Horse news in brief

Human bones found during WEG 2010 preparations

November 27, 2008

Excavation crews working on preparations for the 2010 World Equestrian Games have found human bones at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Crews putting in a fire prevention water line found a leg bone and a skull, and after calling investigators more bones belonging to a second person were found, according to WKYT television.

It is thought the area was once a burial site. Construction will stop for a few days while the coroner checks out the find.


New stud book for minature horses in Ireland

November 27, 2008

Ireland's Miniature Horse and Pony Society has been recognised by the Department of Agriculture, allowing the organisation to have its own stud book and issue equine passports.

The society was set up three years ago, and up until now, Irish-bred miniature horses had to be registered abroad with other societies to get a passport. It is estimated there are about 4000 miniatures in the country.


Billy Crystal's horse dies

November 26, 2008

The horse ridden by comedian and actor Billy Crystal in the movie City Slickers and who he later owned died recently at the age of 27. Crystal said that Beechnut was one of his best friends, and riding him was like "driving a Porsche".

Crystal met Beechnut in 1991 on the set of City Slickers in New Mexico. He rode him on stage at that year's Academy Awards, which he hosted.

Beechnut became ill and was euthanised on November 16.


Racehorse killed by lightning

November 15, 2008

A top racewinning thoroughbred was killed by a bolt of lightning during a storm north of Melbourne yesterday morning. Sunburnt Land, the winner of eight races and nearly $A380,000 was struck while in his spelling paddock.

Trainer Matthew Ellerton said Sunburnt Land's owners and stable staff were shocked by the loss of the horse. The storm had hit suddenly and he could not be brought indoors in time. "He was our best horse," he told the Macedon Ranges Leader newspaper.


Kyrgyz breed makes comeback

November 10, 2008

The Kyrgyz breed of horse is making a comeback thanks to the efforts of a non-profit French organisation working in Kyrgyzstan.

Cross-breeding nearly meant the breed's extinction but Kyrgyz Ate (Kyrgyz Horse) is working to identify and breed horses who show Kyrgyz characteristics, Eurasianet.org reported. The breed is smaller and very agile, and is able to work at high altitudes. The horse is used for races of up to 25km, and in several local games which are central to the Kyrgyz culture and identity.


TB mare fetches record $US14m

November 10, 2008

Thoroughbred broodmare Better Than Honour fetched a record-breaking $US14 million at the recent Fasig-Tipton sale in the US. The 2007 broodmare of the year is the dam of consecutive Belmont Stakes winners, Jazil and Rags to Riches. She was the last horse in the ring at the one-day November sale and a bidding war broke out between her two primary owners.

Seventy-percent owner, Southern Equine's Michael Moreno, bid $14 million to keep Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister x Blush With Pride). The price was $3.5 million than the previous best price for a broodmare.


Trainer to return after snake venom ban

November 10, 2008

Kentucky-based French racehorse trainer Patrick Biancone, who was suspended for a year ater snake venom was found at his barn, is about to start training again. Cobra venom is an unregulated neurotoxin used as a powerful painkiller.

Biancone, 56, must first appear before a licensing review panel "before being restored to good standing," according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Australian veterinarian Rodney Stewart, who was suspended for five years for his role in the cobra venom case, is also soon to have an appeal hearing.


Horse crematorium opens in Netherlands

November 3, 2008

The biggest crematorium in Europe dedicated specifically to horses has opened in the Netherlands.

Paardencrematorium Westerhout is about 25km west of Amsterdam. Its opening was attended by Martien van den Heuvel, chairman of the KNHS (the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation) and about 200 other guests.

An open day on October 5 attracted about 600 interested people to look through the facility. The founder and proprietor of the crematorium is Paul van Eerden.


Equine flu reported in Calcutta

November 3, 2008

Equine influenza appears to be spreading in India, with cases now reported in Calcutta.

The highly contagious disease has already been reported in Mumbai and there have been reports of cases in Delhi.

The first cases were reported in Matheran, about 100km from Mumbai, in the first week of October. The outbreak was among 600 horses used primarily for the transport of tourists and goods.


Belissimo M son top priced at Hanoverian licensing

November 3, 2008

Top priced stallion at the recent Hanoverian Stallion Licensing in Germany was a colt by Belissimo M from a Weltmeyer mare. He was bouught by Paul Schockemohle and the Danish stud farm Blue Hors for €310,000.

Some 49 stallions were licensed for breeding at the event, and nine dressage and five show jumping stallions were awarded premium status. All but one were put up for sale.

The average sale price for approved stallions was €53,760. The 43 non-approved stallions were sold for an average of €18,360. At €80,000, a Rousseau/Del Piero-son was the top-priced non-approved stallion.

Before the auction, 2008 Hanoverian Stallion of the Year De Niro (Donnerhall/Akzent II) was honoured.


Design course for eventing showjumping

November 3, 2008

The US Eventing Association is arranging a showjumping course design seminar in anticipation of a likely FEI rule change next year requiring licenced designers.

The course will be held in conjunction with the USEA Convention on December 10, and will be conducted by international show jumping designer Richard Jeffery.


Harold Park trotting track for sale

November 3, 2008

Historic Sydney harness racing track Harold Park is up for sale. The 11 hectare property in the suburb of Glebe is expected to fetch around $A150 million.

Among the reasons for the sale, New South Wales Harness Racing Club CEO John Dumesny said it was becoming increasingly difficult to transport horses into the city because of congestion.