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Roman Horse Racing
#16
Getting way off topic and I do apologize for that but if you like good quality staying events on turf you and your wife should visit Melbourne for the Melbourne cup held on the 1st Tuesday in November every year. It is a 3200 metre race, the world's richest turf staying event and used to be a locals only event but now has quite an international flavour with recent winners from Ireland, France, Japan and for the first time last year Germany which up to then was not known for its stayers (In Australia at least). But get there early as it gets pretty crowded. 8-)


[attachment=12832]Cup-Day2.jpg[/attachment]

Regards
Michael Kerr


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Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#17
Mr Kerr,

I think it's ok to drift off topic a bit sometimes. That way you not only get to discuss the topic, but you also get to know the people you are discussing things with.
That course must be huge. I've never been to Australia. I have been to a lot of race tracks from central United States going east. Have been to the Breeders Cup races, the Belmont Stakes in New York and a lot of other big races. Also to Royal Windsor Race Course in England as I previously mentioned. I find other countries do not have as many tracks as we do here in the states, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Here we have too many small cheap race tracks and the quality of the racing isn't good (cheap stock). I would rather see fewer tracks and better quality horses and races. We probably have as many race tracks as the roman did gladiator arenas.
Thanks for telling me about Melbourne. If we ever decided to go to Australia I'll have to make it a point to visit.

May the horse be with you,
Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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#18
Yup, Melbourne's on my bucket list...with Belmont Park and several others. It'll have to wait until I have been to Buenos Aires for the Argentine polo gold cup though Smile
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#19
Vindex,

Been to Belmont Park more times than I can remember. My brother was an exercise rider there for more than 17 years. He was also the exercise rider for the famous horse Cigar. That horse win like 16 races in a row and made almost 10 million dollars! Belmont is a great and huge track. I dare say if you ever get the chance to go there...GO! You won't regret it. It's also one of the oldest tracks in the states. Really enjoying talking horses with y'all even though we drifted off topic. ;-)

and they're off,
Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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#20
I know of a probably Hellenistic bronze of a young boy jockey (the horse is lost). It is extremely lively and realistic and the boy is in the classic jockey pose. I'll see if I can find it. Anyway, ancient peoples definitely had jockey-style racing along with the chariot races.
Pecunia non olet
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#21
Is this the young jockey you mean? The jockey of Artemision, galloping on his horse, dated around 140 BC. Found in pieces, it was discovered in north Euboea off the cape of Artemision, in the area of a shipwreck.


[attachment=12833]THEJOCKEYOFARTEMISION.jpg[/attachment]

I am sure the equestrian peoples of the ancient world from the Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans and Huns onwards enjoyed their horseback races which were probably much longer than today's races.

Endurance for travelling long distances and hunting would have been a prerequisite for a valuable horse and races would have been a good way to evaluate a horse, even amongst the Romans, Celts and Greeks. Hadrian when he signed a treaty with the Roxolani king, Rasparagnus received a valuable horse, Borysthenes as a gift which he rode on hunts and on its death in a hunt he composed a poem to mourn the loss of his favourite horse. Even now the Mongols have races that can go for 15 to 30 kilometres during festivals like the Nadaam festival which probably date back further than Genghis Khan.


[attachment=12834]Mongolracing.jpg[/attachment]

And even today a lot of Central Asian republics have horse racing. Turkmenistan has horse racing like a lot of western nations but ride their akhal-teke horses rather than thoroughbreds. :-)


[attachment=12835]AkhalTekeracing.jpg[/attachment]

Regards
Michael Kerr


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Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#22
Mr. Kerr,

That is the sculpture I was thinking of. Thanks for finding a picture of it. And I agree with you. Today races are a lot shorter and horses are bred more for conformation and speed. Back then I think they would have been bred more for stamina, endurance, durability and speed would have taken a back seat. I think the racing industry today should breed some of those old qualities back into the thoroughbreds, because I find the breed is getting fragile. The horses structural build can't keep up with the speed and demands being put on them. This is why you see so many with injuries and other problems. Back when we raced horses some of them raced till they were 13 years old and started 114 or more times! Now days this almost unheard of and if a horse starts 40 times in his career they think he's run a lot. I also think the racing industry needs to have more route races instead of sprints. I believe it would be easier on the horse. I also believe that back then that some horses had to be multi purpose - travel, war, hunting, etc.- where as today a lot of horses are specialized and are single purpose.
Cheers,
Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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#23
Hi Thomas, I agree. Different standards and requirements in those days were more for coursing or cross country races. But I am sure soldiers and owners liked to make a bit on the side so it would be doubtful if gambling on these sorts of races did not exist. In Australia unfortunately all the rich purses, with the exception of the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups are for races between 1200 and 1600 metres and the breeding and training of good quality stayers has declined markedly because naturally enough the owners and trainers follow the quick money and we get our 2 and 3 year olds out much more quickly than what used to be done. Stayers take a few years to develop but most owners don't see a return on their investment early so they don't bother. It helps that the Melbourne Cup is a handicap race so older horses get a weight allowance It is a great shame as there is nothing more exciting to see the quality stayers run down the tiring horses who might have been leading for a mile and a half but have nothing left in the tank at the end. Sorry off topic again, I am not involved in racing and I don't even gamble but I do love the "Sport of Kings". 8-) 8-)
Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#24
Way, WAY off topic...however!

Yes, horses may be raced less often and retire earlier than usual (although it is rare for any flat racing TB in the UK to go past 5 or 6 yo) but then, every now and again the breeding throws up a truly amazing animal.

Google the 2012 Juddmonte Stakes at York (10 furlongs so mile and a quarter) and watch Frankel. He made top class horses look ordinary. I gave up the opening meeting at Cheltenham later in the year to go to Ascot to see him run and win his last race. I have never seen a horse walk the way he did; such athleticism and power. You can see it in his shoulders in the picture below but what you cannot see is how long his stride is and how far the shoulder moves forwards and backwards. Then there is the power behind as well.

Just look at this...the perfect race horse. His cruising speed in the Juddmonte was 38 mph. He pulled away at 41 mph. Fabulous.
[attachment=12846]Frankel_Champions_Stakes.jpg[/attachment]


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Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#25
Vindex,

I remember him! He reminded me of the great Secretariat. Both of them were the complete package...stride, speed, endurance and stamina. Truly great horses!
I don't know how much you know about Cigar? He was another great horse. Win like 16 races in a row and win almost 10 million $. And could run anywhere. Del Mar & Santa Anita California, Belmont New York, Woodbine Canada, Dubai and win. Win the Breeder's Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup. The list is endless. A horse with a lot of heart! I went and watched him run a number of times including the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont. As I previously mentioned my brother was his exercise rider. Here is a photo of my brother on Cigar at Belmont Park.
There's nothing like a horse! I don't know what God had in mind when He created it, but it was absolutely brilliant!

Thomas


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Thomas Guenther
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#26
Smile That's a smart picture. Your brother is a lucky man.

Yes - know of Cigar and Secretariat. I think Secretariat was faster than Frankel but I have never seen a horse accelerate 3 times the way Frankel did at Ascot in that last race. They usually accelerate once and then grind their opponents down by shear speed (Secretariat for sure).

Sorry - better stop going off topic (but it has been a good one Smile )
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#27
Enjoyed it!

Are you aware of any proof that any of the emperors of rome had any race horses? I mean the Queen of England has a stable of them.

Cheers,
Thomas
Thomas Guenther
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#28
The British Royal Family have had race horses since certainly Charles II who built a fabulous stable at Newmarket (to be the new museum). Henry VIII kept horses for jousting; that was the thing in his day.

Incitatus is the best known one. Caligula was allegedly going to make him a Consul Smile

Suetonius and Cassius Dio:

http://intranet.grundel.nl/thinkquest/incitatus.html
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#29
Quote:Suetonius and Cassius Dio

Although Dio (59) does make clear that Incitatus was a chariot horse!

"[Caligula also poisoned] the horses and charioteers of the rival factions; for he was strongly attached to the party that wore the frog-green, which from this colour was called also the Party of the Leek. Hence even to‑day the place where he used to practise driving the chariots is called the Gaianum after him. One of the horses, which he named Incitatus, he used to invite to dinner, where he would offer him golden barley and drink his health in wine from golden goblets; he swore by the animal's life and fortune and even promised to appoint him consul, a promise that he would certainly have carried out if he had lived longer"

It does seem that chariot racing was the only form of equestrian sport practised in Rome. Most named horses on mosaics are in chariot teams - like the famous Compressore from Trier (It amuses me to imagine that Mercedes named their car engine after him!):

[Image: polydus2.jpg]

There was also the lusus Troiae, which was more of a mounted display intended to show off the skills of young men of the equestrian order (many of whom went on to be military officers). More drill or dressage than actual races, but Virgil describes what purports to be the origin of it:

The column split apart
As files in the three squadrons all in line
Turned away, cantering left and right; recalled
They wheeled and dipped their lances for a charge.
They entered then on parades and counter-parades,
The two detachments, matched in the arena,
Winding in and out of one another,
And whipped into sham cavalry skirmishes
By baring backs in flight, then whirling round
With leveled points, then patching up a truce
And riding side by side.
(Aenied 5.545–603)
Nathan Ross
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#30
Mr. Ross,
You know they say you learn something new everyday. Well you just taught me something. I have my own mechanic shop for almost the past 35years and I have some customers with Mercedes cars, but I didn't know that the Compressor was named after that horse!
Thanks for your response to my topic

Vindex,
You know I sometimes forget about the horses used for jousting. Even though I've done some reading on it and have often wondered what it was like. I'll bet it takes a special kind of horse to joust. It would have to be big enough to carry the extra weight of the armour and its disposition must be calm and fearless.
Thanks for bringing that up
Thomas Guenther
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