Unicorn Man’s Friday New & Notes from FLAIR

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I saw the photo Lacy posted of Buck Davidson yesterday and my first thought was, “It’s a lucky lady that gets to run her fingers through that fine-lookin’ mane.” My second thought was, “That mane looks familiar. Where have I seen that mane?” I wracked my brain for about two seconds before it came to me: Unicorn Man.

 And now, before I get myself in any further trouble, your news & notes:

The Brits have their panties in a wad over the sale of three of their country’s leading show-jumpers. “The move leaves Britain’s pool of equestrian medal talent drastically reduced and has prompted anger and frustration in the equestrian community just seven months before the games,” writes The Telegraph. Two of the horses, Sultan V and Talan, were purchased by the Saudi Arabian equestrian team, which is swimming the backstroke in a reported $500 million budget. A third horse, Guy Williams’ European Championships partner Titus, is headed to Australia to be competed by Edwina Tops-Alexander. All three of the transactions were allegedly completed within hours of the Dec. 31 deadline for horses to change hands before the Olympics.

Can money buy happiness? Nah. Can it buy a gold medal? Perhaps. Horsetalk’s Laurie Dixon writes an intriguing blog entry on the issue, replete with a list of Olympic-contention show-jumpers and event horses that have recently switched nationalities.

Dude ranches are going out of their way to accommodate the supersizing of Americans. A Reuters story reports that many trail riding stables have incorporated “big-butt saddles” and draft horses into their programs in order to provide service to larger customers. Says one Idaho ranch owner, “I’ve got a 22-inch saddle, which is basically unheard of, and I’ve got people who will overflow all sides of it.” There’s a nice mental image to start off your day. [Via Thursday’s Horses in the Morning program]

Kentucky has plenty enough horses already, thank you very much. The Times-Herald reports that on March 10 the Kentucky Horse Park will offer a low-cost gelding clinic in hopes of reducing the production of unwanted foals. “In this difficult economic climate, horse owners realize that breeding horses may be a losing financial proposition unless the sire and dam are of top notch bloodlines,” said Anna Zinkhon, president of the Kentucky Horse Council. Applications are available on the parks’ website. Together, we can snip-snip our way toward more discriminate breeding practices and, consequently, improved equine welfare.

A congrats is in order for Australian eventer Megan Jones, who came back from a holiday in Africa happily engaged to her beau James Deacon. Good work, kids.

Tweet of the day: “This weather is taking the mickey!” from UK-based Young Rider gold medalist Lauren Shannon. I don’t even know what that means; it just sounds adorable and British. Lauren’s a fun one to follow on Twitter if you’re into that kind of thing. She’ll go from reminiscing about Burghley to musing about the apocalypse within the span of an hour. Runner-up tweets came from Paul Tapner, who explained that he’s drooling because he just had his wisdom teeth out, and Allison Springer, who announced that she’s in the market for a new head groom and working student.

Best of the Blogs: Cherie Chauvin of Golightly Sport Horses explores the idea of brain farts and why riders always seem to experience them at the least convenient moments. And… Avalon Equine reveals what may be the most, ahem, revealing stallion advertisement ever.

Go eventing.

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