Archive for the Videos Category

Aw Shucks – WegWag Wins Award!

Posted in Equine Issues, Equine Professionals, Media, Publications, Videos, World Equestrian Games with tags , on September 30, 2010 by martimu

Dr. Pearec Lyons congratulates Marti McGinnis for receiving an A+ Award for her video

No way! It appears as though yours truly, your very own little WegWag seems to have won the A+  award in the broadcasting category for a video I created to help grow excitement for the WEG!  Alltech – the title sponsor of the whole big horse party – initiated a set of awards to help kick start coverage throughout the global equine news community. Entries were open to members of American Horse Publications (AHP) and the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists (IAEJ).

They asked a team of independent experts to evaluate the entries and it seems the video shown right here in our little down-home blog took top honors for the first set of winners! (2 sets one pre-WEG, the other to come or post-WEG). This video features footage I’ve taken over the several years I’ve been playing horses with my friends here so I like to think this win reflects more about them, what they’ve taught me and the love we all share for our equine friends and teachers.

I sorta feel like I just won a gold medal. 🙂

So here it is again for those who missed it the first time:


Watch the WEG games on streaming web tv

Posted in Videos, World Equestrian Games with tags , , , on September 24, 2010 by martimu

The good ol’ FEI have thought of everybody out there who maybe can’t swing around large bags of money and let loose with the dough here in Lexington. Here are their basic plans for online viewing:

daily rate $12.99

monthly rate: $34.99

and annual rate of $79.99

I’m not sure if you need to buy one or two months to ensure seeing the full WEG coverage (as it takes place during September and October). I’m inclined to believe a one month commitment will cover it. I could be wrong. If you pop for an annual pass you’ll get to see next year’s Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event too. Just sayin’.
Here‘s where you can sign up!

Your Subscription to FEI TV includes access to:
Immediate access to all FEI TV content:

  • all live events
  • all new VOD (video on demand)
  • Selected high quality, event-specific highlights
  • Interviews & features
  • Equestrian stories from around the globe
  • Extensive and regularly updated archiveClick here to see their scheduled WEG coverage.There’s some freebies too – so have a look even if you don’t intend to buy a package today. It actually seems like a decently good deal for where we’re at with this technology today. Though I will tell you – there’s new connections coming – I’ll tell more after the Games!
  • Facebook WEG Connection!

    Posted in Events, Kentucky, Trainers/Clinicians, Videos, World Equestrian Games with tags , on August 4, 2010 by martimu

    As of today you can now start finding other WEG enthusiasts right from your Facebook page!

    Wegwag's Facebook Logo

    Click on the link to join the duscussions!

    Is Michael Blowen Crazy?

    Posted in Equine Issues, Equine Rescue, Kentucky, Places, Thoroughbreds, Videos with tags , , , , on January 19, 2010 by martimu

    Michael Blowen is an optimist. Here’s how I can tell — he started up a sanctuary for some of the most difficult of all horses to house: thoroughbred stallions. Seasoned thoroughbred stallions, if you know what I mean.

    Here’s a fun fact, when he got going on this Old Friends project of his, he wouldn’t have called himself a horseman. And horsemen were calling him crazy. But here’s the thing, those details didn’t figure into his plan to re-home these tricky dudes.

    I guess he reckoned there was a need. It wasn’t being directly addressed compassionately by anyone else so, being an optimist he weighed his odds and must have decided he had just as good a chance as anyone else to make it work. Help, he knew he could hire. Resources too — because I think a personal mantra for Michael may well be “Why not?”.

    As a newspaperman (film critic for the Boston Globe) Michael and his wife Diane (also a gifted writer) were happy to exit their eastern urban life when an attractive retirement package floated their way. They hopped aboard and with a personal appreciation for just how unretired the recently retired can feel jumped — head first — into this dream to help these horses.

    They moved to Kentucky. Horse country, Kentucky. Through his connections from within flat racing’s inner sanctum — did I forget to tell you Michael, the office-bound newsguy, developed a taste for the ponies? Yes, apparently sticking his neck out with periodic opinions on perceived public property (movies and the like) within notoriously crazy newspaper deadlines wasn’t a big enough rush for him. Well, he did. And like all good players be bought-in lock stock and two smoking barrels, eventually owning and running some of his own. I told you, optimist.

    Unlike so many in the game, though, Michael started to really love his horses. Not just when they pranced into the winner’s circle — but even when they were gobbling up pricey hay and grain in their stalls he was footing the bills on under the stewardship of trainers and grooms his money helped support. Then he began wondering what their futures were like.

    It’s usually somewhere around now in these love affairs that delusion gives way to reason. The sharp outlines of what is overwrite the glowing expansiveness of what could be. When he began making inquiries into where these horses went after they were played out on the track the answers started to weigh on him. When he learned that 1986 Kentucky Derby winner and 1987 Breeder’s Cup Classic winner Ferdinand ended up butchered in a slaughter house for meat, like so many other spent equine athletes – something inside him snapped.

    Call it his sanity.

    Then again, say it was just the sound of his cussidness hopping into the director’s chair. Go ahead, tell him he’s:

    • nuts
    • unqualified
    • underfunded
    • ignorant
    • doomed

    and anything else that bubbles up from the depth of the naysaying pessimist. Because to a guy like Michael Blowen negativity apparently has a positive effect.

    He and Diane started Old Friends in 2003 on a dream. Eight years and many life-in-the-balance, future jeopardizing, white knuckle financing moments later here they are:

    Dream Chase Farm, Georgetown, Kentucky

    On the gently rolling acres, where wooden fences partition the space into paddocks that each hold exactly one full functioning gorgeous old and even not so old thoroughbred stud. Some of thoroughbred racing’s fastest, famous and above all luckiest. The staff at Old Friends (volunteer “ambassadors” mostly) and Michael himself conduct tours of the farm 7 days a week. They host visiting dignitaries, horse crazy girls, some of the steeds’ former jockeys and the rest of us.

    The place, the horses and their people garner national and international attention. Best of all owners who once shunned the effort are stepping up to help.

    How come? Because Michael Blowen is starkers. Insane. He’s a retiree who’s off his rocker. I told you. He’s an optimist.

    Old Friends, Inc.
    1841 Paynes Depot Rd.
    Georgetown, KY  40324
    Phone: 502-863-1775

    College Day Pageantry at Keeneland

    Posted in Horse Racing, Thoroughbreds, Videos with tags , , , on October 20, 2009 by martimu

    That we ride horses has more to do with their kindness than man’s accomplishments.
    Merry Horses

    A chestnut Foal heads to Keeneland (painting avail on Etsy - click!)

    A chestnut Foal heads to Keeneland (painting avail on Etsy - click!)

    Fall in Kentucky can be an achingly beautiful time. Pair that with observing horses prancing under colorful silk outfits and maybe heaven seems less other-worldly. Last week I had the pleasure to bring two young ladies to Keeneland for their first experience ever with horse racing in general and the gifts of Keeneland in particular.

    It was “College Day” and this being the ‘northernmost southern city’ there were well groomed University of Kentucky students wandering everywhere. My pair fit right in. They were delighted with the pageantry of the paddock and the thrill out on the track. It was a joy to experience afresh the wonder of it all through their innocent eyes.

    Being near horses always offers an opportunity for personal transformation just by proximity alone. That is part of the joy of horses, and part of the debt we owe those we employ for our entertainment. To see the grace of horses running is to glimpse the dance of the angels.

    Secretariat’s Extras

    Posted in Art, Horse Racing, Thoroughbreds, Videos with tags , , , , on September 29, 2009 by martimu
    Not Big Red - but a dang nice looking thoroughbred nonetheless - painting avail on Etsy

    Not Big Red - but a dang nice looking thoroughbred nonetheless - painting avail on Etsy

    I’m not an actor. I don’t play one on tv. But as it turns out I am qualified to play an attendee of the 1973 Belmonth Stakes win by the great Secretariat because of two key factors:

    1. I showed up and
    2. I bothered to wear an outfit that could be construed as having been possible in the early 70’s.

    Because I am daring and edgy, I also brought along my mini camera so I could record some of the fabulosity that is the Hollywood experience for you, my dear WegWag reader. I think you will agree with me in saying “Thank God polyester fabrics are enjoying their first half life decay in landfills across the globe; no longer causing such accidents as was described to me by a clearly knowledgeable gentlemen during one of the numerous rest periods we extras enjoyed during lulls between the rigors of cheering Secretariat’s win from at least seven different locations throughout the grandstand. He claims to have suffered a kitchen accident wherein he backed into a lit stove burner wearing a “leisure suit” of a material he recollects as being called “Dacron“, a detail that sticks with him to this day as insistently as the material itself stuck to his rear when it melted there.

    Can YOU Spot the Errors?

    Can YOU Spot the Errors?

    Spoiler Alert: Big Red wins that race. He won it no less than 7 times yesterday. I can’t offer proof because the staff of The Mouse would have me swiss cheesed if I had even attempted to film when they were filming – I am putting my life on the line as it is offering this ultra-bootlegged non-commercial footage as it is. If this page goes dark in the near future, look for new howling sounds at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride – the place where The Mouse’s henchmen throw the hapless under-represented artsy fartsies who get in the way of their corporately-imagineered creative machinations.

    Here goes:

    Clip Clops

    Posted in Thoroughbreds, Videos with tags , , , , on September 25, 2009 by martimu

    In the early 1970’s my family was still adjusting to itself. My two sisters and I had been combined with our new stepdad’s own three and a half (the half one didn’t move in with us) daughters. He’d answer the phone “Roberts’ Home for Wayward Girls” on the few occasions he picked it up before any of us. We weren’t. Not yet anyway.

    We were a mixed bag of Chicago suburb created young female personae half of whom were horse-crazy (my half) and the other not. Except for one. Laura. When our families first came together she and I were still young enough to be horses on weekends and after school. We’d gambol and cavort around our backyard pasture grazing the chives and noting longingly the progress of the apples on the little tree. We strove for accuracy in our assimilation of equine behavior so we’d do as much on all fours as we could. Because we had hands, not hooves, we traveled in imprecise muted strides. Until Laura had an amazing inspiration and invented these:
    Our dad cut the wood and she nailed together a set of “clip clops” for each of us. You’d hold one in each hand and on your hands and knees at least your front end would travel in acoustically realistic style on sidewalks, driveways and throughout the house. Of course this was hard on the knees – and pants legs – but that was a hardship to be endured by we in pursuit of excellence. We worked on our gaits horking up onto our wooden souled clogged (in at the time) feet and clip-clopped hands looking very much like identical accident victims, but sounding like real ponies. In high school we would save babysitting and odd jobs money for the few times we could arrange to be ferried to Kurt’s Corral on vacation and let real hooves create the sounds we craved below us.

    In 1973 we caught wind of an amazing equine sensation burning up the dirt around major thoroughbred racetracks. Laura became especially entranced. The Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont – she watched, listened to and read about them all. She taped his pictures up in her room and memorized his splits. She knew what he liked to eat, who gave it to him, where he consumed it and how he trained. If a young lady can fall for a young horse (and they do – all the time) – she did and was smitten. That summer Laura would hike up the rented stirrups as far as they would go on the worn dude ranch saddle and ride whatever quarter horse they gave her like she was exercising at Churchill Downs. Her new dream life.

    Later she became a forester, married a disturbed Viet Nam vet and died of brain cancer before routine laminitis claimed the horse two years after that, on would have been her 31st birthday. This Monday, they’re filming some scenes at Keeneland for a movie about Secretariat. I’m going as a bell bottom bedecked extra because I still love horses and I’m still here. I’ll be the one trotting around in clogs.

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