Hobby Horse Championship

If you love horse shows and show jumping, but you can’t afford to buy and board a horse, then the sport of hobby horsing may be for you. The sport’s biggest championship took place a couple weeks ago in Vantaa, Finland. Around 200 competitors and a thousand spectators gathered to crown winners in several events and celebrate their peculiar sport.

(YouTube link)

Meet Metro – The Horse That Saved His Own Life By Painting

Metro, a once successful racehorse, had been struggling with health problems after bone chips in his knees caused permanent damage.

Artist Ron Krajewski and his wife Wendy adopted the retired racehorse in 2009.

“We were looking for a horse Wendy could ride and were probably quite naive,” Ron told the BBC. “We soon discovered Metro had worse race injuries than we had bargained for.”

horse Metro paintings
Credit: Barbara Livingstone

In 2012, X-rays revealed Metro’s knee joints were closing up. A vet said they would lock up within two years, at which point Ron and Wendy would have to put their horse down.

“I didn’t just want to put him out to pasture and forget about him. I was thinking about how we could spend time together,” Ron said.

So Ron introduced the horse to painting.

horse Metro paintings


“He could have just touched the paint brush to the canvas and then dropped it…

Found: The Hoof of Napoleon’s Horse, Hiding in a Cottage Drawer in England

Napoleon and his steed.
Napoleon and his steed. Jacques-Louis David/Public domain

Back in 1815, during the Battle of Waterloo, the British army captured Napoleon’s horse, alive. The stallion, named Marengo, was sold to a member of the Grenadier Guards, who brought the horse back to his family farmhouse in Somerset. When Marengo died in 1831, the family had his two front hooves mounted in silver and kept them as keepsakes.

The family also preserved the horse’s skeleton…

How Were Roads Cleared Before Snowplows?

Though we’re nearing the beginning of spring, this week has left much of the northeastern United States dealing with the aftermath of a serious bout of snowfall. We take for granted that our roads will be plowed in a timely manner, but it took a long time for us to get to that place.

Let’s throw it back to the 1700s, when towns in the northeastern United States were just beginning to develop. As they grew, so too did the networks that connected them—which, of course, then mandated a postal service. As CityLab noted, during the Great Snow of 1717, the fastest way for mail carriers to travel the snowy roads between Boston and New York was to trade in their horses for a pair of snow shoes and make the trek on foot. Oof.

But year after year of heavy snowfall taught settlers to prepare for the weather. This meant stockpiling goods, founding organizations to aid those who needed coal and firewood, and inventing ski-like runners to attach to carts, which allowed for a sleigh-like method of transport. However, while these devices helped people to travel in inclement weather, it didn’t solve the issue of actually clearing the roads of snow.

This takes us to the 1840s, when the first patents for snowplows were issued (though there’s no record of one being used until around 1862). According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, “The plow was attached to a cart pulled by a team of horses through the snow-clogged streets.” Though implemented in Wisconsin, the plows quickly grew to be popular…