I just got the loveliest old book in the mail today.
I’m a bibliophile and I live for first editions, UK versions, author-signed galley copies, and uncut pages. This lovely old book popped up during a random eBay search for something completely different, and I made a low-ball offer, and to my surprise, here it is on my desk, being old and yellowed and simply gorgeous.
Despite its age – this is a second printing of a 1966 edition – this book is filled with good advice. As most old horse books are, come to think of it! There are also delicious horsey phrases that I haven’t heard in ages – perhaps I’m hanging around with the wrong people (or more accurately, no people at all) – such as this caption under one conformation photograph: “Seventeen hands and lots of daylight under him.” I think I may have one rather like that out in my paddock!
There is commentary on some of the trends in breeding that have pervaded in the breed to this day: remember that I love a good distance turf-style horse for eventing, and yet look at the truth of this statement: “the six furlong race is now the backbone of the American Turf and the fact is reflected in the stocky, close coupled, early maturing Thoroughbreds which are becoming more and more numerous each day.”
(The sad reality, too, being that silly little girls – of all ages – love seventeen hand behomoths and seem to think that larger=sounder; for them Warmbloods have certainly fit the bill, and are slowly edging OTTBs out of the show rings and cross-country courses.)
But then, flipping through the pages, who do I find, but an old friend from the blog at Union Square Stables– and the very epitome of the racehorse-turned-eventer I would be looking for!
Oh! That bone! Oh! That gently rounded croup! Oh! That sloping shoulder – that straight profile, that glorious throatlatch, that teacup chin – look, his nostrils are larger than his chin.
I am quite positive this book is still in print, and I’m sure it’s been updated. Does anyone have it?
And on a completely different note, I discovered a blog today that I quite like, called Loving the Race Horse. The Retired Racehorse Blog is here to deal with the misconceptions about OTTBs. “Loving the Race Horse” has a lot to offer to people who are interested in the racing industry itself. There are quite a few blogs out there with misleading, uninformed opinions, relying on stereotypes to fill post space and get hits. I’ve had quite enough of that with OTTBs, and I’m not altogether thrilled to see it go on with racing. Take it from those who are working it – it’s not quite what people might have you think. I’ll add more as I find more.
That’s all for tonight. I’ll ride tomorrow – even if I’m wearing a snorkel and Final Call is wearing flippers.