Today’s Horse Facts: The Gypsy Vanner – The Horse with Many Names

Gypsy Vanner Horses have gained popularity with horse lovers worldwide only recently. But what is a Gypsy Vanner?

The Gypsy Vanner: The Horse with Many Names

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy_horse)

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”

(Philippians 2:9-10)

Gypsy Vanner Horses have gained popularity with horse lovers worldwide only recently. However, the Romani people (nomads) of Great Britain have known of this breed since the mid- 19th Century.  In fact, those travelers were instrumental in developing this special horse over the next fifty years. Through the crossbreeding of Dales Ponies (known as strong draft pullers), Fell Ponies, Shires, and Clydesdales, the short but stocky and powerful Gypsy horse emerged. The wandering groups finally had the perfect horse to pull their vardoes, also known as caravans (little houses on wheels).

A Gypsy Horse received special training to pull a vardo. Going up a steep hill, he had to learn to keep pulling the vardo until he reached the pinnacle; otherwise, because of the weight of the vardo, the horse might not have been able to get started again. During training, an old hat was sometimes placed on a frightened horse’s head. That kept him from seeing backward over the top of his blinders at the wagon looming at his back and spooking him. Because the horse was so essential to the travelers, he was considered part of the family and interacted with even the children. Thus, only those Gypsies with calm temperaments became vardo horses.

The Gypsy has the body type of much larger draft horses with heavy bones and broad backs, but most of the breed only stands at 14 to 15 hands. He comes in all brown and black colors and all combinations of pinto. A major feature making the Gypsy so handsome is the long-flowing mane, tail, and impressive feathers on every leg from the hock down. Besides his amazing appearance, the Gypsy is friendly and willing to learn.

Gypsies are now being used in all kinds of events. They pull carts and carriages, perform in dressage and show jumping, and they’ve become popular western pleasure horses. Because of his sweet nature, he’s also a wonderful family horse and is a great trail horse or therapy equine. In the U. S., the Gypsy horse is used in many equestrian sports and does quite well in combined driving and dressage. In 2001, a pair of Gypsies became grand champs in tandem driving team competition (one horse directly in back of the first horse, not side by side).

More interesting than the Gypsy Vanner’s roots is the long list of names this horse has been given: Colored Cob, Gypsy Cob, Irish Cob, Tinker Horse, Tinker Pony, Gypsy Horse, and, of course, the Gypsy Vanner. How in the world did this little horse get so many different names?

Founded in 1998, 2002, and 2003, three different groups of horse lovers, the Irish Cob Society, the Gypsy Cob and Drum Horse Association, and the Gypsy Cob Society of America all decided to refer to the breed as “Cob,” the name they believed the Romani breeders used.

Gypsies are also called “Tinker Horses” or “Tinker Ponies.” Those names originated with breed associations in the countries of Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands, where the Gypsies are listed in the Universal Equine Life Number database under the Tinker breed name.

In 2008, the newly incorporated Gypsy Horse Registry of America used the name “Gypsy Horse.” However, this organization states that it recognizes all breed names in use today.

So how did the breed assume the most popular name, Gypsy Vanner?

As early as 1888, the term “vanner,” had referred to a type of horse rather than to a certain breed. Since Gypsies originated as horses used for pulling vardoes or caraVANs, the name “Vanner” became associated with the breed.

In 1996, Gypsies made their way to the United States thanks to horse enthusiasts, Dennis and Cindy Thompson, who weren’t sure the breed had a proper name. They had read about the name “Vanner” being added to the horse’s name in other countries, liked the name, and founded the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society that same year.

While the Gypsy Vanner has seven different names, do you know the Lord Jesus Christ has many more?  The Bible tells us that Jesus has over a hundred different names, and every name exalts Him as the only true God and Savior.

Have you ever heard Jesus called “The Great Creator” or “The Good Shepherd”? How about “The Prince of Peace” or “The Son of God”? These are just a few of Jesus’ many names, all displaying His wisdom, power, and love for us.

Do you have a favorite name for Jesus? No matter which name you choose as your favorite, always remember one of the most important names, “Savior,” the one that offers eternal life to those who truly believe.

PRAYER: Dear God, I realize that the names Jesus has all point to how great and wonderful He is. Thank you most of all, Jesus, for being my Savior.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Read these verses in the Bible and find the names given to Jesus:

Isaiah 7:14;   Hebrews 12:2;   Revelation 1:8

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Training a Gypsy to pull a vardo began at a very early age with the colt or filly tied with a short rope to the collar of the pulling horse then led along that horse’s side.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”  (Isaiah 9:6).

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Friesian – Majestic!

When a black Friesian prances by in a parade, you can’t help but admire how “majestic” he is. But what is a Friesian?

The Friesian: Majestic!

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friesian_horse)

“His glory is great in Your salvation; honor and majesty You have placed upon him.”

(Psalm 21:5 NKJV)

Have you’ve noticed how many horses are named after places where they were first found? Friesians, sometimes called “Belgian Blacks,” fit into this category. Considered one of the oldest breeds in Europe, the Friesian originated in Friesland, a province in northwest Netherlands. Although he has the strong build of a draft horse and looks like he’d only be used for pulling a plow, he’s graceful and nimble. When he prances by in a parade, people can’t help but admire how majestic he is.

As majestic as the Friesian appears to be now, it’s believed that during the Middle Ages (the 5th to the 15th Centuries), his ancestors were used as war horses. The Friesians’ husky size and strength enabled them to carry knights in heavy armor. During the 16th and 17th Centuries heavy war horses were no longer needed, so Andalusians were crossbred with Friesians to produce a lighter horse for driving carriages.

Over the next 300 years, interest in the breed dropped, and Friesians nearly became extinct. Sadly, at the turn of the 20th Century, there were only three purebred stallions left. The breed struggled to survive, and then, contrary to so many other horses that declined during World War II, the Friesians made a strong comeback. Dutch farmers used them for transportation and farming due to fuel shortages.

Despite the Friesian’s shaky roots, he’s growing in numbers and popularity and performs in all kinds of harness and under saddle competition. Most recently, he’s also making a strong showing in dressage events.

The most unusual fact about the Friesians is they must be black to be registered. However, their colors can also be black/bay, dark brown, and chestnut is sometimes allowed for mares and geldings. If there’s any white at all on a Friesian, it can only be a small star on his forehead.

The Friesian stands at 14.2 to 17 hands. He has a beautiful arched neck and a muscular body with strong, sloping hindquarters. He has a long, thick mane and tail, which are often wavy, and his feet are feathered. He’s known for a brisk, high-stepping trot. Although he’s very energetic, he’s also gentle and trains well.

Friesians come with two different body types—baroque (bah·roke), which has the more solid build of the first Friesians, and the finer-boned sport horse. Although both types are common, the sport horse has become more popular in the show ring.

Because of their gorgeous black coat, flowing mane and tail, arched neck, and high step, Friesians appear in many movies and TV shows, especially in fantasies. They remain calm and perform beautifully when being filmed, and they are stunning in their appearance. A Friesian tends to have great presence and to carry himself with royal elegance. Whether he’s driving a fancy carriage or prancing under saddle, he can only be defined as majestic.

Anyone or anything that is “majestic” has a quality of dignity, beauty, and grandeur. The word “majesty” refers to someone who has great power or a high position. Have you ever heard someone call a king or queen “your majesty”?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Supreme Authority of the entire universe and heavens, and we should worship Him as the most powerful ruler of all. Someday King Jesus is coming back to earth on a white horse, and every Christian will have the privilege of bowing in person before Him and addressing Him as “Your Majesty.” I can’t wait for that time to come.

How about you? Is the Majestic God of the Universe the King of your life?

PRAYER: Dear God, I want You to be the ruler of my life. I pray I’ll be a loyal servant, willing to do whatever You ask of me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Read Revelation 19:11-16 and find four titles of royalty Jesus Christ is called in those verses:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)   Some Friesian events feature the horse driving a sjee, a cart with only two, but very large, wheels.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:25).

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Falabella – A Carbon Copy

Have you ever seen a horse about the size of a Great Dane? The Falabella is one of the smallest horse breeds in the world.

The Falabella: A Carbon Copy

FalabellaFestivo.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falabella )

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us ….”

(Ephesians 5: 1-2a NIRV)

Have you ever seen a horse about the size of a Great Dane? The Falabella is one of the smallest breeds in the world, averaging seven or eight hands. (Remember a hand is about four inches). The average Falabella is shorter than a yardstick. Because of his size, many people think he’s a pony, but he’s a miniature horse. A carbon copy of the bigger guys!

The Falabella’s roots take him back to Andalusians and Iberian horses in Argentina, South America. In 1868, Patrick Newtall started a breeding program including local Criollo horses known for their stamina. When Newtall died, his son-in-law, Juan Falabella, added the bloodlines of Welsh Ponies, Shetland Ponies, and small Thoroughbreds. Thus, a consistently small horse named the “Falabella” emerged over the next century.

In 1940, Julio C. Falabella, a descendent of Juan, founded the Falabella Horse Breeders Association to preserve the breed. At first, he set the horse’s height standard to no more than ten hands, but later other breeders set today’s standard of about seven to eight hands.

By the early 1950s, horse lovers all over the world became interested in the fascinating little horse. The Falabella gained popularity with not only horse breeders but with royalty and celebrities, as well. These first miniatures arrived in the United States in 1962 when a winery in Etiwanda, California, purchased 12 stallions to drive small stagecoaches in parades. Most of the Falabella miniatures in the U.S. today came from those 12 horses.

Although the Falabellas are the size of ponies, the similarity ends there. Their body shape, sleek coat, and slim frame are very much like Thoroughbreds or Arabs. Falabellas have sturdy bones and a thick mane and tail. Their colors can be black, brown, bay, pinto, and palomino. Strangely, though, there are no Appaloosa-colored Falabellas.

If you think a full-grown Falabella is tiny, a foal is even smaller. If you measure something 24 inches high, you’ll see how little the Falabellas are when they’re born. As small as they are, it takes three years for them to mature.

You might wonder what anyone would do with horses so small. Because Falabellas have a calm, sweet temperament and train easily, they can be ridden by very young children.  But the Falabellas have many other jobs, and they do them well!  They drive carts, and some folks enter the little horses in shows.  In recent years, Falabellas have worked jobs that have won the hearts of young and old alike. One of the horse’s most valuable uses is being guide animals for special needs folks. Falabellas can also be trained as service animals, visiting children in hospitals or the elderly in senior centers.

No matter where the Falabellas live, even in extreme hot or cold, they thrive as much as their taller counterparts. What the big guys can do, the little horses can do, and just as well. You might say these miniatures are carbon copies of the bigger breeds.

A “carbon copy” is something or someone similar or almost identical to another. Has anyone ever said you’re a carbon copy of your mother or father? That means you look just like one of them.

The Bible tells us we should strive to be carbon copies or imitators of the Lord Jesus Christ too. That means as we Christians grow in our faith and love for God, we’ll become more like Jesus in our thoughts, words, and actions.

Have you ever thought you might be considered a carbon copy of Jesus? As you do your best to follow God and please Him, wouldn’t it be great if those around you would think you were a carbon copy of Jesus? If you strive to love others as Jesus loves us, then it might just be the case.

PRAYER: Dear God, I would love to be a carbon copy of my Savior Jesus Christ. Help me to live every day to please Him.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of two things Jesus did when He was on earth that showed how much He loved others. Decide how you can show that same love to others.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Since 1999, the Guide Horse Foundation has worked to provide miniature horses to the blind in rural areas.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing ….” (John 14:12a NIRV)

 

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Today’s Horse Facts: The DUTCH HARNESS HORSE: A High Stepper

“Fancy” is what we horse lovers consider the Dutch Harness Horse. Why?

The Dutch Harness Horse: A High Stepper

Dutchharnesshorse.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Harness_Horse )

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.”

 (Psalm 37:23)

For many centuries the Dutch (people from the Netherlands in Europe) concentrated on breeding high-stepping horses. Although farmers valued the horse as a helper and a source of income, they also considered a fancy horse a status symbol. And “fancy” is what we have with the Dutch Harness Horse.

The Dutch have a strong tradition of breeding driving horses. You might wonder what the difference is between a harness horse and a driving horse. There is no difference. The term “in harness” often describes a horse being driven. A horse harness is a type of tack with a breast collar that allows a horse to pull heavy vehicles such as carriages, wagons, or sleighs. The Dutch Harness Horse is noted for pulling lighter, fancier carriages in international competition. But where did he get his start?

During the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the warm-blooded Dutch Harness Horses were known as “luxury horses.” The first studbook in The Netherlands was founded in 1879, which started classifying them as a recognizable breed. It eventually emerged from two separate equines in the Netherlands. One breed, the northern Groningen, was heavier and had dark coats. The Gelderlander from southern Netherlands was taller and leggier and chestnut in color. Although the resulting horses were stout and could work on farms, they were also elegant with a high step to pull fancy carriages. Owners continued to improve their horses by breeding the best mares to the best trotting stallions. The result? The more streamlined and fancier “Sunday horses” became a separate line from the stronger working horses.

Because of those horses’ classy development, their owners started competing to see whose equine was the showiest. When machines made farm horses unnecessary, the higher-steppers were bred for driving competition. Thus, by 1969, the Dutch Harness Horse became so popular, The Royal Warmblood Horse Studbook of the Netherlands (KWPN) was founded to preserve the breed.

As recent as the late 20th Century, more crossbreeding with Hackneys and Standardbreds resulted in a harness horse with stunning beauty and a natural high step. Today, although only 40 sires and fewer than 2,000 broodmares are registered, the Dutch Harness Horses are very easy to spot.  In the past few years, a few have come to North America and have been crossbred with Arabians, where they are used as sport horses and saddle seat horses. Regardless of how they’re shown, their fancy trot separates them from most other breeds. And there’s a reason why.

The Dutch Harness Horse is unique in that he has strict rules when showing, and it has to do with his feet. The shoes must be within a certain width and thickness, and pads added to the hoof are prohibited. He’s then able to step “to the high heavens” on his own, not because of special shoeing.

Besides his high stepping, the Dutch Harness Horse would have a braided mane and a natural tail in competition. He’d be decked with gorgeous tack, often wearing a white bridle with a cavesson (a noseband) that might match a white carriage. His coat colors can be chestnut, bay, brown, or black. However, he might be gray, a shade of roan, or a creme color. A tobiano paint Dutch Harness Horse surfaces occasionally, but he’d be rare. Regardless of the appearance of this beautiful horse, one fact is certain. He’s proud to be high stepping for the one controlling his reins.

As the steps of a Dutch Harness Horse are in the hands of his driver, so are our steps in the hands of our Driver. Have you ever thought about your life and how each and every detail is planned by our Amazing God?

The Bible tells us that God has a plan for every Christian, and the Lord directs every step in the life of a believer who trusts in God’s wisdom.

Do you pray and ask God for wisdom and for Him to direct your steps? If you have, then God directs your steps through those older and wiser such as a parent, a pastor, or a teacher. Obeying those people will make you a “high-stepper,” allowing the Lord to direct your steps throughout your entire life.

PRAYER: Dear God, I trust you with my life, and I want you to plan my steps. I’m willing to serve you in whatever you ask me to do.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

What do you think might be some “good” steps a young Christian should take in his life? Be determined to take those steps in your Christian walk with Jesus.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Branding horses is now illegal in the Netherlands, so the red-lion-standing-on-his-hind-legs brand of the KWPN is found on the left thigh of only older horses. Today, KWPN horses are microchipped instead.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21 NKJV).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Curly – The Oddball of the Horse World

Do you know that a Curly Horse has a coat of hair tight as a poodle?

The Curly Horse: The Odd Ball of the Horse World

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curly_Horse)

“But you are a chosen generation … a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

(1 Peter 2:9)

Curlies come in all sizes and colors, but what’s really strange about these horses is they all carry a gene for a uniquely curly coat of hair. Just as strange is how the breed originated.

In the early 20th Century, rancher John Damele and his sons near Eureka, Nevada, spotted a herd of Mustangs with a few strange-looking horses. While Mustangs were a common sight, the curly-coated horses were unusual. Years later, the Dameles managed to catch one. They trained it and rode it, then sold it, thus starting their Curly association. In 1932, a harsh winter hit, and when spring brought warmer weather, the only horses found were the Curlies. The Dameles noted how hardy those few horses were, so they decided to include more of them in their herd.

After another harsh winter in 1952, the Dameles became serious about breeding the Curlies. They found the Mustangs again and rounded up a two-year-old chestnut stallion. Because the Dameles didn’t care to keep the Curly breed pure and just wanted to improve their own horses, they crossbred their herd with one Morgan and one Arabian stallion. Those two studs and the Curly created beautiful foals with Curly blood. Thus, we have hundreds of cross-bred Curlies today. They can be found in gaited, sport, draft, pony, and even in a few miniature horses.

How the Curlies ever came to America in the first place remains a big question. Some historians surmise the horses were brought by Spanish Conquistadors, Russians, or Vikings.  Early American Sioux natives regarded Curlies as sacred mounts for their chiefs and medicine men. Native American artwork also shows warriors riding this odd breed in the Battle of Little Bighorn.

If you want a horse for just a “cute pet,” the Curly might be for you. You might say he looks like an overgrown poodle! At birth he has tight curls everywhere, even in his ears. As he matures, his coat settles down a little. His winter coat is still really tight, but in the summer his coat is wavy.  However, some purebred Curlies have no curls at all and are called “smooth coats.” And there’s great news for you who are allergic to animal hair. You could actually own a Curly because the breed is hypo-allergenic. Curlies’ hair doesn’t trigger allergies!

As odd as the Curlies are, it seems they all have positive traits, perfect for children. Curlies have friendly manners and are easy to train despite their rugged determination. Most of them work hard, including participating in gymkhana (horse and rider events with speed/pattern racing and timed games).

Curlies come in nearly all colors and coat patterns, and the height varies according to type. Their colors are mostly chestnut but can be bay, black, or gray with appaloosa or pinto markings. Because of their crossbreeding with gaited horses, some Curlies have a running walk. Those saddle types range from 14.1 to 15.1 hands. Most other Curlies stand between 14 and 16 hands, but they can range from miniature horses to draft horses.

You’re probably wondering how you groom a Curly. Remember, his curls can be as tight as a poodle’s. Caring for the coat requires simple brushing. However, the mane is often not combed because the hair tends to lose its curl. Because the manes tangle easily, they’re often trimmed real short.

By now, you probably agree the Curly Horse is an odd but beautiful horse.  Another word for odd is the word “peculiar.”

Many people consider Christians odd or peculiar. Are you a peculiar Christian?

The Bible tells us that Christians are peculiar in that we are special members of God’s family. When we give our lives to Jesus, we have different ways of looking at things. We have different interests than those who aren’t Christians.

Does everyone you know love to go to church and read the Bible, two activities Christians should want to do? Think about some friends who might not be Christians. What are they interested in? Because you choose not to do some of those things, those friends might actually call you “odd.”

If others think you’re odd, that’s no reason to be sad. God calls you a good kind of peculiar because you do love Him and want to please Him. For that, you can be very thankful.

PRAYER: Dear God, sometimes it’s hard to be so different from some my friends. I want to be a strong Christian, even if others think I’m an oddball. Please help me to be like the Curly and not be ashamed of who I am and who You are.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Name some things you should do as a Christian that some of your friends might think is “odd.” Ask God to help you be a good testimony.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Some Curly owners collect their horses’ shed hair from the manes and tails and donate it to the International Curly Horse Organization Fiber Guild. The guild uses the hair for making clothing. The proceeds go to ICHO Curly research efforts.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Clydesdale – One Powerful Equine!

Do you think you could saddle a Clydesdale horse and ride him? Clydesdales are some of the biggest horses in the world.

The Clydesdale: One Powerful Equine!

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clydesdale_horse)

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”

(Ephesians 6:10)

Do you think you could ever saddle a Clydesdale and ride him? Let’s find out!

The Clydesdale is a huge, coldblooded draft horse that has his roots as a farm animal from the Clyde Valley in Scotland, a country in Europe. He’s considered a member of an exclusive equine club, “The Big Four of the Draft World,” with Belgians, Percherons, and Shires. It might be well to note that the Clydesdale is as beautiful as he is big.

Way back in the 1700s, the breed developed from Flemish (northern Belgium) stallions that had been imported to Scotland and crossbred with local mares. The name “Clydesdale” was first used in 1826, and by 1830 a system of hiring stallions resulted in Clydesdale horses becoming popular throughout Scotland and northern England. In 1877, Clydesdale enthusiasts started the first breed registry, which raised great interest in the horse.

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, thousands of Clydesdales found their way from Scotland to the rest of the horse world, including Australia and New Zealand, where they were given the name “the breed that built Australia.” However, during World War I, as with most horse breeds, Clydesdales began to decline due to automobiles and the invention of farm machinery. Unfortunately, the decline continued until 1970, when the Rare Breeds Survival Trust then declared the Clydesdale in danger of extinction. Clydesdale enthusiasts began to work to preserve the breed, and because of their efforts this majestic equine started to make a comeback.

So how big is big? Clydesdales stand from 16 to 18 hands and weigh 1,800 to 2,000 pounds.  Now that’s big. Some full-grown males have measured 18 hands and weigh up to 2,200 pounds. That’s almost as heavy as a small car! Despite the horses’ size, would you believe some people actually like to ride them? You’d definitely need a ladder to get on, like climbing on the top of bunkbeds. And I imagine it would be like trying to ride a sofa!

Concerning the Clydesdales’ colors, they’re considered the dark horses of the Big Four. They’re mostly bay, brown, roan, or black with white markings, mostly on the face and sometimes with large white blotches on his underbelly. They also have white feathers preferably on all four feet. Feathers? If you’re a horse lover, then you probably already know that horses don’t have “feathers” like birds do. You’d also know when a horse has feathers, he has long, flowing hair covering his feet.

The Clydesdale is quite the unique horse. Despite his bulky size and bulging muscles, he has a gorgeous arching neck and a flashy, high-step.  He has lots of energy, and even when he pulls an over-sized wagon or a heavy load, his power and beauty leave the admirer in awe. Besides his handsome frame, his mane will probably be braided and his tail either bobbed or braided, which only adds to his stunning appearance.

Some of the most famous members of the breed are the teams that make up the eight-horse hitches of the Budweiser Clydesdales. Also, Clydesdales and Shires are used by the British Household Cavalry as drum horses, leading parades during state occasions. Drum horses, of course, carry drums, and have the special privilege of guarding the Sovereign and the Royal Household. To qualify for that job,  a drum horse must stand at least 17 hands because he’ll carry the Musical Ride Officer and two silver drums, each weighing about 125 pounds.  Only a powerful horse like the Clydesdale could handle all that weight and still prance with an arched neck.

Just as the Clydesdale uses his power to pull heavy loads and serve people, do you know you can ask God for His power to help you serve others too?

Perhaps you have situations in your life that make you feel weak and unable to know what to do. We all have problems in our lives that sometimes can stump us and cause us to want to “run away” from the trouble. But God is always with us, ready to help.

As a Christian, remember that your power to do right and to accomplish anything comes from God. Jesus is your best friend. All you need to do is ask Him, and you’ll receive the power and strength to get the job done or solve the problem.

PRAYER: Dear God, sometimes I feel very weak in my faith. I know I can be stronger with your power. Help me to always trust in you with important decisions. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of some things you think God will help you do to become a stronger Christian.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  In past days, the Clydesdales’ feet were so big they couldn’t fit in the farmers’ plowed furrows. Thus, Clydesdales often worked in towns pulling wagons rather than pulling plows on farms.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “He gives power to the weak,
and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29).

**********

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Cleveland Bay – Welcomed at the Royal Palace

The Cleveland Bay horse has a special job. Most likely, you’ve seen him on TV when he’s working. But who does he work for?

The Cleveland Bay: Welcomed at the Royal Palace

A team of four bay (brown with black mane and tail) horses trotting along a cobblestone path with trees and fields in the background. They are pulling a green carriage in which several people ride.

Photo compliments of Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Bay

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”

(Romans 8:16-17a)

If a horse is named a “bay,” can you guess what color he is? Right! He’s a shade of brown with a black mane, black tail, and black stockings. He could be a golden chestnut or as dark as milk chocolate, but he’d still have those black trimmings. And that’s exactly what we’ve got with the Cleveland Bay!

The Cleveland Bay is the oldest breed from England, believed to date back to the 17th Century. He’s named after his consistent bay colors and the Cleveland district in Yorkshire. Although this horse is always labeled “bay,” a few light hairs are sometimes found in the mane and tail of some. Breeders prefer bays with a more reddish tint than other shades. However, if any white markings appear on a colt, except for a small star on the forehead, he’s not able to be registered in the stud book. The shades of bay are important when creating matching driving  pairs because drivers want their teams to look almost identical.

The earliest breeding of the Bay was done mostly by church members and priests in monasteries in the Middle Ages. They needed pack horses to carry trade goods between abbeys and monasteries in northeast England. Those pack horses were eventually crossbred with Andalusians and Barbs and later with Arabians and Thoroughbreds to create the lighter-in-weight Cleveland Bay of today.

Over the next few hundred years, interest in the Bay waned, mostly because of the invention of the automobile. In the early and mid-20th Century, breeders started using Bays as hunters. Unfortunately, breeders soon lost interest in them, and by 1962, only four stallions were left in England. But then Queen Elizabeth II, knowing the breed was used to drive royal carriages since the1920s, took a personal interest in the Bay and saved it by purchasing Mulgrave Supreme, a stallion that was about to be sold to a U.S. buyer. The queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg, did all they could to preserve the breed, and within 15 years there were 36 purebred stallions in the United Kingdom.  Because the prince used the breed in international driving competitions in the late 1960s and 1970s, horse lovers became more interested then wanted part-bred Cleveland Bays for riding horses, hunters, and jumpers. In 1964, a Cleveland Bay/ Thoroughbred even competed in show jumping in the Tokyo Olympics!

Since 1977, Elizabeth II has been a patron of the British Cleveland Bay Horse Society and has worked tirelessly to preserve this special horse. Yet, despite her efforts, the UK Rare Breeds Survival Trust considers the Bay’s numbers to be critical with less than 300 mares registered. At last count, it’s been reported only about 550 Cleveland Bays exist worldwide.

Cleveland Bays have a sweet, calm temperament and stand between 16 and 16.2 hands. They have a muscular body and strong legs that seem a little too short for the stout body. They’re versatile, performing well at driving, show jumping, and farm work. But best of all, Bays have been fortunate enough to be chosen by the British Royal Family for almost a century and are still used to pull carriages in royal processions today.

As you think about the Cleveland Bay being part of the queen’s royal palace, do you realize if you’ve asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior, you’re included in the royal family of the God of the Universe? The Bible says if we’ve accepted Jesus, God has adopted us into His royal eternal family, and we are heirs of His kingdom. Every Christian is considered a child of the King. The Bible also tells us we are sons of God, and one day we’ll inherit all that God has, including beautiful homes in heaven.

Of course, you’re already part of your human family here on earth whether you’re naturally born into that family or adopted. Your family members love you and have given you all the rights and privileges available as part of that family. How cool is that?

Since you’re a member of your human family, do you represent the family well? Do you act responsibly as a young Christian? Perhaps a parent has said this: “Act like you’re part of our family. Make me proud of you.”

Do you know God our Heavenly Father also wants His children to make Him proud?

As a member of God’s family, do you try to please Him and make Him proud? Maybe you never realized you are a child of the King. If you face every new day with the desire to obey not only your parents but God as well, then you’ll make all of them proud.

PRAYER: Dear God, I realize you are my heavenly Father, and I’m your child. I pray I can live every day to please you. Please help me do that. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of some things you can do to make God and your family proud.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Today Cleveland Bays make up the majority of the bay horses in the Royal Mews, the British royal stables, where they receive intense training to pull royal carriages.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

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