The Daddies of Them All: How Arab and Turkoman Stallions Dominate the Gene Pool

A team at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, has discovered that nearly all today’s horses* trace tail-male back to Arabian and Turkoman stallions brought to Europe over the last seven centuries (yes, pre-thoroughbred). There is so little diversity in domestic horses’ Y chromosomes that it took an advance in research methods to be able […]

Mustangs for Your Ears

Deanne Stillman’s Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West came out in 2008 and remains definitive. It takes you from the arrival of the first Conquistadors’ horses – like Pedro de Alvarado’s “bright bay mare” “good both for tilting and to race” and the grey “Bobtail” who was “fast, and had […]

Scandal! Did the Icelandic tölt come from England?

Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wild Animal Research (IZW) in Berlin have announced a fascinating discovery in the history of gaited horses. By studying the genomes of ninety horses that lived between the Copper Age and the eleventh century, they have traced the spread of the fifth equine gait or amble. This […]

Trump, Stein or Clinton? How Would Your Horse Vote in 2016?

I thought it would be interesting to compile the horse welfare promises of this year’s US presidential candidate promises. Which platform is best for your horse? Hillary Clinton, Democrats “As president, Hillary will … Protect horses by ending the slaughter of horses for human consumption and cracking down on the practice of horse soring, in […]

The Pony Who Needed a New Shoe

The following instance of animal intelligence is sent to us by Dr. John Rae, F.R.S., who states that the Mr. William Sinclair mentioned is respectable and trustworthy. The anecdote is taken from the ‘Orkney Herald’ of May 11:—”A well-authenticated and extraordinary case of the sagacity of the Shetland pony has just come under our notice. […]

Mozart, Uccello, Caravaggio and a Riding School Carved from Rock

I don’t blog much about the work I’m doing on book two (The Age of the Horse), but here’s a sneak peak of something I’ll be writing about. In November I was lucky enough to have three days at the Equestrian Academy at Versailles, where they were rehearsing for this performance in the old riding […]

We Are Horses, Horses Are Us

In Benedikt Erlingsson’s Of Horses and Men, the inhabitants of a remote Icelandic valley have emotions as tightly knitted as their jumpers – except when it comes to their swift-trotting, thick-maned horses. In the opening scene we see the coat on a grey mare’s chest, caught in whorls and feathered by drizzle as her owner’s […]

The Cremellos of Versailles

Scraps of incomplete research I’m doing to trace the history of cream-coloured horses at Versailles and earlier French royal stables. I knew the Hanoverian monarchs of England had cream-coloured carriage horses (the “Hanoverian creams” mentioned in W J Gordon’s Horse World of London in 1893), and that cream horses are mentioned by François Robichon de […]