I loved this show- well done! Really loved how the lady stuck up for the horses when she didn't like the system- and I also loves how the horses - of the whole project- were the one thing was was not a replica- or an attempt to copy- they were the SAME as 3000 years ago- they could honestly say, more than any person- "yes, this is how we did it" or... "you have this all wrong"
"all the arguments" ??? yes, there was a little bit of friction- but it wasn't like stupid personality drama- the people were just communicating their concerns about the project itself- not like they were fighing for attention on camera! I thought the way they broke down the conflict down into words in the narration was really excellent- explaining that this point of connection was claimed both by the chariot and the harness and both people felt very personally responsible for it's function- it was really a very wonderful moment in the whole show!
Probably had a deadline, so the project could end and everyone would be done with their commitment to it. If you don't plan an ending, some things will drag out forever! All the research projects I know, always have an ending deadline.
These were supposed to be historically oriented researchers, making things authentically like the antique tomb chariots. Not sure why they figured 14h was the size, but one pair was about 14H, the other pair was slightly smaller in height and body frame size. I figured they were close to an authentic size. While they were not fat like modern show horses, they were well muscled, had PLENTY of energy, good shine and willingness to go without needing to be pushed. Our eyes are trained to see fat as desireable on modern horses, viewers probably do not appreciate the fitness of the muscular, though slim and refined Arabs used. Not used to looking at horses like that. Few think Endurance horses are "fed well enough" because you can see their ribs. Untrained eyes, used to the fat animals in advertising for feed! The horses appeared to have enough food, were fit, just not fed excessive amounts of food. Fat things do not do well, working in the heat of those areas. None of the people are fat or very heavy either! I am SURE that lady would have fed them more if they needed it.
The lady in charge of the harness was not "that" skilled in harness fitting, in my view. Her insistance in not adding padding, tightening the strapping, is what made the harness slop around on the animals, resulting in the kicking and damage caused to the chariot. Her unwillingness to do some adjustment changes during the workouts, delayed things greatly, and I point at her as being the reason for horse issues, discomfort. When she FINALLY changed the harness to a tighter setting, it removed the slop, over moving of parts that had the horses misbehaving.
I enjoyed the program, gave me a new viewpoint of how things got created, problems worked out, that made the chariots such a big factor in winning battles for the Pharohs. I really was surprised at the features of the pole with the S curves. Also their moving the axle back to improve the ride, which we all don't want in carriages for weight on the animal. However with the yoked, flexible pole, it appears that the chariot ride improved, allowed the Archer to be very accurate when shooting!
I found it rather amazing that these kind of details were ever thought of in the first place, and then the researchers were able to backtrack thru pictographs, antique vehicles, and come up with a vehicle that was able to do what the originals could. The wheel construction is SO RADICALLY different in what has been done for hundreds of years, I was amazed. And that it stood up to the rough ground, hard turns, speed, was wonderful!! I would have been a long time coming up with rawhide as a binding agent for the pole and yoke, floor. Appears to be perfect, shrinks tight with heat and dry air, tough as many modern material, but again, very light.
All in all, sure glad to have viewed the program. Lots of insights, new thinking, to work out in my mind. Love seeing what folks have come up with, when they didn't have modern communication to share ideas. I do like seeing these research project programs on PBS.
re: tension making deadline- might have had to do with putting a bunch of westerners and a film crew up in Egypt.
re: the size of the horses- if you do a google image search for "egyptian chariot" you will get images from ancient carvings- as well as a few frames from this show's promo... all on the same page. Now I know that a common element in Egyptian art is to show importance with relative size- so you can't always trust that everything is size relative- but I think when a King's chariot is depicted- the king, the chariot and the horses are still to scale relative to eachother. The images from the NOVA show are amazingly similar to the real anicent cartoons in scale.
Arabhorse- I have to laugh that you thought I overreacted. I guess three questionmarks was excessive. I'm sorry about that. I'm really not personally invested in this program- but I am personally interested in it- the truth is that last week our TV remote broke- and for one whole day the TV was stuck on PBS- I saw/heard the promo for this show (I was knitting with the tv on- not sitting rivited to the boobtube) several times- and the effect was that I could not wait for wednesday to come so I could see the show.
The show had many levels of interest for me-
I'm an artist and sculptor- and am very interested in ancient art- as well as construction from scratch and craftsmanship.
I love horses
I love driving horses
I also am a bit of an archer myself
and I'm interested in the production of a show because I have a little experience myself with behind the scenes of what goes into it. I was involved in making a hunting show (as the subject of the story) it's going to air this spring- what goes into a story and what winds up in the finished production is a really neat transformation and distilling of what really went on- it's all true- but it does change in ways beyond your own control through the lens and editing- it's an interesting (to me) process and it also makes me feel more compassionate towards the people involved in a production- for both their triumphs and failures caught on film- and the interpretation of the viewers. Try talking candidly about something you care about in front of a big camera sometime- it's not easy!
By the way- you may be relieved to know that no animals were harmed in the making of the hunting show. :-) I never was even able to get my bow drawn. I can't wait to hear what the collective *they* will have to say about that!
As for the lady in charge of the horses (CDEdriver)- I tip my hat to her- I know I wouldn't want the task of training FOUR horses, two of them stallions, to pull a piece of rolling artwork with a harnessing system you had to re-invent in the period of two months. I'd say that her personality that showed in the final edit (regardless if it truly represents her on a normal day) was "true to type" and I was sure that she is one of those rugged lifelong horsewomen who puts in uncounted unglamourous hours in the barn and then can turn around and pull it together for a flawless dressage presentation while the spectators think she's some rich lady who sips tea all day. If she had any less gumption than she showed with the people- she probably would not have had the stones to train arabian stallions to do what they eventually did- which to me was an incredible triumph- even if all of that work tragicly lays on the cutting room floor. I didn't SEE it- but I know it happened. She owns a training stable in California, those horses didn't train themselves.
I also think it's unfair to say she held up the project- they did an all nighter gilding that second chariot- everyone was struggling with the production schedule- and I think everyone did an awesome job considering the task... and to me- the "point" is to snap a modern audience to attention to appreciate what was really done by the ancient people. The image of an egyptian chariot is ingrained in the flipbook of cultural literacy (having grown up in art museums and seeing them in that glass case context)- but *woah* ... to think of it... really... deeply... with horse sweat- and the blades of battle taking blood- my goodness!!! It's not just a elegant stylized bas relief- it really happened- and to see the modern people work it out helped me to think of it differently.
I don't know either- apparently she will be writing an article about the experience for the Carriage Journal- so we will eventually find out more of the story. I did find this article she wrote back in 1984 for Arabian Horse World an rein handling-
So not only does she have a long history dedicated to driving- but to Arabians as well. :-) This must have been an amazing assignment for her.
So, how long before we see a chariot sort of vehicle used in CDE for cones or endurance?
For a pair? You won't. For a single? Consider your typical 2 wheel cart fits the bill pretty much, albeit with shafts, not a pole, and also with a seat.
The reason you won't see it with a pair is because of harnessing restrictions. There has never been a popular easy design to hold up a pole that is supported by only 2 wheels. Cape Town harness is about it.
Keeping in mind the sole purpose of the chariot is be pulled forward in one direction, while it can turn, the position of the horses (ponies, actually) are compromised by the swing because there is no harness part to hold them close to the pole, and one animal has to be held back a touch so the outside animal can accomplish the swing without being left behind.
I found the program entertaining, but had reservations about some of what they did. Especially using horses that were large pony size. The medium pony sized (12.3 - 13.1h) Caspians were the ancestor to the Arab and most probably were the animals used by the BCE Egyptians and their neighbors. The smaller equine meant the chariots were far more maneuverable than they would be with a pair of large ponies or horses, but it also meant that more equines were needed to pull the weight of 2-3 people.
You also didn't want the chariots to outrun the foot soldiers by too much of a distance - the chariots were the preliminary strike force to slow/stop the advance of the opposing army, so that the foot soldiers could engage the enemy on the field. Once the chariots were engaged and did their bit, they retreated so the foot soldiers could take over. Ponies would have been perfect for faster-than-foot speed, yet not outrun the main army and leave the enemy a chance to recoup after the initial strike.
Last edited by gothedistance; Feb. 8, 2013 at 10:44 PM.