Equestrian Tourism: Uruguay

In the last edition we talked about Mongolia and its fascinating and rich history, a history that has been undeniably reliant on the domestication of the horse. Without horses Mongol history would look utterly different. In this post we’re talking about another country that has been shaped by horses and the people who ride them: Uruguay. Many people haven’t heard of Uruguay. This South American country has only a population of three million people with roughly one-third of them residing in the country’s capital of Montevideo. The country is sandwiched between the two giants of South America, Brazil and Argentina, roughly half-way down the continents eastern side. It has a long and beautiful coastline that is dotted with small fishing villages, a series of sometimes isolated lighthouses, and at least one town known for its partying and nightlife, Punta del Este. But for the equestrian traveller there are few places…


Equestrian tourism: Mongolia

Horses have long been a part of human culture. There are countless cultures all across the world that have made horses central to their culture going well back into pre-history—the domestication of the horse is suspected to have happened sometime about five thousand years ago though no one is entirely sure. Horses have been used by pretty much every culture from the Japanese to the Portuguese and everything in between. But there is probably no culture that became more closely associated with the horse than the Mongols. While Mongolian history—like any other—stretches for centuries and has had different phases of development and its own golden and not-so-golden ages it was the 13th and 14th centuries that saw the Mongolians at the peak of their power. The Mongols were predominately pastoralists and organised along tribes and clans. The Mongolian steppes are vast tracts of land and are difficult to survive in….


The horse: a great (but expensive) childhood pet

There are plenty of people—both adults and children—who aren’t much into animals and prefer the relatively tidier company of humans, but of those children who do like animals there’s not too much who don’t love horses. Horses are especially beloved by children, in my mind, because they are large and powerful creatures but are usually very gentle and loving. To a child that can be an extremely positive combination as the child can feel both safe and have a connection with an animal. Despite how important that obviously is, the biggest reward of having a child own a horse isn’t so much the way it makes the child feel, but the roles that it play in the child’s development is priceless. Children often cultivate feelings of strong responsibility towards their horses, especially if they have formed deep attachments. In in addition to the self-discipline and responsibility that the experiences affords…


My personal favourite breeds

I’ve been round horses more or less my whole life. I grew up on a farm where we had horses both for pleasure and also for work (although we more often used mechanised and motorised equipment to plough the fields). Horses have therefore been my passion and a great part of my life. Riding as even given me great comfort and pleasure during difficult phases of my life. The only time I didn’t have horses was when I lived in the city for university but as soon as I graduated, I moved back to the country. Over the years, I’ve had many different breeds of horse and for my money, these are the top three breeds: Arabian. There are many reason why Arabian horses are probably the most popular breed in the world. Firstly, they have been round for hundreds and hundreds of years. As long ago as 1000 years…

British ponies

Choosing a pony to bet on

Why are you betting? It’s an important question to ask yourself. If you’re betting to add a bit of excitement to the sports you’re already watching then it doesn’t matter too much what you decide to do and whom you decide to support. If you’re in it to turn a quick profit then you’re going to need to choose the teams and athletes that have the best chance of winning (and that might not always be the team you want to win). Firstly and most obviously, remember to check the statistics of the teams and players. Assuming that you already have a good knowledge of whatever sport you’re going to betting on, you will also need to know the nitty-gritty of the teams and players. Pay attention to the trainers, any changes in players or venues. These are factors that can often be overlooked but fatally so for the gambler….

British ponies

Grand National, a British treasure

The Grand National is a cornerstone of the equestrian calendar. To think of it is to recall images of the English countryside of strawberries and cream, gin-based cocktails, landed aristocracy and the idly wealthy the Wilde loved writing about taking to the fields every spring for one of the most popular events of the equestrian arts anywhere in the world. Through film and TV and the general influence of American culture in the 20th century, people not from the UK might be more familiar with the Kentucky Derby held annually in Kentucky and is famed for the mint juleps that everyone drinks there. But the Grand National is a handicap steeplechase, nearly seven kilometres in length (4 miles and 514 yards), and has two laps and 30 jumps. With one million pounds on the table for wining, it is the most valuable jumping race in all of Europe. Now it…

British ponies

A little bit about the British Spotted Pony

The British Spotted Pony is a small pony breed from England that has been around for centuries. Its spotted fur serving as a way to camouflage among the British countryside. There are cave paintings dating back as far as 18000 BC that clearly show the Spotted Pony. Throughout history, the Spotted Pony was seen as a magical creature and therefore beloved by Royalty and the likes and they were often sent as gifts between the Royal families. While the Spotted Pony is believed to be native to Great Britain, many ponies were exported to Australia, Canada, United States, Netherlands, Germany and France after World War II. However, breed associations stopped the export in the 1970s when they realized that many of their best animals were lost due to the high demand and that the Spotted Pony was becoming quite rare in England. Nowadays the Spotted Pony is a rare breed…

British ponies

Best Pony Breeds for Children

If your children are avid riders and you’re considering getting them a pony, here’s a short-list of breeds most suitable for kids to ride: 1. Connemara. Not only for children, this breed that originated in Ireland is very intelligent and even tempered making it ideal for riders of all ages. They are known for being very versatile animals and suited to essentially any type of equestrian sport, but they are perhaps best suited for jumping. At 13 to 15 hands and almost all colours (except brown) they are beautiful creatures. 2. Shetland ponies. As the name suggests these creatures come from the Shetland Islands, in Scotland. They are well-known for being very small but that doesn’t mean that they are weak animals. The harsh conditions of the Shetlands meant that these have developed a natural stamina and endurance that almost without equal. They originally pulled coal carts and did farm…

British ponies

The origins of British ponies

Like nearly all of Eurasia and much of Africa, in Britain the horse has been the primary power source for humans in order to carry out activities such as farming, mining, transporting both goods and people and also for the projection of power by means of military. The earliest horses found in what we now call Britain date from some 700,000 thousand years ago, well before humans as we known them had evolved in Africa, much less migrated to Europe. But when humans did make it to Britain it wasn’t long before they domesticated the horse four to five thousand years ago. By the time the Romans arrived in Britain the Britons had integrated the horse until their culture most thoroughly and the Romans commented profusely on the horses of Britain and the fearsome chariots that they pulled. Now nearly all the horses in Britain are used as means of…

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The British Spotted Society Breed Show at the Three Counties

The 2016 British Spotted Pony Society Breed Show returned to it’s old home on the Malvern Showground this year, and proved to be a great success for all of those people that attended. Once again the AGM was held the night before, and the social evening was well attended. The weather smiled on us and it was lovely to see some new faces this year, and some new ponies. It has showed us that Malvern is a very popular venue with our members, and combined with the chance to compete the day before at the Midlands In Hand there was no doubt that it attracted more interest. There were far more larger ponies there this year, and the ridden classes were well supported, showing that spotties aren’t just pretty faces! Quality could be seen everywhere you looked, in both the large and small sections, and competition for the major titles…