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?

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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 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).

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

CHECK OUT MY LATEST BOOK:

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH: A 60-DAY DEVOTIONAL FOR KIDS

https://amzn.to/2Lgypvm