I was one of those horse crazy girls – to the extent that if I saw a stray horse, I’d have my school tights off in a flash to make a bridle, and bring the horse home to protect it from being run over. Must have driven my parents nuts. However, older, wiser and living on a small house block in the middle of town really prevents my horse dreams… but is there another way??
Ohhh, maybe…. Seahorse World in Beauty Point has thousands (millions?) of (sea) horses, and has created a fabulous industry in exporting these black and white, dappled and grey beauties of the underwater world to the world. Small industries like this fascinate me. A beautiful niche market, but with such reach, and open to the public to wander through.
The company has a breeding program for the Tasmanian seahorses, as well as a program to breed specific colours. Seahorses can change colour, but apparently not as camouflage (maybe it’s just a yellow kind of day?). They are found all over the world, but the majority live below the equator, and around Tasmania, a careful check of the kelp beds can help you find your very own horse.
Every child is taught that seahorse dads (stallions?) are the responsible parent, carrying the babies after fertilisation until birth. Mum specifically looks for a dad with the biggest pot-belly as a partner, and very quickly hands over all of the fertilised eggs and swims off to graze another day. Around a thousand ‘foals’ can be born, looking like wee, little wriggly specks in the water. Out in the ocean, this is a dangerous time. They grow very quickly, and in specially designed tanks to mimic their home environments (warm for the tropical types, a touch on the chilly side for the tougher Tasmanian breeds), they can live for up to four years.
Watching these fascinating creatures prance about, attempt to strangle each other, and feed was amazing. Patting a seahorse is not quite the same, but without the risk of a solid kick, or a squashed foot.
Which one will you choose?