Yep, Amazon have put If Wishes Were Horses on special offer. I have no idea for how long, but here it is if you fancy snapping up a virtual copy. If you are interested in horses and history – and especially women’s history – I think you’ll find something to enjoy, as well as a nostalgia trip into everything from Black Beauty to Horse and Pony magazine, Jinny and Shantih and the W H Smiths’ Win a Pony competition.
I couldn’t find the plural of Pegasus in the OED and I know from a distant Greek A-Level that it’s probably not Pegasi. Suggest away, linguists!
“Subterranean stables” painted by Charles Taylor in 1856–7, most likely in Norway. More details at the US Library of Congress’ website, which should be browsed for hours.
My friend Robby runs the wonderful Retrokombinat, an Etsy shop full of finds from the flotsam and jetsam of twentieth-century Berlin. For my birthday he made me a card featuring one of a series of collectable science flyers dished out by the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper in 1931. It’s all about brain size, and as you can see, man is most definitely coming out on top here as far as the Berliners of the 1930s were concerned. I was reminded of it when I saw that Epona TV have just dug up an earlier series about the equine brain, which is not so tiny as you may have been led to believe. While on the subject of horse brains, you might also be fascinated by this blogpost from Equisearch, which explains why concussion is a lot rarer in horses than it is in us mega-brain, short-skulled humans. And why horses don’t wear helmets.
Thank you to Matt for the news that the North Korean leadership has decided it needs some authentic Gangnam style to accompany the gulags and famine. Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based company offering trips to North Korea, sent Simon Cockerell to inspect the facilities at the Mirim Horse-Riding Centre just outside Pyongyang. The former military training academy boasts not just an indoor arena where you can ride while giant TV screens play war films and karaoke videos, but also a museum of the horse in Korea, featuring Kim Jong Il’s favourite white horse – now stuffed. I would absolutely love to learn the story they are telling in that museum… The Orlov trotters in the school look better cared for than many North Koreans.
You can read Simon’s account here. Official video below:
Englishman Charles Taylor visited Iceland in 1862 and recorded his impressions of the local beasts, seen here in Reyjavik. Full details at the US Library of Congress’ excellent, generous website.
Snowshoes. Not just for humans, according to this 1565 woodcut from Olaus Magnus’ Historia delle Genti. Alternatively, this is an early version of Subbuteo. Courtesy of the US Library of Congress.