This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WAR HORSE-See a future unicorn in action

On December 5th I was privileged to be able to preview the new movie "War Horse" by Steven Spielberg to be released on Christmas Day. What an experience! What a great Christmas gift to all of us, horse-lover or not! I loved this movie, not only because I love horses and hate war but because of all the messages within and around it.

Steven Spielberg saw the fantastic play "War Horse" in London and it inspired him to put aside all other projects and make that story into a movie.

If you haven't heard about this play it is quite amazing. The horses are all depicted by puppets and the puppeteers have so thoroughly studied the natural movements of horses that you completely forget that the puppets aren't real.

The story is about the love between a boy and a horse, just like in Behind the Mist. The story opens in England just before World War I when the boy's father, in a state of inebriation spent all of the families meager funds on a young, untrained thoroughbred colt instead of the needed plow horse. With loving training by the man's son, "Joey" as he is named becomes not only loyal but very strong. When the war comes, the farmer is forced to sell Joey to save the farm, breaking his son's heart, and Joey is sent off to war, but not before the boy promises to find him.

There are several touching moments in the film that had me crying...sobbing actually, and others that had me gripping by husband's arm tightly. One of the most touching scenes reminded me of the story about the Christmas Eve during WWI when the soldiers from both sides set down their guns and sang "Silent Night" together. In this movie, Joey escapes the German's who have captured him and is running between the trenches in "No Man's Land." It is a brutal scene as the horse becomes entangled in the barbed wire. (Barbed wire is every horseperson's worst nightmare!) An English solder risks his life to go out to try to save him and is joined by a German soldier who has a pair of wire cutters. The depiction of the bond of humanity that connects these two young men who have enmity forced upon them is worth the price of admission.

I don't want to spoil the movie for you but let me just say that it has shades of "Black Beauty!"

Movie producers think that "Horses don't sell." Let's prove them WRONG! Go see WAR HORSE!

After you see it, send me your comments either here, on Face book: Behind the Mist, or on my email:

I have no doubt that Joey has earned his unicorn horn by now!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Horse Slaughter Houses in the US?

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time know that I rarely stray from my expressed theme of honoring the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. You also know that I love horses, have ALWAYS loved horses and WILL ALWAYS love horses and not just until I die but beyond death as well! So it is with difficulty and distress that I broach the subject of slaughtering horses in our country. In November, Congress voted to lift a ban on funding inspections of horse meat processing plants (Slaughter Houses.) Obama signed the bill into law on November 18.

How do I feel about this? That is a tough question. I love my horses so much. I know them personally and I believe that they love me as much. The thought of one of them coming to such a violent end makes me sick to my stomach. However, as much as I wish every horse could be in a loving home such as mine, I know that that is not the case.

Five years ago, a ban was put into law the prevented the spending of any money to inspect horse slaughter houses. As a result, no horse meat could be sold for human consumption in the US. It must be noted that slaughtering horses was not banned federally, just the inspection. Two states, California and Illinois have banned the slaughter of horses. The result of the ban was that the US slaughter houses shut down.

However, in the intervening five years, what has happened? It is important to look at the results of a governmental action...something our politicians and government beurocrates refuse to do in most cases. There have been two major problems. First, many people had no humane way to dispose of an old or injured horse. Many were simply abandoned or neglected and left to live a life of long, drawn-out misery. The second problem is that Canada and Mexico continue to have slaughter houses. I have been told that the Canadian plants are quite humane but a horse sent to Mexico is sent to a torture chamber. I hope that isn't true but my gut tells me that it is. The other issue is that horses are transported the long miles out of the country in horrible conditions.

I really hate even thinking about this and any time spent researching it leaves me so upset I have nightmares. If any of you have ever been to a horse auction, you can quickly identify the "Killers" as they are called. They are the ones who step in when a horse hasn't sold and offer a low price.

There doesn't seem to be a good answer for those of us who so love horses. My love for horses in general and my own in particular does not negate the fact that there are simply insufficient resources available, especially in this economy, to take care of unwanted horses. Then again, our Federal Government does not need to take on any more costly programs!

So what is the best thing to do?
WHAT DO YOU THINK? I don't have an answer for this and would welcome anything you have to say!

ON A HAPPIER NOTE: Escape to the land of the Unicorns in BEHIND THE MIST. Special sale price of just $9.95 is available NOW on the website, PLUS you can have it autographed!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MESSENGER-Famous Imported Thoroughbred

Messenger was a grey thoroughbred stallion. Messenger has crosses to all three of the Thoroughbred foundation sires, particularly Godolfin Arabian. Messanger's sire was a trotter but Messenger was never used in a trotting race. However, his great grandson, Hambletonian became the father of American Trotters and Pacers so I guess he kept that talent and passed it on. For more information on Hambletonian, read my post on December 15, 2010.

Messenger was bred in England. There, he started in 16 flat races and won ten of them. Messenger's races, usually less than two and half miles, were mainly "match" races in which the side bets far exceeded the purse.

In May 1788 Sir Thomas Benger imported Messenger to Pennsylvania. In 1793, Messenger was sold to Henry Astor. According to an article in Wikipedia, "Messenger was once advertised in a Philadelphia newspaper as: Available for service: Inquiries to be made to a certain Alexander Clay at the sign of the Black Horse in Market Street." I love little bits of history like that. It makes a famous horse like Messenger seem so real!

Messenger became a very successful stud and produced great race horses. Messenger was bred throughout Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersy. The mares he was bred with were not of the highest quality, but even so he proved himself a superior stallion, siring a great many successful thoroughbred racehorses. One example is Messenger's daughter, Miller's Damsel, also known as "Queen of the American Turf." His genes can also be found in the American Saddlebred and Tennessee Walking horses. Messenger died on January 8, 1808 at the age of 28. He is buried on Long Island.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Why do I like horses? I think I must be mad.
My mother wasn't horsey - And neither was my dad.
But the madness hit me early - and it hit me like a curse.
And I've never gotten better. In fact I've gotten worse.
I hardly read a paper - but I know who's sold their horse.
And I wouldn't watch the news - Unless Mr. Ed was on, of course.
One eye's always on the heavens - but my washing waves in vain
As I rush to get the horses in - in case it's gonna rain.
I spend up every cent I've got - on horsey stuff for sure
I buy saddles, bridles, fancy boots - and then I buy some more.
I can't sew on a button - I don't even try
But I can back a truck and trailer - in the twinkling of an eye.
It's jeans and boots that I live in night and day
And that smell of sweaty horses just doesn't wash away.
I ache from long forgotten falls. My knees have got no skin.
My toes have gone a funny shape - from being stomped on again and again.
But late at night, when all is still - and I've gone to give them hay,
I touch their velvet softness and my worries float away.
They give a gentle nicker and they nuzzle through my hair
And I know it's where my heart is - more here than anywhere.
~ Author Unknown

This poem was sent in by a reader named Jodi and it touched my heart. While I live in Breeches instead of jeans, this poem otherwise fits me like a glove (a riding glove, of course!) My non-horsey parent couldn't understand my obsession but they allowed me to pursue it all the same and I thank them for that! And you should see my toes!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

LAURETTA, Queen of Horses

On March 2nd, 2011, I wrote a post about Jim Key...the smartest horse ever! I made a brief mention about his mother, the Arabian Mare, Lauretta. Her story is quite fascinating. The legend has it that a fast-talking, slick and handsome Englishman wormed his way into a friendship with an Arab sheik in the 1870's. The sheik was charmed by this young foreigner named Jack Randall and threw a lavish feast for him in his tent city in the desert. During the last of many feasts, Sheik Ahemid bragged about his fabulous, priceless horses that he called the Kingly Four. He said that they were the four remaining descendants of horses who belonged to the Pharaohs. He owned three stallions, named Philis, Ectes and Ranus, and one mare named Lauretta. The beautiful grey mare was his prized possession.

Jack Randall said he worked for a great sheik in far-off England whose name was P.T. Barnum. He promised that his boss would pay her weight in gold plus one thousand horses to acquire Lauretta. This was tremendously insulting to the Sheik and, in a fit of rage, ended the feast and sent the audacious Englishman back to his tent.

That night, under the light of the desert stars, Jack Randall creeped past the sleeping guards and into the tent of the Kingly Four. He bridled Lauretta, leaped on her back and galloped her across the wind-swept desert sands. Grief and anger filled Persia. P.T. Barnum paid a reported $50,000 for the kidnapped horse and her history added to her popularity as P.T. Barnum took her around Europe with his circus.

Once the notoriety died down, Lauretta was sold to a smaller circus and then to yet another. Cruel treatment resulted in poor health and appearance and her loss of value as a circus performer. Somewhere along the line, she ended up in a small circus in America where she was found by Doc Key, the well known horse trainer. Through much time, love, patience, kindness and his own home remedies, Dr. Key was able to bring her back to her original beauty though not strength.

As you might expect, Lauretta became very attached to Doc Key and he couldn't bare to leave home without her. She soon began performing her circus tricks just to show off...not out of fear of the whip or pin-pricks.

She was later bred to a Hambletonian and produced the famous horse: Jim Key that you can read about on the Mar. 2 post. You can read about Hambletonian, the grandfather of the American Trotters and Paces on the December 15, 2010 post.

I got this information from excerpts from the book: "Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of the World's Smartest Horse" by Mim Eichler Rivas.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Luke, the boy book critic reviews BEHIND THE MIST

You have to watch this darling little boy give his review of Behind the Mist!

Behind the Mist was written for the middle grade readers: 9 to 14. But this boy is just 8 so if you know of a precocious 8 year old, they will love it, too!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WAR ADMIRAL - Famous son of Man O'War

The picture above is of the most famous horse race in American History: the match race between the 1937 Triple Crown winner, War Admiral and the "people's darling" from the west coast: Seabiscuit. As you probably already know, Seabisuit won that race by four lengths.

However, dear readers, do not let that take away from the greatness of War Admiral! This wonderful horse was born in February, 1934 at the Lexington, Kentucky home of his father: Man O'War. The name of the breding facility is Faraway Farm. He was the sixth foal by Man O'War from the mare Brushup. The first five were fillies and didn't do great on the race track. But War Admiral was another story. In all, his owner: Samuel D. Riddle raced him 26 times and he won 21 of them. As I mentioned, he was the triple crown winner in 1937 and was named "Horse of the Year" that year. He was later elected to the National Museum of Racing and the Hall of Fame.

Unlike the movie depiction of him, he was a dark brown and smaller than average. The average race horse is 16 hands. His father, Man O'War was 16.2 but War Admiral was only 15.3 hands.

War Admiral went on to become a great sire. He fathered 40 stakes winners before he died in 1959 at the age of 25.

He is truly one of the noble and great horses and deserves to become a unicorn!

Here is the newsreal clip of War Admiral winning the 1937 Kentucky Derby, the first of the Triple Crown Races.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

THE GREAT BUCEPHALUS-An important player in The Mist Trilogy

I started this blog one year ago. Since that time, thousands of you have visited and enjoyed the stories about famous horses. I am repeating this post because Bucephalus plays an important role in the third book of The Mist Trilogy: The Rising Mist. Plus, I think Bucephalus is cool!

One of the most famous horses in history is the black stallion, Bucephalus, mount of Alexander the Great. In the third book of The Mist Trilogy, The Rising Mist, the reader meets this amazing horse in his immortal life. I don't want to tell you any more about that or it might ruin the story. But I do want to tell you about the original Bucephalus. Much of what is written about him may very well fall in the category of folklore so I can't be sure of all of the facts. But I will tell you what is believed to be true.

Bucephalus was born around the year 356 B.C., the same time as Alexander The Great. He was bred by the great horsemen in Thessaly. When he was twelve years old, he was brought as an unbroken stallion to Philip II of Macedonia by a horse dealer. The dealer, Philonicus, was asking 13 talents for the horse. A talent was a huge amount of money, equaling 57 to 60 pounds of gold or silver. So, imagine the value of 13 talents! In any case, when Philip saw that none of his horsemen and trainers could ride the horse, he scoffed and asked to have the horse taken away. However, young twelve- year-old Alexander, who had been watching the attempts by his father's trainers, stepped forward and said: "I can tame this horse to ride. It only needs the right rider." The adults, of course, laughed him to scorn but he was not deterred. We can call Alexander the first "Horse Whisperer" because, as he had been watching, he noticed that the horse was frightened by the shadows cast by the men as well as their aggressive body and head movements. The young boy walked quietly up to the horse, speaking softly to him, and turned him to face the sun, thus casting the shadows behind him. Gently stroking his black coat he worked his way around to the horse's side and mounted the stallion. Off they galloped until boy and horse were one.(one famous mos

Alexander named him Bucephalus, which means "Ox head" because his head, which sported a white star and one blue eye, was extremely broad as a bull's.

At that time, bridles were used but not leather saddles or stirrups. Alexander and Bucephalus traveled thousands of miles with only a cloth laid over the horse's back. The two conquered the entire Persian empire from the Mediterranean Sea to modern day India, and south to Egypt. It is interesting to note that, on their march down to Egypt, Jerusalem folded without a battle. The people of Jerusalem quoted Daniel's prophecy found in the 8th chapter about a mighty Greek King that would conquer Egypt so Alexander left them alone and traveled on.

Alexander believed that both he and his horse would be immortal (A fact attested to in the third book of The Mist Trilogy) and when his horse died at the age of 28 or 30 (depending on the source,) Alexander gave him a state funeral and named a city, Bucephala, after him. Some say that the horse died in Alexander's last battle, other say he died of old age.

Bucephalus has been immortalized in art, literature and movies. In fact, Walter Farley's Black Stallion was loosely based upon this story. If you watch the movie carefully, you will see the father of the boy, Alec, give him a tiny statue of Bucephalus when they are on the boat.

Check out the clip below from a movie about Alexander the Great.

Send me the story of your Nobel and Great horse that deserves to be a unicorn someday and it may get published on the blog. Email me at:

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SHERGAR - Kidnapped and killed now runs free in Celestia

I have a sad story to tell you. It is a true story but very sad none-the-less. In 1978 an exceptionally beautiful, bay thoroughbred colt was born in Ireland. His name was SHERGAR. His owner and breeder was a wealthy Muslim prince named Prince Karim Aga Khan IV. The colt grew up to be a kind and gentle stallion with a distinctive white blaze on his face. He won nearly all his races as a 2 and 3 year- old, including the famous Epson Derby. A side note: The Epson Derby is the original Derby. It began in Epsom, England in 1780. The British pronounce it "Dah-be." He won that race in 1981 by a record ten lengths and became a national hero in Ireland. He was named the 1981 European Horse of the Year.

Things looked great for Shergar at this point. He was retired to become a stud. When he arrived in Newbridge in October, 1981, her was greeted by the town band and school children waving green and red flags, the Aga Khan's stable colors, as he was paraded up Main Street.

The first year Shergar stood at stud at the Ballymany Stud Farm in Kildare County, Ireland, he produced thirty-five foals. Things were looking promising for the people who bought shares in him.

But things changed quickly. 1983 was in the middle of the decades-long struggle by the Irish Republican Army. The IRA was a paramilitary organization whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and establish a Socialist Republic by force or Political persuasion. On a foggy night, the 8th of February, 1983, a stolen horse trailer (called a "horse box" in Great Britian,) pulled into the unsecured farm. The groom who lived on the grounds with his large family sent his son to answer the knock on the door. He entered the room to see his son sprawled on the floor and masked gunmen in the room. They forced the groom, named James Fitzgerald, to take them to Shergar's stall and load the beautiful horse in the trailer. Shergar was never seen again. His body was never found and it wasn't until twenty-five years later that the sad truth about his brutal ending from machine gun fire was revealed. The ransom was never paid and a beautiful horse became the innocent victim of man's infighting.

Shergar now runs free across the fields of Celestia as a member of the Legion of the Unicorn.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Update from Unicorn Rider: Debbie McDonald

I met Debbie McDonald yesterday at the Rocky Mountain Dressage Society Championships at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado. She is as nice a person as one would guess by the way she rides. (Some people may not understand that statement but I do!) The update about Brentina is that they are not planning on breeding and harvesting any more embryos from Brentina and just be happy with the two foals they have.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

RADIUM - A Unicorn from Down Under!

Radium is one of the most famous Campdraft stock horses in Australia. "What is a campdraft horse?" you say. Well, a campdraft horse in Australia is just like one of our American cutting horses. Have you ever been to a stock show and watched the cutting horses segregate one steer or calf from a herd? Cowboys do this to separate a calf that needs branding or medication or for some other reason.

While Radium died in 1947 at the age of 29, he still has his own Facebook page...That's a pretty with-it horse, I'd say! This is what it says on his facebook page:

Radium was an outstanding Australian bred campdrafter and very influential ancestor of Australian Stock Horses. He was a bay stallion bred by Donald Beaton of Levedale, Gloucester, New South Wales. This son of the outstanding campdrafter, Cecil (1899, by Red Gauntlet from Meretha II) from Black Bess by Hukatere (1882) was foaled on 11 November 1918. Beaton took great care in the breeding of his horses requiring horses with ability and stamina, for which he culled heavily. Radium’s sire, Cecil was so successful that in 1913, his owner, Arch Simpson was asked to leave his champion campdrafter at home in order that other competitors had a chance to win the campdrafting event at Geary’s Flat Bushman’s Carnival.

Radium was broken in by Archie Grant and Billy Tout when he was a two year old, after which he had several trips to the Cooplacurripa area. He began to show his exceptional ability as a stock horse as he developed and matured. Donald Beaton often drove long distances to compete at bushman’s carnivals with Radium tied behind the buggy. Radium would then compete in the campdraft, often winning and if he was going well, round off his success with an exhibition of campdrafting without a bridle.

In circa 1928, Radium was sold to Herb O’Neil, who, as a friend of Donald Beaton, had ridden the horse in competitions for Beaton when he had been unable to get away from his property. Herb O’Neill competed extensively with Radium, winning over a large area of the state. Just prior to the Second World War (WWII), Radium won a Championship Campdraft at Kempsey, New South Wales with the next ten placings going to Radium’s sons and daughters. Radium was also highly successful in led contests for the best type of Stock Horse. During WWII, at a Dungog Bushman’s Carnival over 20 horses were competing in the led stock horse class. In this event Radium received the first placing with the remaining four all being his sons.

I especially liked the part about Radium being "Towed" to shows tied to the back of the buggy. That reminds me of myself as I pull into Dressage shows and park my rusty stock trailer next to the huge, fancy multi-horse-with-living quarters-trailers! Go Radium! And now you have left your mark on Australia's stock horse breeds. Enjoy galloping around Celestia and cutting cattle in the Animal Kingdom! (If you don't know what I am writing about you need to read Behind the Mist!)

Here is an informative video about cutting horses that you will enjoy and learn from!

Send me the story of your Noble and Great horse!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DIA'S DEMON HORSE - Inspiration for Hasbadana

If you have read Behind the Mist already, you will know that Hasbadana is the ultimate BAD HORSE. Whenever I would write about him, I would be picturing the 32 foot tall statue that "greets" travelers as they arrive at or depart from Denver International Airport. It is mounted on a concrete and steel slab between the lanes along Pena Boulevard. You can't miss it...fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your definition of art. In any case, "Mustang" as the City of Denver art commissioners call it or "Demon Horse" as I call it, was my inspiration for the evil Lord of the Dark Kingdom: Hasbadana.

Workers installing the Demon Horse in February, 2008

The story of the Demon horse is very interesting, while at the same time very tragic. The sculpture was commission by the City of Denver in 1992 to be the crowning piece for their new, overly expensive but beautiful airport. In Behind the Mist, DIA is referred to as the "white peaks on the plains" in reference to the canvas mountain-like peaked roof. Luis Jimenez from New Mexico was selected to complete the work and was offered $300,000 to do so if he completed it by year after the completion of the airport. Jimenez's son said that from the onset, the artist and the horse had a "love-hate" relationship. Sixteen years, four missed deadlines, two lawsuits and one death later, the long-awaited "Demon Horse" was finally corraled.

In June of 2006, the fiberglass torso portion of the sculpture swung out of control and fell on Luis Jimenez while it was being hoisted in the artist's Hondo, New Mexico Studio. The City of Denver immediately claimed ownership of the sculpture and spent another $350,000 to rehab it, ship it to California for completion, ship it back to Colorado, install it and dedicate it. I don't know about you, but I think the dedication was necessary at this point!

On You-tube I found the the perfect song for the evil unicorn, Hasbadana:

The real thoroughbred of sin is Hasbadana! If you haven't learned to hate him yet, please buy a copy of Behind the will be glad you did!

Purchase your own copy of Behind the Mist on its own website:

or wherever fine books are sold!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DARKER N BEY - A story of love and perserverance

Here is another story from Jan Sharp, the owner of Black Tie Affair that I wrote about in the last post.

Since I have shown Arabian horses for nearly 40 years and am a trick horse trainer, when Darken was born, I expected him to become a champion show horse and a trick horse super star. He would be my star pupil who would reflect my years of horse training skills. A champion in the making for sure.

What I got was a crooked-legged, scaredy cat colt who was afraid of his own shadow. He over reacted to everything he saw and heard for no reason. Sudden movements practically knocked him off his feet. Standing a bit like a duck, it would seem he didn't have much future as a show horse and hope of him becoming a trick horse dissolved when he refused to learn any tricks.

I gave up trying to teach him tricks and went to work trying to get him to just behave like a normal horse. He had no intention of being normal. As a two year old, he fractured his skull somehow in his stall and needed surgery to repair the broken bones in his forehead. More surgery came later when he developed a massive infection after being gelded. After he recovered, he proved to not take to be ridden either. He'd spook and bolt at the slightest noises.

Then, one day, all that changed. He walked out of his stall and started to perform tricks on his own. He bowed, he lay down, he sat - all things I never taught him. The horse I thought might never fulfill the dreams I had for him had taught himself tricks. Apparently, his ablibly to teach himself tricks and quickly learn new ones I taught him gave him a new focus in life and there was no stopping him.

Despite standing crooked in the front at times, he went on to become a reserve world champion in halter. And, dispite being difficult to ride, he went on to earn the high score Arabian award at his first big rated open dressage show and qualified for the sport horse nationals.

By sharing his story with hundreds of kids, he teaches them to never give up because of any obstacles in their life. His example of perseverance gives hope to those who perhaps find their own life challenged in some way. Many kids can relate to the roadblocks he faced in his early life. His mother died when he was young, he suffered several medical emergencies and surgeries, he was very timid and shy, and it seemed as if he had no real talent in anything, Yet, he stuck with it and kept going.

Darken did became a trick horse star and he's been an inspiration to hundreds of people. He continues to share his story with kids and performs his tricks at horse shows, schools, Pony Club, nursing homes, special needs homes, horse shows, camps, benefits, and charity events as well as pursuing his career in the show ring.

Darken, the little horse who not only could, but did.

Jan Sharp
Ashtabula, Ohio

P.S. I have written a book about my trials and adventures with Darken ( the true story of his first 5 years ) and am working on getting it published. If you have any connections in the publishing business, just let me know!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

T.S. BLACK TIE AFFAIR - Trick horse

Continuing my theme of horses immortalized by Breyer, I contacted the owner of T.S. Black Tie Affair, a new Breyer horse. Jan Sharp sent me the following pictures and stories about this beautiful stallion who will surely earn his unicorn horn someday!

Black Tie is a 21 year old 7/8 Arabian pinto stallion. When I saw his photo in an Arabian magazine, I contacted his owner on the other side of the country to ask about breeding some of my mares to him and ended up buying the whole horse instead. When I got him home, he would charge the front of his stall at me. So, being a trick horse trainer, I knew he needed to change his attitude and give him a new direction and focus in his life, so I would begin to teach him tricks. The first trick I taught him was to lay down. The next day when he charged his stall door at me, this time I turned around and yelled at him. He looked a bit startled, then retreated to the rear of his stall and promptly lay down. He had no idea what I was yelling about, but he had connected that laying down made me happy, so he lay down. That was the start of his brilliant trick horse career and he never charged the door again.

Eighteen years later, he had performed for tens of thousands of people, stood amid wheelchairs and walkers, and put his head into baby buggies so toddlers could pet him. Many kids first contact with a real live horse has been by touching Black Tie's velvety soft nose. I use him to both entertain and educate children about horses. They always ask the most funny questions. They want to see his teeth and his horse shoes, things they never get to see if their only contact with horses is from their TV set.
We have a good time teaching kids about horses. Black Tie stands motionless amid hundreds of kids when we visit schools. He knows he needs to be careful around them.

Not only did Black Tie become a star trick horse, but also in the show ring. He has earned 22 Pinto World and Reserve World Championships, the Pinto Open Supreme Championship, two World Show trophy saddles, and over 3800+ show points in all divisions. In 2010, he earned the Arabian Ambassador Award from the Arabian Horse Association for his many years of sharing his talents with so many people for so many years. Black Tie is also the star of the how-to book, "Trick Training Your Horse To Success" (Eclipse Press).
In 2011, Black Tie became a Breyer model horse, which opened the doors to him reaching every more people. Just knowing that somewhere out there, there are little girls sleeping with a Black Tie model, or have it standing on a place of honor, makes me happy. I hope that Black Tie and I have done our own little part of helping to ignite a love of horses to a whole new generation of children. That would make us very happy.

Jan Sharp

Thank you Jan!
You can follow Black Tie Affair on his own facebook page by clicking here:

Visit me next week for another story by Jan Sharp.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SSgt Reckless - Her story deserves to be told

Did you know that in the 1990's Life Magazine named a horse as one of the 100 all time greatest American Heros? That's right! A little, sorrel, Mongolian mare was a war hero, serving our country and our soldiers during the Korean war. Reckless deserves to have her story told. Watch this touching video!

Staff Sargeant Reckless deserves to become a unicorn. God Bless America and God Bless Reckless as she gallops across the flower-filled fields of Celestia!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

KRIPTON SENI II - Andalusian unicorn

Another new breyer horse is Kripton Seni II. This mighty Andelusian stallion was the United States Equestrian Federation horse of Honor in 2009 which means he was one of the five finalists for Horse of the Year. He was the winner of 12 national championships!

This magnificent stallion is now standing at stud at the Amandalusian farm in California.

I wanted to write about the Andelusian breed today.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Andalusian horse
Distinguishing features Strongly built, compact, elegant, thick mane and tail
Alternative names Spanish Horse, Pura Raza Española
Country of origin Spain, Iberian Peninsula
Common nicknames Horse of Kings

The Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or PRE (Pura Raza Española), is a horse breed developed in the Iberian Peninsula. Its ancestors have been present on the Iberian Peninsula for thousands of years. The Andalusian has been recognized as an individual breed since the 15th century, and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries. Throughout its history, it has been known for its prowess as a war horse, and was prized by the nobility. The breed was used as a tool of diplomacy by the Spanish government, and kings across Europe rode and owned Spanish horses. During the 19th century, warfare, disease and crossbreeding reduced herd numbers dramatically, and despite some recovery in the late 19th century, the trend continued into the early 20th century. Exports of Andalusians were restricted until the 1960s, but the breed has since spread throughout the world, despite still-low population numbers. As of 2003[update], there were over 75,000 registered living Andalusians worldwide.

Strongly built, and compact yet elegant, Andalusians have long, thick manes and tails. Their most common coat color is gray, although they can be found in many other colors. They are known for their intelligence, sensitivity and docility. A sub-strain within the breed known as the Carthusian, is considered by breeders to be the purest strain of Andalusian, though there is no genetic evidence for this claim. The strain is still considered separate from the main breed however, and is preferred by breeders because buyers pay more for horses of Carthusian bloodlines. There are several competing registries keeping records of horses designated as Andalusian or PRE, but they differ on their definition of the Andalusian and PRE, the purity of various strains of the breed, and the legalities of stud book ownership. At least one lawsuit is in progress as of 2010 to determine the ownership of the Spanish PRE stud book.

The Andalusian is closely related to the Lusitano of Portugal, and has been used to develop many other breeds, especially in Europe and the Americas. Breeds with Andalusian ancestry include many of the warmbloods in Europe as well as western hemisphere breeds such as the Azteca. Over its centuries of development, the Andalusian breed has been selected for athleticism and stamina. The horses were originally used for classical dressage, driving, bullfighting, and as stock horses. Modern Andalusians are used for many equestrian activities, including dressage, show jumping and driving. The breed is also used extensively in movies, especially historical pictures and fantasy epics.

As the article above states, this breed is used a lot in movies...especially fantasy movies. So, when Behind The Mist becomes a movie, I think we should use a white andalusian stallion for Urijah, the Lord of Celestia. I can just see this sparkling unicorn with his long, thick, flowing mane and tail and golden horn. It would be fabulous!

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the new Breyer statue of Zanyetta. However, I think the new Breyer statue of Kripton Sni II is the most beautiful I have ever seen! Don't you agree?

Get your own copy of Behind The Mist and find out how the noble and great horses become unicorns in the afterlife. CLICK HERE:


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011


You must watch this video from You Tube of Beka and her horse Storm. Storm is completely blind as a result of an illness in 2005. She refused to follow the veterinarian's recommendation to put him down. Instead she built a trust so complete it can only be rivaled by Nick and Jazz in Behind The Mist.

If this video doesn't bring tears to your eyes then I don't know what will!

I, hereby nominate Storm to the Legion of the Unicorn and nominate Beka as a Unicorn Rider. Someday you will ride together across the flower-filled fields of Celestia! You are a credit to horsemanship, Beka!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ZENYATTA - "Hard to beat, and harder to ignore!"

There is a new Breyer horse statue...The strikingly beautiful filly, Zenyetta. This thoroughbred mare has been immortalized by the Breyer company. When I was a little girl, I would save up my money, nickles and dimes at a time. When I had 75 cents I would walk down to the toy store in Lake Oswego, Oregon and buy the foal in the latest Breyer family. Then I would save and save until I had the enormous amount required to by the mare...$2.50. The stallion was usually about the same, maybe a little more. Now you have to fork over $39.99 in the Back in the Saddle catalogue to buy Zenyetta...and that is a special price!

Meet the real Zenatta

Zenyatta Stakes
NTRA "Moment of the Year"
(2008, 2009)

SI – Top 10 Female Race Horses of All Time

Zenyatta (foaled April 1, 2004 in Kentucky) is a retired American champion Thoroughbred racehorse, winner of 19 consecutive races in a 20-race career and American record-holder for consecutive victories without defeat in unrestricted races.

Owned by Jerry Moss and his wife Ann and trained by John Shirreffs, Zenyatta was ridden by American Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith for 17 of 20 starts. Jockey David Flores rode Zenyatta in her first three starts. She stood taller than most of her opponents (male or female) at 17.2 hands tall(70 inches, or 5 feet 9.5 inches) at the shoulder, and carried 1,200 pounds on her frame while racing.

According to a 2010 60 Minutes report, Zenyatta was purchased as a yearling at the comparitively low price of $60,000 because she suffered from a form of ringworm. Ringworm is a fungus on the skin that humans and animals can get. It isn't really a worm.

During her career she won purses totaling over $7 million making her the all-time North American female money-earner. She has been featured in W magazine, and the New York Times called her "hard to beat, and harder to ignore" in the 2010 racing season. Among her many honors, Zenyatta won the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.

It was interesting to learn that Zenyatta was named after the album Zenyattà Mondatta, by The Police, who were signed to A&M Records by her owner, Jerry Moss. I must admit, however, that I don't even know who The Police are!

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011


This beautiful Sorrel Arabian mare named Wahana starred as Flicka in the T.V. series,
My Friend Flicka

The McLaughlin Family: Ken, Flicka Mother Nell and Father Rob

Ken on his best friend Flicka

I was born loving horses just like many of you. I drove may parents nuts, I am sure. Obviously my favorite T.V. show, once we got a T.V. that is, was "My Friend Flicka." The show was aired from 1955 to 1958. It was beat out by Rin-Tin-Tin. Yes, I love dogs, but horses are the best. So, after 1958, I had to settle for reruns.

The show was about the adventures and misadventures of the McLaughlin family, ranchers in southern Wyoming in the early 1900's. Father Rob allowed son Ken to pick a horse from the herd of wild mustangs. Ken picked a beautiful sorrel (the color of a shiny copper penny,) with white markings on her face. He patiently trained her and she become fiercely devoted to him, saving him on many occasions. No one else could ride her of course. Ken named her "Flicka" which means "Little Girl" in Swedish.

The star of the show was Flicka. She was a 900 pound pure blood Arabian. I was happy to learn that Ken, played by the boy Johnny Washbrook really did love her. She was owned by a livestock supplier and trainer, Ralph McCutcheon and trained by Les Hilton. She was born on June 13, 1950 at Newhall, California. She was later purchased by Patricia Ann Eaves of Santa Fe, New Mexico and registered with the Arabian Horse Association. She was given # AHR 6513. She was not only beautiful, she was gentle and intelligent. At the time she was a T.V. Star, she stood at 15 hands high. (A hand is four inches.) She lived at the Clarence "Fat" Jones movie horse stables on Sherman Way in North Hollywood. She was brought by horse trailer to the 20th Century-Fox studios in Hollywood or to the Fox Movie Ranch in Malibu Canyon for filming of the 39 episodes.

In the 1960's she became a mother. She gave birth to a stallion named Hanabee who became a great sire and his descendants live today. She also foaled a filly named Ross Flicka. She was never officially declared dead but is most likely buried on the Saueressig Ranch in New Mexico.

The best information I found about Flicka and the T.V. show is on the link below:

"My Friend Flicka" was based upon the novel written in 1941 by Mary O'Hara. It was made into a movie first in 1943. A new movie with a female protagonist named "Katy" McLaughlin with parents by the same name, came out in 2006. Sadly, two horses died during the filming of this movie...supposedly "Accidents." Whatever...In any case, the words "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" can't be in the credits of that movie. The movie did well at the box office and was a big DVD hit. In 2010 "Flicka 2" was released on DVD.

The bond between Ken and Flicka is much like the bond between Nick and Jazz that you will read about in Behind The Mist. Order your very own copy of Behind The Mist on

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PETER McCUE - Famous horse-Future Unicorn

Peter McCue (cute name isn't it!) is a member of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. He is was a very famous stallion that lived from 1895 to 1923. His genetic make-up had more to do with the development of the Quarter Horse breed in the first forty years of the last century than any other horse. Everyone into Quarter Horses wanted his sons. Everyone knew a son of Peter McCue would out perform all others!

Peter McCue's sire is clearly responsible for his greatness. His father, Dan Tucker (I love that name, too!) was huge...16 hands tall and 1,430 pounds!

Peter McCue first became famous on the race track. As with other quarter horses, he was a sprinter. He ran most of his races in Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois. In the quarter horse racing world, he was another Secretariat! (See the blog post about Secretariat on December 8, 2010.) His speed for a quarter of a mile was phenomenal.

His last owner was Coke Roberds who cared for him until the big horse died in 1923 at the age of 28. Before his death he sired many sons and daughters that have contributed to the Quarter Horse racing world and the breed in general.

I got this information from:

Peter McCue is also written about in the book: Quarter Horses: A Story of Two Centuries by Robert Moorman.

Peter McCue is clearly a noble and great horse that deserves to become a member of the Legion of the Unicorn!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

RAVEL can dance across the fields of Celestia!

It has been quite a while since I have written about a Dressage horse. Since dressage is my passion I am going to tell you about one of the current "Greats!" His name is Ravel and he is ridden by Steffan Peters. Ravel is a fabulous Dutch Warmblood. He is owned by Akiko Yamazaki. The big, dark bay gelding was found by Steffan Peters when he was searching for his next Olympic horse. He was found in the fall of 2006 in Edward Gal's stable in Harskamy, The Netherlands. (See the post about Edward Gal and Totilas from Januaray 26, 2011) Ravel was purchased as a stallion but had to be gelded when he was in quarantine while being imported to the U.S. So that means no baby Ravels! A short time later, he had a serious injury that his caretakers feared would end his career. But Steffan Peters patiently brought him back to full and exceptional health after 8 months. This proves that Peters meant what he said in the article in The Chronical of the Horse. He is quoted as saying: "It's not just about competition-it's a serious love for animals."

In 2010, The Chronical of the Horse selected Ravel and Steffen Peters as Horse and Horseman of the Year after their spectacular showing in 2009. During that year, Ravel won 10 out of hie 11 competitions at the FEI level. This included the world cup in Las Vegas and Aachen CDI in Germany. Speaking of Aachen, it had been more than 20 years since an American had won that competition. The last winner was Robert Dover on Federleicht in 1987. All of the top dressage horses from Europe were there and RAVEL came home the WINNER! Watch this horse dance!

Ravel currently lives at Peter's San Diego home: Arroyo Del Mar Ranch. It is a 22 acre property. He spends most of each day lounging in his double-sized box stall. He is easy going and very sweet but once Peters gets in the saddle, he gets right to work. He loves to show off for a crowd or a camera.

I, hereby, nominate Ravel to the high honor of Unicornhood and Steffen Peters to the position of a unicorn rider.

Read Behind The Mist to learn about how the noble and great horses become unicorns in the afterlife.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WIMPY - Fastest unicorn for 1/4 mile!

Readers of Behind The Mist will remember that future unicorns come from all breeds of horse. Today I would like to write about the truly American Melting Pot horse...the Quarter Horse.

The American Quarter Horse is a cross-breed of Spanish and English horses that were brought into America at the time of Columbus and beyond. They got their name because they are considered the fastest horses for a quarter of a mile. They have long been a favorite of the American Cowboy as a work horse. Quarter horses were used on the long cattle drives and for other work on a ranch.

Wimpy is one of the most famous quarter horses. He was the very first quarter horse to be registered in the American Quarter Horse Association registry. According to the article in Wikipedia: "He was foaled on the King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas on March 3, 1937.[1] However, the original application listed his foaling date as April 3, 1937, and the original stud books gave his foaling year as 1935.[2] He was a son of Solis, himself a son of Old Sorrel, the King Ranch foundation stallion. Solis' dam was an unregistered and unnamed mare of Thoroughbred breeding who was by Right Royal and out of a mare by Martin's Best. Wimpy's dam was a mare named Panda, also sired by Old Sorrel. Panda's dam was a roan mare by Hickory Bill. Wimpy traced three times to Hickory Bill, making him quite inbred to Hickory Bill.[3][4]

He was a chestnut colored stallion, with a star and a sock on his left hind leg. When fully grown, he was 15 hands high and weighed about 1200 pounds.[1]

He was a grand Champion Stallion in March 1941 at the Southwestern Exposition Quarter Horse show in Fort Worth, Texas, which honor earned him the first number in the newly organized American Quarter Horse Association.[1]

He sired over a hundred and fifty foals for the King Ranch, before he was given in 1958 to George Clegg, who had bred Old Sorrel. However, Clegg was forced to sell Wimpy to Rex Cauble, who owned the stallion until Wimpy died on August 13, 1959, when Wimpy was twenty-two years old.[1]

Among his sons and daughters were Bill Cody, Kip Mac, Caballero, Wimpy's Image, Silver Wimpy, Wimpy II, Lauro and Showdown.[5] His grandget included Joe Cody, Marion's Girl, Codalena, Pandarita Hill and Show Maid.[6]

He was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 1989.[7] In September 1961 a bronze statue of Wimpy was erected outside the AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo, Texas.[1] "

A note: George Clegg, mentioned above in the wikipedia article is one of the most famous Quarter Horse breeders and credited with developing the breed as we know it today.

If you ask a horse person to name a famous quarter horse and they can only name one, it will probably be Wimpy!

Send me the story of your NOBLE AND GREAT horse. I don't care if they are famous or even registered...just loved!

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Young Adult Fantasy readers and Children Fantasy readers will love the new fantasy book: Behind The Mist. Behind the Mist is a wonderful book about horses and unicorns. It is available on its own website: or wherever fine books are sold.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

COMANCHE-Survived to become a Unicorn

Comanche is the stuff from which legends are made! He was a 15 hand bay gelding of mixed breed...thought to be Morgan and Mustang. (See the post on Justin Morgan for more on Morgans.) He was purchased by the army in 1868 in St. Louis, Missouri and sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Captain Myles Keogh of the 7th Cavalry bought him as his personal battle mount. Later that year, Captain Keogh rode in a battle against the Comanche Indians in Kansas where the sturdy horse suffered a serious wound from an arrow to the hindquarters. Yet, this brave little horse kept going. This is where he earned his name. In fact, Comanche was wounded in several battles, yet he always countinued to carry Captain Keogh through them.

On June 25, 1876, Captain Keogh rode him behind Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. This famous battle resulted in the death of the entire detachment of soldiers but Comanche and nearly 100 horses and one yellow bulldog survived. The Legend is that only Comanche survived but this is not true. In terms of fame and reputation I guess you could say it is true as his remains are kept protected at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum to this day. Anyway, Comanche was found two days later in very bad shape. He was transported to Fort Lincoln and was nursed back to health and retired.

I found the following order on Wikipedia that you will find interesting:

In April 1878, Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis issued the following humane order:
"Headquarters Seventh United States Cavalry, Fort A. Lincoln, D. T., April 10th, 1878. General Orders No. 7.
(1.) The horse known as 'Comanche,' being the only living representative of the bloody tragedy of the Little Big Horn, June 25th, 1876, his kind treatment and comfort shall be a matter of special pride and solicitude on the part of every member of the Seventh Cavalry to the end that his life be preserved to the utmost limit. Wounded and scarred as he is, his very existence speaks in terms more eloquent than words, of the desperate struggle against overwhelming numbers of the hopeless conflict and the heroic manner in which all went down on that fatal day.
(2.) The commanding officer of Company I will see that a special and comfortable stable is fitted up for him, and he will not be ridden by any person whatsoever, under any circumstances, nor will he be put to any kind of work.
(3.) Hereafter, upon all occasions of ceremony of mounted regimental formation, saddled, bridled, and draped in mourning, and led by a mounted trooper of Company I, will be paraded with the regiment.
By command of Col. Sturgis, E. A. Garlington, First Lieutenant and Adjutant, Seventh Cavalry."[2]

Comanche then lived a life of luxury and was honored to be made "Second Commanding Officer" of the 7th Cavalry.

In 1887, he was taken to Fort Riley, Kansas where he lived out his days. He died in 1890. He is one of only two horses in U.S. history to be buried with full military honors. (See the post on Black Jack.)

At least two songs have been written about him. Enjoy this one:

I hereby nominate Comanche to the Legion of the Unicorn. May he wear his horn with honor!

Read about the Legion of the Unicorn in the first book of the Mist Trilogy: Behind the Mist.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

MAXIMUS - Tangled up in Unicornhood

The movie "Tangled" far exceeded my expectations! I didn't know, in particular, that I would fall in love with the horse-hero...MAXIMUS! This horse was hilarious in his dog-like characteristics. If you have read Behind The Mist, you will know that I am a dog lover! But I also loved his determination and sense of duty. However, he was also a sucker for a good love story which he wisely saw the makings of in Flynn and Rapunzel. If you haven't seen this movie, I would recommend it. I hereby nominate the horse MAXIMUS for unicornhood (a term I coined for Behind The Mist.) I can just see him in the fantasy world of Celestia being a noble and great unicorn!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Even Unicorn Riders can get old!

Well dear readers, I just had my 60th birthday. I tried to forget about it but my wonderful family and friends in Oregon and Colorado didn't let me. One of them, the photographer for my Trail Guide books, Lynn Johnson, sent me this poem.

When I am an Old Horsewoman

When I am an old horsewoman
I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
(horse feed) and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to all
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.

-By Patty Barnhart
Originally published in The Arabian Horse World magazine in l992


In my first post on October 14, 2010, I told you about my very first horse, Tai, who I am sure is a unicorn by now. As I write this new post, sitting in my tan breeches with hay in my hair, I want to tell you about the three horses that fill my barn and my heart.

My littlest horse is Hardy, a 14 hand 1/2 Welch pony, 1/4 thoroughbred and 1/4 Arabian. He got the best of each breed. I got him when he was 2 and 1/2 and started training him. He is now 16. He is the smartest horse ever and an absolute blast to ride. He can jump the moon and is one of those "Point and Jump" horses that picks his position for the jumps perfectly. I sometimes feel guilty that I have him instead of some 12 year old that could be taking him to the national pony championships...but I love him so much!

This is a picture of my biggest horse, Jazz just shortly after I bought him as a four year old from American Sport Horses in Utah. He is much more developed now as he is 10 and doing great in his dressage training. Yes, he is the star of Behind The Mist! He is a Hanoverian and has been a fabulous horse. He was the 2009 Rocky Mountain Dressage Society 1st Level Adult Amature Champion and the 2010 Rocky Mountain Dressage Society 2nd Level Adult Amature Champion as well as the 2010 1st Level Freestyle Horse of the Year. He is so loving and tries so hard to please me. If he could, he would just curl up on my lap and sleep! I love him, too.

This is Kit on top of Kenosha Pass in Colorado. If you read Behind The Mist carefully, you will remember that Kit in the book was an Appaloosa mare. Obviously, this handsome bay thoroughbred is NOT an appaloosa mare! But that is part of writing a fantasy horse story, I can make up anything I want! Anyway, Kit is my oldest horse. He just turned 20. I have had him since he was 6 and trained him in Dressage up through level 2. He was the 2001 RMDS 1st level champion, the 2003 1st level freestyle champion and the 2005 2nd level freestyle reserve champion. He loves me deeply...something I found out when I sold him. It only lasted 5 months. He was so unhappy that he was misbehaving and lost so much weight that he looked like a rescue horse. I bought him back and promised him that I would never sell him again. I even had to move to a place where I could have three horses so we would have room for him. He is the cover horse on both of my Trail Guide books: Riding Colorado and Riding Colorado II.

Send me the story of your future unicorn! Write to me at:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Meaning Behind Horse monuments

As one approaches Denver International Airport you pass by a very mean looking statue of a rearing horse. I always call him "The Demon Horse" because he actually killed his creator. The horse depicted in this giant statue was my inspiration for the evil unicorn, Hasbadana in the first book of the Mist Trilogy: Behind The Mist. I started thinking about the legend I had heard about horse's hoof placement in statues and what that means when the statue is of a famous soldier. In Hasbadana's case two hooves are in the air and a word of warning is necessary here: DO NOT TRY TO RIDE HASBADANA!

Statue of Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg

Several years ago, our family visited Gettysburg. We were told by our tour guide that you could tell how a war-hero died or if he was injured by the number of hooves his horse has on or off the ground on his monument. If all four hooves were on the ground, the soldier died in peace. If one hoof was raised, he was wounded in battle but lived and if two hooves were raised, he died in battle or as a result of his wounds. I generalized this and assumed that applied to all equine monuments. I have since found that not to be a reliable code anywhere but in Gettysburg. The picture above is of Robert E. Lee. All four hooves are on the ground and Lee did not die in battle so that one fits.

However, Washington D.C. has the most equine statues of any city and some of them fit the code while others do not. Here are some examples:

This statue is of Major General George H. Thomas. You will notice that all hooves are on the ground and Thomas did die in peace. Fits the code.

Major General John A. Logan. One hoof is raised. He was wounded twice in battle but died in peace. Fits the code.

Major General Nathanial Green. One hoof raised. He died in peace unwounded. Does not fit the code.

Major General Winfield Scott Hancock. One hoof raised. Wounded in Battle. Fits the code.

Lt. General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson. All hooves on the ground. Jackson was wounded in battle by his own men and died of those wounds. Does not fit the code.

There are many more examples and you can find a much more complete list that has been compiled by Debora Johnson on her website:

Look for her article titled: Horse Statues in Washington D.C.

So, the conclusion is that, outside of Gettysburg, the position of the horse's legs means only that that was the way the artist wanted to depict him!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ANIMAL KINGDOM - Celestia or the Animal Kingdom in the Afterlife

Saturday, May 7th was the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby... arguably the most famous of all horse races. I have just completed revisions on Book Two of the Mist Trilogy: Mists of Darkness, and the opening scene is at Churchill Downs a couple of months before the Derby.

I missed the running of the derby as I was attending a performance of the touring group of Lipazanner Stallions (More about that in a later post.) In case you missed it, too, you can watch the race by clicking on this link:

Animal Kingdom is a great name for the winner if you are a Behind The Mist fan. You will understand the title of this post...Will Animal Kingdom earn the opportunity to become a unicorn and serve the animal kingdom in the afterlife? Time will tell but the signs are looking good!

Animal Kingdom is the son of an inexpensive Brazilian-bred Stallion by the name of Loroidesanimaux and a German-bred mare. He is owned by 20 partners including, as the New York Times writes: "A cranky former turf-writer." This horse was fortunate to have been trained by Englishman, Graham Motion who believes that a horse should be allowed to be a horse and has never been cited for violating medication rules. He raised and trained AK in a European style training farm in Maryland. There the horses are galloped and hacked through the woods and turned out in large pastures and paddocks. Mr. Motion does not believe in subjecting his horses to the race-track life. This is a man who deserves to become a unicorn rider someday!

The Kentucky Derby was AK's first race on dirt. Now it will be on to the Preakness for him. GOOD LUCK ANIMAL KINGDOM...I'll be rooting for you!

Side note: Rep. Edward Whitfield and Sen. Tom Udall introduced just last week, legislation that would regulate the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in the horse racing industry. I am all for protecting animals but not a fan of more government regulation on private industry. So, I don't know how I feel about that. I am open to your opinions.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Happy Mother's day to all my readers who also happen to be mothers! What greater love is there than that of a mother for her child, whether horse or human? That was a rhetorical question because we ALL know there is none! A reader sent me these beautiful pictures of a new born Gypsy foal in Oregon. After giving birth, the mare laid down. Can't blame her for that. After trotting around a bit, the new baby crawled up on her lap for a nap. All of us who have been mothers kind of feel like we have earned unicorn status as well. Remember what we learn in Behind The Mist: Love is the source of our power!

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