How they used to fake horseback riding scenes in the movies

That's Boris Karloff riding off on a mechanical horse.

This footage was shown at the end of Mario Bava's 1963 film Black Sabbath, but only in the Italian version. In the English version, they cut the scene out, according to coolasscinema.com:

But in the original Italian version, we close out with this ending monologue from Karloff decked out in his Wurdulak costume -- "So there it is. Didn't you see that end coming? There's no fooling around with ghosts, because they take revenge. Well, we've come to the end of our tales... so, sadly, I must leave you now. But watch out on the way home. Look around you, look behind you... careful when you open the door! And don't go in without turning on the light! Dream about me! We'll become friends!"

The camera then backs away revealing Karloff atop a fake horse as film technicians run around giving the illusion he's riding passed trees. This light-hearted, comedic moment was discarded from the US print, which closes without any final words from Karloff. Instead, it goes straight to the end credits backed by a lighter toned Baxter composition that sounds similar to the sort the man created for the Roger Corman-Poe pictures that were popular at the time.

(Super Punch, TATJANA SL) Read the rest

Firefighters and cops save a horse that fell into a frozen pond

This risky rescue could have gone wrong in a number of ways, but the first responders were able to save a horse that had walked onto thin ice without injuring the horse or themselves. Read the rest

Horses' facial expressions similar to those of humans

Horses use 17 discrete facial movements in communication, compared to 27 for people, 16 for dogs, and 13 for chimpanzees. University of Sussex researchers determined this by studying the musculature under a horse's face and watched videos of horses of all ages and multiple breeds. This enabled the scientists to create a catalog of facial behavioral sequences named EquiFACS (Equine Facial Action Coding System.) From National Geographic:

Jennifer Wathan, the study’s lead author, says the similarities between horse movements and human ones are striking. They include raising inner eyebrows (“puppy-dog eyes”) to show fear, surprise, or sadness; pulling back lip corners (smiling) in greeting or submission; and opening eyes wide to indicate alarm...

Her team’s research, which is already helping veterinarians and trainers, could also connect facial expressions to emotional states. “We don’t know much about the emotional lives of animals,” she says. “What does a positive emotion look like? This tool could help us see it.”

"EquiFACS: The Equine Facial Action Coding System" (PLOS One) Read the rest

Meet the world's greatest horse photographer

Sara Barnes at My Modern Met profiles photographer Wiebke Haas, whose stunning art photographs of horses have won her global acclaim.

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Underside photos of horses standing on glass

Photographer Andrius Burba went to great lengths to capture horses from below, and the result was worth the effort. Behold the Under-Horse series. Read the rest

Horse enjoys playing with rubber chicken

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quakka. quakka. quakka. quakka. quakkaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Read the rest

Horses can communicate with people using symbols

Researchers from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute developed and tested a system for horses and people to communicate using a symbolic language. From the Daily Grail:

...Twenty three horses learned to tell trainers if they wanted to wear a blanket or not. Subjects were shown three symbols: a horizontal bar to say "I want a blanket", a blank square for "No change", and a vertical bar for "I don't need a blanket". They learned the meanings in a day or two and using them to convey if they were too warm or too cold, building the case for self-awareness...

(In the scientific paper, the researchers write that,) "When horses realized that they were able to communicate with the trainers, i.e. to signal their wishes regarding blanketing, many became very eager in the training or testing situation. Some even tried to attract the attention of the trainers prior to the test sit- uation, by vocalizing and running towards the trainers, and follow their movements. On a number of such occasions the horses were taken out and allowed to make a choice before its regular turn, and signalled that they wanted the blanket to be removed. It turned out that the horses were sweaty underneath the blanket."

"Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences" (Applied Animal Behaviour Science)

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Skimboarding while pulled by a horse

Even if you don't ride horses or skimboard, this gorgeous location makes this amazing feat worth watching. Read the rest

Don't punch horses

This horse showed great restraint and, hopefully, taught this child something about not punching horses.

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Researchers compile list of horse facial expressions

Scientists at the University of Sussex have published a directory of horse facial expressions. The Equine Facial Action Coding System catalogs "17 discrete facial movements in horses that may indicate mood or intention or just bafflement," reports The Guardian.

Boing Boing created this chart that shows each facial expression identified by the scientists. We hope you find it helpful.

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Play it now: You Are A Horse

You Are A Horse is a Twine game where you are a horse. Who robs a bank.

Endless.horse

Behold! An ASCII horse without end. This is straight-up the best thing put on the internet so far this decade. It's by Colleen Josephson and emerged from The Stupid Hackathon. Read the rest

Horse on roof

Stephen and Pat raise horses in New Brunswick. One of them, however, knows how to raise itself.

"They think it's not real," Stephen said. "They think you've Photoshopped it, but it's real and it really happened." [CTV via Arbroath.] Read the rest

The oldest genome ever sequenced

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen sequenced the oldest genome yet — 700,000-year-old DNA from an ancient ancestor of the horse. The Nature Podcast explains why doing this is valuable (and, no, it's not about creating a cloned ancient horse park) and how you go about sequencing such elderly, and thus degraded, DNA. Read the rest