A (Not So) Short History of Talking Horses, Donkeys and Mules

Humans have long been aspiring Doolittles: we live alongside animals who understand us intuitively, but with whom we cannot communicate on our own terms. Is it any wonder that we often fantasise about a world in which they can speak our own language? And what would they say about us if they could? Talking horses […]

Talking Horses: “The Cavalier’s brave warlike horse bids them kiss his arse”

Here’s a gem. This salty poem appeared on a pamphlet during the English Civil War, and it pitches the Royalist Cavaliers against the Cromwellian Roundheads through the medium of a fancy, boastful war horse and a humble mill horse or ass. Some tart words are exchanged between these two, reflecting on the ideologies of opposing […]

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 […]