud Clydes remember 9/11 ... and so do we.

Some things just merit repeating. Just ask the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.

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Anheuser-Busch aired this television commercial, titled simply “Respect,” just once. Of course, the video link has been shared and re-shared online, becoming somewhat legendary.

The original Budweiser Clydesdales 9/11 tribute ad was shown on Sunday, February 3, 2002, during Super Bowl XXXVI. (The New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.)

Now, as we mark the 10th anniversary of the tragic and terrifying terrorist attacks on the United States, which occurred on September 11, 2001, may we not forget to remember. 


Image/s:
Anheuser-Busch 9/11 tribute ad, titled “Respect” and aired in 2002
Video Screenshot
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Tuesday

Paint horse braves Irene floods to deliver meds in Vermont


Paint horse braves Irene floods to deliver meds in Vermont

OK, here’s one more reason to ride horses in all sorts of circumstances, besides simply making circles and loops in equestrian arenas.

A lone horseback rider, clad in a cowboy hat and rain slicker, saddled up and piloted his black-and-white Paint horse down a flooded Route 103 in Rockingham, Vermont, on Monday, August 29th, to hand-deliver a pouch of medicines to folks on the other side of the puddle. Police cars and emergency crews stood by, as the pair waded through the waters.

Rains associated with Hurricane Irene caused the Williams River to overflow, so the waters covered the county highway and made vehicular traffic impossible.

After passing off the package, the modern-day Pony Express pair turned and made their way back through the waters, which reached the sidepassing horse’s shoulders at one point.

Here’s the video of the prescription-delivering Paint horse in Vermont, who proved to be just what the doctor ordered:

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Video:
YouTube video by VTWayneVideo

Could a ring-sour training horse do the same? We can only wonder …

Certainly, cross-training is of considerable benefit to equestrians, horses and even occasionally those who may require their rescue.

Just ask the folks in Windham County, Vermont, who now have the medicines they needed, thanks to a Paint horse who was willing to wade through rippling floodwaters on the open road.

Image/s:
Vermont Horse and Rider Deliver Medications Through Irene's Flood - video screenshot
Rockingham, Vermont, city seal – Government photo/public domain


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Sunday

Rice Field Pop Art – Paddies and Ponies

Rice Field Pop Art – Paddies and Ponies
  
Look out! 

There’s a pony in that Japanese rice paddy!

Rice field clip art has become very popular in Japan, where planters sow multicolored rice to create amazing artwork.

From Samurais to stallions, high royals to hummingbirds, and lotus blossoms to butterflies, larger-than-life rice paddy artwork draws visitors from far afield to Japan’s agricultural areas. 
 
Aerial photographs of these massive all-natural landscape murals make popular posters as well. Look at all these cool images, grown from various colors of rice plantings.

File this collection of natural images in the “Isn’t that just so cool?” department.

Perhaps sometimes it is actually possible to find a grain of truth in the most unusual spots!

Whoa!

Can you believe your eyes?

Additional Items of Interest:
      Image/s:
      Japanese Rice Paddy Artwork, 
      Multicolored Rice Plants 
      and Rice Paddy Worker
      Widely circulated public domain photos


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