Dressage is a sport of skill and athleticism for both the horse and rider. It combines a series of prescribed moves by the horse that are part of subtle leg cues given by the rider. These minute changes are barely visible.
At the elite international level the freestyle competition is one of the most fun to watch as a spectator because they're set to music and the team has a greater latitude in putting together their program.
It takes many years of training to reach this level of skill, making a ride look this effortless, but you can tell the horse is a willing partner. The ride of Andreas Helgstrand on Blu Hors Matine, a nine year old Danish bred mare in 2006 is still one of the best rides ever recorded on video.
Famous Stallion Dual Peppy, who was purchased for between $500,000 and $650,000 by the current owner , was part of 10 horses rescued from a barn full of rotting horse corpses by the El Paso County Sheriff's department last week.
Renters on the property in Black Forest, Colo. not only made the discovery of the malnourished horses, but also found at least 12 dead horses who covered in lye and tarps rotting in the barn. The barn was the only shelter for the malnourished horses, whose pens were surround by lush grass that they could not reach.
The horse breeder who owns the property, Sherri Brunzell, has been sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association and will never be able to participate in any events and is prohibited from being a member in the future. However, she may be able to pay a $6,000 fine and regain custody of the seized horses.
According to news reports on RateMyHorsePro.com, a horse advocacy group, there was evidence that the 10 horses seized by police from the property were already suffering from neglect as early as the fall of 2013. Also, the surviving horses had overgrown hooves and the majority had bones showing through their skin, evidence of malnutrition at the least. In this article, Brunzell claimed the dead horses in the barn died from colic and she could not afford to dispose of them.
Dual Peppy who is of special note for his blood line, past performances and purchase price was one of the horses rescued during the raid. A Facebook page devoted to bringing awareness to his condition was started last week and already has more than 29,000 likes.
For images and news coverage from station KDVR click here.
For the Facebook page and coverage by Rate My Horse Pro click here.
For the Facebook page Justice for Dual Peppy click here.
Remember how gross it was to peal yourself off a plastic chair on a hot summer day? Can you imagine peeling yourself off a plastic saddle?
If you’ve seen the craftsmanship that goes into a leather saddle, you may appreciate that some of them are not only functional, but really pieces of art. After World War II however, leather was scarce. So Bill Vandegrift, a cowboy from the western slope of Colorado, started the All Western Saddle Company and made saddles out of plastic from 1946 to 1949 in Lusk, Wyoming and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
Plastic had become more popular than ever for all kinds of products and new chemical formulations made it less brittle and cheaper to manufacture. What I didn’t expect was that there was a whole line of horse tack made from plastic that Vandegrift thought was going to be the saddle of the future.
I get a kick out of watching old cowboy movies and TV shows like Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and Annie Oakley. The late ‘40s and early ‘50s were a weird mix of crazy inventions, cowboy heroes and A-bomb tests in the desert.
It might be hard to imagine today, but these movies and their stars were so popular that they had a major effect on pop culture. Everything from clothing, cowboy boots, pearl snap shirts as well as branded merchandise that we think of today like toys, alarm clocks, dish sets, and even plastic guitars with your favorite cowboy hero on them.
Vandegrift thought his fortune was made when Roy Rogers endorsed his saddle line. Rogers actually used the saddles in parades. The company moved to a larger facility in Nebraska in 1949 but the building was destroyed in a storm and the saddle company went out of business. Only 65 plastic saddles were made during the company’s existence.
If not for the traveling exhibit at the Wyoming State Fair, I wouldn’t have known about this fun detour in western saddle making history.