Monday, December 21, 2015

The Horse With the Flying Tail

Maybe you've seen the old Disney movie about a horse named Nautical. His story is truly unique.  In case you have never heard about this unlikely horse who went on to represent our nation in world show jumping competition.  He was born in New Mexico in 1944, and was at one point owned and trained by a Col. Anderson Norton. Otherwise, his history is mostly unknown. Nautical was officially registered as Peter De Oro, but was originally shown as Injun Joe.

American rider Hugh Wiley became a member of the USET in 1950 and he purchased Nautical in 1955 after seeing him at Harrisburg. 

At first, Hugh thought Nautical was completely nuts. He’d been told Nautical thrived on work, but when he worked him the horse exploded if he saw a jump. On the ground though, Nautical was gentle. Hugh headed to New Jersey to meet up with Team coach, Bert De Nemethy.
They arrived in New Jersey, and Hugh thought Nautical would the worst horse on the team. Once, the coach wanted to watch the horses jump a water jump and bank jump. Nautical refused both, until someone stood behind him with a whip. Then he jumped so high Hugh thought they’d never land.

Though everything else that day was a disaster, De Nemethy thought Nautical had potential. Over several months, all Nautical did was flatwork and he became easier to handle, but was still unpredictable. He’d take off at a jump, ignoring the rider.

While training for the 1956 Olympics, Nautical developed a sand crack on his left front hoof. The vet had to cut off most of the hoof so it’d heal. De Nemethy worked with Nautical once his hoof grew back enough and things were working out. Nautical was finally settling down.

Nautical showed at the international level from 1956 until 1960 and was a member of seven Nation's Cup teams.  He would be worth millions of dollars today with the record he put together in the late 1950's. 

Nautical retired at age 17 in 1960. He passed away six years later; his retirement was spent just being a horse. He lived at the USET training center in NJ then moved back to Hugh’s farm in Maryland. He was around 23 when he passed away.

You can read more about Nautical here .
You can buy the movie here

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