Today’s Horse Facts: The Nonius – The Ideal Horse for a Safe Ride!

The Nonius (Nó ni usz) horse from the country of Hungary has his roots with Arabian and Turkish horses going back as far as the 16th Century.

The Nonius: The Ideal Horse for a Safe Ride!

To see a photo of this horse breed, go to

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

“The horse is prepared against the day of battle, but safety is of the Lord.”

(Proverbs 21:31)

The Nonius (Nó ni usz) from the country of Hungary has his roots with Arabian and Turkish horses going back as far as the 16th Century.  During the 18th Century, the Hungarian kings decided to crossbreed their horses with stallions from Spain and Portugal, which led to a handsome horse with a thick arched neck, a large but elegant head, and a short back. Because the aristocrats demanded a beautiful yet limber steed, in 1784, the State Stud of the Hungarian Royal and Imperial Court in the southeastern town of Mezőhegyes was founded to develop a strong yet beautiful breed.

At that time, history records that Hungary had about 1.5 million horses, 10,000 to 15,000 of them working in the cavalry every year. Although the kings and aristocrats wanted quick riding horses for their military, the common people looked for reliable mounts for hunting and for elegant horses to drive carriages. Those demands led to the development of three different breeds: the Gidrán, the Furioso-North Star, and the Nonius.

You might think the name “Nonius” is a strange name for a breed of horses. The Nonius is a breed named after Nonius, the Anglo-Norman foundation sire. He was born in 1810 in Calvados, Normandy, in France. His sire was named Orion, and, while sources differ on his breeding, he was either a Thoroughbred, a Norfolk Trotter, or a combination of the two.

Even as a foal, Nonius was considered ugly. Even today the breed is known for the heavy head with a convex profile called a Roman nose. He’s generally dark in color, most of the breed being black, dark bay or brown, either unmarked lightly marked with white. He’s muscular and heavy-boned, similar to other light draft and driving horses and stands between 15.1 to 16.1 hands.

During the 20th Century, the Nonius became a farm horse. Sadly, as with so many beautiful horses in the 1930s and 40s, World War II significantly reduced the breed. It’s believed there were only 50 mares left at that time. And for a few decades after the war, the lack of use for horses in Hungary sent many to the slaughterhouse.

The Nonius exhibits traits common to heavy-boned driving and light draft horses: a powerful and arched neck, broad and muscular back, and deep, sloping hindquarters. Although he’s one of the heaviest warmblood driving horses, he’s known for a kind, even temperament and eagerness to work in harness and under saddle. An extra bonus with this breed is he’s easy to keep.

The number of Nonius horses today is believed to be at about 450 mares and 80 stallions. The largest population is still found in the town of Mezőhegyes, Hungary, with other small herds in Romania, Bulgaria, and the Serbian province of Vojvodina. Regardless of where you find a Nonius, you can make certain, he’s been well-trained and prepared to serve over the years and will give a safe, enjoyable, and exciting ride.

How about you? Are you “well-trained” and prepared to serve the Lord every day? Do you get up with a smile on your face and a desire to do right? If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, He’s ready to help you as you read your Bible and pray. Then you’ll certainly be prepared to face each new day and the challenges it brings.

PRAYER: Dear God, I ask that you’ll help me be prepared for each new day by reading the Bible and praying. I know I can be “safe” with you as my guide. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

What distracts you from reading your Bible and praying? Determine to set aside a special time each day to meet with God during your devotions.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Today the Nonius is bred by horse lovers passionate about preserving the breed and is used for farming, trail riding, and competitive driving sports.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Hold me up, and I shall be safe, and I shall observe Your statutes continually” (Psalm 119:117 NKJV).

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Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

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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)

 

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?

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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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