What is…

What is a farrier?

by Keith Templeton

Keith Templeton edits The Farrier Guide for Education and Employment, a resource for farriers that features a worldwide directory of farrier schools as well as education and employment guides.

Photo by joeymc86

What is a Farrier?

A farrier is a specialist who cares for horse’s feet and smiths horseshoes. The term “farrier” comes from the Latin word “ferrarius,” which means “of iron” or “blacksmith.” The etymology of the word explains why farriers are confused for blacksmiths, which they are not. Centuries ago, the village blacksmith would make items out of iron, including horseshoes, and because workers were not as specialized as they are today, the blacksmiths would also be the ones to apply those shoes to the horses.
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What is a Curly?

Curly horses in the 2007 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. Photo by Zeetz Jones/flickr.com

by Kristin Berkery

Most horses’ coats become wild and woolly in the winter, but not Curly horses. Starting in the fall, most Curlies grow a winter coat of luxurious curls or waves covering their bodies. The coat sheds in the warmer months leaving smooth or wavy hair behind, and in some cases, they may even shed their entire manes and tails in the summer.
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What is an OTTB?

An OTTB is a brave soul, an animal with movement in his bones, an athlete of tremendous power; but most of all, an OTTB is a horse to love.

I’m honored to welcome author Natalie Reinert of the Retired Racehorse Blog as ilovehorses.net‘s first guest blogger. One of Natalie’s passions is Off-the-Track-Thoroughbreds, or retired racehorses that go on to other careers. Check out Natalie’s novel The Head and Not the Heart, which has 5 stars on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. — Kristin Berkery

by Natalie Reinert

Neville Bardos, an OTTB who avoided slaughter and survived a barn fire, pictured with Boyd Martin. He is a possible candidate for the 2012 U.S. Olympic equestrian team. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld/USEA

You’ve heard of OTTBs, of course. You have a friend with a friend who bought a horse off the track. She told you they’re those hot, crazy, fire-breathing dragons you see leaping onto their owner’s heads at horse shows. They’re those mad, spooky animals that take off when a branch snaps beneath a hoof, turning a trail ride into a tantrum. They’re those fragile, sensitive beasts that break out in hives when they’re touched by a butterfly.

But wait, that can’t be the whole story. OTTBs are making the news these days, from the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge to the high-profile stories on miracle horses like Neville Bardos, the Australian OTTB whose will to not just live but get back to work as a 4* event horse has made headlines in equine and mass media.

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What is Il Palio?

by Kristin Berkery

The winner is the horse that crosses the finish line first, regardless of whether it has a rider.

The starting line of Il Palio di Siena.
Photo by Janus Kinase

Held twice every summer, Il Palio di Siena is the wildest horse race in modern times. The jockeys ride bareback on mixed breed horses they may be unfamiliar with at blinding speeds through dirt-covered streets in Siena, Italy. The whips they carry are used for interfering with other riders and horses in addition to encouraging their own horses forward. It’s common for riders to be unseated and their mounts to finish the race without them.

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What is tölting?

by Kristin Berkery

Iceland and its horses seem like a world apart from what we’re used to in the U.S., but surprisingly, Iceland is only about a six-hour flight from New York City — much less than the time it takes to fly from New York to London.

Icelandics are a tough breed that have survived inhospitable weather and famines for over 1,000 years. Photo by Sela Yair

What makes Iceland different? Most of the country’s native population is descended from Scandinavian settlers in the 9th century AD who had to survive on an isolated island with an inhospitable climate, volcanic eruptions that caused great famines, and multiple epidemics that wiped out large parts of the population.
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