Today the three interns – Amanda, Farm Management intern and Jill, Training intern, and me – ventured on our first field trip of the internship – all the way to the other side of the Horse Park! We visited the International Museum of the Horse for the afternoon and even though we had toured it before, I must say that we learned quite a bit! I had not been there in a few years so it was nice to be return and wander throughout the museum. The exhibits have not changed much in the past 30+ years, but for any horse enthusiast the International Museum of the Horse is a terrific venue that is host to a wealth of information! I do have to say, the new Arabian exhibit (which is different from the temporary A Gift from the Desert: the Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse which was on display for the World Equestrian Games) was very impressive. This exhibit is updated to the modern “standards” of museum-goers to include multiple interactive displays, many of which are geared towards children (which probably can explain why we enjoyed it so much!).
My favorite part of our little expedition was looking at the gaited horse “pictures in motion” display. When the button is pushed, a wheel with slits in it spins and illuminates various poses of horses going through their paces so the viewer sees the images “moving.” It’s comparable to a high-tech flip book – but I’m pretty sure the official term is “zoescope.” I was even more excited when I was able to successfully photograph them in motion! While we did enjoy our trek through the museum, Susanna also wanted to make sure that we were learning (learning in a museum?! Unheard of!), so she sent us on a mission to discover information of particular importance to our positions and then to report back to her. Because we are working at a charity for Thoroughbreds, she advised us to pay attention to the artifacts at the museum related to horse racing; specifically, the 3 founding sires of the Thoroughbred breed. Can you name them? If not, that’s okay because I was going to list them anyways… Answer: The Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerley Turk. The Darley Arabian is the most famous because he has the closest ties with the modern-day Thoroughbred with over 95% of Thoroughbreds today related to him. His lineage was continued for four generations through the iconic Eclipse, for which the coveted yearly Eclipse awards are named.
The Darley Arabian
I think it is important for Thoroughbred-enthusiasts to be aware of the history of their horses. According to Sir Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power;” without either of these, where would we be? While the mention of this renowned quote does not imply that you should know your horse so you can overpower him (We all know who would win that battle!), it simply means that learning all you can about any particular horse assist to develop that close relationship. Learning has never hurt anyone! So why not get out there, surf the web, go to the museum, read books and brush up on anything that intrigues you!? You will only be benefitting yourself and your horse. In the wise words of Benjamin Disraeli, late British Prime Minister, “Experience is the child of thought, and thought is the child of action.” So go do something about it!