1977: A look back

It was the dawn of the In­for­ma­tion Age, and disco was king. And a new mag­a­zine promised to help re­shape how own­ers cared for their horses. What else was hap­pen­ing in 1977?


It was the dawn of the In­for­ma­tion Age, and disco was king. And a new mag­a­zine promised to help re­shape how own­ers cared for their horses. What else was hap­pen­ing in 1977?

In Pres­i­dents oc­cu­pied 40 years, the have seven Oval pro­gressed Of­fice, from tech­nol­ogy clunky has cal­cu­la­tors to sleek smart­phones—and one mag­a­zine ded­i­cated to the care and keep­ing of horses that made its de­but all those years ago is still go­ing strong. Back then, you might have gone to the barn in your bell-bot­tom jeans and plaid shirt. You wouldn’t have heard of “nat­u­ral horse­man­ship,” and the bins in your feed room may have held lit­tle more than un­al­tered grains, with no sup­ple­ments in sight. You’ve come a long way, baby. Here’s a look back at some of the land­mark events of 1977 in Amer­i­can cul­ture as well as the horse world.

JAN­UARY 20, 1977: Jimmy Carter is in­au­gu­rated as the 39th Pres­i­dent of the United States.

JAN­UARY 23–30, 1977: An es­ti­mated 130 to 140 mil­lion view­ers— more than half of the pop­u­la­tion of the United States at the time—tune in to watch Roots, a minis­eries chron­i­cling the multi­gen­er­a­tional ex­pe­ri­ences of a slave fam­ily in the United States, based on the novel by Alex Ha­ley.

JAN­UARY 28, 1977: A bl­iz­zard hit the lower Great Lakes Re­gion and raged for 25 hours, bring­ing with it high winds, mas­sive drift for­ma­tion, pro­longed white­out con­di­tions and wind­chills be­tween 40 and 60 de­grees be­low zero Fahren­heit. By the time the storm was over 29 peo­ple had died and seven coun­ties were de­clared dis­as­ter ar­eas by the Pres­i­dent—the first time that had hap­pened due to a snow­storm in the United States.

MARCH 28, 1977: The movie Rocky wins Best Pic­ture at the 49th an­nual Academy Awards.

MAY 7, 1977: Seat­tle Slew wins the Ken­tucky Derby, the first leg on his trip to claim The Triple Crown. The only horse to win the Crown while un­de­feated, Slew earned a to­tal of $1,208,726 dur­ing his rac­ing ca­reer, with 14 wins and two sec­ond-place fin­ishes in 17 starts. He sired 1,094 foals, in­clud­ing A.P. Indy, 1992 Horse

of the Year, and Swale, win­ner of the 1984 Ken­tucky Derby and Bel­mont Stakes. Seat­tle Slew died in 2002 at the age of 28 at Hill’n’Dale Farm near Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky.

MAY 25, 1977: With lit­tle fan­fare, a sci­ence fic­tion film opens, and within weeks, fans are lin­ing up in droves to see the orig­i­nal Star Wars dozens of times over. Since then the fran­chise has seen nine fea­ture films that have grossed more than $7 bil­lion world­wide, plus mul­ti­ple tele­vi­sion se­ries, video games, books, comics and a host of other prod­ucts.

JUNE 15, 1977: In the Youth­ful Stakes at New York’s Bel­mont Park, a 2-year-old colt named Af­firmed beats the fa­vorite, Aly­dar, in the first meet­ing of what would be­come a sto­ried ri­valry. Af­firmed and Aly­dar faced each other in 10 races in 1977 and 1978 with Af­firmed win­ning seven times. Af­firmed cap­tured the 1978 Triple Crown, and Aly­dar fin­ished sec­ond in each of the three jew­els.

JUNE 1977: Ap­ple Com­puter re­leases the Ap­ple ll, the first mass-pro­duced per­sonal com­puter avail­able to home users. ( The Ap­ple l, re­leased in 1976, was hand-built with a wooden case.) The Ap­ple ll was one of three in­tro­duced that year: The TRS-80, from Tandy Cor­po­ra­tion, was re­leased for sale to the public in Au­gust 1977, and the Com­modore PET fol­lowed in Oc­to­ber. All mea­sured their avail­able mem­ory in kilo­bytes, from four to 96 KB.

JUNE 27, 1977: Velma Bronn John­ston, also known as “Wild Horse An­nie,” dies in Reno, Ne­vada, at the age of 65. Her ad­vo­cacy for wild horses in the Amer­i­can West led to the pass­ing of the Hunt­ing Wild Horses and Bur­ros on Public Lands Act of 1959, which banned the hunt­ing of wild horses from mo­tor­ized ve­hi­cles, and the Wild and Free-Roam­ing Horses and Bur­ros Act of 1971, which en­acted fur­ther pro­tec­tions and banned the sale of wild horses for slaugh­ter.

JULY 1977: Yel­low Mount, a foun­da­tion sire of the Paint Horse breed, earned his fifth Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in Get of Sire. His 219 reg­is­tered foals in­clude four Supreme Cham­pi­ons as well as mul­ti­ple world and na­tional cham­pi­ons. A por­trait of Yel­low Mount, by Or­ren Mixer, has been widely used to pro­mote the breed.

JULY 3, 1977: The first MRI on a healthy hu­man body is pro­duced by Ray­mond Da­ma­dian, a Brook­lyn physi­cian and re­searcher who built the scan­ner with the help of two med­i­cal stu­dents.

JULY 30–31, 1977: Hal Hall and El Kar­baj, an 11-year-old Ara­bian geld­ing, place first in the 23rd Western States Trail Ride, bet­ter known as the Te­vis Cup. Their to­tal time for the 100-mile ride was 14 hours and 15 min­utes. Hall rode his first Te­vis in 1969 at the age of 14, and he was one of the co­founders of the Amer­i­can En­durance Ride Con­fer­ence ( AERC) in 1972. In 2013, Hall be­came the sec­ond rider to com­plete the Te­vis Cup 30 times. El Kar­baj, who com­pleted the Te­vis Cup ride more than 10 times, was named to the AERC Hall of Fame in 1978.

AU­GUST 14, 1977: Gover­nor Bren­dan T. Byrne signs a bill declar­ing the do­mes­tic horse to be the state an­i­mal of New Jersey.

AU­GUST 16, 1977: Singer Elvis Pres­ley, 42, is found dead at his man­sion, Grace­land, in Mem­phis, Ten­nessee. At the time of Pres­ley’s death, Grace­land was home to five horses, in­clud­ing his fa­vorite, a palomino Quar­ter Horse called Ris­ing Sun.

SEPTEM­BER 3, 1977: In the first heat of the Ham­ble­to­nian Stakes, Green Speed posts a time of 1: 55 3/ 5 for the mile, break­ing the world record for a 3-year-old trot­ter. Then he does it again, tak­ing the sec­ond heat in an iden­ti­cal time to claim the Ham­ble­to­nian vic­tory. In all, Green Speed won 16 of 21 starts in 1977, set­ting 13 records. The son of Speedy Rod­ney re­tired with ca­reer earn­ings of $ 953,013, but his ca­reer at stud was cut short when he died in 1983 at the age of 9.

SEPTEM­BER 1977: All Things Wise and Won­der­ful, by James Her­riot ( a pen name for Bri­tish vet­eri­nary sur­geon James Al­fred Wight, OBE, FRCVS), de­buts at num­ber eight on the New York Times Non­fic­tion Best Sell­ers List. Third in the se­ries be­hind All Crea­tures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beau­ti­ful, the book was the top-sell­ing non­fic­tion ti­tle of the year. In his books, Her­riot shares his ex­pe­ri­ences as a prac­tic­ing vet­eri­nar­ian in York­shire.

OC­TO­BER 1977: When Gai Parada is named U.S. Na­tional Cham­pi­onship Stal­lion in 1977, he be­comes one of only a hand­ful of Ara­bi­ans to win na­tional ti­tles in both hal­ter and per­for­mance classes: In 1974, the gray stal­lion earned a dou­ble Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in Plea­sure Driv­ing, and dur­ing his ca­reer he also earned ti­tles in English plea­sure. Gai Parada sired 459 foals, many of whom earned na­tional ti­tles of their own, in mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines.

NOVEM­BER 1977: EQUUS mag­a­zine de­buts. In the first is­sue, the found­ing ed­i­tors promise that the mag­a­zine will serve “as a bridge be­tween the vet­eri­nar­ian and horse own­ers, bring­ing to our read­ers the ex­per­tise of the na­tion’s lead­ing au­thor­i­ties on the care and main­te­nance of their an­i­mals.” That first is­sue fea­tured ar­ti­cles on pur­chas­ing blan­kets, car­ing for wounds and a Case Re­port ti­tled “Dou­bles and the Lump,” which told the story of a jumper who un­der­went surgery to re­move a strange mass near his shoul­der.

NOVEM­BER 4, 1977: In a jump-off with the Bri­tish team, the United States Eques­trian Team wins The Na­tions Cup at the Na­tional Horse Show in Madi­son Square Gar­den. It is the third con­sec­u­tive Na­tions Cup win for the U.S. show jumpers, af­ter clinch­ing the BMO Na­tions Cup in Cal­gary, Al­berta, in Septem­ber and the Na­tions Cup at the Wash­ing­ton In­ter­na­tional Horse Show in late Oc­to­ber. The U.S. team in New York in­cludes Con­rad Hom­feld on Bal­buco, Michael Matz on Jet Run, Buddy Brown on Sandsablaze, and Rod­ney Jenk­ins on Idle Dice, led by coach Bert de Nemethy.


1977: Peppy San Badger wins the Na­tional Cut­ting Horse As­so­ci­a­tion ( NCHA) Fu­tu­rity in 1977 and the NCHA Derby in 1978. In to­tal, he earned $172,710 in his cut­ting ca­reer, and he be­came a pro­lific sire. In 19 sea­sons, he sired 2,325 AQHA-reg­is­tered foals, who earned more than $ 25 mil­lion in var­i­ous dis­ci­plines. The sor­rel stal­lion died in July 2005 at the age of 31.

DE­CEM­BER 1977: Af­ter plac­ing fourth in­di­vid­u­ally and help­ing to win the team bronze in dres­sage at the 1976 Olympic Games in Mon­treal with owner/rider Hilda Gur­ney, Keen is named USDF Horse of the Year in 1977—the third of five times he would earn that ti­tle. The chest­nut Thor­ough­bred geld­ing was re­tired be­fore the 1980 Olympics due to an in­jury, but he re­cov­ered enough to re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion, and at the age of 18, he placed 14th in­di­vid­u­ally at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los An­ge­les.


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