The Story of the “Black Gazelle” of the Paris Hippodrome: Sarah L’Africaine

A new essay on an equestrian stuntwoman who set Second Empire Paris alight: Sarah l’Africaine, following on from an earlier piece about the mystery horsewoman Selika Lazevski. Here’s some information about my sources: Most of the firsthand material is combed from Gallica, the incredible, searchable digital collection of the French national library. The quotations in […]

The Beautiful Irony – An Afterword for The Age of the Horse, February 2018

On 23 February 2018 an international group of paleogeneticists and zooarchaeologists studying horse domestication published a report in the journal Science. They had recovered and sequenced DNA from the remains of horses found at the Botai site, hoping, as team-member Ludovico Orlando put it, “to catch evolution red-handed, when domestication first started.” Instead, they turned […]

Everything I Don’t Know About Selika Lazevski

This blog post is about the research behind an essay I published on Paris Review Daily on 9 February 2018 (accessible here). I first blogged about Selika when her image went viral in 2012. The best source of information was a commenter called Marie (her profile has since been deleted), who pointed out the source […]

Paula Sykes — Pioneering Woman Groom in International Show Jumping

I wrote an obituary for Paula Sykes, whose riding school in Cringleford, Norwich, I attended. Paula was an incredible character who was showjumper Pat Smythe’s right-hand woman. You can read the full text at Medium. Pauline Phyllis Betty Sykes, who died in Costessey, Norfolk on her 88th birthday on 15 September 2017, was one of […]