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 […]

Unbridled Dressage, Brushes with Scandal and a Tragic End: Adèle Drouin

Scores or maybe even hundreds of women in nineteenth century Europe performed as haute-école riders in circuses and hippodromes* before audiences from all classes. A handful of them became famous, as the expansion of the newspaper market meant that they were the first women to be widely celebrated for their equestrian skills (other than the […]

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 […]

Peach Blossom, Trout and Tiger: Horse Colours in 1730s France

A list of horse coat colours taken from The School of Horsemanship by François Robichon de la Guérinière (first complete edition 1733. Translated by Tracey Boucher. Published by J A Allen, London, 1994): light bay chestnut bay black-brown golden bay dapple bay jet black rusty black dapple grey iron grey silver grey tiger (grey with […]

Want to Smell Like a Horse?

Thank  you to Slaminsky for pointing me towards these scents for the wealthy and horse crazy. Parfums de Marly present a range of equine-themed perfumes: Godolphin: “opulent rose note, leading to a woody-leather scent base. Top notes: thyme, saffron, cypress, green notes, fruity notes and mate. Heart: rose, iris and jasmine. Base: leather, vetiver, cedar, […]

The Baker’s Horse Takes On Royalty

Today’s Times has a piece by Adam Sage on Saonois, a favourite for the 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. It’s behind a pay wall here, for those with access. Saonois belongs to 34-year-old village baker, Pascal Treyve, who snapped him up for €8,000 when he was rejected by the industry as being “too small”. […]

The Queens of the Circus

Thank you to French site Hyppoblog for passing on news that the Musée Vivant du Cheval in Chantilly is launching a new show to honour the equestriennes of the nineteenth century circus. These ladies performed haut école movements and bold tricks like leaping over dining tables and through hoops – all while side-saddle. They were […]

Who’s That Lady?

The post below is somewhat out of date. My essay on Selika was published by the Paris Review Daily on 9 February 2018, and can be found here. Here’s a post listing the research undertaken about Selika and giving pointers for further investigation. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– This lady has been Tumblring around the internet lately, and she’d […]

French Horse Laughs

It’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day, and, as Fran Jurga at The Jurga Report points out, that means it’s time for France to produce beautiful and/or hilarious horse-themed adverts. She’s collected a herd of them here – I highly recommend ALL of ’em!