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, March 30, 2016

SPRINTER SACRE - Champion Steeplechaser

Are any of you steeplechase fans? If so, I'm sure you have heard of Sprinter Sacre. This fabulous horse is a dark bay thoroughbred gelding from France. He made his first racing appearance in 2010 at Ascot where he won by a nose. This was over a flat course. His first appearance in a Steeplechase (over jumps) was in December of 2011 at Doncaster and he won by 24 lengths!
Earlier in the month of March, 2016, Sprinter Sacre came back to win the 2016 prestigious running of the Cheltenham festival's Queen Mother race. He was the "come back kid" having won the race in 2013. But then, he spent two years recovering from heart problems. There was great celebration when he returned to the winner's circle!
Two miles galloping over fences can really take its toll as a horse ages. Sprinter Sacre was fouled on April 23, 2006. That makes the bay almost 10. But his owner, Caroline Mould, is still a believer in her horse and hasn't talked about retiring him. His jockey and trainer say he still has the fire in him.

Here is a short video of Sprinter Sacre winning the Queen Mother Race a couple of weeks ago:
About Steeplechases: Generally, a steeplechase is a cross country race (though now they are run on tracks) that includes jumps, though there are some that are called flat races and, as the name suggests, do not include jumps. Steeplechases began in Ireland in the 18th century. It got its name because the horses and riders would race from church steeple to church steeple across country and would jump whatever hedges, rock walls or water ditches that got in their way.

Steeplechases are the most popular in Ireland and Britain. The most famous race is the Grand National held in Liverpool England and made famous for Americans in the movie staring Elizabeth Taylor titled "National Velvet."

There are Steeplechases held in other countries as well, including France, Czech Republic, Australia and the United States.  

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Thursday, March 3, 2016


As the Pryor Mountains in southern Montana and northern Wyoming catch the clouds so, too, do they catch another cloud...a famous, almost to the level of "super-star," mustang stallion that humans have named Cloud. Cloud is a nineteen year old Pryor Mustang made famous by three documentaries on PBS about him and his herd.

The Pryor Mustangs are genetically related to the horses brought to the Americas by the Spaniards. Wild horses have been running free in the Pryor Mountains since the late 1600's. By the early 1900's they numbered in the thousands. Many were rounded up or killed to make way for grazing of cattle. By 1964, there were only 200 wild horses left. The herd is now protected by the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. This law gave responsibility to maintain the herds to the BLM.
Since that time, the BLM has attempted to improve the mustang's range land through several measures including improving access to water. However, the BLM has set a very low "Optimum Herd Number" of just 120 horses for the Pryor Mountain herd. This necessitates several programs to keep the herd size under control, considering that a wild mustang herd can double in size in just 4 years. The Cloud Foundation, which, like me, supports the use of PZP, a temporary contraceptive, fears the permanent sterilization techniques proposed by some in the BLM. You can read more about The Cloud Foundation here:

Now, a little about Cloud himself! Cloud is a pale palomino. His unique color saved him from capture by the BLM. Actually, they captured him in one of their round-ups but let him go because of his color.  His life has been documented by film maker Ginger Kathrens. You can watch one of her documentaries here:  He is quite a super-star. One thing going for him is that his herd lives in an area where the horses are easy to observe and many tourists have come to see the horses in the wild.

Cloud is short and stocky, typical of the Pryor Mountain Mustangs. People who have adopted and trained these mustangs love them for their strength, sure-footedness and their stamina.

In my newest book: In the Heart of a Mustang, I focus on adoption as a great answer for managing the mustang herds as well as the ability horses have to be healers for troubled teens.
 If you are interested in learning more about mustang adoption, go to the BLM website. Click here:

Warning: You need to know what you are doing if you want to train any horse...they are big and powerful, not just beautiful! I have trained all three of my horses and have the broken bones to prove it!

In the Heart of a Mustang is available on the website:
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