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from Photographers' Blog:

The horses of Portugal

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Queluz, Portugal

By Jose Manuel Ribeiro

They look like the last aristocrats.
They are treated with the most respect and tenderness.
They have the best diets and food.
They have fancy shampoo baths before showing up.
They have the best shoemakers.

They have healthcare 24/7.
They dress the way their forefathers did in the 18th century.
They have gentlemen's hairdressers.

They are all males living at the Royal Palace of Queluz, 20 kms (12 miles) north of Lisbon, the same palace that received past Kings, Queens and Presidents during their state visits to Portugal.
They have care takers and horsemen all around, proud to be a part of the Equestrian Art Portuguese School.

They are the Lusitano horses, descended from the family of Iberian wild horses that were tamed by the stud farm of Alter do Chao in southern Portugal in the 18th century. The Royal Equestrian School closed in the 19th century but due to the Portuguese tradition of bullfighting on horseback the art, the skills and culture survive until today.

from Photographers' Blog:

Lipizzaners return home

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By Heinz-Peter Bader

It was a beautiful late summer day with blue sky and not a single cloud when I went to the village of Piber some 200 km (124 miles) west of Vienna to see the world famous Lipizzaner horses. Well, actually, the 40 young studs were not famous yet, but some of them would be selected to become famous some day - members of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

SLIDESHOW: DANCING HORSES OF VIENNA

The young Lipizzaners spend their summers in the mountains, and the return back to the stud is traditionally celebrated. They are decorated with flowers, receive blessings in front of the local church and are presented to the people before they arrive at their stable after a 16 km (10 mile) walk.

from Photographers' Blog:

Set free in the Mongolian wild

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By Petr Josek

Bulgan airport in the southwest part of Mongolia reminds me of a small train station from the spaghetti western film "Once Upon a Time in the West." It's slow, hot and once a week people wait for an airplane with no more then 20 passengers on board to arrive.

The day of July 17, 2012, was different.

The Czech Army plane Casa brought on board four Przewalski mares. They are endangered animals with a sandy brown coat and faintly striped legs, extinct in their homeland since the early 1970s.

from Photographers' Blog:

Montana’s fading cowboy culture

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By Jim Urquhart

"It's been a wild ride. Thank you."

And with that Renee and Kail Mantle closed a chapter of American history. On Sunday the husband and wife team held the closing ceremonies to end the last of 11 horse drives they have completed with their company, Montana Horses, after racing over 300 horses through the western outpost of Three Forks, Montana.

The duo, a redheaded former theater major preparing for law school and a tanned wrangler who is a former rodeo champion, have been operating Montana Horses off a plot of land north of town since 1995 when they started with just 14 head of horses. Recently the plot of land has grown to 500 acres where they lease hundreds of horses, each one of which Kail and Renee know by name, to dude ranches and trail ride companies throughout the west and in many national parks. The Mantle family has a long tradition of supplying and tending to horses, leasing horses in various western states since 1964.

from Photographers' Blog:

The majestic Lipizzaner

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By Lisi Niesner

Born as bay, chestnut or black foals, the vast majority of Lipizzaner horses are grey. A gene mutation is responsible for the loss of color pigments in their coats and causes what we see as white coloring in their growing age. The progressive silvering process starts the first year before the horses often completely turn white between six and eight, comparable with the aging of human hair, but with the process incredibly sped up. The color of their coat is based on the Mendelian inheritance and as grey is the dominant gene, in rare cases a small number of Lipizzaner horses stay dark into their adulthood.

Homozygous Lipizzaner are a brighter white, known as milk-white. As white is often a symbol of elegance and dignity, no wonder Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria chose these horses for his court stud founded in 1580. Their famous reputation owes not only to their brilliant white coat but also their mental and physical power. The Lipizzaner are graceful, agile and strong as well as being frugal, sociable and have an exceedingly good memory which makes them particularly suitable for the art of classical horsemanship and dressage riding.

from Photographers' Blog:

La Patria Gaucha (The Gaucho Motherland)

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By Andres Stapff

The Fiesta de la Patria Gaucha transcends Uruguay.  Named that way in reference to borders that are cultural rather than political, the celebration includes communities from Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil; all regions that have a common past involving livestock, open plains and immense spaces.

The first smells of the Fiesta were harsh. Several calves had been slaughtered with their carcasses hanging from old-style hooks made of tree branches and leather straps. The bowels lay in blood puddles covered with big green flies, while men butchered meat and prepared innards for the barbecue. The participants’ sleeping quarters where constructed with age-old techniques using building materials that are no longer seen, such as mud, manure, straw and branches. The gauchos would sleep on the floor using part of their saddles as mattress and pillow. Nobody seemed to notice the flies, blood, offal or manure.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

It’s called the sport of kings, your majesty

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Blog Guy, you haven't written much about Britain's royal family since the big wedding. Please fill us in on their activities this week.

Well, Queen Elizabeth, who loves horses, watched the Preakness. Here she is enjoying the thrilling spectacle, smiling because she's happy to see a woman jockey in the lead.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Unstabled threat at royal wedding?

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BRITAIN-WEDDING/

So Blog Guy, I don't understand why you're devoting so much time to that wedding with Kate Middleton and that guy she's marrying. It doesn't seem like your kind of thing.

BRITAIN/It wasn't, but now it is. Let's just say maybe I think it's going to be more eventful than some folks expect.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

We stayed in the Bridle Suite, and…

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Hi Debbie, thanks for stopping by. Bill and I are looking at snapshots from our summer vacation out in horse country. We just got 'em back from the drugstore.

You still take film to the drugstore, Susie?

vaulting combo 490

Heck yes, Deb, those snapshots aren't gonna develop themselves, are they?  Anyway, our family went  from place to place, horseback-riding every day. It was great!

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Pull up your socks, Dobbin!

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COLOMBIA/

Blog Guy, I'm a recent college graduate and I need  your help finding a suitable career. My mom got me a colorful brochure called "The Exciting World of Putting Socks on Horses," and I wondered what you think of that career path.

Forget it. Listen to me. How long have you known about horseshoes?

horse socks 240All my life, why?

And how long have you known about horse SOCKS?

Um, about ten minutes, just since I got the brochures.

Right. So if you don't know about 'em, horses don't know about 'em, and they do not adapt quickly to new articles of clothing.

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