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 […]
Chasing more horse ghosts in London.
While the idea of sipping mare’s milk might sound unusual to Western readers, it’s been a traditional staple in Central Asia, where it is often fermented into “koumiss,” a mildly alcoholic drink that was adopted by Russian doctors in the mid-19th century as a treatment for tuberculosis. Patients no less illustrious than the writers Anton […]
I didn’t publish any articles between 2014 and 2017 because I was busy working on The Age of the Horse, so I set myself a challenge to get pieces out there to new audiences for a twelve-month surge. I’ve now reached the end and am about to sequester myself in the Stabi to work on […]
I looked up from the center of the small courtyard, above the hexagonal pillars, the Gothic arches and then higher, to the crenellations that framed a rectangle of deep-blue sky where a single planet or star shone. The building was made of stone and brick and the yard sealed by a thick, studded door, but […]
Two new pieces: one a critical review of Théâtre Équestre Zingaro’s production of Ex Anima and the other on bathing in broth.
Tune in to Clare Balding this week for a Radio 4 series on horse history. There are episodes on wild horses, performing horses, war horses, racehorses and healing horses. Monday to Friday at 13.45 UK time. I join her for the first two episodes.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]