Tag: history

Arabian Nights closing – end of an era :{

After 25 years and thousands of shows with millions of cheering fans Arabian Nights is closing it’s doors at the end of the year. We all have great memories and it’s a sad day.
A heartbreak for everyone but the times have changed and been tough on so many horses – as you all probably know too well. See the show one last time before it’s too late.
Here’s the news’;

KISSIMMEE, Fla. —Arabian Nights dinner attraction in Kissimmee is closing its doors Jan. 1, owner Mark Miller announced Friday.

After 25 years and more than 10,000 performances for more than 10 million guests, Miller says the local attraction can no longer provide a product cheap enough for consumers.

Despite the closing, Miller says staff will remain dedicated to providing the best show possible for its last scheduled shows.

“Our mission now is to present the best possible product for the rest of the year so that the people who have loved us over the years will be able to come back and experience the magic of our show one last time,” Miller said.  “Then we will be concentrating on how to assist our incredible staff in handling this transition.”

Miller praised his staff, saying, “There is no question that the skill, dedication, work ethic and people skills of our employees have enabled [us] to be the best there is. Anyone looking for an incredible employee after the first of the year should call our human resource department immediately.”

While the staff continues to perform its annual Christmas show, ending Dec. 31, Miller is offering half-price admission to central Florida residents.



Who is your favorite horse?

Here’s a guest blog by our friend Kristie at Edgemere equestrian over in the UK. She wants to tell you all about her favorite horses. Which one would you take for a ride?
I’ve always been partial to Bucephalus myself … something to do with a boy and a horse and taming the wild stallion – maybe you know the rest of that story:) Don’t forget you can always find a Bucephalus of your own at the gift shop!


4_Inspiring_Horses_from_History – PDF

4 Inspiring Horses from History, Myths and Legends

When you are young, you might watch plenty of horse T.V shows and movies, like Disney’s Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron, or even My Little Pony! Sometimes it’s the shows like these that lead us starting to love horses, and anything that encourages us to take up riding can only be a good thing! However, people have been telling fantastic stories about horses for millennia, and some of those stories are even more epic tales than the modern feature films of today. Here are 5 of our favourite horse myths and legends to tell your friends.

The Story of the Wind Horse

painted pony

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The Wind Horse is a story told in Native American culture; it’s about a beautiful wild horse that roams the land. The wind horse is a free horse, and it is his freedom that inspires him to good deeds across the land. Whenever a Native American was injured or in dire need, it is said the Wind Horse would appear and help them.

One day the Wind Horse comes across a young boy who has injured his foot in a bear trap. Selflessly, the horse helps him and they ride home together. During the journey, the horse senses the thoughts of the young boy – he fears for the future as he has injured himself beyond recovery, and he fears that he will be lonely, unable to join in with his friends due to his injury.

The legend says that the Wind Horse knew it’s duty from then on was to protect the boy and be his friend, so the horse gives up his freedom to live out the rest of his days with his new companion. When the new friends reach home, the boy is healed.

The Pegasus


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Pegasus is a beautiful immortal winged horse from Greek Mythology – you might remember him from stories about the great hero Hercules, but he actually belonged to the hero Perseus! He was a brave warrior who wanted to win the hand of a beautiful lady, but a rival also wanted to win her love. Because of this, a challenge was set, and Perseus had to kill the evil Gorgon monster Medusa. Perseus succeeded in his quest, and the beautiful horse Pegasus was born. The horse helped many heroes with their quests, and he can now be seen honoured as a constellation in the sky.



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You’ve no doubt heard of Alexander the Great; he was one of the most successful conquerors the world has ever known! Bucephalus was the horse of Alexander the Great, when they first met, the horse was wild and un-tamed, and he was a huge horse too, with a face like a bull. At just 12 years old Alexander decided to train this famous horse, and he succeeded with his natural horsemanship. Together they rode into many battles and forged one of the biggest empires ever known.



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Movies about Thor and Loki have cause a rising interest in Norse culture, and you might have already heard of the Norse god Odin. Well, Sleipnir was Odin’s steed, and he was highly unusual as he has eight legs! Luckily, this made him supremely fast, sure-footed, and able to jump enormous obstacles!


Personally, my favourite story of this selection is the story of Alexander the Great and Buccephalus, simply because it’s a classic example of the great things a partnership between human and horse can achieve. Would Alexander have achieved the same success if he didn’t have his loyal steed? I wonder. However, there’s no doubt that trusting your horse and treating it like a partner will likely lead to you becoming an unstoppable team!

Which ancient horse would you have loved to ride?

This article was written by Kirstie, digital editor at Edgemere.


Ride on!!
your ol’ friend tim farley

Writers and Horses

dad writing

A nice article on Sarasota, Florida writers. Dad was there back in the day. We’ve seen a lot of changes along the Gulf coast over the years but it’s still a great place to create and meet artists of all talents. From the Ringling College for painting and animation and New College for writing to Clown College and Sailor Circus for performing arts there’s more to Siesta than a long nap.
Thanks to the Herald Tribune!

PDF Sarasota writers HT aug 2013

Sarasota was haven for writers


John D. MacDonald was just one of many famous writers who called Sarasota home. (Provided by Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources)


When Sarasota author MacKinlay Kantor received the Pulitzer Prize for his Civil War novel, “Andersonville,” in 1956, Sarasota was a major draw for nationally and internationally known writers and artists who came here for the relaxed lifestyle, the tropical beauty and the friendly locals who gave them their space.

Kantor, who moved to Siesta Key in 1936, pounded out his novels and articles for the Saturday Evening Post, Playboy, Look, Colliers and numerous other magazines on a Royal typewriter at his large office in his Shell Beach home. (The office has been duplicated and can be seen at the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.)

Kantor had been a decorated war correspondent in World War II and Korea and photos of him with politicians and generals lined his office walls. His novel, “Glory For Me,” was made into the popular war movie, “The Best Years of Our Lives,” which was released in 1946 and won nine Oscars.

When African-Americans were searching for a place to swim in segregated Sarasota, Kantor threatened to write an article for a national publication titled “Sarasota Cheats its Black Children” if a solution to the problem was not found. And when he was threatened with a cross burning in his yard, the man who had been through two wars retorted, “If they try, they’ll get a hole in them.” He also fought to keep the Memorial Oaks along Main Street from being destroyed, but to no avail.

John D. MacDonald followed Kantor to Siesta, arriving in 1951 when the area was still closer in ambiance to a tropical island than a tourist resort. A prolific writer, he authored the popular Travis McGee detective series which, said one critic, proved “that popular fiction could be composed with intelligence and style.”

‘The Black Stallion’

Although MacDonald said he wrote primarily to entertain and quoted movie producer Sam Goldwyn’s witticism, “If you want to send a message, call Western Union,” his bestselling novel, “Condominium,” alerted coastal communities to the dangers of shoddy condominium construction when faced with a hurricane.

He also addressed the conflict between preservationists and developers in “A Flash of Green.” The movie “Cape Fear,” adapted from his novel “The Executioner,” was released in 1961 starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, and again in 1991 with Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte in the lead roles.

If Siesta Key was sparsely populated when Kantor and MacDonald came to town, Venice was practically uninhabited when novelist and horse lover Walter Farley arrived in 1946. His first “The Black Stallion” book was begun while he was still in high school and published in 1941. The series totaled 21 books and sold millions of copies in 20 countries around the world. Its hero Alex Ramsey and the fantastic stallion captivated young readers. The movie version was directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1979 and won two Academy Award nominations. The New Yorker magazine said it might have been the greatest children’s movie ever made.

Of his love for horses, he was quoted in the old Sarasota Herald as saying that when he was a child, “I wanted a pony as much as any boy or girl could possibly want anything. But I never owned one.”

He and his wife, Rosemary, were active with helping the youth of Sarasota, serving on the board of the Sarasota Detention facility.

These writers led quiet, unassuming lives here, raising their families in a laid-back Sarasota when everyone seemed to know everyone else. They formed a fraternity of sorts, meeting weekly from place to place, most notably at the storied Plaza Restaurant on First Street, swapping jokes, tales, and playing liars poker.

A cultural mecca

As writer Richard Glendinning summed it up in his booklet, “A Host of Fridays,” there were four or five regulars whose number swelled to 14 or so during the tourist season “when more visitors were on the prowl.”

Out-of-towners and winter residents included Joseph Hayes, who wrote, produced and directed. He wintered on Lido Shores with his family and among his credits were “The Desperate Hours,” “The Young Doctors” and some Disney movies and television shows. “The Desperate Hours” was a novel, a stage production starring Paul Newman and Karl Malden, and a film noir movie classic with Humphrey Bogart and Frederick March.

Art Buchwald, William Inge, Clifford Irving, Larry Heller, artist Ben Stahl, Elmer Sulzer, Borden Deal and others too numerous to mention sat around the Plaza table when they were in town, soaking up the levity and camaraderie of fellow writers.

Glendinning termed these 1 p.m. luncheons, “a curious Sarasota ritual.” He recalled that over the years the group numbered over 200 and boasted, ” . . . it was a loose assemblage of kindred souls (which) meets without plan, purpose or program . . . has no officers, no constitution, no opening song or rallying cry, no secret grip, . . . no worthy civic projects to sponsor and not even a name. That would only confuse the issue by tending to give a sense of identity to a non-existent organization without formal membership.”

This generation of writers has all passed on, leaving as their legacy films and books which have brought joy to millions while helping to secure Sarasota’s place as a cultural Mecca.



The secret lives of the wild asses of the Negev

475male wild ass

Here’s an interesting story about trying to save a declining species – amazing how much we can learn from research. It’s written by my dear cousin Diana Lutz. So a big THANKS for all your hard work!

The secret lives of the wild asses of the Negev
As a critically endangered population makes a comeback, scientists are keeping a discreet eye on it with the help of GPS and dung
March 27, 2013
By Diana Lutz

The wild asses of the Negev are extremely wary of people, but Brian Hampton, who studies Australia’s wild horses (in t-shirt) was able to get close enough to dart this male, called Tail-less because of a missing appendage. See the video below for the record of Tail-less’ movements generated by the GPS device with which he was fitted. The man on the left with the black hair is Amos Bouskila, another of Templeton’s collaborataors.
The story is too familiar. The Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus) which once ranged widely over the desert steppes Mongolia, Russia and the Arabian Peninsula now survives only in small, isolated populations.
It disappeared from the Negev, the desert region in southern Israel, in the 1920s. But a remnant herd survived in the Shah of Iran’s zoo, and some of these animals were brought back to Israel before the Iranian revolution in 1979, where they were bred in captivity. Of this captive herd 28 animals were reintroduced to the desert beginning in 1982 with an additional 10 released in 1992.
But the Asiatic wild ass is truly feral and doesn’t tolerate the presence of people. So once released, the animals were difficult to find, much less to monitor….                                       For the rest of the story (pdf) click here: The secret lives of the wild asses of the Negev

Hope you like it – Enjoy the ride!  tim