Horses in the Media: Are South Korea’s Techno-Horse Videos Good for Equestrianism?

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South Asia’s techno-wizards are at it again.What is it about South Korea and horseless horse-themed videos?

Horses rule the world in this latest spoof, a take-off on the film The Matrix that appeared on YouTube this week. The thing is, most of the horses aren’t real. Come to think of it, most of the horses across the board in the new genre of Korean “horse” videos aren’t real. Some are flat-out invisible, as well. Should we be concerned?

First we had the Korean horse riding machine infomercial, which easily made CNN’s “Ridiculist” on Anderson Cooper 360. That one had hardly cooled down when Psy appeared with his Gangnam style pony ride dance, performed on an invisible horse. In fact, this month we are celebrating the first anniversary of the invasion of Gangnam viral videos into our social media and web lives. A billion YouTube plays cannot be denied.

In the last few weeks, we’ve had a strange mix of news about horses and South Korea. Perhaps even stranger than that Matrix spoof, or stranger than Gangnamism itself.

What is it about South Korea and horses© Psy’s Gangnam Style music video broke all records for YouTube views.

First was the wonderful news that Sergeant Reckless, the mare who carried ammunition even after being wounded in the Korean War, has been deservedly memorialized with a beautiful sculpture at the US Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. The Mongolian packhorse was even brought home from Korea to live out her days on US soil.

And that may have been a lucky thing, since many horses in Korea end up at slaughterhouses on their way?to?dinner plates. But they may also end up in your mouth; a dental cement made from pulverized horse bones from South Korea is marketed to dentists in the United States.

Which brings us to the good news: Psy found a real horse.

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Psy was spotted on the wide open sands of Oceano Dunes in Pismo Beach on California’s Central Coast in July. And unless this video shows a picture-perfect double for the pop star, that really is Psy–and he’s riding a very real horse. Onlookers (as well as blogger Perez Hilton) report that a fake Hollywood-animated prop horse was also on the set. And yes, Psy rode it with attitude.

Is Psy’s attachment to horses good for horse business? Was the Old Spice man good for horses? Life can’t be all Budweiser Clydesdale ads and USEF Network webcasts; bringing horses, whether real or imaginary,?to a billion people around the world is keeping our sport and past-time in a conversation that transcends generational or geographic boundaries.

Ride on, Psy. But you’d look great in a helmet!




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