Articles on Horses

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Eventing is a sport enjoyed by many Australians, but what are the risks? alan feebery/Flickr

Why the long face: just how risky is horse riding?

How dangerous really is horse riding and sports like eventing? While there are risks, they can be managed, especially if we learn to understand horses better.
Finding the right balance in feeding a racehorse. Cheryl Ann Quigley/

How to feed a racehorse and keep him healthy

As we celebrate the Melbourne Cup today, it's worth taking a look at the way we nourish our champions of the turf.
Lucy Kemp-Welch, Horses bathing in the sea, 1900. Oil on canvas. Estate of Lucy Kemp-Welch. National Gallery of Victoria

The Horse: reframing the history of human progress

The Horse, currently on display at the National Gallery of Victoria, celebrates the pivotal role the horse has played in the evolution of civilisation.
Admire Rakti finished the race last, but died in his stall soon afterwards. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Sudden deaths are rare in racing despite the Melbourne Cup tragedy

The tragic deaths of the favourite Admire Rakti and seventh placegetter Araldo soon after the Melbourne Cup has focused attention on some of the risks involved in racing horses. The Japanese horse Admire…
The unicorn is an icon of our contemporary love affair with escapism. Rob Boudon

Would you whip a unicorn? The Melbourne Cup and imagination

This is not an article about unicorns or virgins, but about the power of imagination, both wonderful and terrible. As an academic and equine artist I work between creative imagination and scientific epistemology…
Damien Oliver (left) rides Fiorente to victory in Race 7 the Emirates Melbourne Cup at the 2013 Melbourne Cup. AAP Image/Hamish Blair

Do historical trends in Melbourne Cup champions point to a winner?

If you’re looking for a definitive answer on who will win the Melbourne Cup – the world’s most prestigious two-mile handicap – I’m afraid I’m going to leave you sorely disappointed. What I can offer is…
Trainer Gai Waterhouse with 2013 Melbourne Cup winning horse Fiorente. AAP/Julian Smith

Horses for courses: the science behind Melbourne Cup winners

It’s the race that stops a nation … and is worth a cool A$6.2 million. So what goes into the raceday preparation for the equine stars of the show? Thoroughbred racehorses have unique anatomy and physiology…
A galloping horse puts four tonnes of pressure on lower limb joints with each stride. AAP/Hamish Blair

How trainers keep horses in winning form – and injury-free

In elite racehorses, biology is pushed to the limit – about four tonnes is placed on the joint surfaces in a galloping horse’s lower limb with every stride, and these repeated loads have the potential…
How much of Black Caviar’s racing prowess will be passed to her foal? AAP/Georgina Lomax

How to hit the genetic jackpot and breed a Melbourne Cup winner

The win of Japanese stayer Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup, followed by Irish bred colt Adelaide‘s win in the Cox Plate last Saturday, has brought into question the stamina (staying) credentials of Australian…
Today horses are still whipped in public, but only in the name of sport. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Whips hurt horses – if my leg’s anything to go by

It’s not just the horses that wear blinkers during the Melbourne Cup, the so-called “race that stops a nation”, which takes place next Tuesday. Perhaps it’s the excitement, the champagne or the extraordinary…
A glimpse of wild brumbies in the Snowy Mountains. Michael Tristram/Flickr

The grim story of the Snowy Mountains’ cannibal horses

When you think of horses in the Australia high country, you might imagine noble brumbies galloping out from snowgums across grassy peaks, tails and manes trailing like streamers. But on a recent trip to…
Yeah, they messed with my genes. attawayjl

Silk Road trading helped produce the modern horse

The Silk Road snaked across continents for more than a thousand years, shaping civilisations in East and West. Famously trodden by Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, the trade route brought riches to…

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