New Book from Lucy Rees!

Lucy Rees’ theories on the equine mind completed the jigsaw I was struggling to put together in The Age of the Horse. They are so down to earth and commonsense that it is hard to remember how one might ever have imagined horses living and interacting according to another, more human logic. I’m really delighted […]

Clever Hans: A Horse, a House and a Little History

Wilhelm von Osten was born into the German squirearchy in 1838 and went on to work as a maths teacher. He moved to the eastern Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg in 1866 and purchased a house at 10 Griebenowstraße. A befitted his background, he was a keen rider and huntsman with an appreciation of horses. […]

Stallions: a Bromance

What do horses like? Horses like food and being with other horses. Stallions are no exception – in the wild they are intensely social, but due to their high value and the way we keep our breeding stock, they are often kept in isolation, which works about as well for horses as solitary confinement does […]

Do Horses Prefer Female Riders to Male?

“He’s a woman’s horse.” “Women are more sensitive riders – they’re much better at handling horses.” How often have you heard  this? I think the Victorian era might be the period when this notion became established. Writers like Trollope believed that “rarely [do men] have such hands as a woman has on a horse’s mouth.” […]

How to Spoil a Horse

“The thing is this,” said Merrylegs. “Ginger has a bad habit of biting and snapping; that is why they call her Ginger, and when she was in the loose box she used to snap very much. One day she bit James in the arm and made it bleed, and so Miss Flora and Miss Jessie, […]

Talking on Behalf of Horses

I’ve been thinking lately about horses and ventriloquy. I want to write something about the talking horses of literature, from Houyhnhnms to Dick, the Little Poney, Tolstoy’s Kholstomer and Black Beauty. Why do so many authors want to give a voice to horses? What do we use them to say about horses, humans and the […]

Whole Heap of Little Horse Links

First up: please go directly to Horse Nation to read Susan Corwin’s account of joining a hunt in Meath, Ireland to break the world record for the number of side-saddle attendees. Fans of Molly Keane and Somerville & Ross will enjoy the craic. This was Susan’s first choice of riding expedition after a gruelling course […]

If Wishes Were Horses: Fear

Here’s a link to the study showing that horses’ heart rates increase as those of their human handler’s speed up. This post relates to a chapter of the book If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of an Equine Obsession. If you have any questions to ask about the content, please fire away in the comments. […]

In the Hoofprints of Genius

There’s an entertaining feature at the Kiwi site Horse Talk on an ex racehorse called Lukas who is now officially the world’s most intelligent equine. To date, his repertoire includes smiling, posing, nodding yes and shaking his head no, a dry and wet kiss, fetching, being “blindfolded”, catching, yawning, saluting, pedestal work, a Spanish Walk […]

Bits and Bobs

English50cent translates for 50cent Tetley Tea gives a Spanish gelding called Sydney a lifetime supply of tea A new brumby recycling guide Ebony Horse Club wins an FEI award Mysterious theft of Montana horses’ manes and tails Equine behaviouralists discover that some horses act as “peacemakers” in the herd Mutilating a horse for fashion’s sake, […]