N is for Nautical

‘The Horse with the Flying Tail’ is a 1960 American documentary film based on the palomino horse Nautical. He was a characteristic horse with an exuberant sense of humour and a penchant for the melodramatic. It was these traits that landed him the character muse for Walt Disney’s film.

This award-winning, 47-minute short docudrama about "Nautical" is a charming, engaging tale of a talented golden palomino who becomes a national star. Nautical was born into poverty and put to work at a variety of jobs with no guarantee he would be treated well. He suffers in his early life. But the horse is a natural-born jumper and fate finally steps in to give him a chance at competing in what he loves best, soaring over hurdles. Training is often tough and progress is bumpy but finally Nautical is ready for the big competition, the King George V in London.

His original name was Pelo de Oro, which was given to him at birth. He became an open jumper and was shown in the national horse show circuit in the United States. Prior to his Olympic fame, he had a reputation as a temperamental jumper who was inclined to stop at water and ditch jumps. Such refusals would disqualify a jumper from an event and his nickname among competitors was, Sneaky Pete, for those obvious reasons.

He was an excellent jumper when he decided to be, however, when he cleared a fence, Sneaky Pete consistently would raise his tail in a characteristic fashion. That tail, raised so high, was repeated for each faultless jump and spectators at horse shows relied upon this signal from the horse to record his scores, without waiting for the results from the judges.

When he was obtained by Hugh Wiley, Wiley enlisted the help of the United States Equestrian Team coach, Bertalan de Nemethy, and together the two men trained the horse to be the Olympic level open jumper he became. At that time he became known as Nautical and was ridden regularly by members of the U. S. Equestrian Team in international competitions. However, the cheeky mare will always be knows as Nautical, ‘The Horse with the Flying Tail’.

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