Sunday, 19 October 2008

Dog breeders bad, horse breeders good?

Please go to , my new website covering the saddlechariot/iBex and it's uses. This is where you will also find links to all my articles on training, safety, vehicle design and even the weird stuff on cooking and politics.
My new contact details are
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The Crufts, Kennel Club, RSPCA, BBC row has brought the whole pedigree issue into question. And horse owners can't just sit back and spectate. The BHS may think they are immune from criticism with the Queen as Patron, but she is also Patron of the RSPCA. The Establishment connections are working both ways this time. Tradition hasn't saved the Kennel Club, it won't save the BHS. We are actually going to have to look at what is being done in our name. The BHS claims to represent all horseowners. Well if they claim to represent me, they can take a moral stand, starting right now.

Inbreeding, genetic problems, freaks for the show ring. Nothing to do with horses then.

Contrast two breeders websites, one for Corgis and one for Arabian horses. The Corgi website recommends "probably the safest and best route for a novice breeder is what is called the "Brackett Breeding" (for Lloyd Brackett of German Shepherd fame in the 50's): Where the male selected is himself an outstanding specimen, nearly faultless, and has such progenitors: "Let the sire of the sire be the grandsire of the dam, on the dam's side." The Arab website recommends, "Ruminaja Ali, bred by Russell and Mildred Jameson of Ranch Ruminaja, was foaled on May 11, 1976. His pedigree, a judicious blending of the “new” Egyptian imports to the United States, was a reflection of that old horseman’s adage, “Let the sire of the sire be the grandsire of the dam.”

For Dogs and Horses the recommendation is "Let the Sire of the Sire Be the Grandsire of the Dam." Sounds OK till you put it in English. Uncle mates with Niece. This is illegal in England and you will be in court for INCEST.

Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College London, told the BBC: “People are carrying out breeding which would be first of all entirely illegal in humans and secondly is absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals. In some breeds they are paying a terrible, terrible price in genetic disease.”

This obsession with bloodlines and their purity is not just damaging our pets, it is damaging us. We are continuing the apartheid system, mimicing the bigotry in "To kill a mockingbird" and echoing Hitler's ludicrous "Race Hygiene" nonsense.

I am not against breeding for type, if you want a child's pony, choosing a nice natured stallion of the right size, with good feet and nice paces to mate with a similar mare makes sense. But the minute you add a breed society with closed bloodlines, incest seems to be the result, and the horrors of genetic disease follow.

Here is a comment about Fell Ponies. "I think a major stumbling block too is that so many Fells are interrelated to a very large degree. At its most extreme, my first Fell was the product of a brother and sister mating (not accidental!). When you think that a pony may begin to breed at the age of 3-4 and go on until 25, it makes detangling things hard from sheer volume."

Fell ponies were being deliberately mated to their siblings and today Fell foal syndrome, a genetic condition,kills between 10% and 20% of Fell foals. Once they are diagnosed they tend to be put down as it is depressing watching their gradual death over a couple of months. Follow this link to Fell Pony 2000, the charity that is sponsoring research. But the Fell Pony Society appears to suggest carry on breeding with the same restricted bloodlines.

Dwarfism is rife in Miniature Horses, foals with huge heads and deformed feet, cow hocks, parrot mouths and all, continue to be born. We don't see them, because they can't be shown. Hiding disabilities doesn't solve the problem, it saves embarrassment which is a very different thing. But look at this report which has the courage to show what breeding for miniature actually means.

Arabian horse breeders have a charity looking at the genetic conditions that affect their pure breed. Here is a list.
"S.C.I.D. (COMBINED IMMUNODEFICIENCY) SCID is a lethal disease of Arabian foals inherited as an autosomal recessive. Lacking a competent immune system, SCID foals succumb before five months of age to massive infection, primarily of the respiratory tract. An affected foal provides evidence of carrier status of both parents. A DNA test is now available.

OCCIPITAL-ATLANTO-AXIAL MALFORMATION=OAAM This is a condition of the nervous system that ranges from a lack of coordination of voluntary muscular movements to the paralysis of both front and rear legs. Vertebrae fuse together in the neck and fuse to the base of the skull as well. Foals often cannot stand to nurse or the symptoms may not be seen for several weeks.

CEREBELLAR DISEASE=CEREBELLAR ABIOTROPHY Degeneration of the granular layer of the cerebellum portion of the brain causes a lack of coordination, a lack of balance and head tremors. Symptoms generally do not occur until the foal is several weeks old. The gait (movements) become exaggerated and the legs are placed wide-apart to stand at rest. Early indications include crashing into fences and falling over backwards.

DILUTE LETHAL=LAVENDER Brain lesions cause behavior that is frequently consistent to when the brain is denied oxygen a birth. Foals are often the result of a difficult birth, are unable to stand and nurse, have rigidity in their joints and may have rapid eye movements. Coat color is a dull gray and the skin tends to be an unhealthy pink color; hence, lavender. These foals die."

The problem is increasing in Arabs, and genetic problems tied to a closed gene pool and an enthusiasm for incest, spell disaster.

I suppose the most depressing stuff is on the Thoroughbred. Caslicks Procedure is a routine operation to stitch up the vulva to stop infection. Read that back to yourself. Female Genital Mutilation is routine in the horse that is supposed to represent all that is best about English Horsemanship. Thoroughbreds breeders are intensely proud of their restricted gene pool. But it is the horse that pays. Here is the technical stuff on why it is done.

The more severe conformational abnormalities are more likely to result in failure of the vulval seal, and to increased faecal contamination since the vulva forms a shelf on to which faeces may collect. The vulval lips may be angled at 25 degrees or even 50 degrees to the vertical in these cases.

Dr Caslick (a French veterinarian) in the 1930's first pointed out the importance of this condition in relation to genital infection in Thoroughbred mares. Interestingly, it is most commonly found in Thoroughbreds, and, in the author's experience, is almost unknown in Shires and native ponies.

The major and most concerning factor that governs the effectiveness of the three seals is the conformation of the mare. The ideal conformation is achieved if 80% of the vulva lies below the pelvic floor. A simple test can be used to assess this: If a sterile plastic tube is inserted through the vulva into the vagina and allowed to rest horizontally on the vagina floor, the amount of vulva lying below this tube should be approximately 80% in a well-conformed mare.

If the mare's pelvis is too low, then the vulva tends to fall toward the horizontal plane. This not only reduces the effectiveness of the vulval seal, but it also sets the anus back from the vulva (see the photo above). This opens up the vulva to contamination by feces, increasing the risk of uterine infection.

A mare with naturally poor conformation generally has a low pelvis. This is most often seen in performance mares or Thoroughbred mares, as the hindquarter musculature required for athletic excellence tends to be associated with a low pelvis and high croup, which predispose a mare to a sloping vulva.

As might be expected, there is a finite number of times that a Caslick's operation can be performed, as the vulval lips become more fibrotic with time, and harder to cut and resuture. It is possible in theory to perform a more recently developed procedure, the Pouret operation, on mares where a Caslick's operation is increasingly difficult to perform. This attempts to realign the mare's vulva and anus, but it is a much more major and complicated procedure and, therefore, is rarely practiced.

The finite number of times a Caslick's operation can be performed obviously limits some mares' breeding careers of some mares. Hence, carrying out a Caslick's operation on a mare before it is really required, i.e., as a safeguard, is not advised if she is destined to be a career broodmare. If the mare is older and/or is intended to produce only a few foals, then the long-term consequences of a Caslick's operation are less important.

Apart from potentially limiting a mare's breeding career, another consideration is that the perineal and general conformation that predispose a mare to reproductive tract infections is inherited. Mares with poor perineal conformation are very likely to pass that poor conformation on to any filly foals and, hence, on to subsequent generations, perpetuating the trait within the population.

There is, therefore, a welfare consideration to make when performing a Caslick's operation. The equine industry has to decide whether the shorter-term financial gain of selecting breeding stock purely for athletic performance should be at the expense of the longer-term detrimental effect on reproductive ability and equine welfare.

This is the link to the technical stuff above

A mare with naturally poor conformation generally has a low pelvis. This is most often seen in performance mares or Thoroughbred mares, as the hindquarter musculature required for athletic excellence tends to be associated with a low pelvis and high croup, which predispose a mare to a sloping vulva.

Read that passage again. Naturally poor conformation is most often seen in performance mares or Thoroughbred mares. And we think the Kennel Club has problems. Just what is being done in our name?

Incest is not only damaging genetically. We are destroying an essential characteristic of their natural behaviour by forcing them to commit incest. " In horses, it was clearly shown that the causes for female dispersal were incest avoidance and not intra-specific competition (Monard, 1996). As a rule, this is confirmed for mammal species where tenure length by males exceeds the age at first reproduction in females (Clutton-Brock, 1989). When horses are allowed to choose their mating partner freely, the inbreeding coefficient of the offspring is lower than expected should they mate randomly (Duncan et al, 1984). See the full article

The horse is a product of its environment and for the last 5,000 years man has been a major part of that environment, but that doesn't give us a right to force incest on an animal that naturally avoids incest. It doesn't give us a right to impose breeding policies that reflect English 17th Century class structures. The American and French revolutions drove England to defend and glorify their class structure and their belief that breeding is all. The Thoroughbred, the Pedigree dogs all derive from a frightened aristocracy trying to shore up their God given powers. Why do we respect this nonsense?

For those deformed miniatures, the dying Fell pony foals, the genitally mutilated Thoroughbreds, you can truly say "Breeding is all!" And the RSPCA are only worried about dog breeding. Why in the 21st Century is any organisation insisting that race, and class and pure bloodlines are what matter. Try saying it to people and you would be locked up.

If all this pure bloodline stuff is so good the BHS must stand next to the Kennel Club and defend them. Otherwise it is time for some serious stable cleaning.

Out with closed bloodlines, out with Incest, breed female racehorses that have conformation as females, not surgically enhanced mutants.

Why not just have fun with your ponies, horses, mules, donkeys, whatever. Give it a go, it's great.

Please go to , my new website covering the saddlechariot/iBex and it's uses. This is where you will also find links to all my articles on training, safety, vehicle design and even the weird stuff on cooking and politics.
My new contact details are
and my phone number is +44 7510 736 518

Friday, 17 October 2008

Horse Racism, an overview.

Racism is so obviously present in the British Equestrian Establishment, henceforward referred to as the BEE, it is quite incredible that nobody has questioned it yet.
Here's a question on the net.

Were can I find imformation on black horse riders, equestrians, show jumpers and anything horse like in the Uk?
Not including Oliver Skeet modern day preferably under 40

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

I do not think they will post Hey this guy is Black
But all I can think of is you going thru the web site where you live and maybe the top shows and find one
There is not to many here in U,S,A, I wish there where But most do not like horses
We do have one that is a TOP rodeo rider he is one of the best Nice to see,
Not too many of them becomes jockeys... they usually grow too big to be a jockey. I have seen at least one black jockey, but I don't remember what track or who it was.

Truthfully, you don't see many blacks riding horses, much like you rarely see them playing hockey. They're just traditionally not very interested in those sports.

This stuff is on the net, and it is garbage. Does nobody look at history any more? Does nobody with a horse care?

I'm not arguing deliberate, racism, just massive institutional racism

What is institutional racism?

"The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin which can be seen or detected in processes; attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantages minority ethnic people." From the Macpherson report.

From balsall3

So none of these guys are interested.

The British Equestrian Establishment invented the whole idea of breeds and the fetishistic attitude to purity of blood lines but that doesn't make it right. There have always been types of horses, and types of people, but the invention of the Thoroughbred post 1760 really started the rot. Although the General Stud Book is seen as the record of the purity of the Thoroughbred it is actually a record of the corruption and double dealing endemic in upperclass horse racing and gambling. Since the aristocratic owners couldn't be trusted to tell the truth about the ages of the animals they brought to the start line, a record of which mare foaled when was kept, and called the General Stud Book.

Gradually the fiction of the purity of the Thoroughbred whitewashed the original purpose of the book and the whole "breed" concept was born. So don't think the Derby is for the fastest horse, it is for the fastest horse with "pure" blood. And if that isn't racism, what is?

This rant is going to expand and there is a whole load of evidence that the British equestrian Establishment has wiped out Black and Working Class Horse History. Lets have fun and bring it back.
To be continued, but I'm ravenous

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Horse Race, Horse Racism

In theory muggers and their victims are equally knowledgable about violence, so, as an Old Etonian I should be pretty well educated on social exclusion, but I spent 8 years working with ponies and horses before I realised the British Equestrian Establishment was founded on, and driven by, institutional racism. It wasn't a huge Eureka moment, "wow those guys are really racist!" but a creeping and rather scary awareness that something really odd, and nasty was the basis for one of the favourite activities of this country's ruling elite.

A few months ago I wrote a slightly tongue in cheek rant about the inherent snobbery in the British Equestrian Establishment which shall henceforth be described as BEE, thus allowing people to say I have a BEE in my leather colonial hat. (It is a sad fact that you cannot do Natural Horsemanship without a hat that looks like a refugee from a Marlboro advert). The article became Class Race Horse as I realised that racism was in there somewhere, but it wasn't easy to spot where. It is rather like trying to spot the danger in the middle of a desert. The danger is the fact you are in the middle of a desert. Everything is the danger. With the BEE, everything is racism, or to be pedantic, racialism.

I was reading, as you do, a Reader on Theories of Racism, edited by Les Black and John Solomos, and came on an article by Tzvetan Todorov on race and racism, which at first glance appeared to exactly describe the BEE form of racism. After re reading endlessly, it still describes the racialism inherent in the BEE.

We need to go back brielfy to where the racism is in the BEE. It is not a crude, or even a subtle attempt to exclude people of colour from equestrian activities. It is the whole philosophy that underpins the last two hundred and fifty years of horsemanship as practised by the BEE. Breeds, bloodlines, pedigrees and studbooks have taken over horsemanship. And it is easy to prove. The winner of the first St Leger wasn't a Thoroughbred, because the breed hadn't been invented yet and probably wasn't called Allahbaculia. It was 65 years after the event that the filly was given a name to avoid a gap in the record. Today's St leger winner won't just be the first horse across the line, it will have to prove five or so generations of undiluted upper class blood before it can even go to the start line. Why?

Even working class animals have been wrecked by this upper class pedigree fetish. The Fell Pony developed on the Fells (surprise surprise) of Cumbria where it was used as a pack animal for shifting ore, wool or whatever the locals could sell. Although rural, they weren't stupid and tended to breed the best stallion to the best mare as this seemed to give the best foal. Because they were interested in packing heavy weights, they tended to produce pack horses not flghty racehorses. So the Fell looks good at its job, or did.

After the 2nd war almost no Fells were left and in an attempt to save the breed, they bred father daughter, brother sister and stuck with a closed gene pool because they now had a fell Pony Breed Society "whose aim is to aim is to foster and keep pure the old breed of pony which has roamed the northern fells for years." What has purity to do with a semi wild native pony population anyway, but now their closed gene pool has the result that one foal in ever ten will die a miserable lingering death from a genetic condition call Fell Foal Syndrome. All to keep the breed pure.

Stupid yes, snobbish yes, possibley cruel, but where is the racism?

Todorov splits racism in two. Personal or group dislike of another person or group because they are different, is racism, and needs no philosophy. The differences are by definition obvious, and enough to justify the dislike by the racist.

Racialism is a doctrine of racism, and Todorov states that "the form of racism that is rooted in racialism produces particularly catastrophic results: this is precisely the cause of Nazism." He continues "Racialism is a movement of ideas born in Western Europe whose period of flowering extends from the mid eighteenth century to the mid twentieth."
Racialist doctrine can be presented as a coherent set of propositions. They are all found in the "ideal" type...These propositions may be reduced to five."

If you substitute "horse breed" for "race" in all his five propositions, you have a perfect match. The horse breeding philosophy of the British Establishment from 1750 through to the present day exactly matches the "racialist doctrine".

Todorov's first proposition states that a racialist must believe in "the existence of races. The first thesis obviously consists in affirming that there are such things as races, that is, human groupings whose members possess common physical characteristics; or rather (for the differences themselves are self evident) it consists in affirming the relevance and significance of that notion."

Horse breeders believe in the concept of different breeds, and believe those different breeds are relevant in themselves. I quite understand wanting a fast horse as a race horse, and a strong one like a Fell pony to carry lead as a pack horse. Preserving the outward characteristics when the use has disappeared and insisting on the purity of the blood of the Fells when the breed is riddled with congenital problems, is odd. Odder still is to insist that your race horse is not just fast, but has unblemished descent from a specific breed, the Thoroughbred.
The BEE fulfill Todorov's first proposition.

His second proposition is "Continuity between physical type and character. Races are not simply groups of individuals who look alike (if this had been the case, the stakes would have been trivial). The racialist postulates that physical and moral characteristics are interdependent"
Courage is endlessly quoted as an attribute of the Thoroughbred and the Arab. The Shetland on the other hand is described as "probably the strongest equine relative to its size, yet even the stallions are gentle and docile." This description is from the Oklahoma State University Breed Page. So the second proposition is demonstrated.

The third proposition is "The action of the group on the individual. ...the behaviour of the individual depends to a very large extent, on the racio-cultural (or ethnic) group to which he or she belongs."
This is inherent in the whole breed philosophy. A Thoroughbred is tricky to ride because it is a Thoroughbred, while a Highland pony is sure footed and steady. The whole concept of "blood" horses ties character to race. Breeds were bred for a purpose, so their character fits that purpose. Again a perfect match, breed for race.

The fourth is the most important. "The unique hierarchy of values. The racialist is not content to assert that races differ; he also believes that some are superior to others."
I could quote endlessly from the Thoroughbred enthusiasts, about their "blood" horses and their courage and fire, but I will concentrate on a gratuitous insult to the English native ponies from the British Horse Society, Complete Manual of Stable Management 1998 "the native ponies are far better converters of food than their aristocratic cousins." Aristocratic cousins. What sort of arrogant nonsense is that? But it proves the fourth proposition.

I keep hoping I can find a flaw in the fifth proposition. Todorov heads the fifth "Knowledge-based politics. The four propositions listed so far take the form of descriptions of the world, factual observations. They lead to a conclusion that constitutes the fifth and last doctrinal proposition- namely, the need to embark on a political course that brings the world into harmony with the description provided. Having established the facts, the racialist draws from them a moral judgement and a political ideal. Thus the subordination of inferior races or even their elimination can be justified by accumulated knowledge on the subject of race."

Let us start with the subordination of inferior races. The Derby, Epsom or Kentucky, is not for the fastest horse, it is for the fastest horse who belongs to the aristocratic Thoroughbred breed and has 5 generations of unadulterated blood to prove. The Thoroughbred is known to be the fastest breed becuase nothing ever beats it, but then nothing else is allowed to race against them.......I know, it doesn't make sense to me either.

All the breed societies are devoted to keeping "true" to the breed. They arrange matings, sterilise the unsuitable and put down the unsound to keep the breed standard flying. And they will stick to purity of the blood even at the cost of the sufferings of their animals. The genetic condition Fell Foal Syndrome is the result of breeding from a small closed gene pool, yet the purity of the race justifies the suffering and lingering death of 10% of foals.

With this background racialist doctrine underpinning everything the British Equestrian Establishment do, you can see why it is the natural habitat of the English upper classes and why remarkably few people of colour venture onto the hallowed turf. If purity of blood, and breed, and known ancestry are the minimum requirement for the animals, it is going to make those people who aren't in Debretts or Burke feel uncomfortable.

Why did this remarkably pointless theory ever take hold in the first place? England was losing her colonies and the Continent was revolting. Emphasising the factors that made England great and powerful made total sense, but unfortunately they ignored trade, agriculture, industry, shipping and decided to promote a class system based exclusively on who Mummy and Daddy were. Since this was obviously of critical importance, it was applied to horses and has since infected dogs, cats and even llamas, when owned as pets by the establishment. I think the Peruvians judge them on a different basis.
Despite having a perfectly good revolution, the US of A fell for this pedigree nonsense hook line and sinker and while their horseracing was developing throughout the country it flowered as a remarkably egalitarian, but highly competitive sport. Tragically within a few years of US horses and jockeys winning in the UK, the infection had travelled across the pond and racism took a mixed sport away from the incredibly successful African Americans and reserved it for the whites.

The true story of the Forward Seat and Willie Simms follows next.

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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Saddlechariot Training.

Fear and learning are closely linked. Pain is an effective teacher, and the cane was seen as the symbol of education. My school notice boards were created from a lattice of canes as a reminder of the intellectual pretensions of the prefects. If rational explanation failed, they could hit you.

If pain is such an effective educator, why do women ever have more than one child? Because rewards are a far more effective educator. And children, however irritating, can be remarkably rewarding. So before you go out to teach your pony, or horse, or child, or even a pupil, leave the whips and canes, the boots and spurs, the bits and straps and the gloves and hard hats in the fetishist's wardrobe where they belong.

Training old version

Friday, 10 October 2008

Another rant about the establishment.

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Saddlechariots are different.
Please go to , my new website covering the saddlechariot/iBex and it's uses. This is where you will also find links to all my articles on training, safety, vehicle design and even the weird stuff on cooking and politics.
My new contact details are
and my phone number is +44 7510 736 518

It is important to make this point right at the start, and once you have entered the strange world of the saddlechariot website you will understand what I mean. If philosophy is not your bag, skip this page and go to Saddlechariots , but if you want to know Why Saddlechariots....carry on.
Hilary and Henry, Mothercombe Beach, Devon
Nelson Mandela and "Mornington Crescent" tend not to feature in horse drawn vehicle corporate blurb, but the Saddlechariot is different. For the last few months the Saddlechariot site has been a marvellous tribute to "caring conservatism" functioning as my own, online, "care in the community" so I could have a very public nervous breakdown. It makes a nice change from drunks lolling in the gutter to save the NHS a bob or two, now everyone can go global with their problems, paranoia and delusions, with the massive advantage that most of us don't then invade Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever it is that we are invading this week.

Tony learning to drive off Electric Avenue On his release from prison, Nelson Mandela said of those who had put him in Robben Island, and kept him there, "I don't hate them because if I hated them they would still be controlling me." Just listening to his reported words loo
sened the chains of hate that have been wasting my time, and wasting my life. My problems are nothing to those Mandela faced, and I am not trying to draw any parallel, merely expressing my thanks to Mr. Mandela for his example which has helped me so much.

Mr. Mandela's words allowed me to look at my problems clearly, not through a fog of hate, and I saw the British Horse Establishment in all their glory playing a rather more vicious, and much less funny version of "Mornington Crescent".Sand school grader For those who haven't enjoyed "I'm sorry I haven't a clue!" I can only say please listen to at least one episode. "Mornington Crescent" is a truly British game involving the four players on "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" saying the names of London Underground Stations until someone says Mornington Crescent. Humphrey Lyttleton chaired the proceedings introducing abstruse and arcane rules and rituals and the players endlessly questioned his jurisdiction and the fine print in the rules. The
joke is, that that is it. Once you know it is all pointless, you can laugh at those outside the charmed circle who just can't get it, and congratulate yourself on your wit and erudition.Henry making friends in Balsall heath But the charm of all those concerned, and their comedy genius made this simple formula a delight to all listeners for nearly thirty years. Yes, for thirty years a game with completely fictitious rules and no point, has entertained millions, and The British Horse Establishment, for over 80 years has done pretty much the same, with meaningless rules, archaic dress codes and snobbery.

The British Horse Establishment, if you are accepted, is, I am sure, full of charming and witty people, but to an outsider, it is "Mornington Crescent" without the genius and without the charm. Complicated and abstruse rules are insisted on with no background of logic, and once you are in the charmed circle, the rules no longer apply. The joy for those in the charmed circle is how easily you can keep out the riff raff.
HRH Princess Anne studying and early Saddlechariot at the Royal Cornwall Show
For example, cantering on the roads
"No mater how much you enjoy cantering, remember the horse's well-being. The canter should only be attempted on suitable ground, otherwise the horse's legs will be jarred. Soft ground is best and you must never canter on a road surface."
I was brought up with this absolute rule that you don't canter on the roads, until I went hunting for the first time, where all the people who insist you don't canter on the road are doing exactly that, but it is all right because they are hunting and therefore rules for the common herd don't apply.

Blinkers are vital if you are going to drive a horse. The reasons why they are vital vary according to who you are talking to, but they are vital. The Royal Horse Artillery gave up using blinkers before 1857 and don't use them to this day. Learner driver in Balsall HeathAre the Royal Horse Artillery particularly stupid and permanently crashing because of a lack of blinkers? Or is it possible that the rule is nonsense. Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty thought blinkers were a dangerous fashion accessory, and every small horsey girl reads Black Beauty, they just shut their eyes when they come to the bit about blinkers.One of my Lancaster university contacts said the reason horses have to wear blinkers is so they have the same narrow viewpoint as their owners.

On the right is a page of a book for novice horse owners. It might just make sense if you are completely ignorant, but those in the know are well aware that Thoroughbreds boast of their descent in the male line exclusively, and in the female line predominantly from ARAB blood. So you start a Thoroughbred at one and wait till the notoriously late developing Arab is 5 or six, you must either assume that the whole Thoroughbred pedigree is total nonsense or that the rules don't apply to rich and aristocratic race horse owners but must be enforced on any peasants.
Yes it is Mornington Crescent, it just isn't that funny. The reason they have to say that you can start Thoroughbreds at one, combines tradition, stupidity and cruelty and is therefore supported whole heartedly by the establishment despite the fact that vets have insisted it is stupid and cruel since Captain M. H. Hayes FRCVS wrote "Points of the Horse" in 1903.
Charlie learning to drive X country Pages 345 to 355 of this highly regarded work are a sustained diatribe against the January 1st birthday applied to all Thoroughbreds and the habit of pushing them to race too early. And guess what. Nothing has changed, but books now claim that you can start the Thoroughbred at one. Typical Mornington Crescent. Invent a pointless, idiotic rule, and insist it is both sane and sensible. But in the Equestrian establishment game, the horse is the loser.

I can go on with endless quotes and in Mornington Crescent, I do, but the essential point is simple. The British Horse Establishment have spent 8 years doing their collective best to destroy my business. Now I have got the joke and can see them as they are, a tiny elite, playing silly games to exclude the plebs, I have no problems. They have never looked at my product and all their vitriolic comments are just ignorant prejudice, an art form they have been practicing for 80 years. They have no legal rights or power, their whole power base is on people's perceptions of a brave, skilled, aristocratic elite. But once someone says "Mornington Crescent", this facade crumbles.
Beau introducing Henry to a bunch of children.
If you want to see the British Horse Establishment attitude to class, just look at Landrover's latest advert to support British eventing. Here is the Guardian's description.

Land Rover has created a viral ad featuring Zara Phillips being hit on by an obnoxious footballing lothario to promote the British equestrian eventing team ahead of the Beijing Olympics. In the clip Phillips, an equestrian world champion and member of the British eventing team, is seen beside a football field leading her horse from its trailer for exercise.
She is spotted by one of the players – the same character that appeared in Land Rover's viral ad featuring the England rugby union star Josh Lewsey in the run-up to last year's Rugby World Cup – who kicks the ball her way to attempt to chat her up.
After admiring her horse he says: "You're not too bad yourself, by the way." He then goes on to state that there is not much skill involved in equestrian events.
"Horse does all the work, you just sit there and look pretty," he says. "To me it's all about skill, baby, know what I mean."
The horse then sneezes violently over the wannabe charmer, covering him in snot.
Land Rover's viral ad finishes with the line "Join us in supporting British eventing".

Beau, Henry and Hilary at Ryan's Ryde
Would someone care to tell me, apart form the kid being a footballer and obviously lower class, what he had done to deserve a face full of snot, and what this is meant to say about the British equestrian Establishment?
I hope the photographs on this page give a flavour of the people who can enjoy ponies and Saddlechariots and the places where they can be enjoyed. Everyone, everywhere. I won't restrict ponies to a narrow group dedicated to preserving British upper class twit activities when working ponies and horses have 5 millennia of global tradition.

Monday, 6 October 2008

I've had a few beers and a pizza.

Very odd, I wrote the title, then left it for a bit and in the meantime decided not to drink alcohol. In part because if you are going to piss off the British Equestrian Establishment by pointing out that they are the most massively institutionally racist organisation in the world, you'ld damn well better be sober when they attack you.
So I'm not drinking, and surprisingly it doesn't really bug me, no mad cravings, no massive fights with my conscience and I've left a few lagers chilling in the fridge just to see if they are going to worry me.
I find it very puzzling, I gave up smoking from a healthy 60+ a day habit some 8 years ago now and I'm still waiting for the withdrawal symptoms and with alcohol, no twitching so far, yet my life is happily falling to bits around me, the question of whether I need psychiatric help is still open and I have given up a serious alcohol consumption level without problems.
Of course the getting you off your addiction industry love to make it sound really tough, so you need their services, and maybe I will one day, but for now, I think a cup of tea, or a tomato juice is the answer.