Read fun facts about small, old and super trail riding horses and celebrate the grand old horses we've ridden and loved.
by Darley Newman
I read a story today about a therapy horse in Virginia celebrating his 39th birthday! That's a feat in itself. Prodigy, a registered Arabian gelding, works with kids at Wonder Kids barn in Bristol, VA. (read the story) Prodigy is one of those amazing school horses who wants you to learn and also wants to keep his riders safe.
It made me think back to the many wonderful old horses I've known, like Chewy, Ron Schaeffer’s well-trained 28-year-old horse who had the mind and body of a 12 year old that I rode along the U.S. Mexico border in our Equitreking Arizona episode. OR Roxy, a great older Thoroughbred that I rode regularly at my stables in Connecticut. A former three day eventing horse, Roxy was amazing on the trails, where I, an okay rider, was able to pop over logs, ride in the snow, and canter to my hearts content on the Greenwich Trail System. I believe that I was confident riding out there because of Roxy, who always took care of me, even one day when I did have a bad fall.
In Arizona overlooking the border to Mexico with me on Chewy with Ron Schaeffer.
It also made me wonder–– who holds the record for the world's oldest horse. For this answer, I turned to the Guinness Book of World Records, which has some interesting statistics on horses online. For instance, the smallest living horse as of July 7, 2006, is Thumbelina, who according to the Guiness Book of World Records is "a miniature sorrel brown mare who measures 44.5 cm (17.5 in) to the withers and is owned by Kay and Paul Goessling who live on the Goose Creek Farm Inc, St Louis, Missouri, USA." That's a tiny horse!
Another fun fact–– the biggest trail riding competition was pretty recent. In June of 2010, 974 riders at various locations across the USA were organized by the American Competitive Trail Horse Association and the Humane Society of the United States. Wish I had known about that one. I was probably riding somewhere.
While I did find the world's oldest horse twins on the Guinness site, I had trouble finding the world's oldest horse. An article on About.com claimed that "The Guinness Book of World Records is often cited as listing "Old Billy", a barge horse, to be the record holder for the oldest horse at age 62." They couldn't find the info on Guinness' site either.
Many of you out there may have stories of your own wonderful old horses. Please share them if you do.
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