In this blog, we are going to be celebrating one of the most popular and oldest horse breeds in the United States, the American Quarter Horse.
Hello, trail friends! Welcome back to the blog! With the dawning of this new month, can you believe there is only a matter of weeks left until the new year? While the year is quickly ending and the weather continues to change, all of us here at Middleton Place Equestrian Center are here to offer the best trail rides and horseback riding in the Charleston area. The weather is still perfectly mild and wonderful to ride in. With beautiful trails intertwining through age-old trees, inspiring views of Middleton Place, and a guide to describe the history and stories we've seen over the years, a visit to Middleton Place Equestrian Center is guaranteed to please friends and family! We offer guided trail rides, tours of the property, and equine boarding with the best care. As of right now, due to the pandemic, please note that we are currently only offering historic trail rides! Enjoy the beautiful weather, the wonderful Lowcountry scenery all while social distancing on the back of a horse. We continue to adhere to the Governors guidelines to help keep our staff and clients safe. All saddles, bridles, and helmets are cleaned after every ride. We are very excited and looking forward to seeing all of you for your next ride very soon! While you are waiting to plan your next ride with us, we wanted to turn back to the history books. In this blog we are going to be sharing the history of one of the oldest and most popular breeds of horse right here in the United States; the American Quarter Horse!
Considered one of the oldest and most beloved cultivated breeds in the United States, the Quarter Horse is an incredible example of the melting pot that the United States so proudly boasts to be. The breed itself came from a very long line of breeding some of the most influential and powerful horses from across the globe starting as early as 710. The breed itself saw its true beginning in the 1600s, during the early days of the American Settlers, and was officially solidified in the 1800s with the final addition to the breed, the Mustang. With the addition of the Mustang in its breeding, the modern American Quarter Horse was created and America had its own unique horse native to its shores.
As we mentioned above, the very beginning of the American Quarter Horses' bloodline can be traced back to 710, when powerful horses were being bred between the North African Barb horses and the native Spanish stock horses. These horses were the ones that accompanied some of the very first Spanish explorers into the new world. They were also the same horses that were left behind by these very early settlers, and many of these horses swam ashore and survived multiple Spanish shipwrecks during these tumultuous years. We have talked about one lineage of these horses a few times throughout the blog, and those are the wild Corolla horses that have made the shores of North Carolina their home. These were not the only horse linage that came from these early settlement horses. Some came into the hands of the Chickasaw Indians that were native to Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Others went out west to become what we know today as the Mustang.
When the second wave of colonists made it to the shores of America in the early 1600s, they brought English stock horses with them. These horses helped them settle the early colonies and survive some of the hardest and harshest years of American settlements. Once they were finally settled, decided they were going to stay, and survived those difficult and challenging years, they could finally have a pastime. One of the most popular pastimes of this generation became horse racing. Colonists were no longer fighting every moment to survive, so they could celebrate with a race or two. When this shift in society happened, the first step in breeding the Quarter Horse happened. Many settlers started trading for and riding the Spanish Barb horses that the Chickasaw Indians had cultivated, cared for, bred, and were known to ride. These horses were then bred with the English stock horses, and the first steps of the Quarter Horse were born. These horses would be bred and cared for over the next 150 years, and according to the American Quarter Horse Association, would become known as the "Celebrated American Quarter Running Horses". The name "Quarter" was given to the horses because this was the distance they were trained to run, about a quarter of a mile on flat grounds in and around colonial towns. The next wave in the development of this breed was in 1752 when a horse named Janus was brought over from England. This stunning horse was the grandson of one of the most influential horses for the foundation of the Thoroughbred horse, the Godolphin Arabian. Once Janus was bred with these blossoming colonial horses, the official prototype of the American Quarter Horse was born, according to the AQHA. These were the horses that lead Americans through the American Revolution and into the wild west and the new frontier.
Once the Atlantic coast had been settled, the itch to continue moving out west was born. American settlers began another great push into unknown lands and the Quarter Horse went with them. These horses, known for their short distanced speed, were now being bred for their stock and strength. Through the early years of the 1800s, this early breed of the American Quarter Horse would be bred with the last few bloodlines that would officially solidify the overall breed. Sir Archy was the first in this line, following by two influential horses named Printer and Tiger. The final piece of the puzzle to the American Quarter Horses bloodline was the powerful Mustang. These free-roaming horses, ancestors of the horses the Spanish explorers left behind, were what made the Plains Indians the strongest mounted warriors that anyone had ever seen, according to AQHA. These new powerhouse horses took settlers out west, help clear and plant this new land, and became the favorites of cowboys and farmers alike. Their strong, stocky, and muscled bodies were perfect for the harsh life and beginnings of the great west, and their gentle dispositions were perfect for caring and interacting with cattle. While farms started to spread across the frontier, so did vast cow farms, all thanks to the Quarter Horse. They were once used as sheer entertainment, and how now become the force of breaking into the frontier.
Today, these beautiful creatures are still bred to have the same features and personalities that broke open the wild west, they just aren't used to forge new lands and farm as they once did. Thanks to the foundation of the American Quarter Horse Association in 1940, the breed became official. New steps were now being taken to preserve the breed. Breeding the Quarter Horse follows incredibly strict guidelines today, and it is dedicated to perfecting the bloodline. The foal has to come from a registered mare and sire to be recognized by the association. They are only allowed to have very limited white markings on their faces and below their knees. There are also only 13 accepted colors recognized by the AQHA ranging from reddish-brown to a stunning grey. They are still known for their muscling, their gentle natures, temperament around cows, versatility, and sprinting speed. While they can still be used for farming, modern technology has moved the Quarter Horses focus and training towards excelling in almost every racing and skilled event that is popular today. With its versatility, the Quarter Horse has become known as one of the most popular breeds, with riding for enjoying being their owner's favorite form of recreation.
What a stunning breed and powerful history! They are such influential horses that it is almost impossible not to come across a Quarter Horse at least once in your lifetime. You might even meet one or two at our stables! We hope you enjoyed the history of the Quarter Horse, and we hope this blog has inspired you to book your next visit with us! Until next time, stay safe and stay hopeful everyone!
In the second part of this blog, we will be continuing our discussion on how to properly care for your horse's mane and tail.
Hello, trail friends! Welcome back to the blog! We are thrilled you decided to come pay another visit to our blogs and continue to learn more about the care and maintenance that your horse's mane and tail requires. The end of October is right around the corner, so make sure you come and learn more about the history of our beautiful trails and the land we are connected to. There might even be a ghost story or two lurking in the shadows waiting to be told! Make sure to schedule your rides with us ahead of time and get ready for the best horseback riding trail in Charleston! We can't wait to see you soon!
As we mentioned in our last blog, caring for your horse's mane and tail comes with a huge responsibility. This is just one of the multitude of things you need to take care of and care for when it comes to owning a single horse. We urge you to remember this when thinking about purchasing your very first horse or perhaps even your second. Every horse deserves every moment of meticulous and well-planned care as the next. We hope that you take these two blogs and every blog dedicated to the care of your horse to heart. We want both you and your horse to have an incredible life together. Please remember too that a horse is going to be a full life commitment, many of them live to be 20 years of age if not older. They will need your constant love, support, and care for every single one of those years! So, let's hop back into the barn and talk more about the care and maintenance of our beautiful horse's manes and tails!
Keeping your horse healthy, clean, and looking gorgeous is a multi-staged approach. It does take time and dedication that every horse deserves. Just caring for their mains and tails is complex, don't forget about every other aspect of caring for them too! This needs to be considered when you are thinking about buying a horse of your own, can you handle this kind of responsibility? Of course, as fellow horse lovers, you know they are worth the time and care and to look and feel their best, always! We hope this how-to guide was helpful, and we look forward to seeing you on the trails very soon! If you have any questions about the care of your horse between now our next blog, don't hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you care for your horses as best as possible. Until next time, stay safe and stay hopeful everyone!
Horses have been apart of some of the most important and iconic events and moments in history. In this blog, we are going to be talking about the history of the Pony Express.
Hello, everyone! We hope you've stumbled upon our blog to learn more about the best horseback riding trails in South Carolina! This weather is so perfect to be on our trials. As the weather slowly starts to turn you'll see even more beauty that the Lowcountry has to offer. Make sure to book your historic trail rides today, we can't wait to see you!
We've gotten to thinking through all the historic research we've been doing for our recent blogs, and we realized that horses have been apart of some of the most important and iconic moments in the early history of the United States. Up until the early 1900s when Henry Ford made the car affordable and accessible to almost every American, the horse was right there getting us to and from everyday tasks and events, some that would forever change our everyday lives as a country. One of the most iconic events lasted a very short amount of time but has remained in history's spotlight, in our textbooks, and in our hearts ever since it ended. Today, we are going to be talking about the history of the Pony Express.
The Pony Express only lasted for two years and made less than 400 runs, but it is still one of the most iconic parts of our history. Its story has lasted because of the endurance and bravery of its riders and its connection to famous people like Mark Twain and Buffalo Bill Cody. Cody was one of the Express's most famous promoters, but he never actually rode for them! He was much more of a showman. The Pony Express was born when our country was under huge changes both politically and personally. Imagine America right after the gold rush, right as Abraham Lincoln became president, and when the country was right on the brink of civil war. It was born when information needed to be delivered as quickly as possible, but a mode of transportation was not yet available. The Pony Express changed all of this.
The Pony Express riders helped deliver news faster than ever before all thanks to the powerful horses that these brave riders rode. They cut down the time to carrying news from what could be a couple of months down to a few days. They did this by adding more relay stations and making use of the telegraph, according to National Geographic. Individuals could now stay in touch with their loved ones, no matter where they lived. It wasn't just private individuals that were benefiting from this new form of news delivery, newspapers and magazines relied on getting their information from the Express, too. For a total of eighteen months, the Pony Express delivered the mail faster than ever before between April 1860 and October of 1861. It helped tie the east to the west carrying some of the most important news of the time. Young men would ride what would later become the Pony Express National Historic Trail, covering eight states. It was the most direct form of communication of its time between Missouri to California. They could ride up to 1800 miles in just ten days.
Millions began the move out west in the mid-1840s because of the gold rush and the Mormon exodus, according to The National Pony Express. With so many people on the other side of the country, a new form of communication was needed. In came William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell. They created The Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company to deliver mail from one end of the country to the other. This would later become the Pony Express. According to the National Pony Express, shortly after the Express was created, congress authorized a bill to build a telegraph line that would run from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. While the line was under construction, the Pony Express delivered its letters, news, and newspapers. When the telegraph line was finally finished in 1861, the Pony Express shut down. Its last letters were delivered in November of that year.
Even with its short history, it has become embedded into the history of the Wild West thanks to Wild West shows that traveled across the country and even into Europe. Ironically, these shows and the stars that made them famous (like Buffalo Bill Cody) were famous much after the Pony Express ended. It still raised public awareness about the Express and kept it alive in history. Even though it has been kept alive, a lot of the history is full of inaccuracies, wild stories, and myths according to National Geographic. Almost no records survive of this famous 18 month period.
The young men who were riders for the Express would ride up to 100 miles a day and sometimes up to four times a week. They all had to follow some very strict rules like no drinking or cursing, according to National Geographic. They were facing every kind of challenge nature could put in front of them and in some of the most dangerous parts of the country. Through snowy mountain passes and dangerous deserts, they made their rides. They came into contact with Native Americans and wild animals, and all kinds of other perils. Some Pony Express riders were killed and some stations were burned down after relations between Native Americans and Americans were heated. Service even stopped in certain areas because of it, but after the stations were rebuilt, service went back to normal.
Today, it continues to live on in colorful stories, reenactments, and historical locations that you can visit. Most of the original trail doesn't exist any more thanks to modern roads, construction, and time. What is believed to be left of the original trail can be seen in Utah and California. According to the National Pony Express, some 120 historic sites might soon be available to the public. What do you remember learning about the Pony Express? Have you ever visited any of its historic locations? It's incredible how much history horses helped shape and carry thanks to each ride those young men went on. Imagine how different our world would be without them! Until next time, stay safe and stay hopeful everyone!
Every industry has been touched by the effects of the current worldwide pandemic. The world of horses and horse racing has been no stranger to these impacts.
Since the pandemic shut the world down in February and March, every industry has felt those reverberations. Quickly gaining on six months of this strange new world here in the Lowcountry, we too have felt the world shifting. We have changed our policies and what services are available to our riders and guests to keep everyone safe and healthy. When the nation started closing down and canceling major events, it was no surprise that horse tracks and horse races started to shut down and cancel in the footsteps of the NBA, NFL, MLB, and the PGA. Every industry has felt the shock waves of these effects, and all of us at home have felt the tremendous loss these decisions have caused.
Out of the safety of our nation and its people, we recognize the importance of these decisions, but there is plenty still left to mourn. What should come as a surprise is that even though it drastically changed, the industry of horse racing didn't actually shut down. In a recent interview, racing analyst Randy Moss mentioned that even though the world has changed and we've adapted to an online world, the world of horse racing can't be stopped. He said, "You can't water or feed horses through Zoom. They can't get veterinary care through Zoom!" So, those behind the scenes, almost 1500 people to every 1000 horses at each American race track according to Moss, have kept the industry afloat. The needs of these living and breathing creatures depended on quick action, which is exactly what happened. Decisions were made to keep both the industry and the industries employees alive and well.
This doesn't mean that every race and event went on as normal. Once things started to shut down it was almost like a domino effect, and it was felt globally.
One of the largest blows our industry saw was the postponement of the Kentucky Derby. For the first time since 1945, it was pushed back to a different date. After weeks and months of waiting, Churchill Downs announced that the race was going to be moved to September 5th. With this change, the entire set up of the Triple Crown was completely changed. For the first time in its 152 years, the Belmont Stakes started the Triple Crown instead of ending it. On July 20th, the race still went on as planned. Here too, no fans were present. Tiz The Law took first. The hope that the Kentucky Derby would be able to have fans in the stadium was still in the works when the date was pushed back. Many believed that by September, things would be looking much different.
During June and early July of this year, it was announced that 14% of the Derby's capacity would be allowed to attend in person. Social distancing and masks along with frequent hand washing and sanitizing were going to be strongly suggested. Whether masks were going to be enforced or not was never solidified, according to CBS news. This decision and the uncertainty of masks were met with skepticism. As weeks went on and the spike in Coronavirus cases went up drastically, the executives of Churchill Downs decided to change their minds. According to CNN, the race will still be run, but without a crowd. The 14% capacity was still 23,000 fans, and that was too much for comfort. Kentucky governor, Andy Beshear, has praised the decision according to CNN. Although it is a tragic disappointment and loss, it is understood. Following the Kentucky Derby will be the Preakness Stakes on October 3rd, officially finishing the Triple Crown of 2020.
The derby was one of the last big sporting events to see such a change. 2020 has been a huge blow to every industry and sports lovers alike. Throughout Europe, with pandemic numbers looking more promising, they are hopeful for races that were postponed to the fall. Many of these races will be run much later than they ever have been before. They hope that by pushing them back they will be able to amp up even more excitement and be able to have some, even if it is limited, crowd engagement. What has 2020 done to your connection to the world of horses? Comment below - we want to hear from you! Until next time, stay safe and stay hopeful.
Curious about what you might find when riding on our trials or on trails of your own? Here are some important accessories you need to know about!
Happy June, everyone! Let's continue to get back in the saddle one day at a time. When joining us for your next trail ride, there might be a few needed accessories that you might not know what they are or what they do. Don't worry! We are here to help guide you. Also, everything you need for your next visit with us will be provided. We are taking very serious steps to keep our guests and employees very safe. Everything you touch and come in contact with will be very safe and clean. But as you prepare to come to visit us, we wanted to share some information about some important trail riding accessories. This information is also great for those who want to explore trails out in the wild or who might want to invest in their trail riding equipment. Don't forget, our historic trail rides are open and available to the public. You don't want to miss this beautiful and unique experience this summer!
Each of the items we will be talking about today makes riding and any experience on or with a horse much more prepared, easier, and comfortable for both parties involved. They help keep the quality of the ride enjoyable and can come in handy to keep you safe and protected in any situation.
Have you seen or used some of these accessories before? Or are they all new to you? We are excited to help continue and nurture any education when it comes to our beautiful horses and everything it takes to ride them safely and properly. The trails are calling you, so what are you waiting for? Until you join us for your next ride, please continue to stay safe! We are Charleston's premier horseback riding trail, dedicated to keeping you safe while exploring the beauty of the Lowcountry.
These beautiful creatures are full of surprises. Their unique personalities, how they interact with one another, and the things we discover continue to surprise us. So much so, there are hundreds of interesting and bizarre facts about horses out there, and many you might not know!
We are getting one step closer to some sense of normalcy every day. As we mentioned in our last blog, we've been taking extra care of our horses, barns, equipment, and stables to make your next ride with us very safe. Make sure you're paying close attention to our website or give us a call for all of our latest information. We are currently open for our historic trail rides, which are not to be missed! Enjoy this beautiful weather and the wonderful Lowcountry scenery, all while social distancing on the back of a stunning horse. We are adhering to the Governor's guidelines to help keep our staff and clients safe. Please reach out to us regarding any specific questions or services, and we hope to see you real soon. It's very easy to book your next ride with us on our website or to send us a message. We are here for you and continue to offer the best trail rides in Charleston!
In our last few blogs we've scaled the spectrum of topics. From ways to ride your horses, staying sanitary, to myths and legends, we've offered a slew of new things to learn about. Education is something we deeply appreciate and cherish. We love watching new riders of all ages hop on a horse for the very first time, and continue coming back as their love and appreciation grows for these amazing creatures. As the virtual school year has a few more weeks left, we hope that parents will bring their children to our trails for a field trip or stumble upon our blog. In that vein and the spirit of continued education, we wanted to share some interesting and bizarre facts that you may or may not know about horses! We would love to hear from you after you read this blog. Comment what facts you found interesting and what you learned. Don't hesitate to share and post this for all of your friends and family to enjoy, too!
These are just some of the interesting and bizarre facts about horses that are out there. These gentle creatures are very complex, and in the 5000 years they have been domesticated, we continue to learn more and more about them. What facts did you learn today? Did anything surprise you? We would love to hear from you! Until then, please continue to stay safe! We are Charleston's premier horseback riding trail, dedicated to keeping you safe while exploring the beauty of the Lowcountry.
Middleton Place Team