gentle giants: the forgotten Longhorse

Longhorse parade at Bombay

Many are the calamities which live in infamy long after the demise of the shortsighted individuals who perpetrated them. Such a nameless and forgotten myrmidon, slinking desperately into the black fog of obscurity is to blame for one of Man’s greatest losses, the unthinking extinction of the noble and magnificent Longhorse.

First immortalized in sculpture by the lost culture of the Mycenaeans, the Longhorse could well be the eldest of humanity’s allies in the struggle for civilization. Often carrying an entire family on its back, the Longhorse gave mobility to cultures which had too long been limited to the scope a man could walk in a day. Truly, the domestication and partnership of this wonderous animal was the spur to the spread of civilization itself; without the Longhorse, we might all be living in the delta of Mesopotamia, to this very day.

Wiltshire chalk horseThrough migration, conquest, crusade and exploration, the Longhorse accompanied humanity as it spread across the globe. These gentle giants supplied more than transportation: their milk nourished thousands of generations of children, its unique mineral content helping them grow strong bones, remarkably keen night vision, and an extremely sophisticated taste in music. Indeed, it has been hypothesized that the rise of disco and the career of Vanilla Ice would have been impossible, had present generations not come to maturity lacking this greatest of all dietary supplements.

The Longhorse successfully made the journey to the New World, thriving on the sweet grass of the prairies, but alas, the great herds of wild Longhorses that our ancestors knew, so vast that they sported names such as The Buckskin River, The Chestnut Forest, The Lake of Limos (the Limousine was a French breed of Longhorse) and The Ocean of Woodys, were destined for an unfortunate end.

Longhorse in the American South

It was in the great belching industrial cauldron that was Detroit of the early 20th Century that a man, a small man, a nameless man, a bureaucrat, proposed a plan that will live in infamy as long as racial memory and God grant. Realizing that the Longhorse was, at the time, the greatest threat to the newly-invented market for the motor car, this unnameable creature proposed a horrible bounty.

Longhorse in the CavalryTo show off the power of his latest invention, Ford had pitted the contraption against two draft horses in a pulling contest, and the iron horse won. The sinister proposal which the bureaucrat put forth was nothing short of pure evil marketing genius: he suggested the first trade-in.

Two Longhorses could be exchanged for one of the new mechanical devices, called a Deux Chevaux Longues, or a Douche-o for short. A mania gripped the nation as formerly humble, working-class people blithely traded away their truest allies in a mad rush for mere fashionable machinery. The unfortunate castoffs were ground up and turned into luncheon meat. Within two decades, there was not a Longhorse left in the Northern Hemisphere, and only rumours and the bitter wind of memory on the great Pampas.

Recently, BoingBoing has featured the archival collection of esteemed Longhorse photographer Hardy Burmeier, from which we bring you these glorious images. Sadly, without so much as DNA from which to work, it is doubtful that even the greatest minds of science will be able to resurrect Man’s greatest partner and the bearer and consort of history, the noble Longhorse.

Donations in the Longhorse‘s memory may be made to the raincoaster fund, care of the blogmistress. See email for complete details, some restrictions may apply, only you can prevent forest fires.

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40 thoughts on “gentle giants: the forgotten Longhorse

  1. Pingback: gentle giants: the forgotten Longhorse « raincoaster

  2. Salve

    Solzhnitzin realized that Communism was an evil, alien and above all anti-human Monstrosity when the Communists tried to abolish Man’s 2 best friends :

    1. During the siege of Leningrad, they tried to abolish dogs/cats

    2. they insisted on replacing horses with tractors

    Your obedeint servant etc

    and Vale

    G E

  3. Marx owned an entire herd of beautiful grulla longhorses, but in the grip of a passionate conversion to true Communism, gave them to the people instead. It was Stalin who tried to eliminate the Longhorse, and thanks to the famines he engineered, alas succeeded.

    Longhorses are the most Communist of beasts; they can transport an entire work group at a time!

  4. R what moving post , I despise the short and would introduce apart-height to our country if I had my way

    The Last Long Horses

    I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark.
    Evil air, a frost-making stillness,

    Not a leaf, not a bird –
    A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood

    Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.
    But the valleys were draining the darkness

    Till the moorline – blackening dregs of the brightening grey –
    Halved the sky ahead. And I saw the Long horses:

    Huge in the dense grey – ten together –
    Megalith-still. They breathed, making no move,

    with draped manes and tilted hind-hooves,
    Making no sound.

    I passed: not one snorted or jerked its head.
    Grey silent fragments

    Of a grey silent world.

    I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridge.
    The curlew’s tear turned its edge on the silence.

    Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun
    Orange, red, red erupted

    Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud,
    Shook the gulf open, showed blue,

    And the big planets hanging –
    I turned

    Stumbling in the fever of a dream, down towards
    The dark woods, from the kindling tops,

    And came to the Long horses.
    There, still they stood,
    But now steaming and glistening under the flow of light,

    Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves
    Stirring under a thaw while all around them

    The frost showed its fires. But still they made no sound.
    Not one snorted or stamped,

    Their hung heads patient as the horizons,
    High over valleys in the red levelling rays –

    In din of crowded streets, going among the years, the faces,
    May I still meet my memory in so lonely a place

    Between the streams and the red clouds, hearing the curlews,
    Hearing the horizons endure.

    (T Hughes ..soz)

  5. Just to make entirely certain you know that is Ted Hughes , and a proper (brilliant)poem called The Horses. I saw the very sight he is talking about one morning when I was walking across the country on my own . They stand dead still alligned against the rain , it really is incredible to see

  6. Dear Mlle Regen-Coaster

    I thought it was a myth that Marx owned a flock of Longhorses, created by his follower Engels-Bert Humperdink after his death to give Marx a more accessible “human” image for his strange & otherwise repellent theories

    but it’s a nice tale – perhaps we should run with it

    Do you think you could persuade M. Metro to include pictures of these LangPferden [litteralistically – Lengthy Nags) in his Tree Octopus Park ? As Mr NeuM likes Longhorses, this might persuade him to consent to be the Park-Patron – this must be a vote-winner among Floating Voters in London, looking for a “Green” Mayor with a genuine eagerness for Nature

    Additionally, as these extinct Longhorses are now no longer available, the Provision of Donkey rides would (at least in Inglaterra) encourage Charitable Status – homeless donkeys could be housed & fed – a welcome income stream would come from their droppings, sold to organic Canuckistani farmers whose insatiable demands for natural fertilizer have exhausted the available supplies of Bear & Panda droppings

    Families would be attracted to the Park – children would commune with Nature through the Donkeys – rich benefactors could give in a tax-deductible way

    After all, everyone loves a Donkey or whatever you call it in North America

    Where Neumesnchia, Alabaster & I come from :

    If it waddles or it quacks, it’s either a duck


    ……. a Solicitor

    Es macht man denken, nee

    Das ist es, doch

    [it makes yer fink, yeah

    err … this is it, in’it]

    Your obedient servant etc and

    Tot siens

    G E

  7. Strangely, I have heard rumours of Longdonkeys running wild to this day in the steppes, but haven’t been able to put together an expedition to look for them. Theylion has got our pandas for us.

    Yes newmania, I recognized the poem. You’d be surprised at the stuff I know!

  8. Oh, I love this! Right up my alley. I would love it if you’d consider submitting it or something like it to my new satire site –[that site is nothing but spam]
    I especially love that you used that horse image from England (damned if i can remember what it’s called). Proof indeed!
    Anyway, contact me if you want to talk about being on the site.

  9. Dear Exrapolator

    Quack quack quack

    You are Borat

    and you are posting from Uzbeckistan, now that your Political Asylum Applications have failed in the USA & the UK – Cruella de Blair wouldn’t allow her husband to let you into Inglaterra, now that you’ve upset her Friend G W B, with an overdose of humour

    By the way, Ladies & Children, to say nothing of London Mayoral Candidates read this blog & take it seriously – your spelling !!??!!… I think you mean “dammed”

    Quack quack quack

    Your obedient servant etc

    G Eagle

  10. Are you absolutely certain they are completely extinct? I am about to update my collection of endangered species with the Desert Shark. If there is a possibility that the Longhorse may still have a few unhamburgered numbers then I shall add it to the list..

  11. Pingback: The Longhorse « Archies Archive

  12. Sehr geEhrte Regen=Coaster

    Herr Exrapolator will be like Mr Darcy – “shocked, grieved, grieved indeed” … and you claim to be a Kommunist !!!

    Your obedient servant etc


  13. You misunderstand; I have already established a perfect utopia here in raincoasterland. To attempt to imperialize other realms would be contrary to the true doctrine. They can just bloody well link to me and pimp my Technorati ranking, as Marx would no doubt suggest. Information wants to be trackbacked!

  14. I don’t think I could ever be a communist if it requires raising mushrooms in one’s apartment. My utopia would ideally feature a place to live that’s rather warmer and drier indoors than, for example, the outdoors.

  15. You mention that you intend searching for Longdonkeys. No need. They are alive, well and quite common in the North Western parts of Australia. Most of the time they look just like normal donkeys because they always face you but with a stationary, remote controlled camera I was able to get a good shot of one. They are not native to Australia, coming, as you suggest, from the Steppes of Central Asia. Specifically, although I don’t want to be a bore, at Khazakstan.

  16. Pingback: Longdonkey « Archies Archive

  17. You’re right! I had forgotten it. Truly there is no catastrophe which is not documented at the time, even if cryptically.

    Archie’s interesting post about the Long Donkey traces its routes to Kazakhstan, a former Soviet Republic, but there as well it was wiped out and now only a few survive, scratching a meagre living off the cruel hide of the Australian Outback.

  18. Sehr geEhrte RegenCoaster

    Before Mr NeuMenschia is sent out on the Expedition in quest of the Australian-residing LongDonkey, perhaps our Friend Australian Archie should be asked if he is really telling us all he knows about this (apparently) gentle beast that has been driven to the Margins of Australian Society

    Mr Archie seems to have shewn a strange reluctance to photograh the LongDonkey from close proximity – is there a deeper reason than he has given for his staying in his air-conditioned Armoured Car while using a remote Camera to capture the Beast’s image

    Mr NeuMenschia will be expecting a Gentle straw-munching Beast of Burden, accustomed to carrying excessive weights without complaint, while the men ride on its back, giving the occasional encouragement with a stick

    However, what if the harsh struggle for survival has required the LongDonkey (like the Canadian Tree Octopus) to give up its Vegan Vegetarianism in favour of a taste for Raw Meat

    It might be good for Mr NeuM’s electoral image for Antipodean Archie to photograph him bravely leading an expedition on a Camel into a wild part of the World in favour of saving the rare but much-loved LongDonkey

    but it would not be so good for his Electoral Future if Archie came back with only the report of a youthful Conservative Poltician who had had such promising prospects, only to be eaten by a greedy & hungry Pack of Wild LongDonkeys

    Your anxious & obedient servant etc

    Tot siens

    G(ray) Eagle

  19. Vale

    Noble Post, which has attracted such trans-continental & trans-oceanic Anglophone Observations,
    as you now join the much-Loved LongHorse into that outer darkness below the current page, that bourne from which no traveller returns


    G E

  20. I’m not seeing any dogs there, just the site I linked to before. Are you suggesting interbreeding between Dachsunds and horses? That would be a crime against nature!

  21. this is the picture i’m talking about from the same site:

    Kasachischer Kaltblueter, Kasachstan 1964,

    Kasachstan, other comments mentioned longdonkeys from the same place, long horses and lenin. i’m not suggesting an interbreeding of any kind. in fact i didn’t even thought about that!! it catched my attention to see a dog that looks long then.. (gestaldt perhaps)

  22. Pingback: Genetic Manipulation News: The Longhorse Lives! « raincoaster

  23. Pingback: the hottest pet trend in the entirety of recorded human history « raincoaster

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