Today’s Horse Facts: The Hanoverian – Time Well Spent

The Hanoverian horse breed from Germany is often seen competing in the Olympic games.

The Hanoverian: Time Well Spent

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

 (Ephesians 5:16)

To see a picture of the Hanoverian, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanoverian_horse 

The country of Germany has the reputation of breeding many of the finest horses in the world. Among those breeds, the warm-blooded Hanoverian is arguably the most popular or famous. Like so many other horses named after the region where they were first found, this beautiful equine is from Hanover in northern Germany. He’s often seen in the Olympic Games and other world class competitive English riding styles. Although his roots branded him as a carriage driver, he’s now known as one of the outstanding competitive show horses. His lineage and excellence in performance can be attributed to only one fact: the time spent by Hanoverian enthusiasts to breed and train such an outstanding horse.

The Hanoverians’ roots go back to 1714 when King George I of England sent some of his finest Thoroughbreds to Germany where they were crossbred with Germany’s native horses. Then in 1735, his son, George II, developed a special stallion to pilot a breeding program of superb working horses and dependable cavalry mounts. At first, he used black Holsteiners (a taller athletic German horse) then added Thoroughbred blood. The newer Hanoverian became more nimble and highly skilled for competition. Through the 1700s, the developing Hanoverian was also crossbred with Cleveland Bays, Neapolitans, Andalusians, Prussians, and Mecklenburgs.  The result? A first-class coach horse used for hundreds of years.

Fast forward to the 1940s. Horse enthusiasts started the world-wide search for an excellent sport horse that could also serve as a general riding mount. Again, Hanoverian breeders answered the call by crossbreeding their stock with Thoroughbreds. However, occasionally using Anglo-Arabian or Trakehner studs produced the beautiful champion Hanoverian we now see winning blue ribbons all around the world.

The Hanoverian of today has a teachable temperament with a strong back, powerful body, and strong legs. He stands between 15.3 and 17.2 hands, and his color is usually chestnut, bay, black, and gray. Registered Hanoverians can’t have too much white anywhere on their bodies, and buckskin, palomino and cremello horses are ineligible for registration.

Since the Hanoverian is bred for the specialties of jumping and dressage, his haunches must be powerful, enabling him to cover the terrain with plenty of spring and force. He has won dozens of gold medals in all three equestrian Olympic competitions: dressage, show jumping, and eventing. The eventing class is considered the most demanding of all for both horse and rider. It originated with well-trained cavalry horses, which had to cover rough terrain and obstacles while running at full speed. As the eventing class evolved over time, it also included dressage and show jumping as well as cross country jumping and galloping.

The Hanoverians are so highly trained, they can be priced at high as $60,000 or more. If you’d like to go shopping for a Hanoverian, you can easily identify him by an “H” brand on his left hindquarter. You’ll also spot two numbers under the brand, the last two digits of the horse’s registration number.

Because of the time spent over hundreds of years to produce this champion, the Hanoverian is strong and elegant, an equine athlete full of grace and beauty.  I would say that’s been time well spent, wouldn’t you?

Have you discovered in your daily routine that anything worthwhile takes lots of time?  It takes time to put a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle together. It takes time to do any chores well. It takes time to do schoolwork, and after years and years of studying, you’ll finally graduate from high school. Most importantly, it takes time to become a strong Christian.

Speaking of time well spent, do you ever think going to church, reading the Bible, and praying is time well spent, or do you think it’s a waste of time?

As usual, the Bible has something to say about your time and how you should spend it. God wants you to draw closer to Him and become a strong Christian. The only way that can happen is if you do spend time going to church, reading the Bible, and praying. Now that’s time well spent!

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to spend my time wisely. I want to learn more about you because you’re such a wonderful God.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of some activities you know waste time and decide to use your time more wisely:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  One of the highest prices ever paid for a Hanoverian was $1,125,000 (That’s one million, one hundred, twenty-five thousand dollars) for the purchase of a horse named Lemony’s Nicket.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a NIRV).

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Haflinger – Always the Same

Horse lovers, do you know what a Haflinger is?

The Haflinger: Always the Same

To see a picture of the Haflinger, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haflinger

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

(Hebrews 13:8)

Two theories about the origin of this handsome, friendly, and useful breed have surfaced in recent years.

Some horse enthusiasts believe Haflingers came from the Tyrolean Mountains in southern Austria and northern Italy, possibly as far back as medieval times. The breed’s name, in fact, comes from the village of Hafling in northern Italy. (The Italian word for Hafling is “Avelignese” (Ah vale lig nee´ see), the name which some people call the Haflinger.)

Although people sometimes also refer to the Haflinger as a “mountain pony,” he’s a horse. Why was he sometimes called a pony? Perhaps because a type of light mountain pony was first found in the Tyrolean region. That little pony might have been the ancestor of the modern Haflinger.

The second theory is much more complicated, one that horse lovers might not want to take the time to figure out. Some believe the Haflinger descended from a stallion that Louis IV (the Holy Roman Emperor at that time) gave his son Prince Louis of Brandenburg (a city in northeast Germany) as a wedding gift in 1342.

Regardless of the Haflinger’s start, the evidence points to his roots going back hundreds of years. His lineage has been traced to one of seven studs, a beautiful horse named Folie.

As the Haflinger developed over time, during the second half of the 20th Century breeders worked on his temperament, a very important quality of any good horse. Haflinger admirers considered the horse’s attitude so important, they made a quiet, kind nature one of the official breed standards. Thus, no matter how handsome a Haflinger is, if he has a stubborn streak, he’ll flunk an official inspection and be denied his registry.

Some horse organizations recognize two types of Haflingers. One is a shorter, heavier type used as a packhorse and for farm and forestry work for hundreds of years. Even today, the Austrian and German armies still uses Haflingers as packhorses in rough terrain such as the highest Alpines in their countries.

The other type is taller and lighter, used for light driving, under-saddle competition, and pleasure riding. Although they’re very popular as dressage horses for children, they’re still strong and tall enough to carry adults.

There are several national shows for Haflingers worldwide, including those in Germany, Great Britain, and the U. S. One very interesting fact that has nothing to do with riding a horse is that in Germany the Haflinger produces the majority of the horse milk consumed. How would you like to try some milk from such a handsome horse?

So, how handsome is the Haflinger? The Haflinger is an athletic and sturdy medium-sized horse. Up until the 1940s, he stood at 13.3 hands, but today he stands at between 13.2 and 15 hands. Haflinger breeders shy away from breeding horses shorter than 13.2 hands. However, if a Haflinger is taller than 15 hands, he can be registered if he meets other breed requirements. One of the most important requirements is this horse’s eye-catching color.

You’ll never see a black, white, or spotted Haflinger. This equine is always a chestnut color, the shades ranging from a light gold to a rich golden brown or liver. The mane and tail are always white or flaxen (pale grayish yellow.)  So if you’re looking for a Haflinger, focus on his color first because Haflingers’ color is always the same and will never change.

Do you know something or someone else who’s always the same and never changes?

The Bible tells us that we worship the one true God, who has been the same throughout eternity and will never change. That’s good news for us! We can count on God to guide us with the same godly principles He set in motion from the beginning of time when He created the earth and everything in it.  He wrote all those principles we need to know in His Holy Word.

One thing God never changes his mind about is sin. Some people think they don’t sin. They just think they make mistakes. But God’s Word tells us that everyone has sinned. Because God can’t tolerate sin, he will judge it.

However, the best news ever is that God hasn’t changed his mind about how we can go to Heaven. From the beginning of time, He and His Only Son Jesus decided that Jesus would come to earth to save us from our sins. The decision they made thousands of years ago is still true today.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t change? You can always trust all the promises in God’s Word that point to salvation and give great peace in a believer’s heart.

PRAYER: Dear God, I’m so glad I can count on you to tell me how to live through your Holy Word that never changes Thank you for never changing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Read the following verses and decide what they tell us about something God never changes:

Psalm 33:4 

John 3:16

Philippians 4:7 

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  At the end of the 20th Century, the army in India tried to use Haflingers to breed pack horses for mountain work, but the horses couldn’t stand the hot climate, so the program failed.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “For I am the Lord, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6 a).

*****

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

THERE ARE OVER 300!

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Hackney – The Rolls Royce of Carriage Driving

Why is the Hackney horse called the Rolls Royce of Carriage Driving?

The Hackney Horse: The Rolls Royce of Carriage Driving

“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.”

(Revelation 19:16 NKJV)

(Check out photos of the Hackney at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackney_horse)

The Hackney Horse is another superb breed that originated in Great Britain. He’s not to be confused with the Hackney Pony, which can’t be taller than 14.2 hands and has the usual characteristics of a pony, not a horse.

The first records of any Hackney Horse date back to the 14th Century in Norfolk (a county in eastern Great Britain) when the King of England, Edward III, required excellent trotting horses  to be used for riding. Then in 1542, King Henry VIII ordered his wealthy subjects to breed only the very best trotting stallions.

With excellent crossbreeding in the late 17th to the early 18th Centuries, the Hackney developed from the Norfolk Trotter, Yorkshire Roadster, the Arabian, and the Thoroughbred. Wow! What strong bloodlines this high stepper has!  Before that time, heavier, big-boned horses pulled wagons, and they were in no hurry to do it. However, people wanted to get places faster, so they focused on lighter horses such as the Hackney. At first, folks simply admired the beauty of the Hackney but soon discovered his amazing trotting ability and seemingly endless energy. He could cover up to sixty miles in one day!

When people first entered Hackneys in competition, it was “under saddle” (a rider on the horse), not harness. As road conditions improved and the Hackney became the carriage horse, he then competed in harness. Thus, he became known as a riding and driving horse of great excellence.

During the 19th Century as with so many other driving breeds, the invention of modern machinery and the expansion of the railway endangered the carriage horses. Fortunately, Hackney owners revived the breed by selective crossbreeding with Norfolk and Yorkshire Trotters known for their style and speed. The impressive gaits of the Hackney Horse saved him from extinction and began his awesome appearance in England’s show ring.

The Hackney first appeared in the United States in 1878 when a Hackney enthusiast, Alexander Cassatt, brought the first Hackney Pony to the United States. Because Hackneys came in both pony and horse height ranges, they were one of the few breeds that recognized both pony and horse sizes.

As the Hackney Pony developed in the late 19th Century, Hackney Horses were bred to different pony breeds in order to create a very specific type of show pony. In 1891 with the two breeds becoming increasingly distinct in their characteristics, Cassatt and other Hackney enthusiasts founded the American Hackney Horse Society now based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Over the last few decades, the Hackney’s breeding has further produced a horse ideal for carriage driving. The Hackney Horse ranges in height from 14 to 15.3 hands. Their common colors are black, brown, bay and chestnut, and there are even some spotted ones. He has an elegant presence with a small head, well-shaped ears, and a natural high-set tail. But what is the Hackney most well-known for? Of course, his natural high-stepping gait! Although he’s best known for stealing the show in harness, he can also give a smooth and exciting ride. A pleasant surprise is his outstanding ability in show jumping and dressage competition.

To bring the excellence of the Hackney to the world’s horse enthusiasts, in 2003 the American Hackney Horse Society started the Open Competition Awards Program to recognize blue-ribbon Hackneys that were competing against other breeds.

Today proud owners compete in Carriage Driving and Coaching with their Hackney Horses, many driving away with top honors. Horse lovers often have to admit there’s nothing more elegant than a Hackney driving a fancy antique carriage. Because of the Hackney’s royal appearance, it’s easy to understand that he’s called the Rolls Royce of carriage driving.

Do you know what it means to label something a “Rolls Royce”?

The term “Rolls Royce” means the very best of something. A Rolls Royce car is one of the most expensive, special-made cars in the world. As the Hackney is labeled the Rolls Royce of carriage driving, our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, can be labeled the “Rolls Royce of all gods.” He’s not only the best God. He’s the only true God.

Sadly, many people around the world worship gods that aren’t even alive. They worship statues that can’t hear or speak. Some cultures worship animals, believing their ancestors’ souls live in the animals they worship. But saddest of all are the millions of people who believe they can go to heaven if they please their gods by being good or by doing kind deeds. But our one true God doesn’t expect that from us. All our God asks is that we trust in His Son Jesus to be our Savior, the only one who can forgive all our sins.

If you’ve trusted in Jesus as your Savior, then you’re believing in the Rolls Royce of gods, and you always can be sure of heaven when you die.

PRAYER: Dear God, I thank Jesus my Savior for being the One True God, whom I can trust to go to heaven. I realize there are no other gods like Him anywhere.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

What do you think people might be doing to try to earn their way to heaven? Thank God that you know it’s your faith in Christ that opens the way to eternal life.

Take your ride: (Do you know?) In the 1820s, a Hackney called “Norfolk Cob” was recorded as trotting two miles in just five minutes and four seconds.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

THERE ARE OVER 300!!!! I ONLY SHARED ABOUT 60 IN MY NEW BOOK….

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If you like to read stories about kids and horses, then my Keystone Stables books are the ones for you!

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)

 

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

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Today’s Horse Fact: The Furioso-North Star: Fearless!

Have you ever heard of a Furioso horse? The Furioso-North Star is a warm-blooded breed named after two stallions that started the line over 200 years ago. 

The Furioso-North Star: Fearless!

Furioso1-250x221.jpg

(Photo compliments Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furioso-North_Star)

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”

(1 John 4:18a)

The Furioso-North Star is a warm-blooded breed named after two stallions that started the line over 200 years ago.  There’s ongoing discussion whether the breed originated in Hungary or Romania, countries in Europe. Unfortunately, today The Furioso-North Star is endangered with only small numbers in those two countries and Slovakia. Those countries, involved in raising this rare horse for centuries, still have small herds grazing on their grasslands today. Because a few of these horses are only privately owned, the Furioso-North Star is considered a very valuable breed.

So, where did this horse get his start?

A beautiful English Thoroughbred named Furioso was foaled in 1836 at a stud farm in Hungary.  Four years later, he was crossbred with Hungarian mares, which started the line of Furiosos.  At about the same time, another Thoroughbred stallion, North Star, came from England and crossed with Hungarian mares. Those foals became known as the Furioso-North Star driving horses. North Star also sired foals of Norfolk Trotters and with Hungarian Nonius mares. By the end of the 19th Century, the two lines merged and were called Furioso-North Stars.  North Stars produced great harness racehorses, and Furiosos produced excellent heavyweight riding horses.

The Furioso-North Star makes a noble appearance with a strong body. He has the reputation of having a calm temperament and learns quickly. He’s a medium-heavy horse with a large frame that stands at 15.2 to 16.3 hands.  He’s mostly bay but can be chestnut or black. He’s done light farm work, has performed in competition, and has been used in harness.

The Furioso is known as a good quality riding horse especially for one type of rider, the Csikos (CHI-kosh) from Hungary. They would say the Furioso faces any rider’s challenge with a good attitude. The Furioso’s shoulders and legs are muscular and strong enough to hold tremendous weights, even off-balanced ones like the trick-riding Csikos. And the horse does it with no fear!

Why would a horse fear any rider or anything the rider would do? We’re not just talking about any rider.

The Csikos, mounted horse-herdsmen of Hungary, famous all over the world for their trick riding skills, often use the Furioso for their performances. What’s unusual is how highly trained their horses are.

If you know anything about horses, then you know how “skittish” or overcautious most foals are. Many are afraid of loud noises, water in hoses, fire, or any fast movement around their bodies. Even as they mature, horses can fear the saddle or any weight on their backs as well as the bit in their mouth.  We’ll have to admit they’re often big scaredy cats!

However, when trained properly from little up, especially for Csikos trick riders, Furiosos have no fear of anything the riders do. Some riders stand on their heads on the back of the horse, hang off the side of the horse, crawl under the horse’s belly and come up the other side, carry flaming torches, or stand backwards on the saddle, and all of the tricks are done while the horse is galloping around an arena!  The Furioso-North Stars are truly fearless!

Can you say you’re fearless like the Furioso-North Star, or are you afraid of things? How about the dark? Spiders? Snakes? The bully in your school or neighborhood? Were you bitten by a dog once and now you’re afraid of all dogs?

Most people have some fears about all kinds of things, and they might say it’s just part of being human. However, do you know the Bible talks a lot about how we should handle our fears? God wants us to give all our fears and concerns to Him.

You might wonder how to do that. The Bible says to pray and ask God to give you courage then trust in the Lord for peace in your heart that only He can give. If you ask God to take the fears from you, He will. That doesn’t mean the dangers are gone, but you’ll be able to face them with a different attitude. God loves you, and love always takes away fears. With God on your side, you can conquer any fear you face.

PRAYER: Dear God, I know You love me, and I can trust in You to take my fears away. Please help me to always remember that.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of some of your fears and ask God to take the fear from you. It might be a good time to discuss your fears with a parent.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  In 1784, the Hungarian Emperor Josef II founded the stud farm, Mezohegyes, which became one of Europe’s great horse breeding centers.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN ABOUT  59 DIFFERENT BREEDS OF HORSES?

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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 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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