davesag on flickr posted this excellent snapshot. His caption says these Greek donkeys are carrying the computers to a conference. There are a couple other photos of the same scene in his photostream. Just too cute!
Flickr user Caveman 92223 posted this interesting old photo of the historic twenty mule teams used to haul borax from the mines to the railway back in the late 1800s, in Death Valley. The history of the mule teams can be found on Wikipedia. They were famous in their day due to the enormous size of the wagons and weight of the loads; both the drivers and mules worked in extreme conditions.
I was recently listening to an audiobook entitled "The Arabian Art of Taming and Training Wild and Vicious Horses" by P.R. Kincaid (originally printed in 1856). There is a very brief bit about Arabian horses at the beginning, and then it moves on to general horse training (of the old fashioned sort!). But what caught my ear was this bit about colic:
Take 1 gill of turpentine, 1 gill of opium dissolved in whisky; 1 quart of water, milk warm. Drench the horse and move him about slowly. If there is no relief in fifteen minutes, take a piece of chalk, about the size of an egg, powder it, and put it into a pint of cider vinegar, which should be blood warm, give that, and then move him as before.
In case you wonder, like I did, about the details of the recipes, I have linked some of the ingredients and methods with sites that have more information.
I find this recipe both wacky and thought-provoking. Some of the ingredients have strong relaxing or stimulating effects. Heck, if I have a sore belly, I often turn to peppermint tea for relief. Turpentine? Not so much. Asafoetida is a common ingredient in
Indian food, and is said to be good for the digestion. It is, however,
possibly the worst smelling spice in the world. In cooking, it is used
in very tiny quantities.
(And of course, as with anything you see on the internet, don't try this at home!)
Here's another oddball sport, though not an international one (yet!). This riding school in Brazil had a bit of fun combining motocross and cross-country horseback riding - same course, two different methods of getting around it!
The explanation on the webpage says it was a bit of a joke. That so many parents like to see their kids get involved in horses because it keeps them away from motorcycles, drag racing and other adolescent shenanigans. But in this group of friends who all train at the local riding school, many are also into motocross. They decided to set up a friendly competition, mostly in father-son teams, with one partner on motorcycle, one on horseback - "oats versus gasoline".
There is an ancient New Year's custom in parts of Wales that has been resurrected (!) a bit recently, after suffering a strong decline in the mid 1900s. The Mari Lwyd (also spelled Fari Lwyd, but still pronounced mah-ree loo-ed or mah-ree loyd) is a mask representing a dead horse come to life - after all, the dark winter in Northern countries is full of festivals that use symbols of new life and light, from Yule logs to Christmas trees.
The Mari Lwyd is a rather spooky creature - the skull of a horse is mounted on a pole, then draped in a white cloth which hides the person carrying the pole. Ribbons and bells adorn the mask, and the festive troupe carrying it goes door to door singing songs. Sometimes the mask is made so that the jaws can be moved, and the Mari Lwyd snaps at people passing by. Traditionally the songs culminated in an exchange of insults in rhyming form at each door; today it is more common for the group to sing Christmas carols.
Here are some more resources for learning more about this interesting pagan tradition:
I couldn't resist making a short video of this Friesian gelding getting his post-workout bath. A cool, humid day combined with a warm horse and warm water made this horse's bath seem a little arty. I like the industrial sound of the washing machine in the background, too. Thanks to Lorri for her help in making this video!
Along the lines of painting elephants and painting cats, Cholla the painting horse has surfaced. Yes, as in holding a paint brush in his mouth and making paintings that have ended up exhibited in galleries. Not sure if this is impressive or just cute - I'll let you decide!
CNN has an article with photos here, which tipped me off to this story.