There once was a horse named Willem, and he made a lot of people smile. The highly opinionated Hanoverian dressage gelding was one of the the horse world's most popular bulletin board contributors, and his heavily-accented posts were read by thousands of posters and lurkers on the forum run by the Chronicle of the Horse.
In case you had any doubt at all that the Internet truly has become an influential force in our horse world, consider this: Willem has been immortalized as a Peter Stone model horse.
Willem's fame on the Internet began in December 2001, when he shared - complete with German accent -
what horses really want for Christmas, including many "karroten" (carrots) and "Don't nott to buy no ugly ass things for us to wear und then say it be a present for us."
Willem's heavy-hooved advice extended to such varied subjects as the correct way to feed a horse, how to improve in competitive dressage and the proper way to breed.
In real life, Willem lived in southern California and was also the official Taste Tester Horse for Giddyap Girls horse treats.
Sadly, Willem was humanely destroyed in July 2003, after a gallant fight against Cushing's-related sinking founder. His legacy will be as a fundraiser for Cushing's research; proceeds from the sale of each of the Willem Models from Peter Stone will be donated to the Center for Equine Health at the University of California at Davis.
Even the hard-to-please Willem would approve of this publicity.
Watch for the fundraiser model horses to appear later this year.