From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1994:
Responding to an appeal from Brigitte Bardot,
Belgian interior minister Louis Tobback on June 13 banned the
controversial Krombeke trap-horse race––as well as any demon-
strations that might be held to gloat over the victory. Held on
slippery cobblestone streets, the race resulted in frequent injuries
to horses and drivers. Tobback, who said he’d always dreamed
of getting a letter from Bardot, last year banned a similar race at
Six-time Canadian Olympic equestrian Ian Millar,
of Perth, Ontario, on May 30 announced the retirement of Big
Ben, the 18-year-old Belgian he rode in three Olympics. Ben,
whom Millar began jumping in 1983, was the first North
American show jumper to win more than $1.5 million, achieving
40 grand prix victories; led Canada to the 1987 Pan American
Games gold medal; and won back-to-back World Cups.
Uncommonly resiliant, Ben twice returned to competition after
serious abdominal surgery––and in 1992 resumed winning events
just two weeks after surviving a head-on truck crash that killed a
man and another horse. Ben is to compete eight more times, fin-
ishing at the Royal Agricultural Fair in Toronto in November.
Uniquely adapted to high altitudes, with enlarged
lungs and hearts, Nangchen horses of Tibet have apparently been
purebred for 14 centuries, reports French anthropologist Dr.
Michel Peissel, who recently rediscovered the breed––first
recorded in 6th century Chinese chronicles. Dr. E. Gus Cochran,
director of the equine blood research laboratory at the University
of Kentucky in Lexington, believes the Nangchen lung adapta-
tions may offer solutions to the problem of lung bleeding in thor-
oughbred race horses.
The drug industry may soon quit using horses to cul-
tivate rattlesnake antivenom, as an antivenom cultivated in sheep
by Therapeutic Antibodies Inc. is apparently safer. The Rocky
Mountain Poison Center has so far treated 10 human snakebite
victims with the sheep-based antivenom, finding no serious side-
effects. It must be given within six hours of the bite,
Colorado Horse Rescue has relocated to a farm in
Broomfield, now being restored by volunteers. The postal
address remains POB 1510, Arvada, CO 80001.