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Let’s Discuss: Horse Taxidermy

Yay, or neigh?

A pretty lifelike-looking Phar Lap, legendary Australian racehorse preserved and on display at the Melbourne Museum. Wikimedia Commons/Andrew/CC

There’s a new fad sweeping the horse community: equine taxidermy.

While the practice of taxidermy has been around for centuries, it’s only in more recent years that people have started taking their beloved horses after death and immortalizing them in lifelike mounts to preserve the memory for decades to come.

Several horses with historical significance have been mounted: their hides were preserved after the horse’s passing and stretched over frames, typically made of fiberglass, and carefully positioned in lifelike poses. Most of these are museum pieces, including Misty of Chincoteague and Napoleon’s last horse Le Vizir, as well as Comanche and Phar Lap, both of whom are pictured.

A somewhat less-impressive-looking Comanche, the only survivor of the Battle of Little Bighorn, now on display at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum. Wikimedia Commons/GorianEmpathy/CC

But we’re not talking horses in history today — we’re talking about ordinary horses. Sure, some of them might have been show-ring superstars, but not museum-worthy — but they’re preserved for posterity now. Run a quick Google search for “equine taxidermy” and you’ll find not only the museum pieces but plenty of taxidermy professionals whose services are at your disposal.

To get your horse taxidermied (we’re going to say that’s a word now), you REALLY need to love him — like, soul mate level — because prices start at $3,000 for a shoulder mount and $6,000 for a full body mount. This is for a small horse. Prices double when you get into the draft-sized big boys. (The Budweiser horse team, for example, would let the taxidermist retire in style.)

While this art may not be for the faint of heart, it definitely is a good conversation starter for those awkward family get-togethers. Weigh in, Horse Nation — would you ever have a mount made of your horse to preserve his likeness forever?

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