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Blogs - Abby Gibbon

November 10, 2011

Astley’s Horses Start The Circus

Philip Astley, 24, returned to London a new man: Seven years backing cavalry horses in Col. Granville Elliot’s 15th Light Dragoons had quashed the familial tensions he’d joined the army to avoid. Alongside the Prussians in the French and Indian war, he’d rescued the Duke of Brunswick from enemy territory. By his discharge in 1776, he’d risen to a stature of 6 feet and a rank of sergeant major. Elliot, now a general, bestowed upon his soldier an opulent parting gift: a white stallion named Gibraltar. 

September 29, 2011

Xenophon, Forefather Of Dressage

Riding is an empirical art. When we witness that rare round or freestyle, we know that we’re watching something beautiful. But how do we know?

September 15, 2011

Looking Back On 85 Years Of The Green Mountain Horse Association

“One of the most dramatic demonstrations of concern and affection for GMHA took place following the flood of 1973,” wrote former Green Mountain Horse Association President Eileene Wilmot in Green Mountain Horse Association, 1926-1990s. “We all met to view the disaster and destruction, some of us with faint hearts. I never will forget Wilson Haubrich, who quietly said, ‘We have 120 children arriving in two days; we must get this fixed.’ Friends and members came down from the hills and up the valleys… In two days we were ready to receive the children.”

August 29, 2011

From Leeds to Stamford, Burghley Ensured An Historic Three-Day Event

In London, 1961, authorities announced the discovery of a clandestine Soviet spy ring. In Liverpool, little-known skiffle group the Beatles first gigged in the Cavern Club’s cellar. And in Leeds, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease left sportsmen dismayed that the annual three-day event at Harewood House, home to the Earl of Harewood, would likely be canceled.

August 18, 2011

James Watt And The Revolution Of Horsepower

Stand beside the finish line of any racetrack in the world and dare yourself to remain unflapped. I’ve tried; it’s futile. The pack rounds the turn, and involuntarily your pulse quickens, eyes darting from hooves to outstretched necks to flying manes and tails as the hijinks of the bettors beside you intensify, the final moments igniting in a blaze of speed so fast it almost takes your breath away. You ask yourself: horsepower? Have I just felt the physical effects?

July 13, 2011

Knights Of The Round Table And Main Street: Jousting Then And Now

In 1226, Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein set out on an epic quest: To win the affections of the woman he loved, he rode from Venice to Vienna, lancing 307 adversaries in tournaments along the way. Fast forward 785 years, and notions of chivalry have changed; affections are conveyed via quick text messages and adversaries unfriended with the subtle click of a mouse. Just what remains for a modern knight to do?

June 30, 2011

The Swan Song Of Team Ownership: Reflections On The USET Young Horse Development Program

In 1806, Henry Clay, the Kentucky senator and fabled “Great Compromiser” best known for delaying the Civil War, made an investment most horsemen would quickly impugn: he and four friends went in on the purchase of a lame, one-eyed, 18-year-old Thoroughbred stallion for the whopping sum of $5,500 (about $75,500 today).

June 14, 2011

100 Years At Hamilton Farm: A Glimpse At Gladstone Through The Ages

Imagine waking up in the dorms of the U.S. Equestrian Team’s Gladstone, N.J., headquarters in the 1960s. In the room next door is your teammate, Frank Chapot, a legend in the making. Waiting for you in the aisle way of the adjacent barn is your coach, the venerable Bertalan de Némethy, eager to steal your stirrups away.

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