A Horse, Of Course

Don Blazer


I made a boo boo. I blew it. I’ve been snookered. I fell for it hook line and sinker. I dropped off the turnip truck this morning. But I’m not alone. Disney Studios is just as gullible as I. (And when Disney bought into the story, they used cash.)

We two great story tellers, Disney and I, believed and then repeated the story of Hidalgo, a cream and white pinto Indian pony who supposedly went to Arabia where he won a 3,000 mile race, and then stayed to sire many pure white foals. (Even though I know there isn’t such a thing as a pure white horse, I let it go in my column because it made the story so good. Besides, there are white horses.)

Disney thought the story of Hidalgo was so terrific, they turned it into a feature film.

And then the Long Riders’ Guild said neither Disney nor I are half as good at telling stories as Frank “Buff” Hopkins, whom the guild claims made up Hidalgo and all his accomplishments and a few of his own.

Now you want to know what’s the guild and how can it be so sure the Hidalgo story is all a (here come some harsh words) “lie” made up by Hopkins whom some say is a “fraud.”

The Long Riders’ Guild is an association of equestrian explorers formed in 1994, all of whom have ridden more than 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey. The long riders have collectively written more than 50 books on equestrian travel. Members have studied the history, stories and legends of those who undertook horseback journeys.

The guild’s goal is “to search together for collective freedom and individual wisdom. The organization seeks to ensure that the lost inheritance of equestrian travel knowledge will be available to future generations.”

And in addition, the Guild doesn’t want me telling stories which ain’t necessarily so!

So here’s what the Guild disputes about Hidalgo and Hopkins.

Hopkins says he was born at Fort Laramie in 1865. Louise Samson, curator of Fort Laramie National Historic Site, says there is no documentation, written or oral, to substantiate Hopkins’ claim. In fact, she says, he was not born at, lived anywhere near, or ever returned to Fort Laramie.

Hopkins says his mother was a Sioux. Dr. Vine Deloria, Jr., leading Native American scholar, historian and author says Hopkins should be awarded the title of World’s Greatest Liar. “The problem is such distortions of Indian history, slandering of famous chiefs and leaders cannot easily be erased once they are promulgated as fact.” I never did see a direct quote that Hopkins’ mother wasn’t a Sioux.

Hopkins says he won a race from Galveston, Texas to Rutland, Vermont in 1886. Casey Greene, head of special collections, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, says there is “absolutely no mention of Frank Hopkins or such a race” in any newspaper between 1880 and 1890. James Davidson, Vermont Historical Society: “There is nothing in the local papers about a race ending here in Rutland.”

Hopkins claimed he was a “star and ringmaster” in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for 32 years.

Dr. Juti Winchester, curator of the Buffalo Bill Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center says, “We are unable to find any Frank T. Hopkins in our database of known cast members, acquaintances, employees, or friends of Colonel Cody.”

Finally, about winning the 3,000 mile race in Arabia, Dr. Awd Al-Badi, director of research, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic studies says, “There is absolutely no record or reference to Hopkins with or without his mustangs ever having set foot on Arabian soil. The idea of a historic long distance Arab horse race is pure nonsense.”

Now you can go to the movie and disturb all the viewers as you tell your friends how everything they are seeing is pure bunk.

I got fooled into repeating this “funderful” story about Hidalgo.

Ah, but then how can you ignore good stories about good horses?

Visit A Horse, Of Course at www.donblazer.com

Read, Ride, Reason--visit www.donblazer.com often for answers to your questions about horses.

Reprinted with permission from Don Blazer.
© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review



 Horse Tack Review Home


 Shop For Tack
 Back in the Saddle
 Boot Barn
 Dover Saddlery
 Equestrian Collections
 Horse.com
 HorseLoverZ.com
 State Line Tack

 Help Us Support
 Bright Futures Farm


 Horse Tack Reviews
 Submit Your Own Review!
 Search Review Database
 All Reader Reviews
 Staff Reviews
 Submit a Product for Review

 English Tack Reviews
 Dressage Saddles
 Jumping Saddles
 Close Contact Saddles
 All Purpose Saddles
 English Saddle Fittings/Pads
 English Bridles
 English Bridle Accessories
 English Show Apparel
 English Casual Apparel
 English Chaps/Boots/Helmets
 English Miscellaneous

 Western Tack Reviews
 Barrel Saddles
 Reining Saddles
 Roping Saddles
 Show Saddles
 Trail Saddles
 Western Saddle Fittings/Pads
 Western Bridles
 Western Bridle Accessories
 Western Show Apparel
 Western Casual Apparel
 Western Chaps/Boots/Hats
 Western Miscellaneous

 Horse Gear Reviews
 Horse Boots and Wraps
 Halters/Ropes/Leads
 Horse Health and Well Being
 Horse Apparel
 Horse Treats
 Horse Miscellaneous

 Barn & Stable Reviews
 Fly Control
 Gifts/Books/Videos
 Grooming Equipment
 Stable Accessories
 Tack Room
 Training Equipment
 Barn and Stable Misc

 Articles
 Barn and Stable Articles
 English Articles
 Feature and Misc Articles
 Grooming Articles
 Horse Care & Health Articles
 Horse Related Gift Articles
 News and Events
 Training Articles
 Western Articles

 Other Features
 About Us / Contact Information
 Articles & Subjects By Date
 Article Archives
 Join Our Mailing List
 Privacy Policy