Blackie’s claim to fame was doing absolutely nothing. After a sporting career as a cutting horse in the rodeo, he retired to a field in Tiburon, California. He then stood in the same spot, rarely moving and always facing in the same direction, for some 14 years, becoming a local landmark. There is now a life-size statue of the swaybacked horse in what is now known as Blackie’s Pasture.
From the Sunday Times‘ Top 50 Greatest Sporting Animals, 11 December 2007. The website for the children’s book Blackie, the Horse That Stood Still (by Christopher Serf and Paige Peterson) includes photos of Blackie and his statue, which looks eminently rideable, and you can read the lyrics of the country song he inspired here. There’s more to his history than the Sunday Times lets on: Blackie was a cavalry horse who worked in Yosemite Park and who once swam across San Francisco Bay – a quite astonishing achievement. No wonder he felt like doing bugger all in his retirement.
Footage of Blackie’s sporting achievement is here – he seems to have throughly enjoyed himself and he outswam two ‘Olympic club swimmers’ despite having a man clinging to his tail throughout the crossing.
What a lovely idea to have built a statue. I was familiar with his story but didn’t know about this new development. Hmm…gives me a good idea for honoring the lazier of my two housecats…!
Nice statue, isn’t it? I did read about people having their old cat stuffed so that it could sit in its traditional spot, but the end result was a little scary…
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