In this episode: Przewalksi’s horse, quartering, Caligula’s horse Incitatus, diving horses, Clever Hans, horse racing, and that’s just the first half!

Music: “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by Vaughn Monroe




42 Responses

  1. Great episode!

    Caligula’s horse, Incitatus, name means “Swift-runner” or “Galloper”. Anecdotal evidence suggests Caligula had sex with it.

    A story attributed to Alexander the Great is that he came across one of his soldiers shackled. “Why is that man in chains?” “For bestiality with his horse, my Lord”. Alexander: “Fool! Take him out of those shackles and put him in the cavalry!”

    The Aboriginal word “Kangaroo” actually means “horse” as they were not familiar with these new world animals, and “Kangaroo” roughly translates as “unknown animal”

    Ants routinely quarter their enemies in the manner of humans quartering other humans with horses:

    Aussie legend Phar Lap is still on display at three Australian museums (Skin in one, heart in another, bones in another). Arsenic in small amounts was used as a medicine back then- theory is he got an accidental overdose. We were forced to go to the film as a School Outing back in the day πŸ™‚

    Pop culture: The “visible horse” sequence in THE CELL gave me the heebie-jeebies πŸ™‚

  2. The diving horses didn’t have to be tricked to dive. Most of them loved it. They would dive, swim out of the water, and unless they were restrained would head back up the ramp to dive again.

  3. I always thought Quarting involved having your limbs tied to horses so that you couldn’t move and squirm around while your torturers shoved a spear up your rear until it came out of your mouth. Then you would be hoisted up to die a very slow and painful death.

    Also, I believe that one cup of apple seeds would give arsenic poisoning to a human, if all you were eating was the apple seeds. A horse would probably require four to six cups of apple seeds to kill it that way.

    1. That would be impaling, which we talk about in great length in the Vlad the Impaler episode, which will be up in 2 weeks.

        1. If you’re going to choose one of those, it might be Alvarado, or Pizarro. We know more about Cortes, and he’s more interesting. But he wasn’t quite as much a brute as those (though Alvarado worked for him, so …)

  4. Long time listener, first time poster, but I actually know something about horse racing!

    The Aintree course you mentioned is the Grand National. It’s THE biggest horse racing event in the UK, it’s been running annually since 1839, and it’s pretty unusual if a horse doesn’t die. They’ve made the race a lot easier in the past 20-30 years, but the biggest problem is the massive starting field of 40, so when one horse falls it usually takes out 1/2 others at least as jockeys and horses simply can’t get out of the way. That’s also what contributes to the high injury/death rate – horses get trampled or tripped by other horses. Not sure what it says about us Brits that it’s the most watched horse race of the year … (don’t view boring horse racing, view horse racing where everyone will get horrifically trampled and die!)

    I also have to mention the fanatical and cut-throat Arabian Halter show/breeding people, who have been known to subject their horses to radical treatments in an attempt to create the “perfect” Arabian horse, including tattooing, drugging, and cosmetic surgery. There is even one stallion with fertility issues who has now been cloned. These aren’t even horses bred for work, they’re bred to look pretty. More money than sense?!

  5. mc chris made a couple of pretty good brony songs for april fool’s day thus year. i’ll post one of them when i get home.

  6. Wait, where did you get to eat horse? I’m going to assume that it was nowhere in Vancouver, but, on the small chance that it was you must tell me so I can go try!

    1. A friend (John Walker, I think I’ve mentioned him on the show — he was in Sendai during the earthquake/Tsunami) found a speciality butcher somewhere nearby and invited me over for a night of movies and horse sashimi.

      I’ll point him here and see if he can say where he got it. In the Vancouver area though.

    2. a quick google search tells me that horse meat can be bought at granville island. i was told by someone a while ago that canada was one of the biggest exporters of horse meat. this appears not to be true. i’m glad i looked it up.

  7. You can also get horsemeat in Finland. I’m not sure if any other northern European countries carry it. I tried to bring some home to the states, and they threw it out. Bastards.

    1. Where did you find horsemeat in Finland? I have sometimes seen it in special marketplaces, but grocery stores won’t generally have it or anything. Except for in salami-like sausages; I just checked the packet I have in the fridge and it happens to be a pork/horse mix.
      I never understood the objections against it. I would much prefer a horse to be eaten if it has to be put down rather than go to waste.

      Oh, and I was totally expecting the breed Quarter horse to come up there in the beginning, despite its name not having anything to do with the form of execution…

  8. France, my horse-training sister tells me, is big on horse meat. When a horse is put down and someone later asks where the missing horse is they reply it is “enjoying French cuisine”.

  9. Great episode, guys. I think the animal ones are most entertaining ones you do.

    I’ve had a run in with the brony community. I found it pretty much the same way that Joe did, except I stuck with it for longer than I’d care to admit. I’ve seen every episode of both seasons, and enjoyed them. I think that there is something in there for an older audience if you stick with it until halfway through the first season- but there’s more to life than watching six hours of talking horses before enjoying the seventh. The show is harmless. I still watch it and have no problem saying so.

    But the fandom as an entity is a little bit horrifying. They take a children’s cartoon and write fanfiction describing intimately how the loveable pink ponies either A) fall in love and have lots of graphic sex, or B) kill each other with lots of graphic violence. You could have a debate about the merits of fanfiction, but I think that mostly we can agree that fanfiction for a children’s cartoon is a bit absurd, and fanfiction about a children’s cartoon characters engaging in torture porn is a little bit sick. People fall in love with the ponies and talk about how they wish they were a pony and pony this and pony that, and it just gets a little bit out of control.

    And of course, I’m gonna link to it. Because misery loves company.

    The show itself is cutesy and adorable and totally fun and people can watch what they want to watch. But man, man– some people just take good fun a bit too far.

  10. As someone who doesn’t quite consider themself a brony but does enjoy the show, I thought I’d offer a bit of explanation as to the appeal. There are 2 reasons, at least for me.

    A. It’s a great show to watch while high on weed. It really feels just like when you were a kid and cartoons were the most epic incredible things. Most kids shows that were actually on when I was a kid don’t hold up in the same way, even while high. My Little Pony offers that same simple but exciting epic feeling that I haven’t really felt since I was a child. At least when you’re high. Combine that with the incredible animation, and rare but extremely high quality musical numbers and it’s a blast to watch.

    B. Even while sober, it still captures some of that energy and excitement, and if you really WANT to feel like a kid again and manage to turn your brain off a little bit it’s really enjoyable to watch. What largely makes this possible I think is that the characters actually do develop, and if you watch the show enough you start to get invested in them. And once you care about the characters, that’s when it really sinks it’s teeth into you.

    I think ultimately what makes it an enjoyable show to watch for adults is simply the extremely high level of quality. It does indeed need to be watched with most of your brain off, but that’s what a lot of people are looking to do when they watch the show. It’s also the reason why weed helps.

    1. I will preface this comment with the statement that I am not a weed smoker, it’s just not my thing. Maybe that’s the reason whenever I hear someone utter the phrase “It’s great when you’re high on weed.” it means the thing you’re talking about isn’t good. Cheech and Chong simply aren’t funny, Harold and Kumar is vastly overrated, not every sketch on the Dave Chappelle show was comedy genius, and everything in 7-11 under a heat lamp is totally inedible.

      If a non-smoker and a weed smoker can’t both watch something and be equally entertained then the creators need to go back to the drawing board.

      One non weed smoking man’s opinion.

      1. Well, as I said, it’s still quite entertaining while sober. The reason it’s better after smoking is just because it’s easier to feel like a kid again. If you can do that without drugs you’ll get the same enjoyment. I’ve watched the show sober at least as much as I have while high, but you really have to be in the right mood.

        For the most part I would agree with you though. I usually don’t find stoner humor very funny, high or not. It’s not like you can’t enjoy intelligent comedy while high, so what’s the point of watching dumb comedy?

        1. re: MLP: FiM – I enjoy it because the characters are surprising three-dimensional archetypes of the classical virtues, the scripts and music are usually very witty, and the creators have a heap of fun working jokes and easter eggs into each episode. The Big Lebowski ponies in one episode, or Snake Plissken in another, or the I Love Lucy conveyer belt scene in a third.

          Plus, watching it is a wonderful antidote to a stressful day πŸ™‚

  11. Fantastic episode. You keep turning them out better and better.

    A few fun horses from Pop Culture that I thought might be worth a shout out?
    We’ve got Don Quixote’s stalwart steed Rocinante, whose presence was so important to Quejana’s self-creation from lowly landed gentry to the valiant Don Quixote that his horse, thin and flacky (‘rocín’ being ‘thin’ and ‘ante’ being ‘before’ in Spanish, so he was thin before he was renamed), was renamed Rocinante to connote the power of his transformation before Don Quixote himself was renamed. This is the same horse that stands by his side as he charges at Windmills and attacks travelling merchants. It’s fun to try and see the story from Rocinante’s point of view; you know he was wondering what the hell his master was doing.

    There’s Comet the Wonderhorse; you guys read so I’m sure you’re already familiar with him. Sometimes a centaur, sometimes a horse, either way he’s totally in love with Super Girl. Not so much creepy as sad, but whatever floats your boat.

    Viggo Mortenson’s Mustang Hidalgo in the 2004 movie of the same name. Together they raced the Ocean of Fire against the Bedouin people of the Majd desert (who were riding purebred Arabian horses), and won, just one of many films in a long line of that proves the American Cowboy is superior at anything the Indigenous people can do. Silly movie but some good shots of Viggo Mortenson being a cowboy. But the Yemen Government, UAE and Saudi Arabian government all say that the race in question never existed, or was even possible. So take your horse action with a grain of salt. πŸ™‚

  12. An overwrought, intrusive, obnoxiously manipulative soundtrack has unfortunately become a staple of Spielberg’s directorial style by now.

    I don’t know why it is, but the man simply does not believe that audiences can have any kind of emotional response to a scene without John Williams telling them how they should feel at 140 decibels. Somewhere along the way he lost any respect he might have had for the audience, and it’s ruining his work.

  13. Great episode. The electrocution of the the horses was most likely due to “step voltage”. This can happen when a high voltage line goes to ground. A voltage gradient exsists, radiating out from the point of ground. A four legged creature standing in this area may have several thousands of volts difference between the front and the back legs setting up a circuit for current flow. It can also happen to two legged creatures as well. This is why you keep your legs together and hop away if you find yourself near a downed power line. Stepping away can potentially blow your balls off! Ouch. Looking forward to the next live show. Thanks guys!

  14. First of all, for the bronies, this:

    Second, quartering made an attempted appearance in Asterix and the Goths when an fellow prisoner of our heroes is going to be executed via horsey but survives, due to the power of Getafix’s magic potion.

    Third, the Michael Mann TV series Luck, which was cancelled after one season as a result of, as was pointed out in satirical magazine Private Eye, fewer horse deaths than the Grand National experiences every year.

  15. The toxin in apple seeds is cyanide and it is also present in the twigs and leaves of apples.
    I know you can get horsemeat is specialty butcher shops. My oma and opa had a taste for horsemeat. I grew up with horses and because of that, I don’t know if I could eat it. Also my dad sold my horse to be put down without telling me first and she may have ended up as food… :'(

  16. The last scene of The War Horse should have disqualified it from all technical awards. It is a visual clusterfuck.

  17. Love the podcast. Love it! And you can love this: the horse head in The Godfather was the real deal. Really.

  18. Enjoyed the show as always, and was particularly glad you brought up the diving horses, which like all carny things have always fascinated me (possible episode about side show freaks…?) As another commenter pointed out, the horses were well trained and usually enjoyed diving, but I also wanted to mention a 1991 movie that was made about the famous “diving girl”, Sonora Webster, called “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”. I watched it all the time as a youngster, and though my memory’s probably tinted by nostalgia, I remember it as a decent movie that had some interesting insight into the Atlantic City boardwalk performers. If you’ve got some free time, you might want to check it out.

  19. War Horse the movie (better than I thought it would be) was actually based on a children’s book, if you were wondering why it was so heavy handed and expository.

  20. Great episode. Though I have to say, I’m amazed there wasn’t a Catherine the Great debunking (I don’t think I missed it).

  21. I remember “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” as a decent movie too. Although, it’s likely that I remember it that way because the actor who played Jake Ryan in “16 Candles” starred in it. Oh, Jake Ryan.

  22. 1. Yeah, Hidalgo was a pretty decent outing in a Joe Johnston, old-timey, horses-falling-on-stakes sort of way. Of all of the big horse movies that come to mind, it’s probably the one with the most to offer the Caustic Soda crowd, though for spectacle, I’m all about the charge into Aqaba in Lawrence of Arabia.

    2. Horsemeat is pretty easy to come by in Japan, too. Pick a conveyor-belt sushi place and chances are about 50-50 that you’ll be able to find uma on the menu. Kevin’s description of the sorta-beefiness was spot on.

    3. Zoo’s not a half-bad documentary; the IMDB ranking is probably dragged down a bit by one voter in eight giving it a 1/10 on account of “Ewww, gross! Who makes movies about this sort of shit?”. (Actually, the demographic breakdowns are great… the average score from female voters under 18 is 2.2.) I like the site’s (Mr.) hands-off description of the subject matter, too: “A look at the life of an Enumclaw, Washington man who died as a result of an unusual encounter with a horse.”
    I am disappointed, though, that after all of the talk about this movie, there wasn’t a single snicker over the reading of “My Little Pony Colon, Friendship is Magic”.

  23. Hang on, I’m a dummy… it was Joe who had the sashimi, wasn’t it? Don’t make mental notes to post about something and try to remember what it was twelve hours later, kids!

  24. i have heard that the new night market in richmond, the one near the river rock casino, has a food stand that sells horse meat. i may check this out tomorrow.

  25. How about Bad Horse from Dr. Horrible’s Sing along blog.
    The thoroughbred of sin who rules the Evil League of Evil with an iron hoof

  26. Apparently there are still some “diving horses” around today, but they are treated much better I guess. From “Lightning jumps on his own; he is led to the ramp and freely walks to the diving platform (we use positive reinforcement to encourage him, providing oats after each jump). We never force our horses to do anything.”

  27. hey caustic. i was wondering when you guys would do an episode on more geek stuff like star wars because you guys lways bring it up and it be a nice listen since im into that sorta stuff myself. thanks for having a read

    1. +1!
      I agree that episodes where you guys show your geek off are always entertaining, perhaps keep it for a live show?
      What about one on horrible punishments/methods of execution seen in scifi/fantasy pop culture (just thinking of the Great Pit of Carkoon and the sarlacc from Return of the Jedi). There’d be plenty of material, I’m sure. πŸ™‚