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All About Horses | PetsWeekly

Presidential Pets, Part Three

Presidential Pets continues with a look at the beloved pets of Presidents past and present. Part three details President Kennedy through current President, Barack Obama. (Be sure to check Presidential Pets, Part Two and Presidential Pets, Part Two).

John F Kennedy 1961-1963

Kennedy and his family were all avid animal lovers and during his term, the White House was filled with pets. Jacqueline Kennedy even created a special play area for her children near the West Wing, and included housing for their pets in the design. Caroline, Kennedy’s daughter, was given a pony by then-Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson. She named the pony Macaroni and children around the world fell in love with the animal as they wrote letters to the pony. During the bitterly cold winter, Macaroni often pulled Caroline and John all over the White House grounds in a sled. Other animals include:

  • Cats: Tom Kitten, a cat who even had an obituary notice published by the press after his death in 1962.
  • Dogs: Charlie, Caroline Kennedy's Welsh terrier; Clipper, a German shepherd; Shannon, a cocker spaniel; Wolf, an Irish Wolfhound; and Pushinka - a gift from Premier Krushchev in 1961 and father to space dog, Strelka.
  • Birds: Robin, a canary; Bluebell and Marybelle, parakeets.
  • Horses: Tex and Leprechaun, ponies; Sardar, Arabian (gift of Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan, 1962); Rufus, Palomino
  • Exotics: Debbie and Billie, hamsters; Zsa Zsa, a rabbit; and Sardar, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy's horse

Read more: Presidential Pets, Part Three

Horse Theft: It Could Happen to You

He received the phone call at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning from the boarding stables. The woman’s voice was sad, even apologetic, as she explained the horrible accident. His horse had colicked and died two days earlier. The woman he spoke to owned the boarding stable, and had been a close friend of the man for a number of years. He had just purchased the horse a few months previously, and it seemed a logical choice to board with the woman. But now he questioned his judgment as she expressed her sadness for his loss. She stated that she had paid a friend of hers to remove the corpse from her property and bury the animal in the desert. Could she please forward him a check for $250.00 to cover the cost of the burial?

Immediately, he was suspicious. He had just visited the horse the previous weekend, and the mare had seemed perfectly fine. He knew that colic was a chancy illness and could strike without warning. Still, the situation seemed unlikely. He spent the next several weeks investigating the matter. When he asked where the horse had been buried, the woman claimed that she was not sure, as the backhoe driver had taken care of the actual burial.

When he asked if she had contacted a veterinarian to have a necropsy performed, she said No, it didn’t seem necessary. His questions were unanswered, and his suspicions grew as the woman became obviously irritated with him. Soon, she threatened to contact the police if he trespassed her property during his amateur investigation. He complied, and instead spoke with friends of hers.

Read more: Horse Theft: It Could Happen to You

The World Will Know It, Too...

Fate of NahguaI get interesting letters from people asking about the relationship between horse racing and the show world. When our farm branched into racing, a lot of our friends asked, why? They couldn’t see why we would “abandon” the show world for something they flat-out didn’t understand or appreciate. Looking back, I have to smile because it turned out that we didn’t abandon anything. We just grew.

Like an increasing number of breeders entering the racing industry, we expanded our horizons. Let’s take a closer look at that question and those horizons.

Horse shows, like most shows for purebred livestock, started out as a chance for breeders to compare their stock and evaluate the progress of their breeding, nutritional and training programs. And horse racing has always been right in there.

Read more: The World Will Know It, Too...

Seeing through an Animal’s Eyes; An Interview with Temple Grandin

In 2005, I had the distinct honor of meeting Temple Grandin at a book signing in Minneapolis, MN.  At that time, “Animals in Translation” had just been released and the large group of people at the book store was made up mostly of parents of Autistic children and the remainder were animal lovers.  I found it to be a fascinating lecture because her unique insight has transformed the field of Animal Behavior.  At the same time, she gave hope to millions of families dealing with Autism. 

The connection between Autism and Animal Behavior is still being researched but Temple Grandin is the authority on both.

Having just released a movie on HBO about her life, Temple finds herself in the unlikely position of fielding phone calls to set up guest lectures and interviews.  Unlikely, because the majority of her adult life and professional career were met with a certain amount of disregard for her opinions.  Having contacted her in January after watching her movie, I was very impressed with her down to earth style of answering my questions and a willingness to share her ideas.  She has been very interesting to discuss many animal behavior questions with me and to share her encouragement of the Tellington TTouch program. 

Read more: Seeing through an Animal’s Eyes; An Interview with Temple Grandin

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