Tag Archives: horse

The Best Books About Horses for Any Type of Reader

national velvet
Scene From 1944 Film National Velvet Starring Elizabeth Taylor

Horses have long been a source of inspiration for writers. While they are often viewed as books for younger readers, the truth is that some of the finest equine stories are recommended for people of any age.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

This is probably the most famous book about horses ever written. You might think that it is a children’s tale because of the animated film versions it has inspired. Yet, Black Beauty is a serious tale about the need to better look-after animals. The story is told by the horse itself. We learn that this noble animal has a variety of owners over the years, with some of them being kind to him and others treating him badly. He meets a variety of interesting characters and lives through some tense moments.

Black Beauty was the author’s only published book and it was a massive success. Black Beauty helped the public to gain a better understanding of animal welfare and possibly led to some of the legal changes that were introduced now long afterwards.

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

You probably know of this book mainly because of the wonderful 1944 movie that featured a young Elizabeth Taylor alongside Mickey Rooney. Velvet Brown is a 12-year old girl who dreams of riding a horse in a race. She wins a horse in a raffle and learns how to ride it. At the end, Velvet wins the Grand National Steeplechase on her beloved horse. The story is unbelievable, but the book is slightly less dramatic than the movie. It is definitely worth reading regardless of whether or not you have ever seen the famous film version.

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

This is one of the famed author’s earliest books. It follows the life of Jody, a boy who grows up surrounded by horses on a Californian ranch. While he loves being around horses, Jody also lives through a number of dramatic moments with them that teach him valuable life lessons. The Red Pony was first published by magazines in 4 different chapters, all between 1933 and 1936. All of the stories were then gathered together in a single book that was published in 1937.

Jody is the main protagonist, rather than a horse. However, many of the book’s best stories involve horses and their impact on the people around them.

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley

This book takes a close look at the world of competitive horse racing. It is set in California and provides a fascinating insight into what goes on behind-the-scenes at big race meetings. A rich variety of characters – both human and equine – help to make this an interesting read from start to finish. The action takes place over the course of a couple of years and feels sort of like a glamorous soap opera in a type of setting we don’t normally get to see.

Horse racing fans will be pleased to find out some useful information on the sport and how it works. Even if you have never looked for the latest Kentucky Derby odds on horses, there is a lot to like about Horse Heaven, though.

The Kellys and the O’Kellys by Anthony Trollope

In The Kellys and the O’Kellys, we get to see behind-the-scenes of the Irish horse racing business. Since it was originally published in 1848, it is also a historical look at the sport and the country in those times. The main characters are called Martin Kelly, and Frank O’Kelly. While much of the plot centers on their money and love lives, the horse racing element helps to bring it to life. A well-worked hunting scene also adds to the excitement.

These are all terrific examples of books that feature horses, but there are plenty of others for you to explore, too.

Horse Sculpture Made From Car Parts

Manchester by Doug Owen
All Photos By Gail

If you haven’t yet been to the Gene Autry Museum of the American West, you need to add that to your list of cool things to do when you are in the Los Angeles area, because the place is just amazing (bonus: the museum is located directly across a shared parking lot from the LA Zoo.). I had the chance to explore this history-rich landmark in December, when I was visiting family for Christmas, and I had all kinds of crazy fun.

Continue reading Horse Sculpture Made From Car Parts

Brainwashed: New Works and Old Favorites By Mr. Brainwash at Taglialatella Galleries

Installation View with Horse
All Photos By Gail

You might recall that last summer we made three or four unsuccessful attempts (before finally lucking out with our timing) to see the massive Mr. Brainwash Life is Beautiful pop-up exhibit, which was located under the High Line at 14th Street for a few months. Seriously, that shit was just never, ever open.

Continue reading Brainwashed: New Works and Old Favorites By Mr. Brainwash at Taglialatella Galleries

Horse Head Vacuum Cleaner

Horse Bust (Chess Piece)
All Photos By Gail

Here’s another cool design item I spotted while browsing in the Chamber boutique on West 23d Street a couple of weeks back. Horse Bust (Chess Piece) was designed by Antwerp, Belgium-based partnership Studio Job and crafted from Polished bronze, 24K gold gilding, paint, hand-blown glass, LED, a Nilfisk GM 80 P Vacuum Cleaner.  It is available in an Edition of 4 pieces only.

Horse Bust (Chess Piece)

According to the designers, Chess Piece, was designed for artist Jeff Koons, and combines references to Koon’s work.

Horse Bust (Chess Piece)

Horses Tile Mosaic, Fifth Avenue Subway Station

horses tile mosaic subway photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

This tile mosaic of two horses — a mother horse and her offspring, perhaps — graces the wall near the exit of the N and R Trains at 59th Street (Central Park South) and Fifth Avenue.

Happy Year of The Horse!

Chinese New Year Horse 2014
Image Source

Welcome to the Year of The Horse! Gung hei fat choi!

Historic Merry Go Round at Griffith Park

Griffith Park Merry Go Round with Sue
Look How Excited Sue is to Ride the Merry Go Round! (All Photos By Gail)

Now that the snow and frigid cold are kicking off the New Year here in Manhattan, I am looking back fondly at my recent week long holiday trip to Southern California, where I enjoyed clear blue skies, bright sun and warm temperatures each and every day! California!

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Signage
It Almost Never Closes!

On the Sunday before Christmas, my BFF Sue (Pictured above) and I went on an adventure to Griffith Park in Los Angeles, where we rode the vintage Merry Go Round with extreme glee!

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Clown Booth
I don’t know what this is about

Located in Park Center between the Los Angeles Zoo and the Los Feliz park entrance, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round was built in 1926 by the Spillman Engineering Company and brought to Griffith Park in 1937.  It features 68 horses, each of which moves (in other words, it’s “a jumper”). Each horse is finely carved with jewel-encrusted bridles, detailed draped blankets and decorated with sunflowers and lion’s heads.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Band Organ

A Stinson 165 Military Band Organ, reputed to be the largest band organ accompanying a carousel on the West Coast, plays over 1500 selections of marches and waltz music. It is pretty cool and reminded me of Disneyland for some reason.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Distance Shot

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Horse Close Up

This is my horse, which I named Lightning Bug. The Merry Go Round goes remarkably fast and will actually make your hair blow back with the wind it kicks up, so I am guessing that if you are just a little bit stoned or drunk it is much more fun to ride than if you are sober. Fortunately, seat belt-type things are provided, so you can secure yourself onto your trusty steed!

Devil Head
I Like It

Griffith Park MGR Gumball Machines

It costs just $2.00 (what a bargain!) to ride the Merry Go Round for what is probably just a few minutes but feels like a good amount of time. Wee!

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Pinwheels

They sell these pinwheels there as well.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Band Organ

Here is another photo of the Organ, which I believe may have been fancied up for the Christmas Season.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Xmas Display

Here is some additional Christmas Fanciness! I believe in this display, animals in hats are meant to be selling shoes, or perhaps specifically; horse shoes.

Griffith Park Merry Go Round Rules

As is the case with anything these days, there are a few rules that should be followed. At any rate, I recommend you visit the Merry Go Round if you happen to be in the area, and have yourself some fun!

The Merry Go Round at Griffith Park is Open Weekends throughout the Year and Weekdays during the Summer, and over Christmas and Easter vacations, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.