Dreaming of Horses

3 Apr

On Saturday, Fabi and I went to the Field Museum to see The Horse exhibit.  We loved it.  Turns out, horses are amazing, beautiful animals.

We couldn’t take photos in the exhibit but here are the best things we learned about horses:

– Horses have existed for 50 million years – much longer than humans

– Early horses had toes on (above? not sure) their hooves

– Humans domesticated horses 6,000 years ago

– There are now over 200 breeds of horses

– When the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) first formed in 1866, protecting horses from abuse was one of its most urgent goals

– In 1900, there were 10 times more horses on the streets of New York than there are taxi cabs today

– Only 11 horses have been named the Triple Crown champions since the first winner, Sir Barton, in 1919

– The expression “hands down” means “easily” or “with little or no effort” – the term dates back to the mid-19th century and the world of British horse racing.  Back then, a jockey who found himself way ahead as he approached the finish line would relax his grip on the reins and drop his hands.

– Only upper class Samurai were allowed to ride horses

– The first sighting of men on horseback is thought to have inspired Greek myths of Centaurs

– Horses often befriend house cats and goats

– A donkey is a domesticated African ass

– Horses and zebras are closely related (“zebras are horses’ evil twins,” says Fabi)

– Zebras injure more American zoo keepers than tigers (so Fabi is right)

– “It’s hard to imagine a hero without a horse.”

– Horses are “spirited, decorated, adorned” human companions

The Horse exhibit runs until August 14, 2011.

Later that night, I couldn’t sleep.  And something reminded me of the time in high school Fiona and I got back stage at the Counting Crows concert.  I asked Adam Duritz what inspired “Another Horse Dreamer’s Blues” – and that exchange was likely the highlight of my life up to that point.  Something about an opera he went to in Spain, I think.  It wasn’t a long explanation.  He definitely wasn’t there to talk about that.

(Video credit: Ronnie6657)

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